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September 30, 1999

'Indian firms let us down, MNCs supported us'
Ambit Corporate Finance was put together by former Arthur Andersen whizzes in 1997. It is now making waves. Pritish Nandy interviews Ambit's MD Ashok Wadhwa.

World's maritime industry warms to expo in Goa
Issues related to ports, harbours, transportation, trade, shipping, ship-building and ocean resources would be debated by some 700 delegates.

WB to write off $ 27 bn debt of poorest countries
Rich countries will fill the shortfall in WB's coffers, obviating the plan to raise lending rates. India had objected to the plan which would have 'put fresh burden on other developing countries', besides weakening the World Bank.


BSE: Sensex up 64 points to 4798
NSE: Nifty up 36 points to 1415
Forex: Rupee down two paise vs US $ at 43.5950, an all-time closing low

September 29, 1999

The Plastic Trap
Inability to read the fine print on your credit card could be injurious to your bank balance.

Harshad Mehta sentenced for five years
Three others were also convicted by Special Court Judge Justice Rane in the sensational Rs 380.97 million Maruti Udyog Ltd fraud case.

KSEB creates fresh hurdles for Kannur power project
Though the ruling CPI-M had maintained that it was opposed only to Enron's participation in the venture, the government has so far not recommended the project for the final techno-economic clearance two months after the US multinational pulled out.

SC asks Centre to file reply to CITU's application on Enron
The court admitted the CITU petition on the question of the accountability of the State of Maharashtra and concerned public servants holding significant public offices in view of the prima facie inconsistency in their stand on the project from time to time.

Ashok Leyland ties up with AVL of Austria
The tie-up would be purely technical and would not amount to any foreign equity infusion, sources in the Industry Ministry said in New Delhi.


BSE: Sensex recovers 18 points to 4733
NSE: Nifty down 10 points to 1380
Forex: Rupee gains a tad Vs US $ at 43.56

September 28, 1999

Harshad Mehta is convicted in a securities scam case related to misappropriation of Maruti Udyog funds.

Zee sews up ambitious Millennium Plan; shares at Re 1 to woo rural investors
Zee supremo Subhash Chandra has listed his priorities: a bouquet of new television channels, radio foray, Internet services, strategic tie-ups, big budget movies and animation features, satphone project, and recast of management.

Gold prices zoom to 1999 high; standard mint at Rs 4,400
"Consumers expected the Bank of England's auction to squeeze prices. But it reversed the trend. Now there are no chances of prices coming down. The demand is expected to pick up because of the ensuing wedding season,'' said the All India Sarafa Association president Sheel Chand Jain.

India finds place in G-20; increased capital flows may skip India
The World Bank will concentrate its aid in India on states that are committed to all-round reforms.

Thai group seeks transfer of stake in Catholic Syrian Bank to meet RBI norms
The bank has been able to achieve a capital adequacy of only six per cent. It needs another Rs 460 million to reach the stipulated eight per cent.

Maruti okays 30 pc dividend
The company's net profit for fiscal ending March 1999 was Rs 5.22 billion on an income of Rs 81.80 billion. Profit before tax stood at Rs 7.84 billion

Sugar row: Bombay exporter denies cheating Pak firm
''Disputed payment is just an allegation by Fauji Foundation of Karachi to rake up a controversy as India is passing through elections," Adam & Company's A Haroon said.


BSE: Sensex down 42 points to 4716
NSE: Nifty down 23 points to 1390
Forex: Rupee steady at 43.56 Vs U$ $

September 26-27, 1999

So near, yet...
Sensex finds the 5,000 mark elusive. But all is not over.

Analysts laud News Corp-Zee deal, wonder about the funding
The $ 300 million deal will eliminate obstacles Rupert Murdoch has had operating as a non-Indian player and instead give him an insider's ticket to 'Bollywood', India's Hollywood, said analysts in the US.

The rise and rise of Subhash Chandra and Zee Telefilms
His interests range from a 65 per cent post-deal stake in Zee Telefilms to amusement parks, education, packaging, exports, publishing. ZTL's share price was Rs 500 when the year began. On Monday, it was Rs 5,118 on the BSE!

