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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 2674 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs 2674 crore across various business segments.
 
A press release from the company said these included a major order received by its Transportation Infrastructure Business from a private infrastructure developer for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of four- laning of the Hospet-Chitradurga road section in Karnataka under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase III.
 
The Power Transmission & Distribution Business has bagged an EPC order from a reputed oil refinery company in Middle East for the enhancement of their existing electrical facilities, it said.
 
The Solar Business has received orders for the turnkey construction of solar photovoltaic power plants from multiple private solar developers.
 
Additional orders have also been received from ongoing jobs of other businesses of L&T Construction, the release added.
 
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Simmons, Chand hit fifties as MI beat RCB for first win of season

 
Riding on half-centuries by opener Lendl Simmons and Unmukt Chand, Mumbai Indians defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore by 18 runs to notch up their first win in this season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here tonight.
 
Put in to bat first, Mumbai Indians posted an imposing 209 for seven from their allotted 20 overs as their top order finally clicked. 
 
Apart from Simmons (59) and Chand ( 58), skipper Rohit Sharma also got among the runs, making 42 off just 15 balls with the help of three fours and four sixes.
 
Chasing 210 for a win, the RCB top order failed to get going and there were soon struggling at 62 for three in the 11th over before AB de Villiers came up with a hurricane 41 off just 11 balls with the help of five fours and three sixes.
 
In the company of Dinesh Karthik (18), he added 35 for the fourth wicket, 22 for the fifth with Rilee Rossouw, who did not score a single run. When he left at 125 in the 15th over,  RCB were still 85 short.
 
David Wiese took over and hammered an unbeaten 47 off 25 balls with the help of six fours and two sixes and Iqbal Abdulla contributed 20, but their efforts were not enough as the asking rate was too high and there were not enough batsmen or overs left. They ended up at 191 for seven from their 20 overs.
 
Mumbai Indians also have to thank Harbhajan Singh, who kept the RCB top order on a tight leash and accounted for the wickets of Chris Gayle (10), Maninder Bisla (20) and Rossouw, giving away just 27 in his four overs.
 
Simmons and Parthiv Patel finally gave MI a good start today by putting on 47  for the first wicket.
 
Chand and Simmons then added 72 for the second wicket, which boosted their confidence further and Sharma consolidated the innings as he and Chand took the total to 182 before the latter left. Pollard made just before being dismissed and Ambati Rayudu was out first ball. Sharma made his exit in the next over. Debutant Hardik Pandya stayed unbeaten on 16, inclusive of two sixes, to boost the MI total.
 
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Given that they have a strong batting line-up and the limitations of the MI bowing attack and the fact that they have chased down 200+ targets thrice on their home ground in the past, the target should not have been daunting for the RCB.
 
But their batsmen made heavy weather of the task today and even a couple of early lives did not loosen them up.
 
It was only de Villiers' amazing knock that brightened up things for them a bit. After he left, Wiese and Abdullah caused worries in the MI camp briefly.
 
While MI now have one win from five outings so far in the tournament, RCB, playing today after a gap of six days, have two losses from three matches thus far.
 
Scoreboard
Mumbai Indians
LMP Simmons c Aaron b Chahal 59
PA Patel b Wiese 12
UBT Chand c Kohli b Chahal 58
RG Sharma c & b Wiese 42
KA Pollard c Chahal b Wiese 5
AT Rayudu c Chahal b Wiese 0
Harbhajan Singh run out (Bisla/Ahmed) 0
HH Pandya not out 16
Extras (lb 4, w 13) 17
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 209 (10.45 runs per over)
Did not bat: JJ Bumrah, MJ McClenaghan, SL Malinga
Fall of wickets: 1-47 (Patel, 5.5 ov), 2-119 (Simmons, 13.3 ov), 3-182 (Chand, 17.4 ov), 4-188 (Pollard, 18.2 ov), 5-188 (Rayudu, 18.3 ov), 6-192 (Sharma, 18.5 ov), 7-209 (Harbhajan Singh, 19.6 ov)
Bowling
Iqbal Abdulla 4 0 35 0
VR Aaron 4 0 50 0
AN Ahmed 4 0 59 0
D Wiese 4 0 33 4
YS Chahal 4 0 28 2
 
Royal Challengers Bangalore (target: 210 runs from 20 overs)
CH Gayle b Harbhajan Singh 10
MS Bisla b Harbhajan Singh 20
V Kohli c Rayudu b McClenaghan 18
KD Karthik c Chand b Malinga 18
AB de Villiers c Pollard b Bumrah 41
RR Rossouw b Harbhajan Singh 0
D Wiese not out                      47
Iqbal Abdulla run out (Sharma/Pollard) 20
AN Ahmed not out                         1
Extras (lb 1, w 13, nb 2) 16
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 191
Did not bat: VR Aaron, YS Chahal
Fall of wickets: 1-26 (Bisla, 4.6 ov), 2-48 (Gayle, 8.1 ov), 3-62 (Kohli, 10.3 ov), 4-97 (Karthik, 12.1 ov), 5-119 (Rossouw, 13.1 ov), 6-125 (de Villiers, 14.2 ov), 7-183 (Iqbal Abdulla, 19.1 ov)
Bowling
MJ McClenaghan 4 0 43 1
SL Malinga            4 1 35 1
Harbhajan Singh 4 0 27 3
JJ Bumrah            4 0 39 1
HH Pandya            3 0 37 0
KA Pollard            1 0 9 0
 
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Smith, McCullum, Raina star as CSK beat MI by six wickets

 
Openers Dwayne Smith hammered 62 and Brendon McCullum made a superb 46 as Chennai Super Kings outplayed Mumbai Indians (MI) by six wickets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium here tonight.
 
Opting to bat first, Mumbai Indians, who are yet to win a match in this edition of the tournament, posted a challenging 183 for seven in their allotted 20 overs, thanks to Kieron Pollard (64) who steadied the innings after an early collapse. Skipper Rohit Sharma made 50.
 
Chasing 184 for a win, CSK never appeared to be under pressure as Smith and McCullum gave them a great start, putting on 109 for the first wicket in 7.2 overs.
 
Smith's 62 came off just 30 balls and included eight fours and four sixes, while McCullum's 46 was made from 20 balls with the help of six fours and two sixes.
 
Suresh Raina made an unbeaten 43, studded with four fours and two sixes, and Dwayne Bravo made 13 not out as CSK reached 189 for four with 3.2 overs to spare. Bravo brought up the winning runs with a huge six over the wide long-on boundary off Pollard.
 
CSK have now won all three of their outings so far in the tournament, while Mumbai Indians have lost all their four matches thus far.
 
It was again the top order that let the Mumbai Indians down today, as they lost three wickets -- Lendl Simmons (5), Parthiv Patel (0) and Corey Anderson (4) -- within four overs with the total at just 12.
 
