Jolted sensex regains ground
Growth for 1999-2000 revised to 6.4%
FDI plans worth Rs 219 cr cleared
Telco unveils Indica V2
Rs 3600-cr bailout fund for SFCs proposed
SBI, HDFC to acquire 80% in Credit Bureau
Hassle-free visas at Nasscom bash
ICICI board
State Bank net falls 45% to Rs 220 cr
Foreign Exchange, Bullion, Stock Indices

 
 
JOLTED SENSEX REGAINS GROUND 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, Jan. 30: 
Acting on reassurances that the Gujarat quake will leave the economy with ruptures that can be repaired with funds and fortitude, investors on the edge returned to purchase shares today, propelling the BSE sensex to a four-month high of 4372.04 in a 137-point relief rally.

The buying was seen across the board with gains in both the old and new-economy stocks a day after the markets were spooked by the full impact of Friday’s seismic shock. There was a confluence of positive factors that lifted the sentiment. First, it was renewed buying by foreign institutional investors (FIIs), which prompted local operators to jump into the fray. The outcome was markedly different from what had happened on Monday, when the sensex plummeted 96 points due to concerns over the damage to the economy.

Much of these worries were dissipated as statements from various companies in Gujarat indicated that the losses from the tremors could be managed by the industry. The biggest booster was finance minister Yashwant Sinha’s assertion that reports about ‘Gujarat surcharge’ were speculative.

Apart from the new economy stocks, investors piled into old economy shares, particularly those of cement and steel companies. The buying was based on hopes of increased demand for their products which could be used in rebuilding and rehabilitation of survivors in the January 26 calamity.

Monday’s 57-point leap in the Nasdaq composite index came as a shot in arm for infotech shares. Heavy buying was reported in stocks like Infosys Technologies, Satyam Computers, Wipro and Digital Equipment. The likelihood of a fresh interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve later today also fuelled purchases in several technology counters.

According to dealers, the sensex is set for a march to 4500-4550 levels, having breached its strongest resistance level of 4334.

Reliance Industries and Reliance Petro, which took a beating on Monday on fears of damage to their plants, staged a sharp recovery on informed buying ahead of its board meeting tomorrow to consider the third-quarter results.

Satyam Computers was the most active share with the highest turnover of Rs 630.46 crore followed by HFCL (Rs 590.37 crore), Reliance Industries (Rs 467.42 crore), Silverline (Rs 404.37 crore) and Infosys Technologies (Rs 366.24 crore).

   

 
 
GROWTH FOR 1999-2000 REVISED TO 6.4% 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Jan. 30: 
The government today revised upwards the economic growth for 1999-2000 from 5.9 per cent to 6.4 per cent, but it was still below 6.8 per cent clocked during the previous financial year.

Releasing the revised estimates for economic growth for the year 1999-2000, the Central Statistical Organisation pegged the gross domestic product (GDP) at Rs 1,151,991 crore at 1993-94 price level as against Rs 1,145,436 crore in the advance estimates released in February last year.

The fall in overall GDP growth during 1999-2000 at factor cost from the previous year came despite a hefty 9.4 per cent growth in capital formation and a 12.6 per cent increase in domestic savings, according to the data released by CSO here.

The lower growth, to an extent, could be attributed to a fall in the rate of private consumption expenditure to 4.1 per cent from 7.2 per cent in the previous year although government consumption expenditure grew by a sizeable 15 per cent, up from 11.7 per cent in the previous financial year.

The slowdown in GDP growth is also accounted for by a sharp dip in agriculture and allied sector growth to 0.7 per cent from a high of 7.1 per cent in the previous year.

However, the silver lining was a steep increase in manufacturing sector growth to 6.8 per cent from 2.5 per cent along with improved performance by the services sector like financial sector which grew by 10.1 per cent in 1999-2000 as against 8.4 per cent in previous year.

Transport, storage and communication sector registered an overall growth of 8.3 per cent during 1999-2000 compared with 7.3 per cent in 1998-99.

The growth rate in railways alone shot up to 9.0 per cent during the year from 1.8 per cent in 1998-99, while transport by other means grew by 7.2 per cent as against 4.2 per cent during 1998-99.

