Fresh export thrust to fetch better tea price
NHAI to mop up Rs 500 cr via bonds
Thyssen to pay Rs 412 cr for Raymond steel unit
SRF set for infotech splash

Calcutta, Sept 9: 
With the price realisation of Indian tea exports going down sharply this year, the commerce ministry has asked the Tea Board to work out a mid-term plan for exports within two months.

The plan will focus on promoting exports in the next two years.

Addressing the 37th annual general meeting of the Tea Association of India, Tea Board chairman N.K. Das said, though exports till July were up by 5.86 million kg over the previous year, net realisation was down by almost Rs 124 crore. The unit price realisation last year was Rs 104 per kg as against Rs 85 per kg this year.

Exports till July stood at 95.87 million kg as against 90.01 million kg in the previous year.

Das said the commerce ministry has asked the Tea Board to reduce its participation in fairs and exhibitions which yield no results.

�We are now targeting Russia, America, Wana (West Asia and North Africa) countries and Canada,� Das said.

Traditionally, the Tea Board participates in 10-12 fairs and exhibitions per year.

Das said major producers should also try to increase their export contribution from 25 per cent to 50 per cent. The industry has been grumbling against cheap tea imports for quite some time.

He said the board has asked the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to monitor cheap imports. Till date about 65,000 kgs of tea have come to India from Sri Lanka under the compromise trade agreement.

Regarding futures trading in tea, the Tea Board chairman said the Indian Institute of Plantation Management has already submitted its proposals on futures. �It is now being discussed among different sections of the tea industry,� he said.

The Tea Board has also decided to extend incentives for acquiring certification in tea and will provide a maximum of Rs 50,000.

Darjeeling tea

The unions and the Darjeeling Planters� Association (DPA) are making joint efforts to stop theft of tea leaves and trade in green leaves or tea from other origins to protect the Darjeeling certification trade mark (CTM).

Darjeeling tea is passing through a bad patch with production in August down by 22 per cent compared with 1.28 million kg in August last year. Prices have also fallen by about Rs 7 per kg.

However, foreign buyers are displeased with the introduction of CTM, which certifies the origin of Darjeeling tea. �They have been asked to accept tea which has CTM endorsement. However, they have asked us to put our own house in order first,� the DPA officials said.    

New Delhi, Sept 9: 
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) plans to tap the debt market in a big way to part finance the ambitious Rs 58,000 crore National Highway Development Project (NHDP) comprising over 13,252 kms of four-laned national highways.

It is planning to raise Rs 13,800 crore through market borrowing programmes spread over the next four years and will raise the first tranche of Rs 500 crore through private placement of tax-free bonds.

Surface transport minister Rajnath Singh said today, �The NHDP 2000 bonds issue which opens on September 11 will have a tenure of seven years and will be exempt from long-term capital gains tax under Section 54 EC of the Income Tax Act.�

Announcing the details of the issue, Singh said the NHDP bonds will have a lock-in period of three years and will carry a coupon rate of 10.5 per cent.

The remaining part of the project would be funded through multilateral loans, the funds collected from the Re 1 cess levied on petrol and diesel and through private investments, Singh said.

Credit rating agency Crisil has assigned the highest safety rating of �AAA� to the issue. The bonds will have a put or call option after three years, which will be exercisable both by the investor and NHAI.

The first phase of the issue will close on September 19, 2000, while the second phase of the NHDP issue will open on September 20, 2000 and will close on October 24.    

Mumbai, Sept 9: 
Raymond Ltd today divested its steel undertaking to EBG, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Stahl, for a total consideration of Rs 412.26 crore. The deal will involve a cash payment of Rs 386.86 crore. The remaining Rs 25.40 crore will be issued in terms of 2.54 crore EBG India shares of Rs 10 each to Raymond.

As per the terms of the agreement signed today, the steel undertaking will be transferred to a new company, EBG India Pvt, with EBG holding a 76 per cent controlling interest and Raymond the remaining 24 per cent. While the cash payment was received by Raymond today, chairman and managing director Gautam Singhania hinted at the possibility of the company completely exiting the joint venture at a later stage. However, he said that though Raymond had the option of selling off its 24 per cent stake at this juncture, for the time-being it had decided to retain its stake for a period of 5 years.

As per the agreement signed today, EBG will buy the steel division comprising the plant at Nashik which commenced operations in 1995. With 750 employees, the plant has a capacity of 2 lakh tonnes of cold-rolled electrical steel and mild steel and annual sales of Rs 423 crore. The steel undertaking was transferred on a �slump sale basis,� where value of the undertaking is put as a whole.

Speaking to newspersons here today, Wolfgang Kohler, chairman of the executive board of Thyssen said that the German major is planning to invest $ 25 million into the unit, to expand its capacity to around 3 lakh tonnes and increase the percentage of higher value electrical sheets in the unit�s business mix.

Raymond Ltd, which is in a restructuring mode, has formed an internal thinktank for working out a long-term strategy for the group, Singhania said.

The company recently divested Raymond Synthetics to a Reliance group company and it is now the leader in the worsted textile segment, with a 40 per cent share of the domestic market.

The divestment of the steel undertaking is part of the company�s restructuring exercise. Raymond had earlier this year signed a memorandum of understanding with Lafarge India Ltd to sell its cement plant for a consideration of Rs 785 crore. With its exit from non-core businesses, Raymond will focus on its core strengths of textiles, ready-made garments and files & tools business.    

New Delhi, Sept 9: 
The Arun Bharat Ram promoted SRF Ltd is planning to jump onto the infotech bandwagon, including a foray into the ISP business.

It feels that the infotech sector requires low investment but can achieve attractive growth rates and has great profit potential.

SRF proposes to provide various information technology services�internet, e-commerce, shared services call centres, back office services, HTML coding, text publishing and software.

The company had got the approval of its board to rename the management service department, which looks after the computer facilities of the company, as SRF Infotel. The change had been made to facilitate entry into the knowledge-based industry.

�The directors felt that the new business could be advantageously combined with the existing businesses of the company,� said a company official.

SRF will be seeking the approval of its shareholders at the annual general meeting later this month to design, develop, distribute and deal with all types of information technology related software services. It will also provide computer consultancy services and management consultancy services. The company also plans to get into areas related to education whether in India or abroad to promote education in technical field either directly or indirectly through institutions or agencies. It proposes to set up educational institutions to promote education in information technology.

SRF will develop educational programmes, computer aided designs, literature and other audio-video products for industrial, commercial and advertisement purposes. At present, it is engaged in the manufacture and sale of nylon industrial yarn, tyre cord, fabrics and refrigerant gases.    


Maintained by Web Development Company