14 April 2002
SBI, associates hike STCI stake to 16.81%
New Delhi: The SBI and its associates have increased their share in Securities Trading Corporation of India by 3.35 per cent to 16.81 per cent after Reserve Bank exited from the company.
SBI and associates increased their stake to 16.81 per cent from 13.46 per cent.
SBI invested an additional Rs 17 crore in the equity of the country's largest primary dealer in government securities.
BoB to shift corp office to new premises
Mumbai: Bank of Baroda (BoB) is set to shift its corporate office to Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai in a month.
A plush nine-storey building will house all the top executives of the bank as well as its subsidiaries. The cost of acquiring the land as also construction of the arc-shaped building is around Rs 100 crore.
The old corporate office at the Ballard Pier will house the Mumbai zonal office, which is currently within the precincts of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
BoB has also acquired a residential plot close to the corporate office for housing 80 executives in the senior management and top executive grades.
ADB to fund 3 UP development projects
Agra: The Asian Development Bank has agreed to fund development projects in Agra, Mathura and Firozabad districts to the tune of Rs 3,800 crore.
ADB has cleared projects for light rail transport system, strengthening of the pollution control board, afforestation in Taj Trapezium zone, improvement of the glass industry at Firozabad, relocation of 76 industrial units of Agra, changing of furnaces of foundry units, sewer treatment plants at Mathura and Firozabad, improvement of the Mansi gang at Mathura, construction of Fatehpursikri road near Arjunnagar and construction of a railway overbridge on the projected southern bypass.
Other projects cleared include construction of a northern bypass, health security and child security programmes, development of the Taj National Park, control of pollution in Mathura refinery, construction of the Taj barrage and conservation of the Mehtabbagh and gadens at the Taj Agra fort, Sikandra and Fatehpursikri.
13 April 2002
Amex to buy out Tatas in forex JV
New Delhi: American Express has signed an agreement with Tata Finance to acquire its entire 65 per cent stake in their forex joint venture, Tata Finance Amex.
Amex will now control 100 per cent equity of the venture.
Tata Finance Amex, was set up as a joint venture in 1999 for offering money changing and foreign exchange services. It has one of the largest distribution networks in the country with 40 offices in 22 cities. The company's total equity is to the tune of Rs 25 crore.
SBI installs 1,017 ATMs
Mumbai: State Bank of India (SBI) has put in place 1,017 ATMs, the largest number of installed ATMs by any single bank in the country, the bank said in a press release.
The bank had installed 764 ATMs in one year while in the last five weeks 541 ATMs were installed across the country.
With these ATMs in place, the bank aimed to provide ATM facilities where it was convenient for the customer to operate, the release added.
RBI okays smart cards
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India has allowed issuance of smart cards both on-line and off-line by banks to select customers even if their accounts are for less than six months.
The customers should have good financial standing and banks should ensure the implementation of "know your customer" concept, RBI said in a circular to all scheduled commercial banks.
The apex bank said banks introducing off-line mode of operation of debit cards should adhere to the minimum period of satisfactory maintenance of accounts for six months.
12 April 2002
Canbank Factors crosses Rs 1000-cr turnover mark
Mumbai: Canbank Factors has reported an all-time high turnover of Rs 1,026 crore.
The company, a subsidiary of Canara Bank, has registered a 16% growth over the previous year.
The total income increased to Rs 25.98 crore from Rs 24.30 crore. Profit after tax stood at Rs 7.25 crore as against Rs 5.77 crore recorded the previous year - a growth of 25.65%. The net non-performing assets was nil, according to an official statement.
11 April 2002
HDFC opens branch in Mangalore
Mangalore: HDFC has opened a branch in Mangalore. This branch will service areas ranging from Udupi, Manipal and Puttur to Chikmagalur, apart from Mangalore.
Addressing a press conference here, HDFC executive director R V S Rao said its Bangalore branch, which caters to Karnataka and Goa regions, has approved housing loans worth Rs 340 crore during the current year.
It has also sanctioned Rs 210 crore to the Karnataka government (the largest loan to any state government in the country) for providing financial assistance to its employees to meet their housing needs.
