THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE
Financial Daily
from THE HINDU group of publications

Thursday, October 19, 2000

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News

Agriculture
Grains to be exported `at realistic rates'
IN a bid to liquidate its burgeoning buffer stocks, the Centre has decided to export foodgrains at `realistic rates', even if it entailed selling below the Food Corporation of India's economic cost.

Airlines
IA decision to hold fares pays off
INDIAN Airlines' gamble not to hike fares immediately seems to paying rich dividends. Since October 10, when its main competitor Jet Airways raised fares, the airline has been carrying an additional 1,200-1,300 passengers daily.

Govt keen to enhance AI's intrinsic value
WHILE keen to enhance the intrinsic value of Air India ahead of its proposed disinvestment, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is being careful in maintaining a balance between the demand and supply in the bilateral air services agreements that it is firming up.

Corporate
CLB may hear Bajoria in Nov
THE Company Law Board (Mumbai) is likely to fix a date in early November for hearing Mr Arun Bajoria's plea against its interim stay on his voting rights vis-a-vis Bombay Dyeing shares.

RIL `deal' with FIs for nominees on BSES board
RELIANCE Industries Ltd (RIL) is believed to have reached an understanding with financial institutions (FIs) for inducting its nominees into the BSES board.

Change in board's composition -- SkyCell MD loses appeal before CLB
THE Company Law Board (CLB) has dismissed the petition filed by Mr P.H. Rao, Managing Director of SkyCell Communication Ltd (SCL), as `not maintainable' while vacating all its interim orders.

Gas supply pact for Assam cracker today
THE Gas Supply Agreement for the Rs 3,600-crore Assam gas cracker project is scheduled to be signed on Thursday at the Administrative Staff College Conference Hall between Reliance Assam Petrochemicals Ltd (RAPL) and Oil India Ltd (OIL).

Playing field will be levelled, assures Maran
THE Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Murasoli Maran, has asserted that India would streamline its anti-dumping machinery. It would also and duly avail itself of its tariff and non-tariff measures in the trade policy armoury to fend off any import surge even as the countdown for the removal of lingering quantitative restrictions (QRs) has begun to be completed by end-March 2001.

L&T Board approves demerger of cement division
LARSEN & Toubro Ltd (L&T) has decided to list its cement subsidiary and also offer an equal stake in the subsidiary to a financial/strategic partner.

Maruti employees reject new scheme
THE employees of Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) have rejected the incentive scheme approved and notified by the management of the company. Meanwhile, with the lockout and strike continuing, production at the company's plant at Gurgaon, near Delhi, continued to b e at a low 200 units for the day.

Lafarge set to sew deal with Raymond
LAFARGE is all set to wrap up the Rs. 785-crore cement acquisition deal with Raymond Ltd by the end of November, bankers associated with the deal have said.

Reniassance open offer for GESCO
THE Delhi-based Reniassance Estates Ltd is to make an open offer to acquire 45 per cent equity of the Mumbai-based GESCO Corporation Ltd at a price of Rs 23 per share.

Grasim plans merger of Dharani Cements
GRASIM Industries Ltd proposes to merge its wholly owned subsidiary Dharani Cements Ltd with the company.

Films accorded industry status
THE Government has formally accorded the much-awaited industry status to films by including this activity as part of the entertainment industry.

High Court approves TEC merger
THE High Court, Mumbai, on Wednesday sanctioned the merger of Andhra Valley Power Supply Co. Ltd and Tata Hydr-Electric Power Supply Ltd with Tata Power Co. Ltd.

Courts
SC ruling on row over arbitration agreement
IN Nimet Resources Inc and another vs. Essar Steels Ltd (Arbitration Petition No. 19 of 2000 disposed of on September 27, 2000), the petitioners are a Canadian Company and its agent. The respondent is Essar Steels Ltd.

Economy


Govt considering foreign equity in print media
THE Government is considering allowing foreign equity in the print media as the scenario in this area is undergoing a major change, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, has said.

China as benchmark
EVER since the launch of the process of economic reforms in India exactly a decade ago, China has been a benchmark for all seasons. Wittingly or unwittingly, Ministers and Government officials invariably end up comparing with China both the successes and failures in ushering in a liberalised environment through reforms at a faster pace.

Financial Performance
Bajaj Auto net slides
BAJAJ Auto Ltd has registered a 60 per cent drop in net profit to Rs 53.83 crore for the second quarter ended September 30, 2000, from Rs 137.39 crore in the corresponding period the previous year.

Tata Steel net up 76 pc
TATA Iron and Steel Company (Tata Steel) has reported a 76 per cent increase in its net profit at Rs 115.03 crore for the second quarter ended September 30, 2000 as compared to Rs 65.39 crore in the year-ago period.

Pentamedia Graphics H1 net up
CHENNAI: Pentamedia Graphics Ltd has reported a net profit of Rs 66.63 crore for the half year ended September 30, 2000 (a net profit of Rs 46.82 crore for the corresponding period last year).

Polaris Software H1 net up 47.15 pc
CHENNAI: Polaris Software Lab Ltd has mandated the services of Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer, a US law firm to counter the ``complaint'' filed by Data Inc, ``praying for Polaris to still acquire it, in a New Jersey court'', according to a release.