Sharma and Harbhajan Singh (24) took the score to 57 before the latter left, bringing Pollard to the scene.
 
Sharma and Pollard added 75 for the fifth wicket before the Mumbai skipper made his exit. His 50 was made off 31 balls and included five fours and a six. He chose the deliveries to attack with care and came up with some delightful shots today.
 
Pollard and Ambatti Rayudu (29) then added 49 for the sixth wicket, helping to restore some respectability to the Mumbai total. Pollard was there till the penultimate ball of the innings. He had made his intentions known with the very first ball he faced into the stands and his half-century came off just 21 balls.
 
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For the visitors, Ashish Nehra took three for 23, and acounted for the early scalps of Patel and Anderson as well as Sharma later.
 
Smith and McCullum made the daunting target of 184 appear easy as they let loose from the second over, after a sedate first over which produced just six runs, putting on 90 in the first six overs and reducing the asking rate from 9.20 to a little over a run a ball. They brought up the 50 of the inings in four overs and the next 50 in 2.5.
 
Their opening partnership literally took the fight out of the Mumbai Indians and there was never any doubt about the result after that.
 
Harbhajan Singh finally dismissed both batsmen in the eighth over, but they had already done the damage.
 
Faf du Plessis (11) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (3) did not last very long, but MI then had to contend with Raina, who steered the side to victory.
 
Scoreboard
Mumbai Indians (20 overs maximum)
LMP Simmons c du Plessis b Pandey 5
PA Patel lbw b Nehra 0
CJ Anderson c du Plessis b Nehra 4
RG Sharma c Bravo b Nehra 50
Harbhajan Singh c Jadeja b Sharma 24
KA Pollard c Smith b Bravo 64
AT Rayudu c Jadeja b Bravo 29
J Suchith not out          0
R Vinay Kumar not out            0
Extras (b 2, lb 1, w 4) 7
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs)      183
Did not bat: SL Malinga, P Suyal
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Patel, 0.4 ov), 2-6 (Anderson, 2.5 ov), 3-12 (Simmons, 3.4 ov), 4-57 (Harbhajan Singh, 9.3 ov), 5-132 (Sharma, 14.6 ov), 6-181 (Rayudu, 19.4 ov), 7-181 (Pollard, 19.5 ov)
Bowling
A Nehra 4 0 23 3
IC Pandey 3 1 22 1
MM Sharma 4 0 43 1
RA Jadeja 4 0 49 0
R Ashwin 1 0 13 0
DJ Bravo 4 0 30 2
 
Chennai Super Kings (target: 184 runs from 20 overs)
DR Smith c Sharma b Harbhajan Singh 62
BB McCullum c Vinay Kumar b Harbhajan Singh 46
SK Raina not out 43
F du Plessis b Malinga 11
MS Dhoni c & b Pollard 3
DJ Bravo not out 13
Extras (w 8, nb 3) 11
Total (4 wickets; 16.4 overs) 189
Did not bat: RA Jadeja, R Ashwin, MM Sharma, IC Pandey, A Nehra
Fall of wickets: 1-109 (McCullum, 7.2 ov), 2-115 (Smith, 7.6 ov), 3-144 (du Plessis, 12.2 ov), 4-166 (Dhoni, 14.5 ov)
Bowling
P Suyal 3 0 28 0
SL Malinga 4 0 40 1
J Suchith 2 0 33 0
Harbhajan Singh 4 0 44 2
R Vinay Kumar 2 0 18 0
KA Pollard 1.4 0 26 1
 
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Reliance reports 8.5% increase in net profit during Q4 of 2014-15

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Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today reported an 8.5 percent increase in its net profit during the fourth quarter, ended March 2015, to Rs 6,381 crore on the back of higher refining margins.
 
The company said its turnover decreased by 33.3 % to Rs. 70,863 crore during the quarter.
 
“FY 2014-15 has been a very successful and important year for Reliance. In a time when the collapse of crude oil prices unsettled the hydrocarbons markets, our refining business delivered record earnings," RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh D. Ambani said.
 
"The earnings power demonstrated by our hydrocarbon businesses in this environment validates our philosophy of investing in world-scale, cost competitive assets, cutting-edge technology and the talent of people. This year we also made giant strides in our quest to sustain Reliance’s growth momentum with the highest-ever capital investment into our hydrocarbon business and our next-generation digital services initiative.
 
"Our organized retail business maintained its high growth trajectory with a wider pan-India footprint. Particularly gratifying, we achieved this, while maintaining our track-record of adhering to highest standards of safety and operational excellence," he said.
 
A press release from the company said it achieved a turnover of Rs. 388,494 crore ($ 62.2 billion) for the year ended 31st March 2015, a decrease of 13.0%, as compared to Rs. 446,339 crore in the previous year. 
 
"The decline in turnover reflects sharp fall in crude oil prices during the second half of the year. Crude oil price averaged at $ 85.4/bbl in FY15, a fall of 21% on Y-o-Y basis. With decrease in oil and product prices, exports from India were lower by 17.1% at Rs. 228,651 crore ($ 36.6 billion) as against Rs. 275,825 crore in the previous year," it said.
 
Strong operating performance from the refining business and stable petrochemicals business performance led higher operating profits. Operating profit before other income and depreciation increased by 7.3 % on a Y-o-Y basis from Rs. 34,799 crore to Rs. 37,364 crore ($ 6.0 billion). Profit after tax was higher by 4.8% at Rs. 23,566 crore as against Rs. 22,493 crore in the previous year, it said.
 
The release said the sharp y-o-y fall in benchmark oil price of around 50 percent was the key factor for the decline in revenue in the fourth quarter.
 
Exports from India were lower by 44.0% at Rs. 37,480 crore ($ 6.0 billion) during the quarter as against Rs. 66,875 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year due to lower commodity oil prices.
 
Cost of raw materials declined by 52.0% to Rs. 40,220 crore ($ 6.4 billion) from Rs. 83,749 crore on Y- o-Ybasis, it said.
 
The company's outstanding debt as on 31st March 2015 was Rs. 160,860 crore ($ 25.7 billion) compared to Rs. 138,761 crore as on 31st March 2014.
 
Cash and cash equivalents as on 31st March 2015 were at Rs. 84,472 crore ($ 13.5 billion). These were in bank deposits, mutual funds, CDs and Government Bonds and other marketable securities, it said.
 
The capital expenditure for the year ended 31st March 2015 was Rs. 100,247 crore ($ 16.0 billion) including exchange rate difference capitalization. Capital expenditure was principally on account of ongoing expansions projects in the petrochemicals and refining business at Jamnagar, Dahej and Hazira, Broad band Access and US Shale gas projects.
 