Storage activity also recorded 2.6 per cent growth rate during 1999-2000 compared to 1.9 per cent in the previous year, but growth in the communication sector was comparatively low at 10.7 per cent against 18.9 per cent in 1998-99.

The growth in banking and insurance sector during 1999-2000 was positive at 12.3 per cent compared with 10.5 per cent during 1998-2000, while in real estate, ownership of dwellings and business services it increased to 7.5 per cent from 6.1 per cent in 1998-99.

Though marginal increase was recorded in the overall growth rate in trade, hotels and restaurants from 7 per cent to 7.9 per cent, growth in hotels and restaurants was fell to 8.2 per cent during 1999-2000 from 12.5 per cent during 1998-99.

Mining and quarrying grew marginally from 1.3 per cent to 1.7 per cent, while growth in electricity, gas and water supply declined to 5.2 per cent from 6.4 per cent.

   

 
 
FDI PLANS WORTH RS 219 CR CLEARED 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Jan. 30: 
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has cleared 13 proposals worth Rs 219 crore. The proposals include a Rs 122-crore project by Bharti Telesonic Ltd for long distance telecom operations and a Rs 86.26-crore plan of Astra Pharmaceuticals AB of Sweden.

The 13 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals cleared today by Union minister of commerce and industry Murasoli Maran include manufacture and sale of drugs, information technology and software solutions, internet service provider (ISP) related services, telecom and non-banking financial services (NBFCs), an official release said here.

Bharati Telesonic, which seeks to provide domestic long distance telecom operations, topped the list with a Rs 122.5-crore proposal involving 49 per cent foreign equity investment, it said.

Pharmaceuticals manufacturers Astra Pharmaceuticals Ltd followed the telecom company in terms of value with a Rs 86.26 crore proposal for increasing the foreign equity to 51.5 per cent from the present 25.75 per cent, it added.

The proposal to provide anti-cancer drug formulations by Gagan Pharma Ltd with a 60 per cent equity worth Rs 3 crore was also cleared by the FIPB, the release said.

Software company Orchid Soft India Pvt. Ltd proposal to increasing its equity to 100 per cent from 90 per cent, leading to an inflow of Rs 5.64 crore FDI was also approved.

The application of Frontiers India (UK) Ltd for increasing its foreign equity to 99.99 per cent from the present 74 per cent for development of sporting events was also cleared by FIPB, it said.

   

 
 
TELCO UNVEILS INDICA V2 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, Jan. 30: 
Telco today took the wraps off its latest offering — the Indica V2 — which it called the “the next stage of evolution of the diesel Indica”.

Telco expects to have one lakh Indicas on the road very soon; by the end of December, there were 90,000 Indicas on the freeway.

Presenting the V2 range, Telco general manager (commercial passenger car business unit) Rajiv Dube said the refinements covered the suspension system and engine. The V2 will have an improved gear box technology and wider tyres, he added.

The two new power steering versions were the DLS model in the diesel Indica V2 range and the LSi model in the Indica

2000 range, he said. These models are being positioned above the air-conditioned ones.

The improvements come at no extra cost. Incidentally, Tata Indica had raised its prices earlier this month.

Analysts tracking the sector said the refinements had been made to maintain, if not stem, the slide in Telco’s market share.

Tata Indica has managed to hold on to its market share in a vastly shrinking market. Tata Indica holds 17 per cent in its segment of small cars and 8 per cent in the total passenger car segment.

“If we have marginally lost market share, then so has everybody else among the existing car models,” said Dube.

The new car models like the Ford Ikon, Maruti’s Alto and Wagon R have eaten into the market share of existing models.

Telco’s car business has a long way to go before achieving full breakeven. However, Dube insisted that the company had managed a cash breakeven by producing 25,000 Tata Indicas’ in the first six months of the current fiscal. Incidentally, the company had targeted sales of 90,000 cars for the whole year which was later scaled down to 70,000 units when the car market began to shrink.

Dube is optimistic that the market will bounce back after the new auto policy is announced. “We expect the car markets to take off by March,” he said.

However, he was unwilling to hazard a guess on the number of cars he would sell by the end of this year.

