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IFFCO hails Indian Govt's move to decontrol fertiliser industry

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, July 2: Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited, acclaimed world leader in production and marketing of fertilizers, has welcomed the Government’s move to decontrol fertilizer industry and give direct subsidy to the farmers.

Reacting to the economic survey of the Government, presented in Parliament on Thursday, Dr. U.S. Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO, commended the Government’s significant move to decontrol fertiliser industry and provide direct subsidy to the farmers.

In fact, it was Dr U S Awasthi who has been advocating direct subsidy to the farmers. He had stressed on this in several interviews with this correspondent in the past.

Dr. Awasthi feels that fertiliser subsidy is actually a misnomer and he had emphasised that subsidy should be disbursed directly to the farmers instead of routing the same through the manufacturers.

IFFCO has been advocating payment of direct subsidy to farmers and has given presentation to Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Planning Commission, Group of Ministers (GOM) and had made it clear though print media.

For this purpose, Dr Awasthi had suggested certain alternate modalities like Smart Card, payment through banks/ cooperative banks.

The Managing Director on behalf of IFFCO and its 40,000 member cooperative societies, thanked Government of India and assured full support to the Government to make this move a success.

The fertiliser industry has partnered Indian Farmers in the green revolution that enabled the country to attain self sufficiency in food grain production to a certain extent. In the recent times, the fertiliser subsidy has captured almost every body’s attention.

With this move by the Government to decontrol fertiliser industry, manufacturers are expected to get freedom to produce different products and sell them at reasonable price.
The Managing Director further said that this move would help in increasing farm productivity.

It's Mahindra Satyam

Anand MahindraHYDERABAD, June 22: Scandal-hit Satyam Computers has been named Mahindra Satyam. The logo will be adopted from the Mahindra Group.

Speaking on the rebranding initiative, Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Mahindra Group, said, “Customer centricity, high standards of corporate governance, unimpeachable ethics form the cornerstones of the Mahindra Group. This rebranding exercise symbolizes an amalgamation of the Mahindra Group’s values with Satyam’s fabled expertise, even as it retains that part of Satyam’s identity which signifies commitment, purpose and proficiency of the organization and its people.”

Vineet Nayyar, Executive Vice Chairman, Satyam Board, commenting on the new identity, “This is a significant milestone towards the recovery of the company. We are optimistic that this new brand will re-energize the organization and will be well received by all our stakeholders. With this initiative, we will witness steps by the Management to adopt and inculcate the values of ‘performance and customer first’, ‘good corporate governance and citizenship’, which are drawn from the Mahindra Group. With this synergistic approach, Mahindra Satyam will learn from the best management practices of the Mahindra Group while focusing on nurturing Satyam’s innate skills and capabilities.”

Tech Mahindra will finalise this weekend a new identity for Satyam Computer Services, the scam-tainted IT company it bought in an open auction last April.

The decision was taken at a closed-door meeting attended by top executives of Tech Mahindra Hyderabad this weekend. The new brand has drawn on the strengths of both Satyam and Tech Mahindra.

The meeting was attended by Mahindra & Mahindra vice-chairman Anand Mahindra, group HR head Rajeev Dubey, Tech Mahindra CEO Vineet Nayyar, international operations head CP Gurnani and strategic initiatives head Rajeev Kalra.

Senior executives at Satyam, TechM and M&M had been working on the re-branding exercise with select external advisors ever since TechM acquired the company.

Satyam Computers, one of the top IT companies of India, shocked corporate India last January when its founder and then CEO B Ramalinga Raju confessed to cooking its books over years. The government launched a massive probe, took control over its board, and after three months, put the company up for sale.

Tech Mahindra did not want to continue with the Satyam brand in its present form, though it wanted to leverage the strengths of the firm. The new brand will convey the synergies of Satyam, well-known for its expertise in areas such as enterprise resource planning, M&M group’s global brand and corporate governance and Tech Mahindra’s strength in telecom.

Apart from re-branding, Tech Mahindra and Satyam senior executives also discussed the joint go-to-market strategy of the two companies.

Mahindra's Holiday investment

NEW DELHI, June 22: While a unique business model, growth opportunity and consistent track record are the positives for the issue, the pricing appears stiff.

Mahindra & Mahindra’s subsidiary and the country’s largest vacation ownership company, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts is floating a Rs 192 crore IPO (excluding Rs 108 crore offer for sale by M&M) to fund its expansions and greenfield projects.

The 12-year old company which has 96,000 members owns 27 resorts around the country and Thailand is adding more to its room inventory by way of expansion and acquisitions to take care of the estimated increase in demand for its services.

The company derives its revenues from four sources--membership fee, annual subscription fee, interest on EMIs and service revenues offered at the resort.

The major chunk of revenues comes from membership fee which so far works out to an average of Rs 2.5 lakh per subscriber. This is divided into admission fee (60 per cent or Rs 1.5 lakh) and entitlement fee which accounts for the rest.

The subscription entitles members the choice to take a holiday at any of their 27 resorts (plus upcoming resorts), for seven days each year, in a season and apartment type of their choice, for 25 years—this would be based on the grade of the membership. The annual subscription fee (or maintenance expenses) at about Rs 8,500 per member per year is another source of revenue.

The company also derives revenues from the 16 per cent interest that it charges its members who opt to pay for subscription to the holiday packages in equated monthly instalments. Finally, revenues from food and beverages and entertainment services are also a major source of revenues.

The company has been launching a number of brands and services over the years to cater to various age groups and budgets. In addition to its mainstay brand Club Mahindra Holidays targetted at the age group between 30-55 years and offering a 7-day stay for 25 years, it has launched Zest for young urban families which allows for shorter breaks of 6 days every year for 10 years. The company also has a plan for corporates and senior citizens which allows them to use its facilities in off-peak periods.

