IFFCO to expand its Urea capacity at Kalol
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, Oct 20: The IFFCO Board of Directors, under the Chairmanship of Mr Surinder Kumar Jakhar, has welcomed the Government's recent policy for new investment in urea sector and termed it as a step in the right direction.
With the advent of the new policy, IFFCO’s Board in its meeting held here on Monday, decided to set up a new expansion plant at Kalol having a capacity of 4000 MTPD (1.3 million MTPA) of single stream urea plant along with Ammonia plant with the capacity of 2200 MTPD. IFFCO's Managing Director, Dr U S Awasthi, was also present at the meeting.
Required utilities and a Captive Power Plant for generation of adequate power for the existing as well as proposed plants in the complex shall also be installed.
The proposed plant shall be most modern with maximum energy efficiency. Government of India has been approached for the allocation of gas for the project. The total cost of expansion project is expected to be around Rs. 5000 crores.
Mr Jakhar further said that Kalol Unit, set up in 1975, is the mother Plant of IFFCO and has been functioning extremely well for the last more than 30 years and no major expansion has been undertaken at Kalol.
The Chairman further added that the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is being requested to lay the Foundation Stone of this new expansion plant. The Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertiliser and Steel, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, is being requested to preside over the function.
Mr Jakhar disclosed that M/s. Haldor Topsoe, Denmark and M/s. Snam Progetti, Italy have been appointed as Consultant & M/s. PDIL has been appointed as Consultant for detailing the engineering of the project.
Mahindra introduces FuelSmart system in Bolero, Scorpio SUVs
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, Oct 21: Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s leader in utility vehicles, has launched the path-breaking FuelSmart system for Scorpio M2DI and Bolero SLX BS3 variants in the Indian market.
The Mahindra FuelSmart system with Micro-Hybrid technology is a technological innovation developed by the Mahindra Research & Development team with the support of M/S BOSCH. This technology enables the SUV’s engine to switch off automatically at a traffic light when idle and in neutral gear and the engine starts seamlessly once the driver depresses the clutch before moving forward.
The system is based on the simple principle of not burning fuel when it is not required. It automatically detects moments, during the drive, when the vehicle is idle and stops the engine. This conserves fuel, leading to reduced running costs, and also leads to reduced emissions. FuelSmart technology, thus, marks another innovative first by one of India’s leading auto companies.
Congratulating the Mahindra Group on its latest innovation, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said, “I am honoured and delighted to be a part of this historic and pioneering launch. Innovative technologies like the Mahindra FuelSmart system with Micro Hybrid technology will help the government achieve its sustainable energy goals. Initiatives such as this will serve as a benchmark in India’s sustainable energy programme. Today, global warming and pollution have become impediments in the face of development and we can overcome their adverse effects through path breaking technologies like the Mahindra FuelSmart system with Micro Hybrid technology.”
“The Mahindra FuelSmart system with Micro Hybrid technology reflects our commitment to sustainable growth. This initiative is part of our Sustainable Mobility Solutions programme which seeks to pioneer technologies that are not only fuel-efficient and innovative, but also environment friendly. The recent uncertainty in crude oil prices across the globe is a serious cause for concern and the Mahindra Micro Hybrids present a unique solution to mitigate the problem,” said Keshub Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group.
“This pioneering technology is very relevant to India. It was specially created keeping in mind the heavy traffic congestion drivers have to face on our roads today. An incremental cost of only Rs 3,800 makes the highly advantageous Mahindra FuelSmart System quite affordable. Therefore, it can be used across a large number of vehicles and make a significant difference to energy consumption,” said Dr. Pawan Goenka – President, Automotive Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
How the FuelSmart system with Micro Hybrid technology works:
The Mahindra FuelSmart system with Micro Hybrid technology switches off the vehicle’s engine after it has come to a complete halt. For example, if the vehicle comes to a halt at a traffic signal and is in neutral, the engine will shut down automatically after 10 seconds. Just before stopping, the indicator light located in the instrument cluster will blink, indicating that the engine is going to stop shortly. Once the signal turns green and the driver presses the clutch pedal, the engine starts immediately for continuing the journey.
