Ratnagiri Gas to buy out Dabhol assets for Rs.8,500 crore
Mumbai / New Delhi: IDBI-led lenders will sell the Dabhol assets to Ratnagiri Gas and Power for around Rs8,500 crore. Instead of the bidding route, the Indian lenders have decided to go in for an outright sale of Dabhol assets to the special purpose vehicle (SPV), set up by NTPC and GAIL.

Sources said Tractabel of Belgium has completed the valuation of the assets, which is expected to be pegged at between Rs8,500-9,000 crore. Tractabel was recently appointed by Indian lenders to undertake a comprehensive asset valuation of the 2,184-mega watt power plant, LNG terminal and re-gasification facilities at Dabhol, said sources.

The decision by Indian lenders to go ahead with the sale of the Dabhol assets is expected to bring down the curtains on the efforts of private companies, Indian and foreign, which were keen to bid for the assets.

While Mumbai-based Tata Power tied up with British oil major BP to bid for Dabhol assets, Reliance Energy and British Gas were reportedly in the fray for bidding.

While NTPC and GAIL have contributed Rs500 crore each to the equity of the project SPV, financial institutions are expected to bring in another Rs500 crore, to make it a three-way joint venture, each holding around 33 per cent stake.

The lenders have also set up another financial SPV for the payment of offshore lenders . The five Indian lenders — IDBI, ICICI, SBI, IFCI and Canara Bank — will have 20 per cent each in the SPV, said sources.

The Indian lenders are currently working out consent terms, which will be submitted to the Bombay High Court. The sale process will be initiated after the court passes the decree, said sources.
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GAIL board clears equity participation in Ratnagiri Gas
New Delhi: The Board of Directors of GAIL (India) Ltd on Friday have approved an equity contribution of Rs500 crore in Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Ltd (RGPPL), a 50:50 joint venture between GAIL and NTPC for taking over the assets of the Dabhol Project.

The investment will be made after the approval by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, according to a GAIL release.

With this, both GAIL and NTPC have approved investments of Rs500 crore each as equity contribution in the RGPPL and soon the process of transfer of assets through the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) route would get started, the company said.

GAIL further stated that upon completion of the asset transfer, RGPPL would undertake construction and commissioning activities of the power plant as well as the LNG terminal with a target to achieve completion by the second half of 2006.

GAIL's role will be to source the LNG required to run the power plant of RGPPL as well as for the merchant sale of R-LNG.
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ONGC and OVL to sign JV agreement with LN Mittal
New Delhi: Mittal International Sarl, a Luxembourg-based subsidiary of flagship Mittal Steel, will sign two sets of MoUs with ONGC and its overseas investment arm ONGC Videsh in order to form two joint venture firms.

The venture with parent ONGC will be called ONGC-Mittal Services Ltd and invest in projects for trading and transporting oil and gas. The venture with ONGC Videsh will be christened ONGC Mittal Energy and will invest in overseas oilfields.

ONGC will retain 51 per cent stake in both the ventures. Investment pattern and contour of financial vehicles, however, will be separate for each project and take into account the needs of each venture. The joint ventures will be registered in a European country that offers the maximum tax benefit.

The idea of roping in a private partner was mooted after Aiyar's January visit to Kazakhstan and Russia where India had failed to make headway in its efforts to get a pie of their hydrocarbons treasure. It was felt that having a partner who had goodwill and clout in these establishments will make things easier.

While Mittal was identified for Kazakhstan, the Sun Group of the Khemkas was considered for Russia. Mittal commands tremendous goodwill in the Kazakh establishment, for resuscitating the Temirtau area, after taking it over and turning around the sick steel complex there in 1995.
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Tata International ties up with German firm ARA Shoes
Mumbai: The largest shoemaker in Europe, the $780-million Ara Shoes AG of Germany has tied up with Tata International in order to bring its high end shoe and accessory brand Lloyd into the country.

Tata International which is a trading company has inked a marketing and distribution deal and the first exclusive Lloyd showroom will open in Mumbai next week.

Tata International which is also a leading exporter of leather products recently signed an MoU with Ara group though its wholly owned susbsidary, Tata South East Asia to jointly manufacture shoes in China.
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Assocham: F&B sector up on rising urban demand
New Delhi: Food and Beverages sector is looking up after a sluggish growth, giving investors 50 per cent returns in the current fiscal. The upturn is on account of the rising urban demand as well as good market strategies of companies, revealed the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India's (Assocham) `Eco Pulse Study'.

According to the study, the market capitalisation of the sector rose 44 per cent in the current fiscal as compared to last year.

The top ten companies in the sector have seen a 35 per cent rise in their market capitalisation.