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HCC Concessions to sell stake in Dhule Palesner Tollway Ltd to Sadbhav Group

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HCC Concessions Ltd, the infrastructure development arm of the HCC Group, today announced the sale of its stake in the Rs 1420 crore Dhule Palesner Tollway Ltd to the Sadbhav Group, HCC’s JV partner in the project, for Rs. 204 crore. 
 
HCC Concessions is also expected to realize an estimated amount of Rs. 24 crore from additional claims to be made to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), towards this project. 
 
The deal is subject to receipt of necessary clearances and is expected to close shortly, a press release from the company said.
 
Last December, the company had signed definitive documents with IDFC for sale of Nirmal BOT Ltd, its annuity project in Andhra Pradesh, for Rs.64 crore. A Rs.13 crore claim award, receivable from the NHAI related to early completion bonus, was paid by the authority in February 2015.
 
Mr Arjun Dhawan, President & CEO of the company said, “The sale of Dhule furthers our goal of exiting de-risked, operational assets. Dhule has had an exemplary operational record over the past three years post its commissioning in 2012, four months ahead of schedule. Our partnership with Sadbhav has been special and we look forward to our next association with them.”
 
In FY09, NHAI awarded the development of Dhule Palesner Tollway Ltd to an HCC-led consortium comprising the Sadbhav Group and UK based John Laing. Dhule has been developed with a total capital cost of Rs.1,420 crore. This 89 km public-private-partnership (PPP) project is part of NH-3, one of the country’s primary north-south commercial corridors, connecting Mumbai to Agra. It is a primary conduit for transportation of passengers as well as freight traffic between the state of Uttar Pradesh and major towns in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. 
 
The project started commercial operations in February 2012, four months ahead of scheduled completion. The concession period is 18 years and major construction highlights include 4 bypasses, 3 major bridges, 38 minor bridges, 7 flyovers, 9 underpasses, 1 rail-over-bridge, 65 box culverts, 71 pipe culverts and 2 toll plazas.
 
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IPL: Kings XI Punjab beat Mumbai Indians by 18 runs

 
Kings XI Punjab pulled off an 18-run win over Mumbai Indians in the seventh match of the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium here today but not before a late blitz by Harbhajan Singh, who blasted 64 off 24 balls, took the excitement right into the last over.
 
Asked to bat first, Kings XI put up a competitive 177 for five from their allotted 20 overs, with skipper George Bailing leading from the front with an unbeaten 61.
 
Chasing 178 for a win, the Mumbai Indians batsmen were found wanting and it is only Harbhajan's fireworks at the end, which saw him hammer six sixes and five fours, that saved them from humiliation.
 
After the top order had collapsed, Harjbhajan and Jagadeesha Suchith (34 not out) added 100 runs for the seventh wicket, but it was simply not enough today. Mumbai Indians added 80 for the loss of one wicket in the last five overs -- a fact that gives some idea of the sway Harbhajan, coming in at number 8, held today.
 
KXIP had lost their first match by 26 runs to Rajasthan Royals at Pune, one of their home grounds, on April 10. For Mumbai Indians, it was their second straight loss, having done down to defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets in the opening match of the tournament on April 8.
 
Batting first, KXIP got off to a good start, with openers Murali Vijay (35) and Virender Sehwag (36) putting on 60 for the first wicket.
 
Glenn Maxwell (6) followed Sehwag into the pavilion but David Miller (24) and Vijay took the score to 88. After that, Miller and Bailey added 46 for the fourth wicket.
 
Bailey's 61 came off 32 balls and included three sixes and four fours. His effort got him the Man of the Match award.
 
For Mumbai Indians, Harbhajan and Lasith Malinga picked up two wickets apiece.
 
Chasing 178 for a win, the hosts lost skipper Rohit Sharma off the second ball of the innings, trapped leg before wicket by Sandeep Sharma without scoring. Aditya Tare (7) left in the fourth over and Aaron Finch made just eight before making his exit in the sixth over. Corey Anderson (5) was the next to go to make it 25 for four in the eighth over.
 
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Ambati Rayudu (13) and Kieron Pollard (20) could not make much of a difference and pretty soon they were struggling at 59 for six, when Harbhajan and debutant Suchith came together.
 
They had a herculean task, but the two raised some hopes in the home crowd, especially Harbhajan with his lusty hitting. However the late surge could take the hosts only thus far. Harbhajan reached his 50 off just 19 balls. The pair added 50 runs off 19 balls and the next 50 of their partnership in 20 more.
 
When Harbhajan fell to the last but one ball of the innings, his team was still 19 runs short. Anureet Singh, who claimed his wicket, was the first to congratulate him for his superb effort and many of the other fielders also applauded his knock.
 
For Punjab, Anureet, Mitchel Johnson and Axar Patel picked up two wickets each.
 
Scoreboard
Kings XI Punjab (20 overs maximum)
M Vijay c Suchith b Harbhajan Singh 35
V Sehwag c Pollard b Harbhajan Singh 36
GJ Maxwell c Rayudu b Suchith 6
DA Miller c Tare b Malinga           24
GJ Bailey not out                             61
R Dhawan c Vinay Kumar b Malinga 6
MG Johnson not out                   3 
Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 3)                  6
Total (5 wickets; 20 overs)        177
Did not bat: WP Saha, AR Patel, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma
Fall of wickets: 1-60 (Sehwag, 6.4 ov), 2-68 (Maxwell, 7.4 ov), 3-88 (Vijay, 10.2 ov), 4-134 (Miller, 15.3 ov), 5-150 (Dhawan, 17.1 ov)
Bowling
R Vinay Kumar 4 0 46 0
P Suyal          3 0 22 0
SL Malinga          4 0 34 2
Harbhajan Singh 4 0 20 2
J Suchith          4 0 41 1
KA Pollard          1 0 11 0
 
Mumbai Indians (target: 178 runs from 20 overs)
RG Sharma lbw b Sandeep Sharma 0
AJ Finch          b Johnson                             8             
AP Tare         c Vijay b Anureet Singh 7
AT Rayudu         c  Saha b Johnson         13
CJ Anderson st Saha b Patel               5
KA Pollard          c Miller b Patel                 20
J Suchith       not out                           34
Harbhajan Singh c Sandeep Sharma b Anureet Singh 64
R Vinay Kumar not out                             0
Extras (lb 3, w 3, nb 2)                             8
Total     (7 wickets; 20 overs)               159
Did not bat: SL Malinga, P Suyal
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Sharma, 0.2 ov), 2-15 (Tare, 3.3 ov), 3-17 (Finch, 5.2 ov), 4-25 (Anderson, 7.3 ov), 5-46 (Rayudu, 11.5 ov), 6-59 (Pollard, 13.4 ov), 7-159 (Harbhajan Singh, 19.5 ov)
Bowling
Sandeep Sharma 4 1 12 1
Anureet Singh       4 0 41 2
MG Johnson         4 1 23 2
AR Patel                4 0 30 2
R Dhawan             4 0 50 0
 
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HDFC reduces lending rates to benefit all customers

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Housing finance major HDFC Limited today announced a reduction in its Retail Prime Lending Rate (RPLR) by 20 basis points, with effect from April 13, 2015.  
 