In addition to fuel efficiency, the system also has other advantages. Since the engine is switched off during traffic signals / traffic jams, release of a considerable amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is avoided. This mitigates the adverse effects of global warming, thus helping to provide us with a cleaner environment to live in.
The system also monitors health of the battery, safety requirements and the engine temperature, etc. for a trouble-free performance.
RIL's Hazira Unit wins Golden Peacock award
MUMBAI, Oct 2: Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Thursday said its Hazira manufacturing division has been adjudged as the winner of 'Golden Peacock Award for Innovation 2008'.
The award was presented to RIL at the 9th international conference on corporate governance held at London, a press release issued here said.
"This is a major step towards institutionalising the innovation processes at Hazira manufacturing division, which is in-line with our corporate innovation agenda," RIL's Executive Director, H S Kohli said.
RIL was selected for the award after a three-stage assessment process by the Golden Peacock Awards Jury, under the chairmanship of former Chief Justice of India, P N Bhagwati, the release said.
M&M launches Scorpio Automatic
MUMBAI, Sept 24: Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) on Wednesday launched Scorpio Automatic, the first Indian sports utility vehicle (SUV) with a fully automatic six-gear box in the market.
The new edition of the SUV is equipped with in-built intelligent driving modes for an effortless drive and a wide array of smart features.
Priced at Rs 10.2 lakh and above (ex-show room price in Pune), the new Scorpio Automatic is available in VLX and VLS variants, the release said.
"The new Scorpio Automatic has been designed to make driving an effortless experience, allowing one to focus on the drive rather than gear section," according to Pawan Goenka, M&M Ltd Automative Sector President.
The car's intelligent drive modes provide greater vehicle control in a various conditions. Moreover, Automatic is powered by the mHawk engine, which ensures a smoother drive and better fuel efficiency, Goenka said.
The Scorpio Automatic has a fully electronically controlled automatic gear box, which results in shorter shift times and hence improved drivability, which is a major technical improvement over earlier automatics which were hydraulic-controlled, it said.
Govt urges court to lift ban on RIL gas sales
NEW DELHI, Sept 24: The government has requested the Bombay High Court to lift a stay on sale of gas from Reliance Industries Ltd's Krishna-Godavari field off the Andhra coast. The court had asked the Mukesh Ambani-controlled firm to refrain from creating any "third-party" interest on gas from the field in connection with a contractual dispute redressal petition filed by Anil Ambani's Reliance Natural Resources Ltd.
"Efforts are on to get the court injunction vacated to help early gas production from the K-G basin. The government has requested the Bombay High Court for lifting injunction on gas sales," petroleum secretary R S Pandey said on the sidelines of an industry meet organised the PHDCCI on Wednesday.
The oil ministry had recently became a party to the case. On Tuesday, Anil Ambani had questioned the oil ministry's move, saying the it was "siding with a private company". Many saw this as an attack on the ministry for what Anil saw as the government helping Reliance Industries.
Pandey explained the government had intervened to get the ban on gas sales lifted. Other officials said the ministry had become a party to the case after both attorney general and the law ministry gave their opinion that the government was indeed an "affected party" by the court stay on gas sales.
Reliance Natural Resources has staked claim on 28 million cubic metres per day of gas from the field as part of a family agreement signed by the two sides during the demerger of the Reliance empire. The agreement allegedly envisaged the gas would be sold at the price of $2.34 per mBtu (million British thermal unit) that RIL had quoted to state-owned generation utility NTPC for 12 million cubic metres a day in 2004. A ministerial panel last year set the price at $4.20 mBtu. The court had stayed sale of gas to anyone other than RNRL and NTPC.
The government felt it had to intervene as RIL had said it would start commercial pumping from December-January. The government's argument is that since gas cannot be stored like oil, the stay on sale will put it in a piquant situation and put the exchequer to a loss even in case the field was to be capped and idled.
RIL will initially produce 15-20 million cubic metres of gas from Dhirubhai-1 and 3 fields, the first two of the 18 discoveries and 40 million cubic metres by mid-2009.
