NEW DELHI: Little over a year after he snapped up London’s iconic Grosvenor House hotel, Subroto Roy is about to do a similar deal across the Atlantic. The Sahara Group is in exclusive talks to acquire The Plaza, a 105-year-old landmark property in New York whose guests have included Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles, for around $600 million (Rs 3,000 crore).
Sahara, which bought the Grosvenor House hotel in December 2010 for $726 million, is carrying out a due diligence of the asset and has paid an advance to the property’s owners, Israel’s El Ad group, a person familiar with the matter told ET.
A deal, if the negotiations succeed, will be executed through Sahara’s Mauritius-based subsidiary Aamby Valley (Mauritius) Ltd.
Sahara and El Ad declined to comment and questionnaires emailed to both groups went unanswered.
A deal with The Plaza will confirm the Indian conglomerate’s continuing fascination with overseas expansion, which has left many Sahara watchers in India curious and bemused given that the group’s mainstay businesses have been finance, real estate and media.
Last year, Sahara tried – and failed – to acquire a bunch of properties in London that were put up for sale by the Marriott hotels.
Ownership of the 20-storey Plaza, which overlooks New York’s Central Park and is one of Manhattan’s landmark structures, could catapult the Indian group, whose main interest in hospitality now essentially involves running a hotel in Mumbai, into the super-luxury segment of the industry with two very distinctive properties under its belt.
So far, the Tata group’s Indian Hotels Company, which owns the iconic Taj brand, has led the overseas expansion of India’s hospitality sector. It bought the Ritz-Carlton in Boston in 2007 for $170 million and renamed it Taj Boston. It re-entered the New York market in 2005 after six years with the rights to manage the 201-room Pierre.
Under the terms being discussed for The Plaza, the aggregate consideration for the property includes two parts. The hotel part, which comprises 100 condominium rooms and 130 large-size non-condominium rooms, is being valued at around $400 million while a premium retail space housing leading luxury brands is being valued at around $200 million.
Sahara has also put a condition that if a deal gets consummated, The Plaza’s present owners will have to terminate their management agreement with Canada’s Fairmont Hotels & Resorts with immediate effect, sources said.
It is not yet known whether Sahara will manage the hotel on its own or bring in a management partner.
The Plaza was acquired by El Ad, which is controlled by Israeli billionaire Isaac Tshuva, in 2004 for $675 million. The group subsequently spent another $400 million on renovation, and parts of the building were sold off as luxury residential units. The hotel division’s management and operations were contracted out to Fairmont.
Opened in 1907, the French Renaissance chA¢teau-style building designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh has had a storied past. Besides hosting several notables over the course of its history, the hotel was the site of the Plaza Accord of September 1985 under which the finance ministers of the US, Japan, West Germany, France and Britain agreed to bring down the price of the US dollar against their currencies.
It was granted landmark status by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1969. The ownership of the hotel property changed six times and its famous owners have included Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotels chain, and Donald Trump.