"This reduction would benefit all customers," a press release from the company said.
 
The reduction in the RPLR will also be applicable on loans to non-resident Indians (NRIs), the release said.
 
HDFC has also revised its deposit rates, the release added.
 
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IPL: KKR begin title defence with 7-wicket home win over Mumbai Indians

 
Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) began their title defence in the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with an emphatic seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Eden Gardens here this evening.
 
Put in to bat first, MI made 168 for three from their allotted 20 overs to which KKR responded with 170 for three in 18.3 overs to triumph with nine balls to spare.
 
Skipper Rohit Sharma made un unbeaten 98 for Mumbai Indians, inclusive of 12 fours and four sixes, while Corey Anderson remained not out on 55 with the help of five fours and three sixes.
 
For KKR, Morne Morkel took two for 18 from his four overs, while Shakib Al Hasan picked up one for 48.
 
KKR suffered an early setback when they lost opener Robin Uthappa (9) with just 13 on the board, but skipper Gautam Gambhir (57) and Manish Pandey (40) added 85 for the second wicket to help them stay on course.
 
After Pandey's departure, Suryakumar Yadav (46 not out) joined Gambhir and the two took the total to 121 before the latter made his exit.  Yadav and Yusuf Pathan (14 not out) then ensured there were no further hiccups for the home team.
 
Gambhir's 57 was compiled off 43 balls with the help of seven fours and a six. In sharp contrast, Yadav's quickfire 46 was made off just 20 deliveries and was studded with five sixes and a four.
 
Scoreboard:
Mumbai Indians (20 overs maximum)
RG Sharma not out 98
AJ Finch c UT Yadav b Morkel 5
AP Tare c UT Yadav b Shakib Al Hasan 7
AT Rayudu c Pathan b Morkel 0
CJ Anderson not out 55
Extras (lb 1, w 2) 3
Total (3 wickets; 20 overs) 168
Did not bat: KA Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, SL Malinga, R Vinay Kumar, JJ Bumrah, PP Ojha
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Finch, 1.3 ov), 2-37 (Tare, 4.6 ov), 3-37 (Rayudu, 5.2 ov)
Bowling
UT Yadav             3 0 36 0
M Morkel              4 1 18 2
Shakib Al Hasan 4 0 48 1
SP Narine            4 0 28 0
AD Russell          3 0 21 0
PP Chawla           2 0 16 0
 
Kolkata Knight Riders (target: 169 runs from 20 overs)
RV Uthappa c Harbhajan Singh b Anderson 9
G Gambhir c Rayudu b Bumrah 57
MK Pandey c Pollard b Harbhajan Singh 40
SA Yadav not out 46
YK Pathan not out 14
Extras (lb 2, w 2) 4
Total (3 wickets; 18.3 overs) 170
Did not bat: Shakib Al Hasan, AD Russell, PP Chawla, SP Narine, UT Yadav, M Morkel
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Uthappa, 2.5 ov), 2-98 (Pandey, 11.6 ov), 3-121 (Gambhir, 14.2 ov)
Bowling
SL Malinga          4 0 27 0
R Vinay Kumar 3.3 0 21 0
CJ Anderson       2 0 21 1
JJ Bumrah           3 0 38 1
PP Ojha               2 0 23 0
Harbhajan Singh 4 0 38 1
 
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RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 7.5%, CRR at 4%, citing upside risks to inflation

The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday decided to keep unchanged its key repo rate at 7.5 percent and the cash reserve ratio of scheduled banks at 4.0 per cent, pointing to upside risks to the central projection on inflation rates.

RBI logo
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today decided to keep unchanged its key repo rate at 7.5 percent and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks at 4.0 per cent, pointing to upside risks to the central projection on inflation rates.
 
In its first Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2015-16, the central bank also said it would continue to provide liquidity under overnight repos at 0.25 per cent of bank-wise NDTL at the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) repo rate and liquidity under 7-day and 14-day term repos of up to 0.75 per cent of net demand and time liability (NDTL) of the banking system through auctions.
 
It said it would continue with daily variable rate repos and reverse repos to smooth liquidity.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 6.5 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 8.5 per cent, the statement said.
 
Outlining its ssessment of the current and evolving macro-economic situation, the RBI said that, in 2015 so far, the inflation path had evolved along the projected path after a sizable undershoot of the January 2015 target. 
 
It said consumer price index (CPI) inflation is projected at its current levels in the first quarter of 2015-16, moderating thereafter to around 4 per cent by August but firming up to reach 5.8 per cent by the end of the year.
 
"here are upside risks to the central projection emanating from possible intensification of el niño conditions leading to a less than normal monsoon; large deviations in vegetable and fruit prices from their regular seasonal patterns, given unseasonal rains; larger than anticipated administered price revisions; faster closing of the output gap; geo-political developments leading to hardening of global commodity prices; and spillover from external developments through exchange rate and asset price channels," it noted.
 
"However, at this juncture, these upside risks appear to be offset by downsides originating from global deflationary/disinflationary tendencies, the still soft outlook on global commodity prices; and slack in the domestic economy," it said.
 
 
RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 7.5%
"Transmission of policy rates to lending rates has not taken place so far despite weak credit off take and the front loading of two rate cuts. With little transmission, and the possibility that incoming data will provide more clarity on the balance of risks on inflation, the Reserve Bank will maintain status quo in its monetary policy stance in this review," the statement said.
 
The RBI said the Monetary Policy Framework Agreement signed by it and the Government of India in February 2015 would shape the stance of monetary policy in 2015-16 and succeeding years. 
 
"The Reserve Bank will stay focussed on ensuring that the economy disinflates gradually and durably, with CPI inflation targeted at 6 per cent by January 2016 and at 4 per cent by the end of 2017-18. Although the target for end-2017-18 and thereafter is defined in terms of a tolerance band of +/- 2 per cent around the mid-point, it will be the Reserve Bank’s endeavour to keep inflation at or close to this mid-point, with the extended period provided for achieving the mid-point mitigating potentially adverse effects on the economy," it said.
 
"As outlined above, several favourable forces are at work, consistent with the change in the monetary policy stance towards accommodation effected from January. The Reserve Bank’s intent is to allow the disinflationary momentum to spread through the economy, but remain vigilant about any resurgence of inflationary pressures that may destabilise the progress towards the inflation objectives set in the Agreement," it said.
 
According to it, the outlook for growth is improving gradually. Comfortable liquidity conditions should enable banks to transmit the recent reductions in the policy rate into their lending rates, thereby improving financing conditions for the productive sectors of the economy. 
 