RIL reiterates its humanitarian zeal; Donates Rs 11 cr to Bihar CM's Relief Fund
MUMBAI, Sept 10: Taking the lead in Corporate India's response to the horrific disaster in Bihar, Reliance Industries Limited today announced a donation to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund. While handingover a cheque of Rs 11 crore, Mrs. Nita Ambani, chairperson of the Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation, reiterated the company's resolve to partner the state in both alleviating the suffering of the people as well as its future relief and rehabilitation efforts.
Given the scale of the disaster, the need is for companies to come forward and extend a helping hand to the government as well as the agencies who are involved with the relief efforts.
Mrs Ambani remarked, "Some of the hardest work is still ahead, and it will require the creative skill and generosity of the whole country."
She hoped that the funds would be used to vanquish the spread of epidemics and provide preventive vaccination to all especially the children and old people.
Mrs. Ambani said, "Children, the most vulnerable of all, need care and nourishing as well as safety. We need to hold out succor to those mentally ravaged bythe distress of not knowing if their loved ones are alive."
Mrs. Ambani expressed her strong belief that the core of strength within us that survives all disasters would help rebuild a better and resurgent Bihar.
Biggest ‘Reliance Mart’ comes to North India
FARIDABAD, Sept 10: Reliance Retail launched its hypermarket under the brand name “Reliance Mart” at Crown Interiorz Mall, Delhi-Mathura Road, today.
After the successful launch of hypermarkets in Tirupati, Pune, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Ranchi, Hyderabad and two hypermarkets in Gujarat at Ahmedabad and Jamnagar, this is the first Reliance Mart to be launched in Faridabad in the NCR region.
The first of its kind in North India, ‘Reliance Mart’ spread across 1,00,000 sq. ft. of shopping area, will provide the shoppers a never before experienced shopping delight. The store carries a range of over 40,000 products catering to the needs of the entire family.
Shoppers have the option to choose from a wide array of products in every category ranging from fresh produce, daily needs, home, books & music, gifts and toys, footwear, eyewear, cosmetics and fragrances, furniture, furnishing & décor, computers and entertainment, health and wellness products.
Commenting on the launch of this new format, Mr Raghu Pillai, President and CEO - Operations and Strategy, Reliance Retail said “The launch of Reliance Mart at Faridabad, will provide an international shopping experience to all our customers at unmatched affordability, guaranteed quality and choice of products and services. The Reliance Mart marks another milestone in our effort to unleash the retail revolution in India”.
This store has dedicated 25000 sq ft shopping area to apparel and 10000 sq ft consumer durable and electronics lovers.
For customer convenience, in addition to other products & services Reliance Mart also offers fashion jewellery, auto accessories, membership, free home delivery, telecom services, ResQ- the consumer durable service and consumer finance services.
The store layout and ambiance has been designed specifically to provide customers comfort and ease while shopping. Reliance Mart has 17 check-out counters and 4 express check-out counters aimed at reducing the customer waiting time.
The store will remain open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days a week, serviced by over 210 highly skilled and trained customer sales representatives.
Reliance Mart offers its customers, "RelianceOne", Membership & Loyalty program, designed to deliver customized benefits to frequent shoppers. Under this scheme, customers can earn RelianceOne Points on all shopping in the store which can be redeemed after accumulation. RelianceOne already has a membership base of more than 4 million customers.
Reliance Mart, truly promises to give its customers a wonderful and comfortable shopping experience.
RIL sets up two arms to tap global market
NEW DELHI, sept 9: Reliance Industries (RIL), the country’s largest company by market capitalisation, has set up two wholly-owned subsidiaries in London and Singapore, which will trade in petroleum products produced by the company’s refineries in India, the company said in a press statement.
With subsidiaries in the oil trading hubs of London and Singapore, which also have oil exchanges, Reliance will be able to directly sell its products to international consumers.
The company till recently depended on independent traders for selling products from its 660,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat to overseas buyers. The company then set up a trading division which helped it negotiate directly with buyers of its petroleum products.