According to Rao, HDFC's cumulative loan approvals, which crossed Rs 37,000 crore as on 31 December 2001 (with disbursements at Rs 30,000 crore), have benefited over 1.9 million households across the country.
For the nine months ended 31 December 2001, loan approvals were Rs 6,137.09 crore (Rs 4,716.04 crore), registering a growth of 30 per cent. Disbursements registered a growth of 29 per cent from Rs 3,833.64 crore to Rs 4,951.75 crore.
HDFC also claims to be the largest mobiliser of retail deposits outside the banking circle in the private sector. As of 31 December 2001, its deposit base was Rs 8,500 crore from 1.2 million depositors.
IndusInd Bank promoters' stake reduced
Mumbai: The promoters' stake in IndusInd Bank Ltd has come down to 49.86 per cent with one of its promoters, IndusInd Enterprise and Finance Ltd (IEFL), selling 6.39 per cent of its stake in the open market.
IEFL's stake is now down to 25 per cent, while IndusInd International Holding Ltd, the other promoter, continues to hold a stake of 25 per cent.
IndusInd Bank managing director Bhaskar Ghose said the bank has informally told the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that it will bring down the promoters' stake to 49 per cent by the end of March 2002. ''We also had an informal understanding with the RBI to bring the promoters' stake down to 40 per cent by the end of September 2002.''
Ghose said IndusInd Bank is not looking to acquire any bank, but is looking at ''expanding lines of business through acquisition of loan portfolios of other banks.'' IndusInd Bank has picked up loan portfolios to the tune of around Rs 1,300 crore from various banks in the last fiscal.
Robbery attempt at SBI Chennai branch
Chennai: An official of the Basant Nagar branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) was fatally stabbed and another official injured when a gang tried to loot cash from the branch.
A gang of at least six members came to the SBI branch around 8.15 am under the pretext of getting a demand draft made. They reportedly tried to force an officer to open the cash chest.
On seeing this, A Vishwanathan, an assistant manager and cashier in charge at the branch, came to his colleague's rescue, and he was stabbed. Vishwanathan later succumbed to the stab injuries.
ICICI Bank's merger swap ratio approved
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has approved the swap ratio for ICICI Ltd's merger with ICICI Bank.
''The court approves the merger ratio,'' Justice D K Deshmukh of the Bombay HC said, while setting aside objections raised by some minority shareholders of ICICI.
The minority shareholders had argued that the ratio of two ICICI shares for each ICICI Bank share was skewed in favour of the bank's shareholders.
ICICI will now have to wait for the Reserve Bank of India's approval before the merger takes effect.
UTI Bank to branch out abroad
Mumbai: UTI Bank is looking at setting up a representative office in Dubai by the second half of this year.
UTI Bank P J Nayak chairman and managing director said, "We are looking at setting up a representative office in Dubai by the second half of this financial year once we get the clearance from the regulators in both countries."
UTI Bank will shortly be approaching the RBI for regulatory approval.
ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are also looking at setting up their representative offices in Dubai, while Bank of Punjab has already opened a representative office in Toronto, Canada.
LIC to promote profit sharing schemes
Mumbai: Life Insurance Corporation of India will come up with more profit-sharing schemes rather than alluring customers with assured return products. This means policyholders will be entitled to higher returns only if LIC's profits go up in the coming years.
LIC will bring in more bonus-oriented (or with-profit) policies rather than assured return schemes, according to A Ramamurthy, acting chairman and managing director of LIC.
FIs for restructuring of Lloyds group
Mumbai: Financial institutions led by ICICI have proposed consolidating various businesses of the Lloyds group into two companies.
The group's core businesses of manufacturing steel and sponge iron would be undertaken by one company, while the second would acquire the group's non-core businesses such as real estate and engineering procurement and construction.
Banks and FI together have an outstanding loan of Rs 2,800 crore which is at stake with Lloyds group showing financial losses over the few years. The proposal has also sought for additional working capital of Rs 100 crore and term loan of Rs 30 crore.
ANZ, ING form A$3.75-b funds venture
Sydney: ANZ Banking group has formed a funds and life insurance venture with Dutch-based ING valued at A$3.75 billion.
The ANZ-ING deal comes at a time of increasing consolidation in the Australasian funds management and life insurance industry, and would prevent ANZ from being marginalised in the face of expansion by global players.