The company also announced an attractive three-year extended warranty programme for its entire passenger car range with effect from February 1. Tata Indica customers can extend the warranty coverage on their cars beyond the normal manufacturer’s warranty of 18 months by another 18 months by paying an extra Rs 1800 for the Indica and Rs 2800 for the Sumo, Sierra and Safari range.

The company is also developing a CNG model of the Indica which will be launched later this year.

   

 
 
RS 3600-CR BAILOUT FUND FOR SFCS PROPOSED 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Jan. 30: 
The G.P. Gupta committee, which was set up to suggest ways to revamp the ailing state finance corporations (SFCs), has recommended recapitalisation of up to Rs 3,600 crore.

The committee, which met here today to finalise the report, recommended the amount taking into account the high degree of capital erosion.

This is higher than the bail-out package of Rs 3,000 crore sought by SFCs themselves.

The report, which will be placed before the finance minister next week, will also recommend a host of other related measures to help the SFCs restructure themselves. Among other things, it has called for merger and amalgamations to help out SFCs.

The corporations had earlier sought financial assistance jointly from IDBI and Sidbi, by converting their loans to equity, as part of the recapitalisation. There was also a proposal for banks and financial institutes to pick up stakes in the SFCs as part of the recapitalisation process.

About 50 per cent of total equity in the 18 SFCs have been eroded so far with non-performing assets (NPAs) mounting to Rs 5,577 crore as on March last year.

   

 
 
SBI, HDFC TO ACQUIRE 80% IN CREDIT BUREAU 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, Jan. 30: 
The State Bank of India (SBI) and Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) are picking up 40 per cent each in the equity of Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd (CIBIL), slated to be the first credit information bureau in the country. Dun and Bradstreet Information Services India Pvt Ltd (DB) and Trans Union International (TU) will hold 10 per cent each.

CIBIL will have banks, financial institutions, consumer finance and credit card companies as its potential users.

DB and TU will also provide the necessary technical and software support to CIBIL.

CIBIL will obtain and share data on borrowers in a systematic manner for sound credit decisions, which will eliminate the risk of adverse selection.

   

 
 
HASSLE-FREE VISAS AT NASSCOM BASH 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Jan. 30: 
A software professional looking for ways to overcome emigration blues — barge into the nearest ‘visa clinic’. If everything goes well, the visas and papers could be handed in a jiffy for you to take the earliest flight out — an arduous process that otherwise takes months.

The UK, France, Canada, Germany, Belgium, US, Singapore will set up visa clinics at Nasscom 2001, the country’s largest-ever infotech jamboree to be organised in Mumbai from 7-10 February by the National Association of Software and Services Companies.

‘Special visa clinics’ and workshops will be conducted in association with embassies and high commissions. Ambassadors and officials from the participating countries will hold exclusive workshops on ways to obtain visas, apply for Green Cards and work permits. Presentations will also be made on the trade policy regulations of countries.

“Indian businessmen have many doubts on the processes and protocol required to conduct international business. Visa clinics at Nasscom 2001 will tell them how to open Indian subsidiaries and branches in foreign countries,” Nasscom president Dewang Mehta said.

Dewang said US, France, Canada, Germany and Singapore have already confirmed their participation. Software exports from India have been projected at $ 6.24 billion in the current financial year. Of this, $ 3.7 billion will come from sales to the US. The target for 2001-02 is pegged at $ 9.5 billion, of which US is expected to contribute at least $ 5.7 billion.

   

 
 
ICICI BOARD 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Jan. 30: 
Financial power house ICICI has restructured its board with the inclusion of industry secretary P G Mankad and LIC chairman G N Bajpai as directors, effective from January 25, 2001. The company informed the BSE that the change in management structure was carried out following the resignations of former industry secretary Ajit Kumar and former LIC chairman G Krishnamurthy from their positions as directors.

   

 
 
STATE BANK NET FALLS 45% TO RS 220 CR 
 
 
OUR BUREAUX
 
Jan. 30: 
The State Bank of India (SBI) has reported a 45 per cent drop in net profit for the third quarter of the current fiscal ending December 31, 2000. Net profit declined to Rs 220 crore for the quarter from Rs 405 crore in the previous comparable quarter.