The financial gain that Reliance will get from this structure was not disclosed by the company. At present, the company sells directly to traders, who in turn route it to consumers; and also through trading divisions.
Both the subsidiaries will be headed by former Shell executives. The London-based Reliance Global Energy Services will be led by Peter Ward, the former president of Shell Trading’s gas and power division. Reliance Global Energy Services Singapore Pte will be headed by Michael Ng, who has been the head of Shell’s international aviation business in Asia.
Reliance exports over 80 per cent of the products its produces from the 660,000 bpd export-oriented refinery at Jamnagar. The company’s subsidiary, Reliance Petroleum, is also expected to commission its 580,000 bpd refinery adjacent to the existing one. This refinery, likely to be put on stream later this year, is located in a special economic zone (SEZ) and all the products may be exported.
Reliance buys high sulphur crude oil, which are cheaper than low-sulphur crude oil, from various parts of the world and processes it in its highly complex refineries into the highest quality petrol and diesel, which is exported to countries in Europe and North America.
The two new trading arms may also help Reliance source cheap grade crude oil for its refineries, a Mumbai-based analyst said.
Moser Baer sells 6.5 pc stake in photo-voltaic unit
NEW DELHI, Sept 4: Optical storage media manufacturer Moser Baer India on Thursday said it has sold 6.5 per cent stake in its photo-voltaic unit for Rs 411 crores to a consortium of investors including Japanese firm Nomura and CDC group.
"Moser Baer has entered into definitive agreements to raise Rs 411 crores from a consortium of global investors including Nomura, CDC Group, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, IDFC PE and IDFC", Moser Baer group CFO Yogesh B Mathur said, adding the transaction values Moser Baer photo-voltaic business at Rs 6,350 crores,
The proceeds would be used for expanding the unit's capacity.
Moser Baer shares closed at Rs 116.20, up 9.47 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The company also announced that it would invest over Rs 1,774 crores (USD 400 million) during this fiscal to expand the capacity of its photo-voltaic unit.
The company had raised Rs 400 crores in November 2007 through private equity for the photo-voltaic unit and a part of that proceedings would also be used for the expansion, Tarun Jaitly, Head, Group Capital Markets Moser Baer India said, adding in all the wholly-owned subsidiary would have raised Rs 811 crores of private funding.
The rest of the amount would be raised through debt, he added.
Sony recalls laptops due to overheating
TOKYO, Sept 4: Sony says it is recalling 440,000 Vaio laptop computers worldwide due to a wiring flaw that could cause overheating.
Sony Corporation said on Thursday the recall involves 19 models in the Vaio TZ series manufactured between May 2007 and July 2008, including three export models.
The Tokyo-based consumer electronics company says improperly placed wires near the hinge connecting the body of the laptop and its display could wear quickly, causing a short circuit and overheating.
It says it has received reports of overheating, including some cases in, which people received minor burns.
M&M August sales up 5 per cent
MUMBAI, Sept 1: Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) said on Monday that its total automobile vehicle sales rose by 5%, registering sales of 19,211 units in August compared to 18,269 units in the same month last year. Domestic sales climbed 5% to 18,321 units while exports for the month were up by 7% at 890 units.
Sales of Logan slumped 35% to 1,464 units in August, while three-wheeler sales jumped 51% to 4,315 units. UV sales (without Scorpio) were up 12% at 9,029 units. UV sales (including Scorpio) were down 2% at 11,731 units. LCV sales fell 3% to 811 units.
Total tractor sales in August were up 16%, registering volume of 7,597 units compared to 6,572 units in the corresponding month a year earlier. Domestic sales were up 16% to 7,000 units while exports rose 6% to 597 units.
Raheja to invest Rs 4,500 cr to develop Engg SEZ in Gurgaon
NEW DELHI, Aug 20: Realty firm Raheja Developers Ltd today said it would invest about Rs 4,500 crore to develop an engineering SEZ in Gurgaon over the next three to five years.
"This is the first notified engineering Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the northern India. The project cost to develop this 255-acre SEZ is about Rs 4,500 crore," Raheja Developers Chairman Navin M Raheja told reporters here.