"Along with initiatives announced in the Union Budget to boost investment in infrastructure and to improve the business environment, these factors should provide confidence to private investment and, together with the conducive outlook on inflation, deliver real income gains to consumers and lower input cost advantages to corporates. GDP growth estimates of the CSO for 2014-15 already project a robust pick-up, but leading and coincident indicators suggest a downward revision of these estimates when fuller information on real activity for the last quarter becomes available.
 
"Uncertainty surrounding the arrival and distribution of the monsoon and unanticipated global developments are the two major risks to baseline growth projections. Assuming a normal monsoon, continuation of the cyclical upturn in a supportive policy environment, and no major structural change or supply shocks, output growth for 2015-16 is projected at 7.8 per cent, higher by 30 bps from 7.5 per cent in 2014-15, but with a downward bias to reflect the still subdued indicators of economic activity," it said.
 
The RBI said that, going forward, the accommodative stance of monetary policy would be maintained, but monetary policy actions would be conditioned by incoming data.
 
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"First, the Reserve Bank will await the transmission by banks of its front-loaded rate reductions in January and February into their lending rates. Second, developments in sectoral prices, especially those of food, will be monitored, as will the effects of recent weather disturbances and the likely strength of the monsoon, as the Reserve Bank stays vigilant to any threats to the disinflation that is underway. The Reserve Bank will look through both seasonal as well as base effects. Third, the Reserve Bank will look to a continuation and even acceleration of policy efforts to unclog the supply response so as to make available key inputs such as power and land. 
 
"Further progress on repurposing of public spending from poorly targeted subsidies towards public investment and on reducing the pipeline of stalled investment will also be helpful in containing supply constraints and creating room for monetary accommodation. Finally, the Reserve Bank will watch for signs of normalisation of the US monetary policy, though it anticipates India is better buffered against likely volatility than in the past," the statement said.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 5492 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs 5492 crore across various segments in March this year.
 
A press release said these included contracts worth Rs 2788 crore secured by its Buildings & Factories Business, including ad-ons.
 
It said a major order was received for the construction of a mixed use development complex in Mumbai which will consist of eight residential towers and a commercial building spread over an 
estimated total built-up area of 35 lakh sq. ft.
 
The scope involves civil, structural, architectural, finishes, mechanical, electrical and plumbing works, it said.
 
The release said the company's Power Transmission & Distribution Business had bagged orders worth Rs 984 crores in both the international and domestic markets, including add-ons.
 
New orders and variations have been won from various reputed customers in the Middle East which includes engineering, procurement and construction of 220kV and 132kV substations and power upgradation works at certain facilities.
 
The release said the Water & Renewable Energy Business had received an order worth Rs 188 crores from the Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Department for the construction of intake wells, water treatment plants and a raw water pumping main in the Medak district of Telangana along with associated electrical, 
mechanical and instrumentation works.
 
Additional orders worth Rs1552 crores have been received from various ongoing jobs of other businesses of L&T Construction, the release added.
 
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Agreement signed for transfer of land for memorial for Ambedkar

Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar
Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar
A tripartite agreement was signed here today between the Union Ministry of Textiles, the Government of Maharashtra and the National Textile Corporation (NTC) for the transfer of 12 acres of land adjacent to the Chaityabhoomi in the Indu Mills Compound in Mumbai, where the last rites of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution of India, were performed. 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister of State for Textiles Santosh Gangwar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were amongst those who witnessed the signing of the agreement.
 
An official press release said the agreement would pave the way for resolving the long-pending issue of transfer of land from the NTC to the Government of Maharashtra to enable construction of a befitting memorial for Dr Ambedkar.
 
Mr Fadnavis and Mr Gangwar thanked the Prime Minister for his initiative in removing the hurdles in transfer of land for construction of the memorial.
 
Mr Fadnavis said a beautiful memorial would now be constructed for Dr Ambedkar.
 
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Essar Oil appoints Rugmani Shankar as independent director

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Essar Oil, a part of the Essar Group, today said that it had appointed Ms Rugmani Shankar, a chartered accountant, as an independent director on its board with effect from March 31.
 
A press release from the company said Ms. Shankar had over three decades of experience in corporate and service sector.
 
Prior to founding her own accountancy, audit, compliance and corporate governance consultancy in 1992, Ms. Shankar worked with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for nearly a decade during which time she was actively involved in in product accounting and profitability. 
 
"Ms. Shankar brings with her a deep domain expertise on tax planning, debt syndication, acquisition due diligence etc.," she said.
 
Mr. Prashant Ruia, Chairman, Essar Oil said, “We are pleased to welcome Ms. Rugmani Shankar on board of Essar Oil. Ms. Shankar is a well-regarded professional with expertise in various facets of corporate finance and the board looks forward to enrich from her wide experience.”
 
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Indian nationals from Yemen reach Kochi, Mumbai

A group of Indian nationals evacuated from Aden in war-torn Yemen waiting in Djibouti for the flight home, on April 1, 2015
A group of Indian nationals evacuated from Aden in war-torn Yemen waiting in Djibouti for the flight home, on April 1, 2015
An Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 Globemaster III aircraft landed in Kochi in the early hours of today with 168 Indian nationals who had been evacuated by an Indian Navy ship from war-torn Yemen to Djibouti on Tuesday night.
 
Another group of 190 people, also evacuated by the same ship, INS Sumitra, travelled to Mumbai from Djibouti by a second IAF C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
 
The first aircraft landed in Kochi at 0147 hours and the second in Mumbai at 0324 hours today, an official press release from the Ministry of Defence said. The two aircraft had taken off from Delhi to Djibouti yesterday.
 
INS Sumitra, an offshore patrol vessel, had reached Aden on Tuesday and had evacuated the first batch of Indians the same night. The ship reached Djibouti during the day yesterday.
 
"You are safe now," Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who was in Djibouti to oversee the evacuation operations, told the Indians.
 
 
Hundreds of Indians arrive home from war-torn Yemen
The 350 Indians evacuated by INS Sumitra included 206 people from Kerala, 40 from Tamil Nadu, 31 from Maharashtra, 23 from West Bengal, 22 from Delhi, 15 from Karnataka and 13 from Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) sources said.
 
Meanwhile, the evacuation of more Indians from Yemen will continue, with INS Sumitra due to dock at Al Hudaydah today, from where about 300 Indians are waiting to be moved to Djibouti.
 
The Indian Navy has deployed three ships in support of the evacuation operation. 
 
In a well coordinated operation involving multiple agencies, INS Sumitra, which had been deployed for anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden since March 11, was the first to undertake evacuation from Yemen. 
 
The ship was re-deployed off the Port of Aden on March 30 and, thereafter, entered Aden Harbour on Tuesday evening.
 
IN Ships Mumbai and Tarkash also sailed from Mumbai on March 30. They will escort two passenger vessels, Kavaratti and Corals, through the piracy risk area off the coast of Somalia. These passenger vessels had sailed from Kochi on March 30 to Djibouti. 
 