The venture, to be named ING Australia Ltd, will be 51 per cent owned by ING, which has contributed businesses worth A$2.87 billion, but ING and ANZ will have an equal say in all major decisions and equal board representation.
RBI to start open market ops
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to conduct yet another open market operation (OMO) to mop up excess liquidity from the system and realign the dropping yield of government papers. This is the second OMO in three days.
The security to be auctioned is 10.95 per cent 2011 paper for an amount of Rs 3,000 crore. The apex bank conducted an OMO auction of two other government papers -- Rs 2,000 crore of 10.25 per cent 2021 government paper and Rs 3,000 crore of 11.19 per cent 2005 bond on 8 April.
10 April 2002
IIT-Madras to train LIC officials
Chennai: The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), Chennai, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, under which LIC officials will be trained by the institute.
The training will be in the areas of information technology systems and management and IT-enabled services management, according to an LIC press release issued here.
IIT will also help LIC in developing its zonal training centre in Chennai into an apex IT-training centre, the release says.
LKP Forex to expand via franchisees
Mumbai: LKP Forex Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LKP Merchant Financing Ltd, plans to open franchisees across India in a bid to expand its business of money changing.
Says LKP Forex president Parag Mehta: ''Earlier the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (Fera) had restricted our growth, but the recent Reserve Bank of India guidelines on authorised dealers and full-fledged money changers have given a boost to full-fledged forex players to expand their network and reach to inbound travellers and outbound Indians that comprise the foreign exchange market.''
The RBI had increased the limit of forex that can be carried by a traveller to $5,000, with a higher cash component of up to $2,000.
''The company is planning to open franchisee outlets with major hotels, departmental stores, emporiums and will also encourage people who want to open outlets exclusively as money changers. LKP Forex will provide training to franchisees in retail foreign
exchange transactions and our network of branches will provide the franchisees the support and assistance needed to conduct and develop their business,'' says Mehta.
Recently, LKP Forex got permission to open 24-hour money changing counters at the international airport, Mumbai.
GE Capital to set up 3 contact centres
New Delhi: GE Capital India is in the process of setting up three new contact centres, each in Pune, Mohali (near Chandigarh) and Jaipur. These centres with a capacity of 1,000 seats each are expected to be up and running by December-end, 2003.
The company already has contact centres in Gurgaon (3,500 seats), Hyderabad (2,500 seats) and Bangalore (2,000 seats).
At present, the company has about 11,000 contact centre agents and by next year, GE Capital is likely to induct at least 2,000 agents.
FIs withdraw 2 directors from DPC board
Mumbai: Indian lenders have withdrawn two nominee directors - RS Agarwal (IDBI) and S Mukherjee (ICICI) - from the DPC board.
This follows Enron Corp's decision last week to pull out all its six directors from the board. With this, DPC board is reduced to three - one each from Bechtel, GE and Maharashtra State Electricity Board.
09 April 2002
Mumbai: An ideal global financial centre
Mumbai: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has proposed an idea to develop Mumbai as an international financial centre.
At a seminar to discuss the ''way forward'' in connection with the regulatory, legal and infrastructure policies in this regard, CII has suggested that Mumbai is an ideal place for an international financial centre due to the presence of a large number of financial market players, like banks, insurance companies, stock exchanges and capital market intermediaries.
Availability of high-quality support lawyers and accountants, and the high-level connectivity to international destinations also work in Mumbai's favour, say CII officials. But the confederation has said that to make Mumbai a successful model for an international financial centre changes have to be made in many regulatory policies and procedures.
Speaking at the seminar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said: ''With the creation of an international or offshore financial centre, Mumbai can attract large funds that can be serviced by the human resources and infrastructure already available here.''
A CII taskforce - a core group comprising representatives from the state government, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other organisations - has been set up to work out the details. ''Whatever model proposed will require a suitable dispensation from the central government and the RBI,'' Deshmukh said.
''The proposals will have to address issues like money laundering, taxation and banking regulations. Hence, the centre and the RBI might prefer a gradual approach,'' he said. ''However, a gradual approach might leave India lagging behind in the world economic scene. In developing an international or offshore financial centre here, we have international experiences to draw on.''