The investment would be funded through a mix of debt, equity and internal accruals, he said. "We are looking at strategic investors as well," he added.
The project is expected to create job opportunities for around 50,000 people (including both direct and indirect) and has a potential to generate annual exports of Rs 1,000 crore.
Raheja said the first phase of the project that involves the notified 255 acre would be completed over the next 3-5 years. The company plans to increase the size of SEZ project and is in talks with land owners.
He said the expression of interest from the companies has been sought and deadline for submitting the same is September-end.
"We are in talks with at least 10 firms which have shown interest in setting up facilities in our SEZ," Raheja SEZs Ltd Director Ajay Midha said, but refused to name any.
Raheja informed that out of the total 255 acre, about 60 per cent has been purchased while in the remaining 40 per cent the company has entered into partnership with land owners.
We are sorting out the Scorpio grill issue: Anand Mahindra
MUMBAI, Aug 18: M&M vice-chairman and MD Anand Mahindra said that while there is an issue only with the grill of the Scorpio, ‘we are sorting it out.’
M&M and Chrysler are embroiled in a dispute over the front grill design of the Scorpio. Chrysler alleges that M&M copied the design from its automobile marquee, Jeep.
Auto experts indicate that M&M will have to redesign the grill, as the US auto maker Chrysler is keen to make its presence in emerging markets like India and China. Sales have been under pressure for the US auto maker for the last few months.
A Chrysler official, when contacted, declined to comment. The two companies were also locked in an unrelated dispute in South Africa in June this year which has been sorted out. M&M’s ‘Jeep’ connections are decades old.
When M&M founders, brothers JC Mahindra and KC Mahindra, started out in 1945 just after the war, they began by assembling completely knocked-down (CKD) Willys Jeeps imported from the US. Chrysler pointed out that till 1994, M&M could use the word, Jeep. But after 1994, it belonged only to Chrysler.
Scorpio: ‘No infringement of intellectual property’
MUMBAI, Aug. 18 “We are extremely confident that there is no infringement of any intellectual property,” said Mr Anand Mahindra, Managing Director and Vice Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra, while responding to queries regarding reports of dispute between Mahindra and US automaker Chrysler on Scorpio’s design.
“The issue has to do with the grill and not the entire design of Scorpio. Dialogue between the two companies will resolve the issue,” he told reporters at the press conference on Monday, held to announce the joint venture with the Chinese tractor company.
Meanwhile, sources familiar with the issue indicated that there was no question of legal battle over the design dispute although there were a few e-mail correspondence between Mahindra and Chrysler at the middle management level.
Mr Mahindra has made it clear that the company is not interested in buying Hummer, the SUV brand of the US automaker General Motors. “There has been a lot of speculation. I am saying categorically that we are not pursuing Hummer. At the Auto Expo, we have showcased our strength as green warriors and we don’t want to tarnish our image,” he said, alluding to the gas guzzler image of Hummer.
Anil Ambani to capture 40% market in DTH
MUMBAI: Anil Ambani's Reliance Big TV forays into the growing Direct to Home (DTH) services and draws up an ambitious plan to capture 40 per cent of the market share within 12 months.
Reliance Big TV, a subsidiary of Reliance Communications, will offer 202 channels initially and increase the bouquet to 330-350 over a period of time, company CEO Arun Kapoor said here on Tuesday.
Against 120 million TV homes in India, world's second largest, only six million are connected to DTH services being provided by four players namely, Tata Sky, Dish TV, Sun TV and DD Direct.
"The number of DTH TV homes is likely to grow by an additional 11-12 million in a year from now and we aim to have 40 per cent market share of that," Kapoor said.
The DTH subscriber base is likely to go up to 60 million by 2015, he added.
The service will be available in over one lakh outlets across country's 6,500 towns including over 2,000 exclusive Reliance branded stores. By March next year, the reach would be extended to 10,000 towns, he said.
"We are ready to provide the service to five million homes," Kapoor said adding that STBs would be outsourced from various vendors including Hyundai and ZTB.