Sinha pleads with World Bank to restore lending cut
The minister urged the bank to widen the scope of the definition of 'human needs projects', which the Group of Eight developed nations, led by the United States, has exempted from sanctions.

Goa to resurrect casinos to boost revenues
'I want revenue and casinos and golf courses can give it to me," says Goa's tourism minister Churchill Alemao. He believes revenue from casinos would be enough to run the government.

World Bank follows in India's footsteps
'What the World Bank is doing now (Comprehensive Development Framework projects), India proposed and implemented nearly three decades ago, under the nomenclature of Integrated Development Projects, rural or otherwise, points out R C Murthy.

September 25, 1999

Gods and Ads
Corporate majors discover an effective advertising medium in the Ganapati celebrations.

STAR to swap joint ventures for 7.5 pc stake in Zee Telefilms
The deal, done in Hong Kong, has been clinched for $ 300 million. Zee will make half of the payment in cash and the balance in ZTL shares, subject to shareholders' approval. Zee's MD Vijay Jindal said ZTL is now poised to become India's first truly global media entertainment conglomerate.

IMF move to sell gold to members stabilises global market
The cash generated by gold sales is to finance $27 billion debt relief to 33 poor countries the world over, including India.


BSE: Sensex up 22 points to 4758
NSE: Nifty up 12 points to 1413
Forex: Rupee up a tad at Rs 43.56 vs US $

September 24, 1999

Enter the Dragon
China's Konka sews up grand plans for India's white goods market. It would also export its products from India to SAARC countries.

Reliance commissions world's largest paraxylene unit in Jamnagar
RIL will emerge as the third largest producer of paraxylene after BP-Amoco and Exxon-Mobil. The production will be used captively, and exports are unlikely till the first quarter of 2000.

Daewoo jumps into service war, offers 2-year warranty scheme
'Even the previously sold cars would be covered under the scheme and there is no last date for the initiative,' said S G Awasthi, chairman, Daewoo Motor India.

Hyundai begins trial production of Accent in Tamil Nadu
Mass production at the Irangkottukottai plant is expected to begin by early October. Besides India, the car would be launched in the US and other export markets like South Asia.

Auto segments record mixed sales in FY '99-00
Commercial vehicle sales rose by 21 per cent at 54,993 units during the first five months of the fiscal year. 1.429 million two-wheelers (up 6.3 per cent) and 80,685 three-wheelers (up 1.32 per cent) were sold during the period.

HUDCO, USAID in pact for infrastructure projects in India
The money raised from the US capital markets will be used in projects relating to water supply and energy recovery from waste in Nagpur and setting up of two severage treatment plants in Surat.


BSE: Sensex up 49 points to 4736
NSE: Nifty up 15 points to 1401
Forex: Rupee down a tad at Rs 43.57 vs US $

September 23, 1999

Stories Unlimited
Investors resurrect Chandamama the children's magazine.

'Chandamama should replace cartoon channels'
An interview with B Viswanatha Reddy, managing director, Chandamama group of publications

ICICI's ADR priced at $9.80
The pricing represents a 10.3 per cent premium to the 5-day average price of the ICICI share.

Global gold prices shoot up: Indian market follows the trend
Ten tola gold biscuit's price skyrocketed by Rs 1,000 to Rs 48,500, while standard mint and 22-carat gold prices zoomed up by Rs 100 and Rs 95 to Rs 4,150 and Rs 3,840 respectively, following heavy short-supply of the commodity, induced by bullish sentiments abroad.

IMF lays out economic growth plan for next govt
'The new government should establish an ambitious and well specified medium-term fiscal adjustment programme, coupled with commitments to build on the progress already evident in a number of areas of structural reform,'' the IMF's World Economy Outlook noted.

BSE turnover at Rs 27.88 billion an all-time high
Today's turnover comprises Rs 25.83 billion from the A group, Rs 1.72 billion from the B1 group, Rs 205.7 million from the B2 group and Rs 17 million from the F1 group.

Sensex spurts 56 points to 4,687
Dealers said the upswing in infotech, pharma share prices has helped buoy the sentiment.

NAFED top brass held guilty for last year's onion scam
An internal vigilance inquiry has found that NAFED top brass manipulated the purchase prices of onions to pocket money, sold good onions clandestinely in the market and sent rotting stocks to the government's public distribution system.

