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December 31, 1999

Indi(c)a Overtaken!
1999 ends, but the 'swadeshi' car's race with foreign machines continues.

Markets set to flare up in New Year, say analysts
India's stock markets closed higher in the year-end session. There was no panic selling in anticipation of the Y2K menace.

Nepal tourism industry's honeymoon with India grinds to a halt
Indian Airlines has cancelled its flights. Most of the Royal Nepal Airlines's Delhi-Kathmandu flights are flying half-empty.

Budget 2000 will continue tax reforms, hints Sinha
The finance minister said it is time India goes in for a "simplified and straightforward tax system".

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex gains 65 points, rises to 5005; Nifty up 3 points to 1480; rupee gains a tad to Rs 43.50 to US $

December 30, 1999

Britain's Rover eyes multi-utility vehicles segment in India
Investments into India would flow in only if restrictions are relaxed, said Felix Herrnberger, president, BMW Asia. BMW owns the Rover brand.

Andhra, IL&FS in tie-up for project development
Andhra Pradesh is inviting infrastructure development organisations and financial institutions to collaborate with it "to make projects happen in a public-private partnership mode".

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex gains 78 points to 4940, Nifty up 27 points to 1477, rupee slips a tad to Rs 43.51 to US $

December 29, 1999

Govt mulls changes in Cess Act to raise funds for dream highway
Plans are afoot for a comprehensive integrated project comprising the proposed Golden Quadrilateral and other new corridors.

27 corporates to enliven Delhi auto show in Jan 2000
Issues relating to manufacturing technologies, counterfeit auto parts and auto component supply chain will be discussed.

EC trade official to underline India's role in global trade
"We have to help India in its development. For, if India fails, everyone across the globe will be in trouble. It is too important a country to be ignored,'' an official of the European Commission said.

Reliance continues to bid for IPCL
The group denied reports in a section of the press that it has decided to withdraw from the IPCL bidding process.

December 28, 1999

Regulator to have last word on Cogentrix PPA
The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission had been vested with powers to hear disputes or complaints from anybody including individuals on any project, its chairman P Matthai said.

Birla MF relaunches two equity funds
BMF now has seven equity funds with an investor base of 250,000 and total assets under management of over Rs 37.50 billion.

'Downsizing, NPA recovery can turn around Uco Bank'
Besides implementing prudential norms, the amendment of existing laws is key to revival of weak banks in India, the bank's outgoing chairman Sharda Singh said.

Kim, Daewoo India chief, promoted to head global operations
Till the time creditors appoint a new chairman, new president and CEO Kim will function as the representative of Daewoo Motor.

Age-old khadi seeks to withstand MNC products
The khadi-makers are ready for competition and expect govenment help because "the rural-based industry generates employment which the MNCs do not".

December 26-27, 1999

Angry Suzuki rejects India's request for tech transfer
''Why does Maruti need gear-box technology?'' O Suzuki asked. Maruti currently does not have indigenised gear-box technology in any of its models.

Maruti to make available Wagon-R from Jan 8
Prices of the three variants of the model would be announced in the second week of January at the time of the formal launch.

December 25, 1999

Small birds for big biz
Airlines target Inner India with low-seaters.

'Other industries will also gain from insurance liberalisation'
'If India thinks a cap on foreign equity is necessary, we are happy to abide by it. Insurance is not a fly-by-night business, players are here for the long term,' says Mike J Levett, chairman, Old Mutual of South Africa.

Dirty tricks, power jinx, Cogentrix
'There is a need for radical improvement in project clearance systems (especially for foreign investment) and circumspection while entertaining PIL writs against projects of public importance,' says Dilip Thakore.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex 4875, Nifty 1458, Forex 43.50 December 24, 1999

Maruti's Christmas offering coincided with the government's decision against divestment in the company.

Karnataka to allow panel to resolve Cogentrix issue
The national government's counter-guarantee was on expected lines, Chief Minister S M Krishna said.

'Two brothers, Manu and Kishore Chhabria, who fought, abused each other publicly, have joined hands to take on UB'
'Indian Made Foreign Liquor is made in a particular way and there are no recipe secrets like Coca-Cola. Once we get the Shaw Wallace brands, we will make the stuff ourselves,' says Vijay Mallya.

Perfumes biz, 'sweet' patent enliven trademarks debate
India's politicians were critical of using the historic Jaipur city's name to market a perfume and the use of animal names as brands. They also suggested a patent for pahalo rasgulla.

Competition Law must protect the consumer, says US expert
It should not be a replacement of any existing laws but a critical facilitator in enhancing the level of economy through fair competition, said Dr Russell Pittman of the Department of Justice.


BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex up 21 points to 4969; Nifty up 7 points to 1488; rupee steady at 43.51 to US $.

December 23, 1999

Sensex, Santa tango
Stock markets defy the Law of Year-end Slump.

Gujarat Ambuja arm buys 7.2 pc stake in ACC
Stock prices of both the companies hit the upper circuit on the Bombay Stock Exchange today.

BSE, NSE and Forex:
Sensex up 163 points to 4949; Nifty up 57 points to 1481; rupee slips a tad to 43.50 to US $.

December 22, 1999

Blitz for a Brew
The world's tastiest tea is making a comeback.

Indian Rayon buys Madura Garments for Rs 1.89 billion
"The acquisition will enhance value for our shareholders. The apparels business is a segment that we want to have a leadership position in," AV Birla group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said.