PSU CONSORTIUM NOT TO REVISE BID FOR BG GROUP’S STAKE IN GUJARAT GAS
MUMBAI: The PSU consortium comprising Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation ( ONGC) and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) is not keen to raise its bid of $800-900 million for UK-based energy major BG’s 65% stake in the Gujarat Gas Company. “We now know for a fact that our consortium was the only one to submit a final bid for BG’s stake in Gujarat Gas and BG has got back to us saying that our bid was too low an offer to accept, but as of now we are not looking to revise our bid,” said a senior official from one of the PSU’s participating in the consortium.” He added: “Our bid is considerably lower than BG’s current market cap and we might consider revising it if we do have to compete with another serious competitor but not as of now given that we are the sole bidders.” Gujarat Gas’s share were up 4.43% last week and closed on Thursday at Rs 403 up Rs 8 since Monday, its current market cap is Rs 5,152 crore. (For details log on to : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/energy/oil-gas/psu-consortium-not-to-revise-bid-for-bg-groups-stake-in-gujarat-gas/articleshow/12553835.cms)
AXIATA LOGS OUT OF TALKS TO BUY STAKE IN TIKONA DIGITAL
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Malaysia’s leading telecom operator, Axiata, has backed out of its negotiations to pick up a substantial stake in broadband wireless access (BWA) operator Tikona Digital due to differences over valuation and uncertainty on the Indian telecom policy, following the cancellation of 2G licences by the Supreme Court. The promoters of Tikona, say sources, had valued the company at $1 billion (Rs 4,900 crore). However, after the uncertainty over policy, Axiata backed out of the negotiations, saying the price was too high and the country’s telecom scenario very uncertain. The promoters of Tikona, which had won BWA or 4G licences in five key regions of the country, including Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh (east and west) — for Rs 1,058 crore — were not willing to renegotiate the price downwards. (For details log on to : http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/axiata-logs-outtalks-to-buy-stake-in-tikona-digital/470300/)
DEUTSCHE POST DHL BUYS LEMUIR GROUP`S STAKE IN JV
MUMBAI: Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s leading postal and logistics group, said on Thursday it has acquired the 24 per cent stake held by Lemuir Group in their joint venture. With this acquisition, the JV, DHL Lemuir Logistics Pvt Ltd, becomes a 100 per cent subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL, a company release said. The entity has been renamed as DHL Logistics Pvt Ltd. “DHL and its heritage organisations have shared a long and fruitful association with the Lemuir Group for over 30 years through agency and joint ventures,” Global Forwarding CEO (South Asia) Thomas Tieber said. (For details log on to : http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/deutsche-post-dhl-buys-lemuir-group`s-stake-in-jv/470320/)
FUTURE GROUP IN TALKS TO SELL UNIT STAKE TO LAWSON
NEW DELHI: Amid mounting debt, the Future Group is seeing a silver lining as Japanese retailer Lawson is in advanced talks to purchase a stake in one of the units of the Kishore Biyani-led retail network. A person familiar with the situation told FE that Lawson is in advanced stage for a stake buyout in the Future Group’s low-frills KB Fair Price store chain, and that the foreign company has already conducted a due diligence of the 225-store chain network. Meanwhile, the KB Fair Price chain is in the process of shedding its low-frills image and is currently undergoing a change to a convenience format in pursuit of a better fit with the kind of stores the Japanese firm operates elsewhere. “The process has already started in Mumbai and Bangaloreby adding a better range of merchandise, fruit and vegetables to suit the Lawson model,” the person said. (For details log on to : http://www.financialexpress.com/news/future-group-in-talks-to-sell-unit-stake-to-lawson/933328/)
ITALIAN LUXURY APPAREL BRAND CANCLINI TESSILE IN JV WITH EMPEROR TEXTILES
BANGALORE: Italian luxury apparel maker Canclini Tessile is tying up with a little known Tirupur-based company to stitch its shirts in India. The equal JV with Emperor Textiles will also set up a separate manufacturing unit in Tirupur to manufacture Italian fabric for domestic consumption. Canclini Tessile, known for its fabrics worldwide, makes the Via Montenapo brand of shirts which retail at prices starting from Rs 5,000 and can go up to Rs 30,000. “Meeting Canclini was by accident. We have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together and are looking to form a new JV company Italian Luxury Garment, where Canclini and Emperor will hold equal share,” said Karthekeyan Palaniswamy, managing director of Emperor Textiles, which is in the business of home textiles, apparel and garment manufacturing. (For details log on to : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/cons-products/garments-/-textiles/italian-luxury-apparel-brand-canclini-tessile-in-jv-with-emperor-textiles/articleshow/12553836.cms)
