1)ON the threshold of a digital boom, India has decided to open a new bandwidth of communication that will hasten the delivery of direct to home services, internet and other infotainment channels. The new ‘Ka-band’ will offer a quality of transmission and speed superior to the existing band widths of ‘C’ and ‘Ku’ that are nearing saturation, given the extensive use of Indian transponders following the heavy demand posed by new age users. The Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) has undertaken this challenge of increasing the country’s digital capacity.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
2)General Motors India, a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation on Wednesday announced a top-up of $500-million investment to the $1 billion it has already committed to invest in New Delhi. The company timing is significant as it comes a day after Tata Motors suspended work on its Nano car project in Singur over land woes. GM India’s new investment plans conform to automaker’s optimism about investments in India, disregarding the current industrial slowdown.
3)The verdict on the factual schedule of first oil and gas production from the country’s biggest oil and gas discovery in the Krishna Godavari basin – D6 block(KG-DWN-98/3) of Reliance industries Limited- is finally out. A detailed project report submitted by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons(DGH) to the petroleum ministry makes it clear that gas production from the two gas finds – D1 and D3 should commence by November, in the best possible scenario and may even slip by two months to January 2009, if last mile project work gets delayed due to bad weather.
4)What could be the first of its kind in the Indian automobile industry; Tata Motors’ on Wednesday unveiled the prototype of the electric version of Indica that would be first launched in Norway in collaboration with the company’s partner there. Though, Reva Electric already has an electric vehicle in India but Indica is expected to be a bigger and high powered vehicle than Reva givent the fact that it’s a four door vehicle driven by lithium-ion batteries. “Norway has strict stringent norms as well as adequate infrastructure for electric cars. Hence, we will launch the electric Indica in Norway in 2009,” says Ravi Kant, managing director, Tata Motors.
5)Faced with difficulty in pushing sales, the automobile industry could have a major rethink in expanding capacity and executing some of the committed investments, SIAM said on Wednesday. “The auto industry finds itself in difficult times and Iam sure that everybody would be looking at these things as to what can be postponed and what can be cancelled,” Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers President Ravi Kant said on the sidelines of ACMA annual convention.
6)AUTO ancillary major Sona Koyo Steering Systems is looking to lower its dependence on the shaky automotive sector, which, at present, is plagued by rising input costs, and is planning to diversify into newer verticals, like aerospace and windmill technology. This is expected to give the companies a back-up, as auto sales in Indian hit a new low.
MONEY & BANKING
7)Peerless General Finance and Investment Company Limited launched its co-branded credit card with ICICI Bank Limited. Speaking on the occasion, B Lahiri, Director (Operations) said that the credit card will go a long way in adding value and variety to the product portfolio under Peerless Smart Money. Jayata Roy, Director(Corporate Planning and Strategy) said the card will be distributed from 76 branches across the country.
8)LIFE Insurance Corporation said that more than 2.21 crore persons were covered during 2007-08 under various social security schemes managed by it. The company completed 375.90 lakh new policies with first premium income of Rs 43,812.86 crore in the same period, the LIC said in a press release issue in Mumbai. The total number of in-force policies of LIC crossed the 23-crore mark in individual insurance.
9)The exchange-traded currency futures(ETCF) market in India, launched on Friday in Mumbai, has already begum attracting corporate attention. The level of open interest increased by 103% to 27,707 contracts on Tuesday from 13,641 contracts on Friday. Open interest is the total number of outstanding contracts that are held by market participants at the end of the day. While market makers are driving up volumes, analysts also expect small & medium enterprises to join in over time.
10)The equity shares of Austral Coke & Projects are listed and admitted to dealings on the BSE in the list of ‘B’ Group Securities effective from September 4, 2008.
11)The government and the regulators are considering providing mutual funds with tax benefits similar to those given to the unit linked insurance plans(Ulips). While no tax is currently levied on Ulips, many MF products such as the systematic investment plans, debt mutual funds attract both capital gains tax as well as securities transaction tax(STT).