SBI, however, issued a warning in terms of reduced net profit for the current fiscal on account of its ongoing VRS, which closes tomorrow. It added the cost incurred on this count has not been provided for in the third quarter results and the manner of absorption of cost “will be decided after the process of acceptance of the applications is completed.”

State Bank said the decline in net profit was due to the provision for entire issue expenses of India Millennium Deposit amounting to Rs 462 crore in the third quarter.

Other provisions and contingencies (excluding that of taxes) of the country’s largest bank stood sharply higher in the quarter at Rs 820.86 crore, over Rs 363.48 crore in the same period of the previous year. Provision for taxes, on the other hand, stood at Rs 83.68 crore (Rs 363.48 crore).

During the nine-month period, while net profit rose to Rs 1262.70 crore (Rs 1102.95 crore), interest income was at Rs 18,546.86 crore (Rs 16,125.17 crore).

M and M net dips

Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M and M) has recorded a 44 per cent drop in net profit for the third quarter of the current fiscal year ending December 31, 2000. Net profit fell to Rs 43.80 crore from Rs 77.77 crore in the same period of the previous year.

The decline in profit was accompanied by a fall in topline, which saw net sales declining to Rs 904.87 crore over Rs 983.46 crore in the previous quarter. Gross sales were at Rs 1113.59 crore against Rs 1171.85 crore in the corresponding quarter.

Further, M&M announced certain board level changes, with Anand Mahindra being appointed vice-chairman in addition to his existing responsibilities as managing director. The company also announced that Anupam (Tino) Puri has joined the board as non-executive director.

SAIL posts cash profit

The Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has recorded a cash profit of Rs 166 crore during the nine months ending December 31, 2000, compared with a cash loss of Rs 1140 crore in the previous corresponding period.

The net loss, however, stood at Rs 698 crore against a loss of Rs 2049 crore during April-December 1999.

Operational improvement with a 10 per cent expenditure cut, as well as a 12 per cent higher sales realisation, particularly in the third quarter, has helped the loss-making steel major report a better performance.

According to a release, the company has registered a cash profit of Rs 111 crore in the third quarter. Moreover the net loss has come down to Rs 178 crore during the current quarter from Rs 289 crore in the previous corresponding quarter.

SAIL plants achieved a growth of 14 per cent in finished steel production during the three quarters of the current fiscal.

The company had to cough up Rs 2205 crore on account of interest and depreciation charges for the first nine months, against Rs 2568 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.

L and T net at Rs 33 cr

Larsen and Toubro Limited (L and T) has posted an improved net profit of Rs 33.29 crore during the third quarter ended December 31, 2000, as compared with Rs 19.34 crore in the previous corresponding quarter.

Operating profit also jumped by 29 per cent to Rs 235.89 crore during the current quarter, from Rs 182.18 crore in the previous comparable quarter.

For the nine-month period, sales and service income from operations appreciated by 6 per cent to Rs 5346 crore from Rs 5047.56 crore. However, due to higher interest and depreciation charges, net profit dropped sharply to Rs 64.66 crore from Rs 186.20 crore in the year-ago period.

   

 
 
FOREIGN EXCHANGE, BULLION, STOCK INDICES 
 
 
 
 

Foreign Exchange

US $1	Rs.46.43	HK $1	Rs.5.90*
UK £1	Rs.67.69	SW Fr 1	Rs. 27.65*
Euro	Rs.42.50	Sing $1	Rs. 26.30*
Yen 100	Rs.39.88	Aus $1	Rs. 24.90*
*SBI TC buying rates; others are forex market closing rates

Bullion

Calcutta			Bombay

Gold Std (10gm)	Rs.4475		Gold Std(10 gm)	Rs.4425
Gold 22 carat	Rs.4225		Gold 22 carat	Rs.4095
Silver bar (Kg)	Rs.7900		Silver (Kg)	Rs.7920
Silver portion	Rs.8000		Silver portion	Rs.7925

Stock Indices

Sensex		4372.04		+137.47
BSE-100		2231.67		+66.22
S&P CNX Nifty	1379.70		+37.65
Calcutta	130.36		+3.40
Skindia GDR	731.31		-16.12
   
 

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