NIRVANA BIOSYS ENTERS INTO MARKETING TIE UP WITH NATURES BOUNTY
CHANDIGARH: Wine maker Nirvana Biosys has entered into a tie up with Amit Burman-owned Natures Bounty Wines for marketing its wines under the brand of ‘Luca’ in domestic and global market. With this strategic alliance, Nirvana Biosys will have wider access of Natures Bouty’s marketing and sales network while Natures Bounty, which is till now into high end wines, will have a complete range of products to cater to each segment of the industry. “With the support and reach of Natures Bounty, Luca wines will become a leading wine company in India. This strategic alliance between the two companies will help the industry at large in terms of better product and high end services,” said M K Rustagi, Joint Managing Director, Nirvana Biosys. (For details log on to : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/cons-products/liquor/nirvana-biosys-enters-into-marketing-tie-up-with-natures-bounty/articleshow/12547051.cms)
RIL, TATARSTAN IN PACT FOR PETROCHEM, REFINING BIZ
MUMBAI: Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has entered into an agreement for partnering in petrochemicals and crude refining businesses with the Republicof Tatarstan, part of the Russian Federation, three persons familiar with the development said. The tie-up could lead to RIL investing in a petrochemical facility or a crude oil refinery, or even both, in Tatarstan. The agreement was signed on 22 March, when a delegation from Tatarstan —led by its President Rustam Minnikhanov—visited the oil-to-yarn and retail conglomerate’s integrated oil refining and petrochemical complex in Jamnagar, Gujarat. The deputy chief of Tatarstan president’s press office and two RIL officials, who did not want to be identified, confirmed the visit. (For details log on to : http://www.livemint.com/2012/04/05212227/RIL-Tatarstan-in-pact-for-pet.html?atype=tp)
LEMON TREE PLANS TO OPEN 100 HOTELS IN INDIA BY 2020
NEW DELHI: Hospitality chain Lemon Tree Hotels today said it plans to open 100 hotels in Indiaby 2020, with a total room capacity of 10,000. The company that currently owns and manages 18 hotels under Lemon Tree Premier, Lemon Tree and Red Fox brands also said it has put on hold plans to foray into real estate in partnership with US-based investment firm Warburg Pincus. “By 2020 we plan to open 100 hotels in Indiawith an inventory of around 10,000 rooms,” Lemon Tree Hotels Chairman and Managing Director Patu Keswani told reporters on the sidelines of the Hero Mindmine Summit 2012. This year the company is opening two more hotels, he said without sharing details on the investment that would be required for the expansion. (For details log on to : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/services/hotels-/-restaurants/lemon-tree-plans-to-open-100-hotels-in-india-by-2020/articleshow/12548017.cms)
MSM SPORTS CHANNEL SIX TO BE LAUNCHED ON 7 APRIL
MUMBAI: Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (MSM) will launch a sports channel this Saturday, within a week of being edged out by Star India Pvt. Ltd for the rights to all international cricket matches to be played in Indiaover the next six years. In a nation where cricket dominates all sports following, MSM’s channel, SIX, will air a range of non-cricket sports including martial arts, basketball, football and badminton. Among its main properties to begin with will be the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, a martial arts contest that has more than 30 events globally. From next year, SIX will also air the popular Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, currently broadcast on SET Max, one of the Sony channels MSM broadcasts in India. (For details log on to : http://www.livemint.com/2012/04/05212244/MSM-sports-channel-SIX-to-be-l.html?atype=tp)
ANAND SHARMA CONFIDENT OF ARRIVING AT CONSENSUS ON FDI IN MULTIBRAND
NEW DELHI: Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today exuded confidence that a consensus would soon emerge on opening multi-brand retail to foreign investors so that states which are keen could opt for it. Following widespread opposition, including from several state governments and its own allies, the government suspended its decision to allow 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail on November 24, 2011. “I hope that we will be able to create the desired consensus … There are states who want it. There are states who have reservations. Let us leave it to the states who want it and good luck to those who may not … consensus cannot be confused with unanimity, that will be a mistake,” Sharma said at a function here. (For details log on to : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/services/retailing/anand-sharma-confident-of-arriving-at-consensus-on-fdi-in-multibrand/articleshow/12547097.cms)