12)LOTUS India Asset Management, part owned by Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings Pte, plans to triple its assets to $6 billion in two years, outpacing growth in the industry, said chief executive officer Ajay Bagga. Lotus India will offer new funds including those investing in real estate to tap rising incomes in the world’s second-fastest growing major economy.
13)GOLD fell more than 2 per cent on Wednesday, dropping back beneath $800 an ounce as strength in the dollar and a drop in oil prices continued to weigh on investor sentiment. With the dollar soaring to an 11-month high and oil prices continuing to decline, the metal’s appeal as an alternative to the US currency and as a hedge against fuel-led inflation has been diminished. Gold was trading at $795.55/ 796.55 an ounce as of 0957 GMT, down from $804.90/806.25 an ounce late in New York on Tuesday.
14)At a time when the real estate sector is going through a sluggish phase, a Ficci-Ernst & Young survey has underlined that the sector would embark on a high growth trajectory in the long run. The report, highlights of which were released on Wednesday gave several pointers of the developments slated to happen in the sector. The full report would be released on September 10 at a real estate summit, which would have the presence all the stakeholders. The Ernst & Young Realty Pulse survey has indicated that 62% of the developers foresee growth in the long-term. Around 35% developers define capital value of “affordable housing” in the range of Rs 1 million to Rs 1.5 million. The areas with potential for significant growth potential in the Indian real estate sector include healthcare infra- structure, logistics and warehousing and affordable housing formats. The Ficci-Ersnt & Young Real Estate Report is based on the qualitative survey conducted by Ernst & Young across six prominent cities comprising Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore.
15)Real Estate firm Suncity Projects is planning to raise up to Rs 500 crore through private equity for development of its IT SEZ project at Gurgaon. “We are in talks with various private equity firms to raise Rs 350-Rs 500 crore for our IT SEZ project,” Director Ashok Bansal said. The IT SEZ, spread over 167 acres, has been notified and construction would begin next month, he said.
16)In yet another key telecom reform, the government would end the multiple licence regime and converge all permits under a single licence, christened unified service licence(USL). In the future, a USL would enable players to give all forms of telecom services such as long distance and Internet services as well as mobile and landline services. Currently, such services come under multiple licences. While mobile, landline and Internet services can be provided under a unified access service licence(UASL), a separate licence is required for long distance services. Stand-alone ISPs have a separate licence regime.
17)Not worried over the US presidential candidate Barack Obama’s remarks on outsourcing, industry body Nasscom is trying to build up confidence levels among the domestic players. After giving a gearup exercise to the industry, Nasscom is still bullish on the growth of software exports by the Indian companies which are having a global delivery model and is unlikely to be affected by the US decision.
18)OIL prices extended their losses Wednesday, a day after plunging nearly $6 a barrel, as oil market traders shifted their attention from tropical weather to a stronger dollar and falling demand for petroleum products. Light, sweet crude for October delivery fell $1.07 to $108.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier dipping as low as $107.32. On Tuesday, crude plummeted in a dramatic sell-off after it became clear that Hurricane Gustav had left the US oil infrastructure without major damage.
19)Oil’s sharp two-month decline is likely to end soon as producer cartel Opec will probably cut production once prices dip below $100 a barrel, the head of commodities research for Credit Suisse said on Wednesday. Production curbs should keep prices between $100 and $110 for the rest of this year, while grain markets should rally as traders look past positive short-term weather conditions towards the bigger longer-term risks to world food supplies, Mr Tobias Merath said.
20)After making their way into the league of richest persons, India’s warring billionaire brothers – Mukesh and Anil Ambani – have been named together among the world’s 100 most influential and powerful people by British fashion magazine Vanity Fair. Ambani brothers are ranked at the 67th place in the 100 list which is topped by Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin while media baron Rupert Murdoch is in the second spot.
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