The two warships will, thereafter, be available for evacuation of Indian nationals from Yemeni ports, as required.
 
The Indian Railways had also made special arrangements in Mumbai to ensure the safe return of the evacuees to their homes.
 
Mr Sunil Kumar Sood, General Manager, Central & Western Railway, received the evcuees at the Mumbai International Airport.
 
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As directed by Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu, they were guided to a special ticketing counter opened for them at the airport and given confirmed tickets to various destinations such as Gorakhpur, Thiruvananthapuram, Muzaffarpur, Chhapra, Madurai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kanyakumari, and so on.
 
Later they were shifted in buses to Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai.
 
At the railway stations they were settled in waiting rooms and provided with breakfast and water. A total of 75 persons were accommodated in trains.
 
Mr Amitabh Ojha, Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division and other senior railway officials were present at the airport and railway stations.
 
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Ronen Sen, Farida Khambata appointed directors of Tata Sons

Ronen Sen
Ronen Sen
Former Indian Ambassador to the United States Ronen Sen and Ms Farida Khambata, member, investment committee of Cartica and former member of IFC’s management group, have been appointed as non-executive independent directors of Tata Sons.
 
Tata Sons is the promoter of the major operating Tata companies and holds significant shareholdings in these companies.
 
Mr Sen was India’s ambassador to the United States from 2004 to 2009 and had played a crucial role in the signing of the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement in July 2005.
 
He has also been India’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (2002-04) and Ambassador to Germany (1998-2002), Russia (1992-98) and Mexico (1991-92).
 
From 1986 to 1991, he was foreign and defence policy advisor to successive Prime Ministers and had several assignments as special envoy of the Prime Minister for meetings with heads of state or government. 
 
Joining the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1966, between 1968 and 1985 he served in Indian missions in the former USSR, the United States and Bangladesh; as deputy secretary, DAE & secretary to the Atomic Energy Commission, and as deputy secretary and joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. He has participated in about 180 bilateral and multilateral summit meetings in six continents. 
 
Mr Sen has also served on the board of Tata Motors as a non-executive independent director from 2010 to 2012.
 
Ms Khambata is the global strategist of Cartica and a member of its investment committee. Prior to joining Cartica, she was a member of IFC’s management group, the senior leadership team of IFC. In her last position at IFC, she served as regional vice president in charge of all operations in East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the global manufacturing cluster. 
 
She was responsible for strategy, investment operations and advisory services in IFC’s member countries in these regions, which account for about three-quarters of all IFC’s investments. She also oversaw all equity investments globally and investments specifically in agribusiness, manufacturing and services, and health and education.
 
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Reliance signs production sharing contracts for two offshore blocks in Myanmar

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Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said it had signed production sharing contracts for two offshore blocks in Myanmar with the state-owned Myanma Oil & Gas Enterprise (MOGE).
 
A press release from RIL said the company won both the blocks (M17 and M18) after its bids in Myanmar Offshore Block Bidding Round – 2013 were declared successful by the Ministry of Energy (MOE) of Myanmar.
 
RIL will be the operator of the blocks with a 96 per cent participating interest. United National Resources Development Services Co. Ltd. (UNRD), a Myanmar company, will hold the remaining interest in the block, it said.
 
Both the blocks are located offshore in the Tanintharyi basin of Myanmar in water depths upto 3000 ft. and together encompass a total area of 27,600 sq. kms.
 
"RIL’s participation is in line with its strategy to expand its international asset base by investing in internationally attractive oil and gas destinations. The company in this way will leverage its organizational capabilities and expertise to create value for the E&P segment," the release added.
 
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L&T bags Rs 1432 crore defence order for seven patrol vessels

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had won a Rs 1432 crore from the Ministry of Defence for the design and construction of seven Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
 
The contract is part of the government’s initiative to strengthen India’s coastal security, a press release from the company said.
 
OPVs are long range surface ships, capable of operation in maritime 
zones of India, including island territories with helicopter operational capabilities. Their roles include coastal and offshore patrolling, policing maritime zones of India, control and surveillance, anti-smuggling and anti-piracy with limited wartime roles.
 
"In keeping with Government’s ‘Make in India’ focus, complete design and engineering of OPVs is planned to be undertaken in-house at L&T’s Warship Design Centre," the release said.
 
The first OPV under the project is scheduled to be delivered within 36 months from signing of the contract. Subsequent OPVs shall be delivered at six months interval. 
 
L&T is already executing MoD contracts for design and construction of 54 fast Interceptor Boats (IBs) for the ICG, of which 25 have already been delivered. The latest boat was delivered 23 months ahead of schedule. 
 
"L&T is targeting to complete delivery of all boats far ahead of schedule," the release said.
 
With contracts for 54 IBs and seven OPVs, L&T is positioned as the largest supplier of patrol vessels to the Indian Coast Guard, it added.
 
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India’s forex reserves soar to new high of $ 339.991 billion

 
India’s foreign exchange reserves soared by $ 4.261 billion to a new all-time high of $ 339.991 billion in the week ended March 20, after dipping for two consecutive weeks, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s foreign exchange reserves had fallen by $ 2.063 bilion to $ 335.73 billion in the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, rose by $ 4.539 billion to $ 314.886 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 19.837 billion during the week, while its special drawing rights (SDR) went up by $ 18.2 million to $ 3.978 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 295.8 million to $ 1.289 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 1711 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders valued at Rs 1711 crore across  various business segments in March 2015.
 
A press release from the company said that its Buildings & Factories Business had secured orders worth Rs 880 crore, including add-ons.
 
A major order has been received from a reputed private developer for the construction of a residential building in Mumbai. The scope involves civil, structural, architectural finishes and mechanical, electrical and plumbing works, it said.
 
Another engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) order was received from a private cement producer for their greenfield cement grinding unit in Madhya Pradesh. The scope involves civil, structural, fabrication and erection.
 
According to the release, the company's Power Transmission & Distribution Business had secured orders worth Rs 676 crore, including an EPC contract from the Bihar State Power Transmission Company Limited for the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of 220 kV double circuit transmission line works associated with optical ground wire and communication system in the state.
 
Orders were also received from Power Grid Corporation of India Limited for turnkey construction of 220kV multi-circuit and double-circuit transmission lines in Jammu and Kashmir and 765 kV double-circuit transmission line associated with inter regional system strengthening scheme in Uttar Pradesh.
 
Additional order worth Rs 155 crores has been won by L&T Construction’s Water & Renewable Energy Business, the release added.
 
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Reliance Jio announces acquisition of spectrum in 13 circles

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Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL), a subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited, today announced that it had successfully acquired the right to use spectrum in 13 key circles across India in the recently concluded spectrum auction conducted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
 
The company said it had acquired a total spectrum of 48.75 MHz in the 800 MHz band and 28 MHz in the 1800 MHz band in the auction, which ended yesterday.
 