COAL INDIA MAY TAKE U-TURN ON IMPORTS IN NEW REGIME
KOLKATA: Close to two months after Coal India Ltd (CIL) said it was not in the business of imports, the chairman designate of the world’s largest coal mining company is looking to revisit the option. S Narsing Rao, who takes charge as CMD in two weeks, will do what it takes to meet the presidential directive if the production falls short of demand. “To meet the demand, if we have to step up production, we should do that. But, if there is a quantity shortfall — with the production target of 464 million tonnes this financial year, it is likely to be — we may have to go for imports,” Rao told Business Standard, days after a directive mandated CIL to supply coal at 80 per cent commitment level to power companies. (For details log on to : http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/coal-india-may-take-u-turnimports-in-new-regime/470299/)
INVESTMENT A HURDLE TO TRADE PACT WITH EU
NEW DELHI: The proposed India-European Union (EU) broad-based trade and investment agreement (BTIA) is expected to set new standards on issues related to investment, which has emerged as a bone of contention between both sides. While the EU has demanded the chapter on investment be negotiated before the trade deal is signed, Indiawants to negotiate the matter as part of the agreement, not earlier. The issue was discussed extensively during a meeting between commerce & industry and textile minister Anand Sharma and EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht on the sidelines of the India-EU summit in February. During the meeting, Indiahad proposed to discuss the investment chapter as whole, and not divided between pre-establishment and post-establishment issues. However, EU was insistent on negotiating pre-establishment provisions before the BTIA was through, and then negotiate post-establishment provisions with greater protection measures, as the EU had received a mandate to negotiate investment protection, according to an official involved in the talks. (For details log on to : http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/investmenthurdle-to-trade-pacteu/470291/)
DOT MOVES CABINET NOTE ON 2G PRESIDENTIAL REFERENCE
NEW DELHI: After getting the approval of Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati for seeking a Presidential Reference on the Supreme Court’s February 2 orders cancelling 122 mobile permits issued in 2008, the telecom department has moved a Cabinet note on the issue and sought the inputs from all ministries. The government will go ahead with the Presidential Reference only after the union Cabinet approves the plan. The apex court, while quashing all mobile licences issued by former telecom minister A Raja, had also directed the government to redistribute these permits and airwaves through an auction process. The Cabinet note, a copy of which was reviewed by ET, states that the Supreme Court order contained several important observations, including that the first-come-first-served policy to award mobile licences was ‘flawed and had inherently dangerous implications’, and also that all natural resources should be distributed through an auction process, and emphasised that a Presidential Reference was required on the various questions of law arising from this order. (For details log on to : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/telecom/dot-moves-cabinet-note-on-2g-presidential-reference/articleshow/12553747.cms)
RELIANCE INDUSTRIES, BP SUBMIT REVISED FIELD DEVELOPMENT PLAN
NEW DELHI: With KG-D6 output hitting an all- time low, Reliance Industries and its British partner BP plc have submitted to the government a revised field development plan for enhancing gas production from MA field in the block. RIL-BP propose to drill one gas production well on the MA oilfield in the eastern offshore KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block besides intervention jobs in at least two of the existing six wells on the fields, sources privy to the development said. MA is the only oil find made by RIL in the 7,645 square kilometre KG-D6 block. The field produces about 11,200 barrels a day of along and associated gas of 6.45 million cubic meters per day. MA field makes up for about one-fifth of the 34.09 mmcmd of current gas output from KG-D6 block. (For details log on to : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/energy/oil-gas/reliance-industries-bp-submit-revised-field-development-plan/articleshow/12545567.cms)