The top ten companies in terms of market capitalisation, as tracked by the study are ITC Ltd, Nestle India, Tata Tea, Britannia Industries, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Balrampur Chini Mills, Bajaj Hindustan, Marico, McDowell and Shaw Wallace & Co.

Huge spending on advertising campaigns, right mix of marketing strategies and innovative packaging and distribution channels has created awareness among the consumers, finds the study.

The rising incomes of middle income group is the main force behind the healthy financials and rising market cap as well as handsome returns.

The discontinuation of the price wars has also contributed to the healthy scene, the study says.
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Merck returns after a gap of two decades
New Delhi: Two decades after exiting its India operations, global pharmaceutical major Merck & Co has on Friday returned to the country saying the change in patent laws has made India an attractive market.

The pharma firm has set up a wholly-owned subsidiary Merck Sharp and Dohme Pharmaceuticals (MSD) to recommence operations in India. Based in the capital, MSD will market its medicines, vaccines and hospital products.

"By August, MSD intends to launch two of its life saving drugs — Aggrastat (which prevents cardiac ischemic events) and Zienam (an antibiotic aimed at treating infections in hospitalised patients) in India," said MSD medical director Naveen Rao.

It also plans to launch vaccines like Pnemovax and Varivax by the next year. Four of its products are undergoing registration studies. Rao said the products would be imported and marketed in India.

However, Leonard Taura, the Indian unit's MD, said the firm would also examine options of setting up manufacturing units and R&D facilities. "We are looking at JV with Indian pharma-companies in the future," he said.
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Reliance calls off buyback offer
Mumbai: Nearly eight months after its board, Reliance Industries (RIL), approved a share buyback plan, the company is now calling it off.

The company decided on a change in plans after the ownership dispute between the Ambani brothers was resolved. Moreover, there has been a huge run-up in RIL shares with the average price staying well above the proposed buyback offer of Rs570 since early this year. The company had, therefore, stopped fresh purchases under the buyback programme in recent months.

RIL today informed the bourses that its board would meet on July 27 to consider the proposal for closing the buyback offer.

At a board meeting on December 27, the petrochemicals giant had decided to go in for a buyback programme. RIL had explained that the decision was a reflection of the under-valuation of the company's share price and the confidence of its management in its future growth prospects.

It added that the move would jack up the RIL share price, and thereby maximise shareholders' overall value. The move would also increase the earnings per share by reducing the number of shares outstanding in the market.

The buyback programme was envisaged for a maximum amount of Rs2,999 crore. This was equal to 10 per cent of the total paid-up equity capital and free reserves on March 31, 2004.

At the December board meeting, Anil Ambani, who was then the vice chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, had opposed the move, arguing that shareholders should instead be given a bonus. However, with all RIL directors voting for the proposal, the buyback was approved.
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Leela Group chalks out Rs900 crore expansion plan
Chennai: The Leela Group, which has just re-launched its beach resort in Kovalam, plans a capital outlay of about Rs900 crore for expansion in Chennai, Udaipur and Hyderabad.

In addition to this, another 120 guest rooms will be added to the Bangalore property, Vivek Nair, vice chairman and managing director, The Leela Venture Ltd, said.

In a press release, the company said it had relaunched the beach resort as the Leela Kovalam Beach with 194 guest rooms and suites.

It may be recalled that this resort was part of the Indian Tourism Development Corporation's (ITDC) chain of hotels and was disinvested three years ago by ITDC.

The resort is 15 km from Thiruvananthapuram airport, and is spread across 1.50 km of beachfront. Renovations have been going on for the last two years costing about Rs50 crore. An additional investment of about Rs20 crore was on for the sea-view wing and would be completed by December, the release said.

The property has a signature ayurveda and wellness spa, seven therapeutic treatment rooms, a naturally ventilated foot massage pavilion and yoga rooms with immediate access to the beach.

Vivek Nair said beach tourism in Kerala had not achieved its full potential in spite of the pioneering effort made in 1969 with the opening of the Kovalam resort. This was mainly because of the marketing thrust given to the backwaters. In the process, beach tourism, which commands an average stay of 10-14 days compared to the two-day average stay of backwater tourism, had lost out, he said.

Also, there had been a lack of large-sized resorts of 200 rooms and above, to cover the requirements of large tour operators and charter agents.
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GM rolls out new Tavera variant
New Delhi: General Motors India has launched a new variant of its multi-utility vehicle Chevrolet Tavera. The new 7-seater variant Tavera B2 (LS), priced at Rs6.84 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), offers a simplified vehicle registration process for corporate customers and excise refund to fleet operators, if registered as a taxi.