Apple import duty may be raised to protect domestic growers
The government may accede to the Himachal government's request to discourage import of apples under the open general licence list.

Hyundai to roll out utility vehicle in India after 2000
The South Korean company is looking at infusing fresh equity from the parent company as also ploughing back profits from the Indian subsidiary. It has extended warranty period for the one-year-old Santro small car.

Christian Dior launches 100 watch models in India
The Swiss company is targeting upper strata of Indian society with its price range between Rs 24,000 and Rs 70,000. It is seeking to capture half to one per cent of India's population or ten million people over a two-year period.


BSE: Sensex up 56 points to 4687
NSE: Nifty up 28 points to 1386
Forex: Rupee down a tad at Rs 43.56 vs US $

September 22, 1999

The Onion Spiral
A price crisis looms over the biz of bulbs.

ICICI's ADR price to be fixed today, all set for debut on NYSE
After regularising of the clearance by the Securities Exchange Commission simultaneously with the completion of road-shows, book-building and price fixing, the trading will begin.

Dismissal of Kerala IDC MD stirs row
James Joseph wanted to refer KSIDC officers with wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income to the vigilance or income tax department.

Global prices steady as Britain completes Auction II of gold reserves
Overseas supply of gold to India is low at present due to tight election-time security. This has curtailed contraband supplies. So, the prices have remained unaffected in India.

Markets will soar after new govt takes office, says UTI chief
'India is soon going to be the number one player in software services in the world. This is what is driving the market around infotech shares,' P S Subramanyam said.


BSE: Sensex down 10 points to 4631.03
NSE: Nifty up 0.70 points to 1358.55
Forex: Rupee steady at Rs 43.55 vs US $

September 21, 1999

'Goodbye London, Singapore'
India's first mall evokes a mixed response.

US-64 revamp plan complete, 80 pc of corpus in 50 top shares
'The 1,033-scrip US-64 is open to the scrutiny of SEBI even though it might not technically fall under its purview,' UTI chairman P S Subramanyam said.

Govt okays Maruti plan for four more new cars
The industry ministry's nod (to the models code-named YG-4, YG-5, YM-1 and YB-1) comes close on the heels of a similar approval for two other models in August. Details of the new cars are not yet out.

Delhi court summons HLL, cable TV unit over obscene ice-cream advert
"The opening scene of the ad gave the impression that the male models were nude and the female models looked down in what is suggestive of examination of the crotches. It appears to be an effort in gross contempt of the law of obscenity," Delhi's Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R K Gauba said.

Lee jeans ad irks Catholic community
''No community should tolerate 'misuse' of religious symbols for consumerist purposes," a spokesman of the Catholic Archdiocese of Delhi said

World Bank's IFC to step up role in sluggish cement sector after election
A good part of the total planned investment of about $ 100 to 150 million in 1999-2000 would be on stakes in companies revamping their operations and finances.

Hike-seeking execs of 17 PSUs defer stir to Oct 31
The Power and Department of Public Enterprises Secretaries have requested the employees to wait till a new government takes office.


BSE: Sensex up 23 points to 4641.48
NSE: Nifty down 2 points to 1357.85
Forex: Rupee down a tad at Rs 43.55 vs US $

September 18-20, 1999

Selling the New Millennium's Sunrays
An island in the Andamans will get the first wake up call, but the department of tourism goes slow, fearing ecological ruin.

Zee launches new magazine; Subash Chandra wins E&Y's entrepreneur award
TV World would not be a mouthpiece of Zee Network. The magazine would carry articles and listings about other channels as well, said publisher Deepak Shourie.

Intra- and inter-party feuds dwarf economic issues
'The NDA says it would aim at 7-8 per cent annual growth, control fiscal and revenue deficits, eradicate 'absolute poverty'. What is the definition of absolute poverty? Does it go by the World Bank's definition? Or do the BJP and NDA have one of their own?' asks
R C Murthy.

UTI growth sector funds open for sale and repurchase from today
The funds are dedicated to the software, pharma, petro, services and brand value industries. Each of the funds will delcare the net asset value on a daily basis.