MOTOWN BRACES FOR WAGE REVISIONS AFTER THREE YEARS
NEW DELHI: After a year of industrial unrest, the big boys of the automobile industry in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt are set to initiate negotiations to settle wage agreements with workers for a three-year period. Wage negotiations at India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL), have already begun, with the union at the Gurgaon unit presenting its charter of demands to the management. The union of the Manesar plant, which saw three strikes in 2011, is also expected to present its demands to the management soon. Following suit, wage settlement issues are also coming up for negotiations at two-wheeler majors — Hero MotoCorp and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) Ltd. (For details log on to : http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/motown-braces-for-wage-revisions-after-three-years/470298/)
KING OF LUXURY BUSES UPS THE ANTE IN INDIA
CHENNAI/BANGALORE: A decade after its entry into the Indian bus market in 2001, Volvo has quickly become a household name for comfort, safety and luxury. Volvo Bus Corporation, the Swedish bus giant, which introduced several new concepts to the Indian bus traveller, has not only set a benchmark in the air-conditioned luxury bus market in India but is also the undisputed heavyweight champion in a market that is growing at 9-10 per cent annually. The bus company has successfully introduced new concepts and products that were unheard of in India-such as the air-conditioned bus, inter-city coach built on a true bus chassis or the low-floor air-conditioned city bus or the multi-axle inter-city coach. Today, Volvo’s City Buses ply across 12 cities, and its coaches across every key route in the country. “Ten years ago, the luxury bus did not exist in India. But, when people travel in Volvo buses today, they find similarities with air travel. At each step, we worked towards bringing in a change that would re-define the way people travel and the way they see a bus,” says Akash Passey, Senior Vice President, Business Region International, Volvo Bus Corporation. (For details log on to : http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/kingluxury-buses-upsante-in-india/470281/)
STEEL PIPE MAKERS ‘HAPPY’ WITH 286% US CUSTOMS DUTY
MUMBAI: Leading Indian steel pipe makers like Welspun, PSL Ltd are “happy” that the US Commerce Ministry has imposed a jaw dropping 286 per cent duty on some the products they exported to US — one of the largest consumption markets. This has been done to safeguard the local American pipe-makers from imports from India. To stop a similar trend from Vietnam, an eight per cent duty on similar products has also been imposed. But how is that a positive? In technical speak, the duty is applicable on “non-API circular welded standard pipes of 16″ and below diameter.” Welspun, the one of the largest player, doesn’t import these specific pipes in the first place. “We are setting an electric resistance welded pipe (ERW) plant of 175,000 million tonne per year (6″ to 20″) and Coating Plant in US to service our clients in North America. This plant is targeted for commissioning by March 2013 and likely to ramp up to optimal utilisation in FY14. This measure by US to protect domestic industry will help Welspun in coming days and shall have a positive impact,” the company further clarified. (For details log on to : http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/steel-pipe-makers-happy286-us-customs-duty/470311/)
GET READY TO SIP STARBUCKS COFFEE FROM SEPTEMBER
NEW DELHI: The world’s largest coffee chain, Seattle-based Starbucks, is busy finalising locations across major malls in Mumbai and New Delhifor an Indiaopening by this September. The $10.7-billion American group, in a joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, is completing deals for around 10 locations in the country at present, according to market intelligence. John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, confirmed to Business Standard that the group would start its India journey with stores in Mumbai and New Delhi, and that the first outlet was expected by September. Starbucks had signed a deal with Tata Global Beverages more than a year ago, but announced the formal launch of the US chain’s retail foray about two months ago. Then, Starbucks senior management had said 50 outlets would be opened by the year-end. But at this point, the company is quiet on the specific rollout plan for 2012. “While we cannot share specific plans, we are committed to investing in growing our presence in the market and will do so in a smart, thoughtful way that meets and exceeds the expectations of our customers,” Culver said. (For details log on to : http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/get-ready-to-sip-starbucks-coffeeseptember/470308/)