The circles where it has acquired spectrum in the 800 MHz band are Assam (5.0), Bihar (5.0), Haryana (5.0) Himachal Pradesh (5.0), Jammu & Kashmir (5.0), Madhya Pradesh (5.0), Mumbai (5.0), North East (5.0), Odisha (5.0) and Uttar Pradesh (East) (3.75).
 
The circles where it has acquired spectrum in the 1800 MHz band are Haryana (4.0), Himachal Pradesh (5.4), Kolkata (5.00), Rajasthan (10.0), Tamil Nadu (0.6) and Uttar Pradesh (East) (3.0).
 
A press release from RJIL said the company planned to provide seamless 4G services using LTE in 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2300MHz bands through an integrated ecosystem.
 
With this investment, in addition to the pan-India 2300MHz spectrum, RJIL has spectrum in either 800MHz or 1800MHz or both in 20 out of the total 22 circles in the country. 
 
"This combined spectrum footprint across frequency bands provides significant network capacity and deep coverage," the release said.
 
According to it, 800MHz is a popular choice for sub-GHz LTE implementation globally by leading operators across North America, South Korea, Australia and other markets to enhance coverage and service experience. In addition, in the Indian context, LTE implementation in this band has greater potential given spectrum availability in the future, it said.
 
Through this acquisition, RJIL’s total equivalent spectrum footprint has increased from 597.6MHz to 751.1MHz (including uplink and downlink), strengthening its position as the largest holder of liberalized spectrum.
 
“Jio’s seamless 4G services using proven multi-band LTE technology and supported by our large spectrum footprint will provide superior user experience for voice, video and data services in line with the best service providers in the world," Mr Ambani said.
 
The payment to be made for the right to use this technology- agnostic spectrum for a period of 20 years is Rs. 10,077.53 crore. 
 
The release said RJIL is deploying an enhanced packet core network to create a futuristic high capacity infrastructure to handle huge demand for data, video and voice services.
 
There are several devices in the value segment that support high-end data rich services. Many of these devices are already available in India, with the capability to operate on both TD-LTE and FD-LTE technologies in the RJIL spectrum bands as well as on conventional 2G / 3G networks. The global handset ecosystem is rapidly evolving, and multiband, multimode handsets shall soon become the default offering, it added.
 
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India’s forex reserves fall by $ 2.063 billion to $ 335.73 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 2.063 billion to $ 335.73 billion in the week ended March 13, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had declined by $ 286.3 million to $ 337.793 billion in the previous week, making this the second consecutive week of fall.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, fell by $ 1.975 billion to $ 310.347 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 19.837 billion during the week, while its special drawing rights (SDR) went down by $ 60.8 million to $ 3.96 billion. 
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 27.1 million to $ 1.595 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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India’s forex reserves decline by $ 286.3 million to $ 337.793 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves declined by $ 286.3 million to $ 337.793 billion in the week ended March 6, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had soared by $ 3.886 billion to touch a new all-time high of $ 338.079 billion in the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central banksaid that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, went up by $ 122.4 million to $ 312.322 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves fell by $ 346.2 million to $ 19.837 billion during the week, while its special drawing rights went down by $ 44.6 millin to $ 4.021 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 17.9 million to $ 1.612 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank acquires 2.77% strategic stake in Reliance Capital

Anil Ambani
Anil Ambani
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Limited (SMTB) of Japan has completed acquisition of 2.77 per cent strategic stake in Reliance Capital, a part of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group.
 
The entire proceeds of Rs 371 crore ($ 58.4 million) for the 2.77 per cent stake has been duly received from SMTB, a press release from Reliance Capital said here today.
 
SMTB had agreed to acquire strategic stake in Reliance Capital, subject to regulatory and shareholders approvals, which have since been received.
 
The bank has acquired an initial 2.77 percent strategic stake in Reliance Capital amounting to Rs 371 crore ($ 58.4 million) through preferential allotment, with a lock-in period of one year. The investment has been made at Rs 530 per share representing a premium of over 11 percent to the stock price of relevant date of Reliance Capital.
 
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Group is the fourth largest bank in Japan (in terms of market capitalization and corporate loans) and Japan’s largest financial institution, managing assets of $ 682 billion with assets under custody of $ 1.8 trillion as of September 30, 2014.
 
“We welcome Sumitomo Mitsui Trust as our strategic partner in Reliance Capital. We are confident of accelerating our growth and tap new opportunities with the help of SMTB’s long standing experience and support” said Mr. Sam Ghosh, CEO, Reliance Capital.
 
As part of the agreement, Reliance Capital intends to establish a new bank in India, with support of Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank as strategic partner, as and when RBI’s policies permit formation of the same.  
 
Both companies will also collaborate in providing solutions for their clients, including in the area of M&A opportunities in India and Japan, and will assist each other in distribution of their respective financial products through their networks. 
 
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Reliance Capital will also support clients of SMTB in their supply chain financing and advisory needs in India.
 
SMTB will support Reliance Group across its various group companies by providing wide range of financial and other services in Japan and Asia Pacific region.
 
Reliance Group is amongst India’s leading business houses with over 200 million customers. The group has a strong presence across a wide array of high growth consumer-facing businesses of financial services, telecom, energy, power, infrastructure and media and entertainment.
 
Reliance Capital is one of India’s leading private sector financial services companies. It ranks amongst the top private sector financial services and banking groups, in terms of net worth. The company is a constituent of CNX Nifty Junior and MSCI Global Small Cap Index.
 
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Star India acquires film weekly Screen from Indian Express, to phase out print edition

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Star India, a fully owned subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, a part of Rupert Murdoch's media and entertainment empire, has acquired film weekly Screen from the Indian Express group and decided to phase out its print edition and make it a digital entity.
 
"Under Star India, Screen will be available in its digital avatar, with audio and video content adding to the textual content. The next issue of the weekly magazine, started in 1951, will be the last print edition," Star India said.
 
It said the acquisition would integrate the Screen Awards property with Star, besides adding a consumer brand to the network’s digital business.  
 
"As part of the transaction, Star will get exclusive ownership of the ‘Screen’ brand franchise, including all archival material and transfer of key employees.
 
“The Screen acquisition will yield huge benefits for Star India and for Hotstar — our digital platform,” said Uday Shankar, chief executive officer (CEO), Star India. “We could not be more excited.”  
 
Star India's media and entertainment organisations reach 700 million viewers in India and across the globe every week through 40 channels, broadcast in seven languages. Star has scaled its multi-screen presence with Hotstar, a destination for sports and entertainment online.
 
“Screen is a strong and reputable franchise and gives us access to the entertainment editorial suite and the tinsel world, where news that shapes trends is made by film stars, directors and producers,” said Shankar.
 