Moser Baer Q2 net zooms
NEW DELHI: Moser Baer India Ltd (MBIL), said its net profit during the second quarter ended September 30 stood at Rs 32.18 crore, recording a 300 per cent growth over Rs 8.05 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Gati Corp net up
HYDERABAD: Gati Corporation Ltd (GCL) has registered a significant growth both in revenues and post-tax profit for the first quarter of the current fiscal year ended September 30, 2000.

KMML posts improved performance
THE Kerala State-owned Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) at Chavara in the State's Kollam district has achieved a total sales turn over of Rs 142.66 crore during the first half of the current fiscal as against Rs 127.73 crore during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of Rs 14.93 crore.

Petroleum
Enron to sell oil, gas assets
ENRON has decided to sell its `oil and gas assets' in India as part of its ``annual rebalancing of assets,'' according to a statement issued by the company here today.

Policy
Govt mulling open bidding for AI
THE Government is now looking at the option of adopting the open bidding process for disinvestment in Air India, with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) backing this move, the Minister in charge of Disinvestment, Mr Arun Shourie, said here today. He was speaking at the Economic Editors' Conference.

Power
Finance Ministry pins slowdown on power sector
ATTRIBUTING the slowdown in industrial production partially to the poor offtake of cement and steel by the power sector, the Finance Ministry has asked the Power Ministry to forecast the trends in consumption of these two commodities over the next six mo nths. The consumption projections will be reviewed at a meeting tomorrow between the two Ministries, said official sources.

`Reverse escrow' for Karnataka power projects under study
THE Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) is working on a new financial security package for Karnataka as a fall-back option for power project developers.

States
AP transmission line commissioned
THE Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Ltd (APTRANSCO) has commissioned the 400 KV Srisailam-Vijayawada transmission line. With this, a major part of the 400-KV transmission network under the Srisailam left bank power transmission scheme has been completed. The project is funded by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation.

MEDC plans to set up expert panel
THE Maharashtra Economic Development Council (MEDC) proposes to set up a think-tank to `impart a novel direction to the future activities of the council'. The council plans to set up a core group of about 15-20 people comprising prominent industrialists, economists, bankers, professionals, and mediapersons, according to Mr Sharad Kulkarni, President, MEDC and President and CEO, Chemical, Engineering and Speciality Business Group, RPG Enterprises.

Airtel extends e-mail service
HYDERABAD: Bharti Mobile Ltd., which extends its cellular services under `Airtel' brand in the State, has launched e-mail service facility for its Airtel and Magic card customers across the State.

Railway Board reviews NF's performance
GUWAHATI: The members of the Railway Board reviewed the performance of the NF Railways here. According to NF Railways sources, security was one of the major subjects discussed in the meetings with railway officials.

Blow Plast opens showroom
GUWAHATI: Blow Plast Ltd opened `VIP World' here -- its first exclusive showroom in the north eastern region.

Tata Cellular in Tirumala
HYDERABAD: Tata Cellular, the mobile services operator in the State with a subscriber base of 71,000, has launched its services in the temple town of Tirumala.

HC stays bonus to municipal staff
MUMBAI: About 1.4 lakh civic workers will have to celebrate Diwali without bonus this year as the Mumbai High Court on Wednesday restrained BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from paying ex-gratia to its employees until a petition challenging such payment was finally disposed of.

Dyeing machines developed
COIMBATORE: A Karnataka-based engineering institute has developed silk yarn dyeing machine that offers higher productivity and consume low energy.

TNEB bonus: Workers plan demonstration
CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board workers plan to stage a State-wide demonstration on Thursday, over bonus-related issues, according to Mr S. Pancharatnam, General Secretary, Central Organisation of Tamil Nadu Electricity Employees (COTEE).

Flood relief: Patil to discuss banks' role
CALCUTTA: The Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr Balasaheb Vikhye Patil, is likely to visit the State next week to assess how best the banks and insurance companies could help the flood victims in the State.

ITA gesture to flood victims
CALCUTTA: The Indian Tea Association has contributed Rs 5 lakh to the Chief Minister's relief fund to help the recent flood-affected people in the State.

Telecommunications
TRAI for open door for VSAT
THE Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended `unrestricted entry' and free competition in VSATs, a one-time entry fee of Rs 30 lakh and issue of a non-exclusive licence.

GoM decision on DTH framework on Oct 29
THE Group of Ministers (GoM) under the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, set up to put in place a policy framework for the introduction of direct-to-home (DTH) services using the Ku band, will take a final decision on October 29.

MTNL cellular services from Jan -- ISD rates may be lowered
THE Communications Ministry is considering a further slash in ISD rates while it has cut the registration fee for new telephone connections from November 1. MTNL will launch its much-delayed cellular services in Mumbai and New Delhi by January.

Textiles
Bonus accord at most mills in Coimbatore
WITH a week left for Deepavali, several textile mill managements in the Coimbatore region have managed to conclude bonus agreements for the year 1999-2000 with their workmen unions in the last couple of days.


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