Headlines (30 September 2008)

GENERAL

1)A MUCH needed push was given by Defence Minister A K Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov to several military projects that had got stuck at various stages due to serious differences over how to carry them forward. Despite differences and irritants, New Delhi and Moscow have agreed to renew their defence partnership by another 10 years. The current inter-governmental arrangement of military and technical cooperation was due to expire in 2010.

Indian Express

ECONOMY & POLICY

2)India and the European Union(EU) today agreed to conclude a broad based Trade and Investment Agreement by 2009 and double their trade turnover to 100 billion Euros in the next five years, giving fresh impetus to their strategic partnership.

BS

CORPORATE / INDUSTRY

3)ORCHID Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals and US pharmaceutical major Merck have entered into a strategic research collaboration and licence agreement that would focus on discovery, development and commerciali sation of new agents for the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections.

ET

4)The multi-crore Sahara Group, with varied interests in real estate, media and investment(chit fund) business, is now entering the thermal power sector. Sahara has given a Rs 5000-crore proposal to the Orissa government for setting up a 1200 mega watt(MW) thermal power plant in Dhenkanal district.

BS

MONEY & BANKING

5)The rupee has hit a five-year low of 47.115 against the greenback in intra-day trade, before recovering to close at 46.97, the lowest since July 19,2006. Apart from weak sentiments in the global equity markets, local factors also played a part.

BS

6)INDIAN banks that have extended lines of credit(L/C) to subsidiaries of US financial majors such as Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers are no longer willing to risk such exposure. Coming in the aftermath of the financial crisis in the US, the move may result in the cancellation of deals worth about Rs 2,000 crore.

ET

7)ICICI Bank, the country’s second largest commercial bank whose stock has seen severe hammering in recent times on various speculations, clarified that 18% of its UK subsidiary’s non-India investment book has got an exposure to the United States currently.

FE

INSURANCE

8)The nationalisation of parts of banking and insurance group, Fortis, is not going to impact its Indian insurance joint venture, a top official said on Monday. “The new situation is not going to have any impact on the Indian JV,” said, G V Nageswara Rao, managing director and chief executive officer, IDBI Fortis. He explained that the bailout happened only in the banking as well as the asset management ventures of the company, leaving the insurance venture unaffected by it.

FE

MARKETS

9)Amid a sharp decline in Asian and European bourses, domestic exchanges fell like a pack of cards with the benchmark Sensex losing over 500 points to a two-month low level on selling by funds even as the much-awaited $700 billion rescue package of the US inched closer to final approval. The BSE barometer closed the day lower by 506.43 points at 12,595.75, a level last seen on July 16. During the day, the key index touched a low of 12,402.84 points. The 30- share Sensex had cracked the crucial 13,000-point level in early trade. The wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty also plunged by 135.20 points, or 3.39 per cent to 3850.05, after dipping to 3,777.30.

BS

IPO

10)Application Supported by Blocked Amount(Asba), the new mode of payment for retail investors, was first used in the public issue of 20 Microns. The issue opened on September 8 and closed on September 11. The issue size was Rs 23.93 crore and was oversubscribed four times, with the retail category getting 11.13-time oversubscription.

BS

11)Hyderabad-based Softline Software Services Private Limited is planning to raise about Rs 100 crore through an initial public offering (IPO) by June 2009 to part fund its expansion plan.

BS

MUTUAL FUNDS

12)HDFC Mutual Fund has extended the initial offer period of HDFC FMP 90D September 2008(4) plan until October 6, an official said today. Launched Friday, the 90-day income scheme under HDFC Fixed Maturity Plans – Series VIII, was to close Wednesday.

BS

13)Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund today floated Kotak FMP 19M Series 2. Subscription to this 19-month debt plan will close on October 13, an official from the fund house said. The close-ended scheme will invest its assets in fixed income securities.

BS

CORPORATE SCORE

14)Tata Sons, the holding company for the Tata Group, has reported a 13 per cent increase in profit after tax(PAT) at Rs 3,780 crore during the financial year ended March 2008, as dividend income from group firms seem to have increased its profit. At this level of profit, the 91-year-old firm, whose two-third is owned by charitable trusts, would be one of the top profit earners among unlisted companies. The data was obtained from the Tata Motors’ letter of offer submitted to the market regulator, Sebi.

BS

COMMODITIES

15)Most agri-commodities traded either down or sideways in the futures market on Monday due to lack of buying interest in the physical market, owing to the last day of Pitrupaksha Shraadh. The two weeks of Pitrupaksha Shraadh, which is a time to honour departed ancestors, ended on Monday.

FE

16)Pepper futures market moved up marginally on Monday on bullish sentiments. October contract went up by Rs 51 a quintal to Rs 13,604, while November and December contracts were up by Rs 53 and Rs 47 a quintal respectively.

BL

17)Both the precious metals, gold and silver, fell on the bullion market in New Delhi by Rs 30 per 10 gram and Rs 50 per kg respectively on fresh selling by stockists influenced by weak global trend amid lower demand due to off season in the domestic market. Standard gold fell to Rs 13,100 per 10 gram while silver ready declined to Rs 20,790 per kg.

ET

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

18)As the global market situation continues to remain unstable, Nasscom could revise software exports growth forecast downwards by few percentage points for 2008-09 after review in December. “However, the industry would be able to meet the $60 billion target for 2010,” said Som Mittal, president, Nasscom.

FE

19)INFOSYS Technologies on Monday kept up the suspense over its response to a rival 650 pence-a-share offer by HCL Technologies for the Axon Group even as it faces the prospect of a bidding war to gain control of the UK-based SAP consultancy. There was no official word from Infosys, but sources at top levels said they were considering options. Axon has been totally silent. Sources said it is likely that Infosys will soon make a counter-offer which may not be substantially higher than the price offered by HCL.

ET

20)Aztecsoft said that the board has approved the share swap ratio for the merger of the company with MindTree. The board has approved the swap ratio under which Aztechsoft’s shareholders would be entitled to two equity shares in MindTree for every 11 shares held.

FE

21)Subex Ltd, a provider of Operations and Business Support Systems, said on Monday that it has signed with British Telecom a three-year framework contract of about $50 million, to provide products and services related to revenue assurance, fraud detection, interonnect billing and event integrity.

BL

INTERNATIONAL

22)IN the latest by-product of the widening global financial crisis, Citigroup will acquire the banking operations of Wachovia in a deal facilitated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Citigroup will absorb up to $42 billion of losses from Wachovia’s $312 billion loan portfolio, with the FDIC covering any remaining losses, the government agency said Monday. Citigroup also will issue $12 billion in preferred stock and warrants to the FDIC.

ET

23)European governments stepped into rescue Fortis, Bradford & Bingley Plc, and Hypo Real Estate Holding AG as tremors from the US credit crisis reverberated around the world. The UK treasury seized Brad- ford & Bingley, Britain’s biggest lender to landlords, while governments in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg threw an 11.2-billion euro($16.3 billion) lifeline to Fortis. Germany guaranteed a loan to Hypo.

FE

24)OIL prices dropped nearly 8% to below $99 a barrel on Monday on signs the financial crisis was spreading beyond the United States to Europe. US crude fell $8.40 to $98.49 a barrel by 12:28 p.m EDT, after touching a session low of $97.95, while London Brent crude traded down $7.63 to $95.91 a barrel.

ET

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