"This particular variant is the result of feedback from dealer bodies and a strong demand for this seating layout voiced at customer meets all over the country," the GM India Vice-President, P. Balendran, said.
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Corporate Results: NALCO, WIPRO, Indian Hotels, Godrej Consumer, Essar Shipping, Tata Elxsi, Sonata, Apollo Tyres, JSW Steel, Balarampur Chini, Zensar, Rane Brake, TNPL, United Phosphorous, Polaris Software, Tata Coffee

NALCO's Q1 profit up 28%
The country's biggest smelter operator, National Aluminium Company (NALCO) on Friday announced that its first quarter profit rose by 28 per cent owing to general increase in demand for the metal in India and abroad.

The public sector behemoth's net income spiralled to Rs280.56 crore, or Rs4.35 a share, in the three months ended June 30, from Rs219.03 crore, or Rs3.40 a share, in the last fiscal of 2004-05, NALCO's chief spokesman D Satapathy said. The company's gross turnover increased by Rs180.35 crore to a whopping Rs1071.70 crore against Rs891.35 crore in the last fiscal. Profit before tax rose by Rs82.14 crore to Rs431.93 crore from Rs349.79 crore in the last fiscal, he said.

Sales rose 19 per cent during the period, Satpathy added

Wipro Q1 profit rises 31%
Wipro Ltd., India's third-largest exporter of software, on Friday reported a lower-than-expected 31 per cent rise in quarterly net profit, hit by higher costs and the rupee's appreciation. Wipro said consolidated net profit according to US accounting standards for the quarter ended June was Rs427 crore ($99 million), compared with Rs325 crore a year ago.

The company is also listed in New York and adheres to US accounting rules.

Total revenue was Rs229 crore versus Rs177 crore a year earlier.

Indian Hotels net profit spurts 164%
Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) has reported a net profit of Rs16.91 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005-06 as against Rs6.40 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal, registering a growth of 164%.

Revenues grew 23% from Rs168.86 crore to Rs207.84 crore in the same period. The company paid Rs1.25 crore as fringe benefit tax (FBT). IHCL managing director Raymond Bickson said the revenue growth was driven by improved average room rates (ARRs) and all-round growth in occupancies at all key hotels of the company, together with higher income from food and beverage.

Godrej Consumer profit up 57%
Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) has posted 57% in its net profit at Rs27.12 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2005, against Rs17.32 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2004. The company's board of directors have also recommended a 75% first interim dividend which is translating to a 71 per cent dividend pay out ratio.

Announcing the company's results, GCPL chairman and managing director Adi Godrej said, "This improvement has been possible due to our focus on innovation, value-for money products while at the same time sweating our assets and identifying cost competitive manufacturing options."

According to him, total income from the operations grew to Rs167.66 crore during the first quarter against Rs136.20 crore in the corresponding period of previous fiscal.

Essar Shipping net profit at Rs110 crore
Essar Shipping recorded a 263.4 per cent rise in net profit at Rs110.37 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 as against Rs30.37 crore for the corresponding period in the previous year. The total income rose by 16.48 per cent at Rs225.77 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005, as against Rs193.82 crore for the corresponding period of the previous year.

Tata Elxsi Q1 net profit up 50%
Tata Elxsi said its net profit for Q1 ending June this year leapt 50 per cent to Rs6.59 crore from Rs4.39 crore a year ago.

The company's total income for the first quarter increased by 33.4% to Rs51.11 crore from Rs38.31 crore a year ago. The services segment of the company, which has a share of 82 per cent of the total turnover, contributed mainly towards the growth during the quarter. In its annual general meeting held earlier in the day, the shareholders approved a dividend of Rs5.50 per share.

Sonata Q1 net profit up 14%
Sonata Software reported its consolidated net profit for the first quarter in the current fiscal expanded by 14 per cent to Rs4.93 crore from the year-ago period, while its revenue leapt 8 per cent to Rs85.5 crore from Rs78.8 crore in the same period.

The company reported a 9 per cent growth in its net profit sequentially, while its revenue grew by 5 per cent from the quarter-ago period. Sonata added five new clients during the quarter and managed to squeeze its receivables cycle to 80 days from 92 days.

Apollo Tyres declares final dividend of 45%
Apollo Tyres Ltd on Friday announced that they have registered a 7% increase in their net profit to Rs16.69 cr against Rs15.63 in the corresponding quarter last year. Company's net sales figure shoot up 11% from Rs 511.55 cr (first quarter last year) to Rs 568.09 cr in the last quarter for this year. Exports formed 7% of total revenue with a growth of 34 per cent whereas original equipment fitment segment accounted for 20 per cent of total revenue with 41 per cent growth. The company declared a final dividend of 45 per cent.

JSW Steel net at Rs200 crore
JSW Steel Limited (formerly known as Jindal Vijayanagar Steel Limited) posted a net profit of Rs200.36 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 showing an increase of 85 per cent over corresponding quarter of previous year. The significant growth in net profits is driven by volume growth and cost reductions, in spite of increase in certain input costs. The sales volumes are lower due to the Mumbai Port strike for around 6 days during end of June 2005 leading to stock accretions in the value added products.