He, however, did not rule out the possibility of setting up a Group-owned STB manufacturing facility in the distant future, saying," As of now, we don't have any plan. We will see that in future".
‘Mahindra will talk to Chrysler on Scorpio design’
Mumbai, Aug. 13 There is no dispute between Mahindra and Mahindra and US automaker Chrysler on the issue of Scorpio design, a spokesperson for the company said.
However, a source close to company said the Indian company will talk to the US automaker as there were media reports that Chrysler may take legal action against Mahindra for copying the design of its iconic model, Jeep.
“Scorpio has been around since 2002 and there has been no controversy so far. Therefore, these reports are hard to comprehend,” said a company source. The entire controversy must be viewed in the context of reports that Chrysler is in talks with Tata Motors and Fiat, he said.
However, Chrysler declined to comment, leaving much to speculation. “We hope you’ll understand that we cannot comment on this matter at this time,” Mr Michael Palese, a spokesperson of Chrysler, told Business Line in response to an e-mail query.
As regards the reports of another dispute between Mahindra and Chrysler in South Africa regarding the use of Jeep in the ads put out by the Indian company, a Mahindra official said that it had won that case. Chrysler’s South African arm had complained against an ad run by Mahindra which uses its automobile marquee Jeep, saying it owns the trademark to the world’s oldest sports utility vehicle of World War II vintage.
Canara Bank opens branch in Shanghai
BEIJING, Aug 6: Canara Bank opened a branch in Shanghai on Wednesday making it the fourth Indian bank having branch operations in China.
The bank expects to go beyond the usual strategy of offering services to Indian businesses and offer banking linkages to Chinese companies with interests in Hong Kong and London.
"We are also keen to offer banking facilities to Chinese customers looking for linkages in India as well as in London and Hong Kong where we have branches." A C Mahajan, chairman and managing director of Canara Bank told over phone.
But the bank's main focus in Shanghai would be offering trade finance to Indian customers doing business in China. Letters of credit and guarantee business are other important areas.
Mahajan said it was possible to obtain a license from the China Banking Regulatory Commission as the regulator had sufficient knowledge about Canara Bank's strength as a favourite bank for small and medium enterprises besides being the strongest bank in South India. The bank also has a healthy book in terms of profitability, capital adequacy and non-performing loans.
Canara Bank, which set up a representative office in Shanghai three years back, has floated the branch with a capital base of $28 million. This allows the bank to burrow a similar sum from foreign exchange markets outside China, and use more than $50 million to grow its business.
The other Indian banks with branches in China are the State Bank of India, Bank of India and Bank of Baroda. But no Chinese bank has so far sought a license to operate in India.
"I think Chinese banks will soon get interested about setting up branches in India as the bilateral trade is expanding at a very fast rate. As long as they do not come, Indian banks like us will be providing Chinese banks with performance guarantees to do business in India," he said.
Performance guarantees that generate at least 0.3 per cent as commission have emerged as a lucrative area of profit for banks. Mahajan expects this line of business to grow now that Canara Bank has a branch in Shanghai.
IFFCO bags Smart Workplace Award
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, July 24: IFFCO has bagged the prestigious Economic Times, Acer and Intel Smart Workplace Award in the Manufacturing & Industrial Segment. The award was received by S.C. Mittal, Executive Director (MS & IT) and A.K. Gupta, Dy General Manager (Systems) at a award ceremony in Mumbai.
The award was instituted by The Economic Times, Acer and Intel Corporation with the objective of recognising companies which have set up smart offices and have used technology to simplify the lives of their employees and enhance their productivity.
The criteria was that the offices should have strong connectivity, security and automated systems, employees welfare facilities like health, medical, recreation, modern office infrastructure etc.
The category of award was based on the size of the organization and verticals such as Financial Services, FMCG, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Infrastructure etc.
Out of 550 entries, 90 were short listed on the parameters devised by Price Waterhouse Coopers. Each of the short listed company was then visited by a jury from Price Warterhouse Coopers and The Economic Times.