Oman Air offers to pick up equity in planned 5-star hotel in Kochi airport
Oman Air Executive Chairman Adel Bin Abdullah Al-Raisi has requested Kerala Chief Minister E K Nayanar to allow international airlines to operate their services from Nedumbasserry.

Tissot launches 50 watch brands in India
The watches are priced in the range of Rs 3,200 to Rs 23,500. 'We've appointed Azharuddin as brand ambassador. His huge popularity, elegant style and precise timing complement Tissot's core brand values and commitment to excellence,' said Jean-Marc Guillod, area sales manager.


BSE: Sensex up 47 points to 4618
NSE: Nifty up 8.5 points to 1359
Forex: Rupee steady at Rs 43.54 vs US $

September 17, 1999

Primary Market Demystified
Euphoria over new equity issues is misplaced and unnecessary, opine analysts.

China's Konka to launch washing machines, telecom gadgets during Diwali season
The company plans to sell 500,000 units of telecom instruments, 100,000 sets of semi-automatic washing machines and 20,000 units of automatic ones from November 1999 to October 2000.

GM prices Opel Corsa at Rs 550,000
The hatchback, petrol-powered version with 1.4 litre (1400cc) and 1.5 litre (1500cc) engines would be introduced in India.

Peugeot says 'no' to cars, scouts around for scooter JV
'For Peugeot, India is forgotten and buried market. We had a failed adventure in India and do not intend to venture back, having burnt our fingers once,' a company official said.

Piaggio Greaves to export its three-wheelers made in Maharashtra
The market is expected to grow at the rate of 15 to 20 per cent annually. The company is likely to touch a target of 10,000 units sale during the current year and 25,000 vehicles next year.

World Bank puts India's GDP growth rate at 5.8 per cent
India was affected by nuclear sanctions, shrinking of loans, political instability and the Kashmir conflict, the WB's Annual Report said.

India to press for cuts in agri subsidies at WTO meet
'Subsidies distort free global trade and we will put pressure, especially on the European Union, to reduce their level,' Commerce Secretary P P Prabhu said.

Telco denies alteration of large car's design
There is no plan to move away from the premium segment. The car was never targeted in the Rs 500,000 to Rs 600,000 price range. The designs have been frozen, but Telco is trying out the early prototypes.

Tata Chemicals dismisses excise evasion charge
Gujarati media reports said the company allegedly cleared Rs 900 million worth of soda ash from its works at Mithapur clandestinely, under the guise that the material was damaged during the June 1998 cyclone.


BSE: Sensex down 90 points to 4571
NSE: Nifty up 23 points to 1351
Forex: Rupee down two paise to Rs 43.54 vs US $

September 16, 1999

On Sale: Democracy!
The largest adult franchise exercise in the world spawns a big business.

WB report cites Dabhol to underline the power of sub-national forces
Maharashtra's renegotiation with Enron has led to cut in electricity cost from $ 1.3 million per MW to $ 0.9 million per MW. However, the delay cost about $ 250,000 per day, notes the World Bank's World Development Report 1999-2000.

Audi plans dealership grid in India, rules out production base
The German luxury car-maker is seeking to increase awareness about its brands in India through direct imports of completely built units of its A4 and A6 models.

GM-Suzuki to produce 'Asia car' in India
"An existing facility of one of themanufacturers would be utilised. We are not looking at setting up a separate unit or venture for the purpose," a GM official said.

Govt notifies Gold Deposit Scheme
The scheme will come into effect immediately. It was first announced by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha while presenting the Budget 1999-2000 in Parliament.

IDBI-Principal to form AMC to boost mutual fund biz
The joint venture has been planned to develop, strengthen and expand the business of the IDBI Investment Management Company through new technology and products.

Govt plans brand equity fund for electronics industry
The Development Council for Electronics Industry has recommended setting up a Rs 1 billion fund to start with. The participation of leading financial institutions is being explored.

Pondicherry sets up panel to attract NRI investors
The Lt Governor is the chairman and the chief minister vice-chairman of the committee.


BSE: Sensex down 70 points to 4661.04
NSE: Nifty up 4 points to 1374
Forex: Rupee down one paisa to Rs 43.51 vs US $

September 1-15, 1999

August 1999