70 MILLION TELECOM SUBSCRIBERS STILL ON STICKY WICKET
MUMBAI/AHMEDABAD: Yesterday’s dismissal by the Supreme Court of the pleas of seven telecom service providers to review its February order cancelling their licences translates into a continuation of the uncertainty for their combined 70-million subscribers. The government petition for a clarification on the February ruling is yet to be heard; it will be on Friday of the coming week. Meanwhile, much else remains to be cleared. For instance, Uninor, which loses all its licences, is yet to formally intimate its customers. “I don’t think there is a single person in the country who has not read the news about the Supreme Court issue. However, while our licences have been cancelled, we have applied for extension of our services. If and when our application is rejected, our customers can be informed and other measures can be taken. But till that happens, we will continue to function normally,” said Sigve Brekke, managing director. The company is till gaining subscribers. It added 300,000 on the very weekend of the cancellation and another 2.34 million subscribers in February after the licence cancellation, according to the COAI, the trade body tracking the GSM subscriber base. (For details log on to : http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/70-mn-telecom-subscribers-stillsticky-wicket/470310/)
STRATEGIC ASSET NPCIL ON DIVESTMENT RADAR
NEW DELHI: Keen to shore up investor interest in its stake sale programme, the government for the first time is considering a proposal to disinvest equity in the state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) as part of its disinvestment programme for 2012-13. Until now, the strategic area of nuclear power has been kept firmly in the ambit of the public sector, so much so that even private firms are not allowed to invest in it. But NPCIL now features as a probable candidate for the government’s disinvestment programme, which is expected to focus largely on initial public offerings (IPOs). “Listing is a means of improving corporate governance. We are trying to get as many PSUs as possible to comply with this and are preparing a list of firms that can float IPOs. NPCIL is one such firm,” department of disinvestment secretary Mohammad Haleem Khan told The Indian Express. (For details log on to : http://www.financialexpress.com/news/strategic-asset-npcil-on-divestment-radar/933326/)
IN BAJAJ FAMILY, BUSINESS SENSE OVER-RULES TIES
MUMBAI: The younger members of the Bajaj family are slowly taking the reins of the group companies with top leadership posts, a move that signals their being given freedom to run independent companies they manage, from financial services to consumer goods makers, with elders members taking a back seat. But the handing over of control to the next generation is not a given in the family. Bajaj family members will have to prove themselves to get into top positions, a tradition followed since the inception of the group in 1926 by late founder Jamnalal Bajaj. For instance, two scions of the Bajaj family — Sanjiv, son of Bajaj Group patriarch Rahul Bajaj, and Anant, son of Rahul’s cousin Shekhar Bajaj — were elevated to leadership posts, in March 2011 and 2012, respectively. (For details log on to : http://www.financialexpress.com/news/in-bajaj-family-business-sense-overrules-ties/933331/)
PE INVESTMENTS IN HEALTHCARE RECOVER
NEW DELHI: In what may turn out to be a shot in the arm for the beleaguered healthcare sector, which struggled to find private equity (PE) investments in 2011, the first quarter of calendar 2012 has already clocked in PE investments worth $389.09 million. Healthcare and pharma during calendar 2011 scraped in merely $378.84 million PE investments. For a sector that has historically been marred by few exits, long gestation, low returns, and, in some cases, distress sales like Warburg Pincus exiting Max India on a par last June, this may just well be what the doctor ordered for the sector. Darius Pandole, partner, New Silk Route Advisors, said that globally healthcare has been an important destination for PE investing. (For details log on to : http://www.financialexpress.com/news/pe-investments-in-healthcare-recover/933265/)
GREATER PUSH TO WIND ENERGY
