Sensex hits 10-month low at 4251
American float of Wipro cleared
JNPT can now handle naphtha
Zee rethink on ADR issue
Samsung, LG jump on to web-wagon

Mumbai, May 11 
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) sensitive index today plumbed a 10-month low when it plunged 207.04 points to close at 4251.36 after overnight losses on the Nasdaq sent investors on a selling spree in infotech bellwethers and index heavyweights.

Mirroring the strong bearish sentiment, the 30-share index opened 134 points weaker at 4324.19 and closed 4.64 per cent lower than Wednesday�s finish of 4458.40. The BSE-100 index also dropped 112.61 points to 2148.33.

Share prices of pivotals fell sharply as the contagion effect of the US selloffs hit Indian stock markets.

�There is nothing to look forward to,� said an institutional broker, barely trying to conceal his dismay at the slump on premier stock bourses here.

Three straight days of heavy selloffs on the Nasdaq turned investors against ICE stocks. The way these shares were hammered for the second successive day prompted warnings from dealers that the sensex could fall below the 4000 mark. A weak trend in most south Asian markets only worsened matters.

Heavyweights like Zee, Satyam were roiled, taking the sensex down with them. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) reportedly sold heavily in Infosys, Satyam Computer, SSI Ltd, Wipro, NIIT, Global Telesystems, HFCL and few other shares in the ICE sector.

Fears of a bear rampage caused nervous operators to join institutions in offloading their long positions on what was the penultimate day of the current account on the BSE.

Of the 140 specified shares, 117 counters showed sharp to moderate losses while only 17 survived the bear onslaught and closed in positive territory.

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Board of India said it has launched an enquiry to determine whether faulty FII investment figures submitted to it by a leading custodian were deliberate or a human error.

�We are in the process of finding out whether it was a typograpghical error or was done deliberately to influence the markets,� Sebi chairman D R Mehta told The Telegraph. O P Gehrotra, Sebi�s senior executive director in charge of secondary markets, has written to the errant custodian asking for explanations.

�The reports submitted by a custodian on May 10 contained certain amendments to deals reported on May 9. After the amendments were made, the net investment figure on the Sebi website for May 9 was revised to Rs (-) Rs 188.9 crore compared with the earlier figure of Rs (-) Rs 444.3 crore,� a Sebi release said.

The market regulator said a final stand on the issue will be taken after receiving the custodian�s reply. However, Mehta and senior Sebi officials refused to name the errant custodian.

Rupee recovers

The rupee today staged a modest recovery against the US currency with banks liquidating their long dollar positions.

The rupee closed at 43.87/90 per dollar in moderate trading at the interbank foreign exchange market, higher from Wednesday�s record low of 44.05/08, after opening around 44.03/06 and trading in a range of 43.8600-44.0800.    

New Delhi, May 11 
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has cleared 108 foreign direct investment proposals with a combined value of Rs 5287.11 crore this week.

This includes software major Wipro and pharma company Nicholas Piramal�s proposals to raise Rs 2,795 crore and Rs 430 crore respectively through American Depository Receipts (ADRs).

Japanese multinational Yamaha Motor Company will increase its stake from 50 per cent to 74 per cent in Escorts Yamaha Motorcycles Ltd and plans to bring in FDI worth Rs 316.64 crore for the purpose.

The Mauritius-based All Asia Television Broadcast Ltd an internet service provider also engaged in the telecom and software businesses, was given the go ahead to infuse Rs 21.75 crore amounting to a 49 per cent stake in its Indian operations.

The Hong Kong-based Channel V Music Networks Ltd would bring in an additional Rs 4.3 crore in its Indian venture.

Bechtel will bring in Rs 190 crore in its turnkey Tirupur water supply project.

Also the validity of Hinduja National Power Corporation Ltd�s financial closure for their 1000 mw power project in Vishakapatnam has been extended.

Canon India, manufacturers and distributors of copiers, have been granted approval to expand their activities in India with a further infusion of funds worth Rs 43.50 crore.

Modi Xerox Ltd has received FIPB�s nod for extending their technical collaboration agreement, while Inc of the US has been permitted to amend its activity clause.

Another software firm, Nicco Infotech Ltd, has been given the green signal to increase its foreign equity from 51 per cent to 100 per cent with an investment of Rs 1.48 crore.

Software communications firm UTV Software Communications Ltd has been allowed to increase its equity from 61 per cent to 63.57 per cent by way of an equity swap, which will however, not entail any inflow of foreign investment.    

New Delhi, May 11 
The department of shipping has cleared the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust�s (JNPT) proposal to handle naphtha and other class A liquid fuels.

The decision to upgrade the JNPT port to handle liquid fuels with a flash point below 22.8 degrees centigrade, was based on recommendations made by the Empowered Committee on Environmental Clearances (ECEC) for port projects. The chief controller of explosives has also given his approval.    

Mumbai, May 11 
Zee Telefilms (ZTL) is taking a second look at its American Depository Receipts (ADR) plans because it is yet to figure out the exact financing pattern for planned investments of over Rs 2,360 crore.

ZTL chairman Subhash Chandra told a meeting of analysts that while the company has promised investors it will not dilute more than 10 per cent of its equity, it will think again on whether to go ahead with the ADR issue or examine other debt options.�

Outlining the company�s investment plans over the next five years, Chandra said it had outlined an investment of around Rs 2,200 crore in distribution alone. In addition , another Rs 855 crore is expected to be invested in ZTL�s content business.

Chandra said investment in the convergence sectors would be made through SitiCable which has been valued between $ 2.5 and $ 3 billion by an investment banker. The company is considering whether to sell a part of its equity. Another ZTL official indicated that SitiCable could issue shares to the public.

Chandra said his vision for Zee was to project it as an infotech or media company not only by expanding its range of contents, but by diversifying through �a multiple distribution platform�. In this regard, he added that with its focus on content and distribution, the company was estimating revenues to cross Rs 10,000 crore by the year 2005.

Zee was planning to appoint five CEOs who will oversee different segments. Of these, three have already been appointed, the last being Deve Naganand of ITC, who will head Zee�s portal and internet businesses. Meanwhile, the FIPB today cleared the company�s proposal to bring foreign investments worth Rs 64.50 crore.    

New Delhi, May 11 
Samsung and LG Electronics, the two Korean chaebols with a large presence in India, have decided to jump on the infotech bandwagon.

Samsung will set up a 100 per cent subsidiary to manufacture and market telecom and infotech products. LG, on the other hand, is planning to hive off its dotcom venture into a separate arm.

Samsung Electronics has invested $ 10 million in Samsung Electronics India Limited, its fully owned Indian subsidiary which will manufacture infotech and telecom equipment. The parent will bring in $ 6 million to the new venture while Samsung�s operations in India will contribute the rest.

LG Electronics, another big name in the white goods market, is also working on big plans for business in cyberspace. Moves are afoot to spin off, its online mall, into a separate company.    


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