Uco Bank to recast operations to become 'lean and mean'
The bank will merge its 14 zonal offices into four local head offices located in Lucknow, Delhi, Madras and Bombay. The LHOs will be delegated powers to make credit sanctions upto Rs 50 million.

CMIE study rates Reliance as millennium's top Indian corporate
The group has a base of 5 million investors for whom it created wealth exceeding Rs 330 billion. Unlike the newest stock-market favourites whose majority equity is held by a few promoter-shareholders, Reliance has led the effort at democratisation of capital, the company said.

US likely to prune entities list further
The commerce department has been "very, very cooperative" in bringing about a reduction in the entities list, an official said.

Better designs, production techniques to boost carpet exports
Moves are afoot to adopt information technology for the development of India's famous carpet industry.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex up 39 points to 4785; Nifty up four points to 1424; rupee steady at 43.49 to US $.

December 21, 1999

The Future Is Here
India is all set for Internet trading.

15 months after bagging the project, AP begins work on dream B-school
'The Indian School of Business will soon emerge as a centre of excellence in management education, grooming the future business leaders not only of India but of whole Asia,' said AP Governor C Rangarajan.

'Privatisation does not imply a retreat by the government'
'Privatisation in Malaysia has seen a marked improvement in efficiency, in management of operations; it has facilitated access to commercial investments and latest technology,' says Dato’ Seri S Samy Vellu, Malaysia's minister for works.

Karnataka CM rules out shifting of Cogentrix project
'There is no opposition to the Cogentrix project from my Cabinet,' S M Krishna said.

WTO-compliant Patents Bill tabled in Upper House; Designs Bill passed
The bill provides safeguards for the public interest, national security, biodiversity and traditional knowledge.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex up 70 points to 4746; Nifty up four points to 1420; rupee steady at 43.49 to US $.

December 18-20, 1999

CMs' no-show renders infrastructure conference a damp squib
A hyped business meet turns out to be a damp squib

Insulate NRI investors from political uncertainty: British labour party leader
'Overseas Indians can be wooed not just by their affiliations to states or regions, but also by their involvement in certain sectors, such as port sector and technology transfer,' said Praful Patel.

US yanks 51 Indian entities off sanctions list
The 51 entities may now find it easier to obtain US goods and technology -- especially non-sensitive products. The idea is to focus the sanctions on those Indian entities most directly involved in proliferation activities of concern.

Seattle is history, prepare for the next round, now!
India must draw up some worst-case scenarios and keep the talks going. At this point in time, India needs a regulated international trade order more than the US or the developed nations, says Dilip Thakore.

Sinha urges central banks of G-20 to focus on exchange rate management
Central banks of G-20 must ensure that their exchange rate policies are beneficial not only for their economies but also for the world's monetary system, Sinha told a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Berlin.

BSE plans to become a corporate by 2001
The legal issues are yet to be worked out, before we can talk about going public and whether the proposed company would be listed on the BSE itself or elsewhere, BSE president Anand Rathi said.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex down 34 points to 4676; Nifty slips a tad to 1416; rupee steady at 43.49 to US $

December 17, 1999

Soaring Ad-renalin
Virtual advertising is new reality, say gurus

Cogentrix: Karnataka non-commital on Power Purchase Agreement
A committee headed by Deepak Parekh would consider opening an escrow account. Such an account would help the private producers to draw the required funds matching the power generated and supplied to the state.

Union govt dangles counter-guarantee
The govt was waiting for the Supreme Court judgement. If the state government is ready to comply with certain conditions, the counter-guarantee can be given within a week, Power Minister Kumaramangalam told the Lok Sabha.

Divesting correctly
The GAIL divestment was shoddy, and at a price that is shamefully low. The offloading of PSU stocks must be open to public scrutiny. No government has the mandate to sell off PSUs for a song, says Pritish Nandy.

Kerala govt rewards Cochin airport whiz with another dream project
V J Kurien will seek to generate resources from various sources for the ambitious project of linking the islands in Kochi with the mainland.

Apollo merger creates Asia's largest healthcare enterprise
"The new entity, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises, will have over 1,000 doctors and 100 healthcare professionals. This represents a unique wealth of intellectual capital," a company official said.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex up 45 points to 4710; Nifty up 17 points to 1417; rupee regains three paise to 43.49 to US $

December 16, 1999

A Michelangelo in Industry
Fredie A Mehta salutes Darbari Seth.

Cabinet agrees to amend Companies, Patents, Essentials Acts
The Companies Act 1956 is being sought to be amended to provide good corporate governance and protection for investors.

Close some, privatise some, CII bank panel tells govt
The UBI, Indian Bank and UCO Bank deserve to be closed. The BoB, OBoC, SBI and Corporation Bank deserve to be privatised, a taskforce headed by ICICI CEO K V Kamath has recommended.

Cogentrix sets conditions for power project 'revival'
The project should be put on "fast track", the power purchase agreement should be honoured and a counter-guarantee should be provided by the Union government, the Mangalore Power Company officials said.

'Shopping at a store isn't a low-cost proposition'
"E-commerce will eliminate the store front but it will require a home delivery system. The question is, who is going to pay for it in the long run?" asks Douglas Lewis, vice-president, DHL Worldwide Express.

BSE, NSE and Forex: Sensex sheds 26 points to 4665; Nifty goes up a tad to 1400; rupee regains one paisa to 43.52 to US $

December 1-15, 1999