BANGALORE: As revised estimates point to a two-fold increase in India’s potential for wind energy generation with the use of taller towers for wind turbines, the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET) is setting up 75 monitoring stations across the country to validate the prediction and also assess the land availability. The initiative, which would involve measuring wind speed from towers as tall as 100 metre, comes more than a decade after the centre embarked on a similar exercise to validate the potential at 50-metre hub heights. Wind speeds are greater at higher tower heights, though the density is lower. Recent revised estimates by the Chennai-based C-WET, a research and development institution under the ministry for new and renewable energy, indicate a potential for 102 gigawatt (GW) at hub heights of 80 metre against the previous estimates of 49.2 GW at 50-metre towers. “That needs to be validated and the government has already taken up a comprehensive plan to do so by simultaneous measurement at 75 locations,” said S Gomathinayagam, executive director, C-WET. (For details log on to : http://www.financialexpress.com/news/greater-push-to-wind-energy/933323/)
CIL TO CONTINUE WITH E-AUCTION
NEW DELHI: Coal India won’t discontinue the lucrative business of e-auctioning of the fuel in order to be able to comply with the presidential directive to sign fuel supply agreements (FSAs) with power companies to meet 80% of the latter’s needs. Despite a suggestion made by the power ministry to the contrary, the coal ministry has taken the view that the PSU will continue with e-auction and sell 45 million tonne (mt) of coal annually through this route. “There would not be any diversion of e-auction coal (to meet power companies’ demand). We are going to allocate 15-16 new projects to CIL soon, which would push up their production. There is no reason why the cap of 10% (of the total output) on e-auction of coal should be reduced,” a coal ministry official said. (For details log on to : http://www.financialexpress.com/news/cil-to-continue-with-eauction/933320/)
INDIA LOOKS TO LEVERAGE ITS MARKET CLOUT
NEW DELHI: Recognizing that it is emerging as one of the largest importers of arms, nuclear equipment, and oil and gas, the government is considering an overarching policy that would leverage this clout to buy technology and long-term energy resources from countries that win supply orders from India. To be called the National Policy on Offset, it will extend to all government imports, including by the departments of defence, space, oil and gas, telecom, and atomic energy. Offsets are counter-trade obligations that have to be fulfilled by vendors from a particular country selling equipment or commodities to another country. Typically, they do this by generating business in the buying country worth a certain percentage of the deal value. Offset obligations can also be fulfilled by the seller country by committing cheaper long-term supplies of strategically important commodities, including energy resources, up to a certain value in lieu of equipment or goods bought. In effect, in such a transaction, the payment is made partly with goods and services instead of money. (For details log on to : http://www.livemint.com/2012/04/05223702/India-looks-to-leverage-its-ma.html?atype=tp)
FOCUS ON CULTURE, SHOPPING HELPS DRAW MORE WOMEN TRAVELLERS TO INDIA
NEW DELHI: More women are visiting Indiaas business opportunities grow in Asia’s third largest economy and the government takes steps to make it a safer destination. The number of women tourists who visited Indiarose 12.5% to 2.3 million in 2010 from a year earlier, faster than the 11.8% growth in overall tourist arrivals. As many as 5.7 million tourists visited Indiain 2010. “The female tourist segment is definitely growing very strong. We are directing our focus on India’s culture, heritage and presenting Indiaas a shopping destination, which appeal to women aesthetics,” said a tourism official, who declined to be named. The growing number of women travellers to Indiapresents an opportunity for the Indian hospitality industry, according to the tourism ministry. The share of women travellers to Indiagrew to 40.7% of total tourist arrivals in 2010 from 24.5% in 2001, government data show. (For details log on to : http://www.livemint.com/2012/04/05214518/Focus-on-culture-shopping-hel.html?atype=tp)
GARTNER LOWERS IT SPENDING GROWTH FORECAST TO 2.5%
BANGALORE: Worldwide information technology (IT) spending is forecast to reach $3.7 trillion in 2012, an increase of 2.5% from the previous calendar year, according to a forecast by technology researcher Gartner. The expected pace of growth is, however, slower than Gartner’s previous forecast of 3.7% growth for 2012. Gartner analysts said the lower growth rate has more to do with the UScurrency than an actual decline in spending. The recent strengthening in the value of the US dollar against other currencies has resulted in the reduced growth forecast. (For details log on to : http://www.livemint.com/2012/04/05221858/Gartner-lowers-IT-spending-gro.html?atype=tp)