Reliance raises BSES offer price
Growth rate for 1999-2000 revised to 6.4%
Appellate board for patents by September

Mumbai, June 30: 
The Reliance group has raised to Rs 255 the price at which it will acquire BSES shares in an open offer that had earlier failed to entice the bigger investors in the company by giving them only Rs 234.60 per share.

The move lobs the ball back into the court of financial institutions (FIs) who had earlier refused to part with their holdings at what they believed was not a good deal from Reliance. The new offer price represents a premium of 10 per cent over the earlier one, and about 4 per cent over BSES’ closing quote of Rs 245.50 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Institutions like Unit Trust of India, Life Insurance Corporation and General Insurance Corporation have indicated that they are willing to offload no more than 9 per cent in the Mumbai-based utility.

Reliance tried today to send the impression that its new bait is targeted at BSES’ 1,80,000 retail investors who it feels will get more time to make up their mind. “Our objective is to provide adequate time to the shareholders of BSES, particularly retail investors, to consider the new price and respond to the open offer,” the company said in a release issued here today.

Officials in the financial institutions were not available for comment, but market circles say Reliance may raise its price further if this one fails to cut ice with investors.

Under Sebi’s open-offer norms, an upward revision should be made at least seven working days before the offer closes. On that basis, the company has until July 4 to revise its prices again.

Reliance Industries and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Reliance Power Ventures Pvt Ltd (RPVL), had announced an open offer for 20 per cent of BSES’ Rs 137.83-crore equity on May 19. The offer was valued at a whopping Rs 650 crore on a price of Rs 234.60, but today’s price revision raises it to Rs 702.40 crore.

Reliance is the single-largest private sector shareholder in BSES with an aggregate shareholding of 14.82 per cent of its equity capital. The largest chunk of 35 per cent is owned by FIs, who had decided that they would retain at least 26 per cent that would give them the numbers to block special resolutions.

BSES, one of the leading power companies in the country, generates and transmits and distributes electricity. As the largest power distribution company in India, it holds the exclusive licence to distribute power in the country’s financial capital; it also supplies power to more than 75 per cent of Orissa.

Reliance, on the other hand, has interests only in generation, but is developing power projects which would have a capacity of over 6,000 MW once they go on stream. BSES, with its existing and future projects of 2,000 MW, will increase Reliance’s capacity to a staggering 8000 MW, making it the largest private sector player in the country’s power sector.    

New Delhi, June 30: 
The economy slowed down marginally during 1999-2000 to 6.4 per cent from 6.8 per cent in 1998-99. However, the revised estimates bettered the 5.9 per cent projection made in the advance estimates of gross domestic product data released by the Central Statistical Organisation.

Growth rate in agriculture, forestry and fishing has been pegged at 1.3 per cent, an increase over the earlier estimate of 0.8 per cent. The gains came from an increase in food grain production to 205.91 million tonnes compared with 203.04 million tonnes last year — despite the ravaging droughts and cyclones.

In the industrial sector, trade, hotels, transport and communications grew at the rate 6.7 per cent, up from 5.9 per cent estimated earlier. The growth rate in electricity, however, dipped marginally to 7.4 per cent from 8 per cent projected earlier.

It was the same story in mining and quarrying, where the growth rate was pegged at 0.3 per cent, down from 0.4 per cent in the advance estimates. In manufacturing, it was revised to 8.5 per cent from 7 per cent estimated earlier, and from 3.6 per cent in 1998-99.

In the services sector, the growth rate in financing, insurance real estate and business services was reworked to 10.6 per cent as against 10.5 per cent in the advanced estimates.

National income growth

The growth rate in national income — referred to as the net national product at factor cost in accounting terms — is expected to dip to 6.5 per cent in 1999-2000 from 6.8 per cent in the quick estimates of 1998-99.

National income based on 1993-94 prices has now been computed at Rs 10,11,474 crore compared with Rs 10,06,005 crore in the advanced estimates and Rs 9,49,525 crore in the quick estimates of 1998-99.

Per capita income in real terms during 1999-2000 is estimated at Rs 10,207 as against Rs 10,151 computed earlier. At current prices, this works out to Rs 15,887, up 8.2 per cent over Rs 14,682 in the quick estimates for 1998-99.

The GDP at factor cost based on current prices is estimated at Rs 17,72,183 crore in 1999-2000, representing a growth rate of 9.9 per cent over Rs 16,12,383 crore in the quick estimates of 1998-99. The fourth quarter was crucial because much of the gains were made in this period. The surge was led by manufacturing (10.5 per cent), electricity, gas and water supply (6.6 per cent), construction (10 per cent), trade, hotels, transport and communication (8.7 per cent), financing insurance, real estate and business services (12.3 per cent) and community, social and personal services (11.5 per cent).

Industry surge seen

The country is poised to record an industrial growth of 11 per cent rate in the current financial year. “We have done extremely well so far in the current financial year and we expect to end it with a 11 per cent growth rate,” industry secretary Ajit Kumar said.

Expectations of an industrial upsurge come after relatively modest growth rates of 3 to 8 per cent in the past five years. In April, industrial production grew at the rate of 12.3 per cent compared with a poor 5 per cent in the corresponding period last year. The process is expected to be helped by a buoyant manufacturing sector, which grew at 14 per cent.

Even the mining and quarrying sectors posted positive growth rates of 5.2 per cent in April. These sectors were reeling under negative growth rates for the best part of the last financial year. Analysts say if the trend continues, achieving a 11 per cent rate of increase in 2000-01 should not be a difficult task.    

New Delhi, June 30: 
The government will set up an Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) by September for modernisation of the intellectual property administration and also to provide a shorter litigation period.

The government will also set up a database of all traditional medicines on the Net, which would enable it to claim them as intellectual property (IP).

All legislations are expected to fall under the ambit of the proposed IPAB, which would be a specialised court dealing only with IP-related issues. Considering the emergence of newer areas of technology, the board will have members with experience and specialised knowledge regarding infringement of IPRs.

According to Ajit Kumar secretary, department of industrial policy and promotion, ministry of commerce and industry, “The finalisation of subordinate legislation is under progress, which will help us to meet the international commitments under the TRIPs agreement. An intellectual property board is also central to the legislative initiatives, as is the modernisation of the IP administration.    


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