Balrampur Chini announces 60 per cent growth in Q1 net
Balrampur Chini Mills Ltd on Friday announced that it would be setting up another integrated sugar complex with a cogeneration power plant and a distillery at Maknapur in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

The complex would have a plant with 7,000-tonn-crushed-per-day (TCD) crushing capacity, a 23mw-power unit and a 60-kilo-litres-per-day (KLPD) distillery. The capital cost of the project is Rs300 crore and it is scheduled to be commissioned by November 2006. This would be third sugar complex that the company is building in the last few years. About two years ago, it had set up the Haidergarh complex.

The company is likely to commission another facility, Akbarpur complex in eastern Uttar Pradesh (with a 7,000-TCD sugar unit and an 11-MW power plant), by November this year.

On the completion of these two sugar complexes, Balrampur Chini's total capacity would jump to 49,000 TCD, cogeneration power would be 75mw and 240klpd of distillery.

For the year ended March 31, 2005, Balrampur Chini recorded a 15 per cent growth in turnover to end at Rs930.26 crore. Net profit jumped to Rs125.06 crore.

It has announced a dividend of 160 per cent.

In the first quarter of the current financial year, Balrampur Chini's gross turnover increased to Rs220.89 crore against Rs218.66 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2004-05. Net profit jumped by 60 per cent. It went up to Rs40.03 crore from Rs25.12 crore.

Zensar revenues up 25%
Zensar Technologies, the Fujitsu-RPG joint venture, has reported a 25 per cent jump in revenues with consolidated revenues of Rs94.93 crore for the year ended June 30, 2005, compared with consolidated revenues of Rs76.10 crore for the previous year.

Sequential quarterly growth in revenue from the previous quarter has been 3 per cent. In spite of the negative impact of currency fluctuation, operating profit has grown to Rs..89 crore against Rs2.02 crore in the previous quarter.

The company has reported a consolidated net profit of Rs3.93 crore for the quarter.

Rane Brake net up
Rane Brake Linings registered a net profit of Rs2.59 crore in the first quarter of 2004-05, higher by 38.88 per cent over the year-ago period's net profit of Rs1.83 crore.

Net sales Rs37.3 crore, an increase of 24.74 per cent over Rs29.9 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.

TNPL net up 782%
Tamil Nadu Newsprint & Papers (TNPL) reported a 781.87 per cent jump in the net profit of Rs13.14 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 compared with Rs1.49 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004.

Total income has increased 38.04 per cent to Rs184.10 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 from Rs 33.36 crore in the year-ago period.

United Phosphorus
United Phosphorus reported a 33.81 per cent rise in net profit at Rs12.15 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 compared with Rs9.08 crore a year ago.

Total income increased by 18.77 per cent to Rs241.25 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 from Rs203.12 crore in the year-ago period.

The group has posted a profit after tax of Rs36.54 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 compared with Rs21.52 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004.

Total income of the group increased to Rs407.49 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 from Rs335.81 crore in same period previous year.

The board has also recommended sub-division of one equity share of the face value of Rs10 into five equity shares of the face value of Rs2, subject to shareholders approval.

Polaris Software posts 46 per cent drop in net
Polaris Software Labs has reported a 46.2-per cent drop in net profit to Rs12.96 crore on sales of Rs209.38 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 compared to a net profit of Rs24.09 crore on sales of Rs179.59 crore for the corresponding quarter last year.

During the June 2005 quarter, selling and marketing expenses for Polaris increased to Rs20.51 crore (Rs 14.37 crore), depreciation and amortisation was Rs12.25 crore (Rs8.71 crore), says a company press release.

Polaris' three businesses — software services, Intellect suite and Optimus — had shown growth, and this was the first sign of validation of the company's strategy to service global institutions and banks.

Tata Coffee Q1 net up 126% at Rs.2.73cr
Tata Coffee has reported a 126 per cent rise in its net profit while its revenue has dropped 32 per cent for the quarter ending June in the current fiscal over the corresponding quarter last year

Tata Coffee reported a net profit of Rs2.73 crore (Rs1.21 crore) on revenues of Rs27.03 (Rs39.76 crore) crore. The company attributed the drop in turnover to the lower volumes of coffee sales during the quarter. The company expects that coffee sales will be recouped in the coming months.

Tata Coffee recently said that it was acquiring five tea estates and one coffee estate spread across 4,300 hectares from Tata Tea for a consideration of Rs55 crore. These estates located in Kerala and Tamil Nadu produce some six million kg of tea and about 500 tonnes of coffee annually.
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