Deshmukh said the investment climate in Maharashtra has improved. ''The foreign direct investment (FDI) that Maharashtra attracted in the last two-and-a-half years is almost equal to the FDI approved in the previous eight years.''
''There is a new stress on the creation of world-class infrastructure in partnership with the private sector. We want to have an Act to provide a transparent framework for public-private partnerships in infrastructure so that it will add confidence among investors,'' he said
PNB registers 17.5% growth in turnover
New Delhi: Punjab National Bank's (PNB) total business at the end of March 2002 has crossed the Rs 1,00,000-crore mark. Its total business stood at Rs 86,000 crore the previous year, registering a growth of 17.5 per cent.
Aggregate deposits at the end of March 2002 were Rs 63,741 crore compared to Rs 55,412 crore in March 2001 - a growth of 15 per cent. PNB's credit amounted to over Rs 37,000 crore compared to Rs 30,521 crore at the end of March 2001.
ICICI Bank's 1,000th ATM, in Mumbai
Mumbai: ICICI Bank's 1,000th ATM was inaugurated in Mumbai last week. A press release issued here said the bank has invested in the Base24 software, developed by the Chennai-based Financial Software and Systems (FSS). The bank used it to establish connectivity across all its ATMs.
ICICI Bank plans to increase the number of its ATMs to 3,000 in the next 18 months, the release added. At present, the bank clocks an average of 2,50,000 transactions per day across its entire ATM network - this translates into 250 transactions per ATM.
The bank has also implemented the Prognosis System Management and Monitoring tool, which enables it to track all ATM-related failures. Prognosis is a product of Integrated Research of Australia, marketed in India by FSS.
HDFC Stan Life gets Rs 12-cr premium
Chennai: HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company has achieved its annual target of Rs 12 crore of the premium income earned, its general manager (distribution) Paresh Parasnis said.
''We are very happy the way things have worked out in the first year,'' he said. ''The company's main task last year was to build a foundation for future business growth.''
Parasnis was in Chennai in connection with signing an agreement with the Chennai-based Repco Bank for distributing HDFC Stan Life's insurance products.
Repco Bank managing director M Balasubramanian said his bank's tie-up with Royal Sundaram Alliance for distributing non-life products will enable the bank to offer a whole range of insurance products to its customers.
He said all the bank employees, who will be given the responsibility of selling life insurance products, will be given a mandatory training that will enable them to pass the agents' examination.
RBI asks UWB MD Gadre to step down
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked United Western Bank (UWB) managing director S T Gadre to put in his papers.
''The official was asked to go because he failed to sort out the crises facing UWB,'' say RBI sources.
ABN Amro eyes 26% in IDBI Bank
New Delhi: ABN Amro Bank is in an advanced stage of negotiations with IDBI for acquiring 26 per cent stake in IDBI Bank.
ABN Amro is in an acquisition mode following the liberalisation of the banking sector.
Initially, ABN will start as a strategic partner picking up 26 per cent stake in IDBI Bank.
08 April 2002
ICICI Bank plans commodities foray
Mumbai: ICICI Bank is soon expected to introduce over the counter or exotic treasury products involving both bullion and US dollar, in its forthcoming foray into commodities. The bank has sought RBI clearance to offer rupee - dollar swap options and interest rate options.
Currently, the bank is awaiting RBI's green signal for its merger with parent ICICI Ltd. It plans to offer plain vanilla gold-related products to its existing and prospective clients, mainly from the jewellery exporting community by this month-end.
Bullion hedging is part of the bank's planned foray into commodities trading and hedging, including bullion and other precious metals, energy and petroleum and softs including vegoils, oilseeds, coffee, tea and sugar.
IRDA allows 100 pc hike in motor insurance rate
New Delhi: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has allowed companies to hike motor third party insurance tariffs by a maximum of 100 per cent on renewal over the previous year.
IRDA said that the general insurance companies and the general insurance public sector association (GIPSA) had been appraised of the cap in loading.
RBI puts up two securities for sale
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India has decided to offer two securities for sale by way of a price-based auction on 8 April.
The 11.19 per cent 2005 will be auctioned for an aggregate amount of Rs 3,000 crore and the 10.25 per cent 2021 for an amount of Rs 2,000 crore, said a press release.
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