"The acquisition of Screen will allow us to strengthen and expand the content brand online, while taking the awards platform to the next level. There are strong synergies and the combination of the quality content and awards franchise with Star's presence across television and digital platforms is strategic and scalable," he added.
 
Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer, Star India, said: “The Hotstar app has been well received at its launch. Having Bollywood and film-related content will give it an acceleration to reach the next level. Also, while Screen as a brand commands credibility, print is grappling with the problem of reach. Under Star, the content from Screen will get a wider reach.”
 
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According to Gupta, research by the team at Star had shown that Bollywood content is the most consumed content online, which exceeds sports, news and general entertainment content.
 
“We are delighted to enter into a transaction with Star India. Screen is one of the most reputed film and entertainment properties in the country. We have built this business with a lot of passion and are confident that STAR will nurture it and take it to greater heights,” said Viveck Goenka, chairman and managing director, Indian Express Group.
 
Mr George Varghese, CEO, Indian Express, said: “Screen is one of our leading properties on the entertainment side of the business. Our decision was driven by our belief in Star’s focus to grow this business, which we believe would translate into adding value for all stakeholders, including employees.”
 
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Bollywood actor Aditya Pancholi arrested after scuffle at pub

 
Actor Aditya Pancholi arrested after scuffle in pub
Bollywood actor Aditya Pancholi was arrested in the early hours of today after he allegedly assaulted a bouncer at a pub in a five-star hotel in Juhu here during a scuffle over the selection of songs being played there by the disc jockey (DJ).
 
Police said Pancholi, 50, arrived at the pub at about 0030 hours, along with a few of his friends. 
 
According to the police, the group wanted the DJ to switch from the English tracks he was playing and play some Hindi music, which was not done.
 
An argument followed, and the bouncer intervened and tried to escort the actor and his friends out. During the scuffle, the actor allegedly hit him with the butt of his mobile telephone, they said.
 
The bouncer got himself treated at a nearby hospital and then turned up at the police station. Police personnel, meanwhile, rushed to the pub and arrested Pancholi and got him medically examined at a hospital to find out if he was under the influence of alcohol.
 
Police said a case had been registered under sections 323, 324 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the actor for voluntarily causing hurt, breach of peace and criminal intimidation.
 
Pancholi was due to be produced in a holiday court during the day today, police sources added.
 
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AAP's Mayank Gandhi says efforts being made to dub him as anti-Kejriwal

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Two days after slamming the party's leadership for removing two of its founders, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, from its Political Affairs Committee (PAC), senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Mayank Gandhi has hit out again, saying a concerted attempt was being made in social media to call him anti-party and anti-Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi.
 
"After the 4th March meeting, it was my well thought out and conscious decision to write the blogs to uphold the higher principle of transparency," he said on his blog today, referring to his previous post about the removal of Mr Yadav and Mr Bhushan.
 
"A price may have to be paid. A small group of party decision makers in Delhi have already removed me from the informal BBM group. Attacks have begun against me from Ashish Khetan and others. 
 
"Some dissatisfied members from Maharashtra have started giving interviews against me, some old cases are being re-opened. A concerted attempt is being made in social media to call me anti-party and anti-AK," he wrote.
 
"The party may decide not to fight BMC elections or delay the decision for the same, leadership of Maharashtra will be challenged and discredited by some individuals, media leaks will be made. More will come and I will be finally humiliated so much that I will quit.  That was what was planned for YY and PB, but they overturned that plan by staying inside the party. Let me see if I can withstand the muck that will be thrown. But, my being in the party or not is immaterial, if by then, I am able to bring in some changes in the functioning of the party and empowered the volunteers," he said.
 
Mr Gandhi said that since the May 4 meeting of the party's national executive (NE), at which the decision to remove Mr Yadav and Mr Bhushan was taken, thousands of its volunteers had been asking about the difference between AAP and other parties.
 
"I want to tell the country that there is a huge difference and in the next few weeks, we volunteers shall demonstrate the same. As a disciplined worker, I am generally non-confrontational and have never spoken a word against the movement nor party since the past four years outside the appropriate forum. But now is the time to take a stand. This is not to weaken the party nor our leadership, but to strengthen AAP and the principles that we have espoused.
 
"It always has to be nation first, party next and individuals last. Party is only a vehicle to serve the nation and individuals, merely tools. The blogs are an exhortation to our volunteers, supporters and donors, not to disengage nor become negative, but to engage more with the party and force the leaders to truly build AAP into a party of our dreams. A model party based on principles of participation, accountability, transparency, decentralization and integrity. A party that will force other political parties to follow our example and improve governance and political activity in the nation. AAP volunteers need to demonstrate how we are the real owners of the party and bring back the founding principles in the party.
 
"If you had read my earlier blog carefully, it was my personal challenge to the gag order on informing the volunteers about this most important NE meeting. Thousands from all over the world were waiting – some crying, some sleepless and most worried. A gag order was completely wrong. And hence I challenged the same. Having heard AK speak hundreds of times on transparency, participation, accountability and the need to stay away from arrogance, it has built a strong conscience in me. We must follow this higher consciousness, as a party. My blogs are not against any individual nor a challenge to the leadership. That is not how I function.
 
"A volunteer identifies and considers AAP as part of their existence, but the walls built between them, the Committees and their non-transparent decisions have alienated them. Volunteers must propose that all NE meetings be video recorded and volunteers allowed to view the same. All committee members are finally just representatives of volunteers, nothing more. Remember, video recording was one of our demands during the joint draft committee meetings on Janlokpal in 2011. All minutes of the meeting signed by all members in all committees in the country should be released on the next day of the meeting to volunteers and supporters," he said.
 
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Mr Gandhi hoped the minutes of the national executive meeting would be published soon, saying he had given only some glimpses of the happenings and the complete minutes should be in the public domain.
 
"My description could have some shortcomings and may contain some probable bias, but the minutes will be authentic records. The volunteers should request for the same. This will strengthen the party and volunteers will become privy to the decisions taken," he said.
 
He said volunteers need to propose to the national executive about processes and systems on subjects of inner party democracy, volunteer management and communication, reconstitution of PAC and NE, code of conduct for volunteers and leaders, gender justice, conflict resolution mechanisms, policy stands on various subjects, and so on.
 
"In my next blog, I shall propose some concrete ideas on the principle of participation of volunteers in the working of the party and seek your ideas and suggestions.
 
"Friends, it is time to participate in the party functioning in the best tradition of Swaraj. It should be non-confrontational, graceful, respectful to the leadership and constructive. We are all learning. 
 
"Let me reiterate, this is not any rebellion, nor against our leadership, nor to seek personal attention. I truly believe that AK is the hope for the country and I have learnt almost everything from him.  I will continue to avoid going to the press," he added.
 
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