The company launched a travel portal in 2008, which allows it to tap the travel services pie of its subscribers. The company also has Homestays concept which it launched in London last year and in some locations in India wherein subscribers can opt to stay as guests at homes owned by third parties.

All these brand initiatives and aggressive marketing has helped the company grow its base by a CAGR of 34 per cent over the last five years to over 96,000 members but inventory at 1261 apartments and cottages hasn’t caught up.

The company, however, says that only 63,000 members are eligible to stay at its resorts, as there is an 18 month waiting period from the date of registration and on an average its resorts are filled up only 4.2 days a week leaving enough room for more customers as of now.

The issue for the company, however, is that most members might choose a single location at the same time period and year making it difficult to accommodate them all and could result in dissatisfied customers. However, the company says that the low delinquency rate of 4 per cent and 35 per cent of all new members coming by way of referrals indicates that customers are happy with the services offered.

The company is on the look-out to add new rooms through expansions at its current facilities, greenfield projects and acquisitions. It will use over Rs 200 crore from IPO proceeds to set up resorts at Tungi (Lonavla) and Theog (Shimla), expand Coorg (Karnataka) and Ashtamudi (Kerala) resorts and renovate its property at Ooty.

All these measures will help it add another 500 rooms over the next one year. Considering that it added 19,000 new members in FY09 and a higher number expected in the current fiscal, the company will be just about able to match the increase in numbers.

The company plans its expansions based on the fact that it will need one room for incremental additions of 50 subscribers.

The economic downturn in the second half of 2008 meant that the company’s financial took a hit in the December quarter. A slowdown in the BFSI segment which accounts for a significant chunk of business dragged down the incremental growth in subscriber base (from 21,000 in FY08 to 19,000 in FY09), revenue growth (slower growth of 18 per cent vs 5-year CAGR of over 43 per cent) and net profits (down 6 per cent) of the company in FY09.

The company believes that its diversification strategy across age groups, income segments, industries and geographic segments (Tier 2 and lower) should protect it to an extent from adverse situations in the future.

The company believes that it can keep its costs down as a majority of its land bank centred in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra have been acquired at low rates helping it keep the land costs at under 2 per cent of the development expenses.

Ever since it started making profits in 2002, the company has registered robust growth rates in sales and profitability parametres. For the period FY05-FY09, revenues and net profits averaged 43 per cent and 58 per cent, with FY09 being the exception.

The biggest cost for the company are sales and marketing expenses which though high compare well with international benchmarks of 50 per cent. While the lack of comparable peers make it difficult to value the company, the issue price at Rs 275-Rs325 is 32 per cent lower than the price paid last year by SBI and PE firm Jacob Ballas for a 2 per cent and 1 per cent in the company respectively.

Even though there is no strict comparison to other hospitality players if we are to use Indian Hotels which trades at 16 times its FY10 estimated earnings as a benchmark, the Mahindra Holiday IPO which is priced at a 22 times its FY10 estimated EPS at the lower band looks a tad expensive.

While there is little doubt that the company’s business model, sustainability of revenues, market dominance and the growth opportunity are attractive, we believe Mahindra Holidays should have left more on the table for the investors. Invest, but with a 2-3 year perspective.

Story of a victim of a major credit card fraud on SCB Titanium

NEW DELHI, June 4: Mr R P Jain, Director, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (P) Ltd, has been a reported victim of a major credit card fraud and Standard Chartered Bank wants him to own it up for the mistake at their end.

Mr Jain has been running from pillar to post with the bank authorities but to no avail.

His miseries began when on May 1 he received a bill of Rs 2,42,053 for a supplementary credit card that he had never applied for.

Mr Jain said that he was astonished that a SCB Titanium Card (Supplementary) was issued by the Standard Chartered Bank to an unknown person and a stranger with the name Sonu and without my approval.

According to the credit card statement Sonu had used Rs 2,42,053 fraudulently at Fashion Station & Rudra Jewellers on April 2, 7 and 10, 2009. “How can your bank issue any card whatsoever until or unless I, the primary card-holder # 5546 2329 0701 8070, has authorized you to do so?” he asked.

He said it was a clear apprehension that Sonu’s card has been issued in collusion with the bank staff without which it was not so easily possible and for which your bank was solely responsible.

He said sometime back one Mr KL Anand from Standard Chartered Bank branch in Bangalore called him and confirmed to this effect that such a fraud has taken place. A few days later yet another person, Mr Santosh, B from the Bank’s Bangalore office had called and also confirmed to this effect and said that investigations are going on, but no result or report has come in so far.

In a letter dated May 4 to Mr R.L. Prasad, General Magaer and Head - Credit Cards & Personal Loans, he stated: “Knowing fully well that this is a case of fraud, on what basis are you claiming these dues from me? I am neither liable to pay these charges nor are you justified in your demand? Please remove these charges from your statement & send a fresh / revised one. When a fraud of such a huge amount Rs 2,42,053/- has been committed did your bank bother to lodge an FIR with the police? If so, send me a copy of the FIR, so that I am convinced that proper investigation efforts are being done.”

In the meantime, the letter stated “you may withdraw your unjustified claim of Rs 2,42,053.

Mr Jain has also correspondent with Mr Neeraj Swaroop, CEO, Ms Kanika Malhotra, Customer Relationship Manager, and other officials of the Standard Chartered Bank, but to no avail.

Will somebody listening to Mr Jain?

Jakhar re-elected IFFCO Chairman

By Deepak Arora

Surinder Jakhar flanked by N P Patel and Dr U S AwasthiNEW DELHI, May 18: Surinder Kumar Jakhar has been re-elected as the Chairman of world’s largest and premier fertilizer cooperative, IFFCO, on Monday. N P Patel, a veteran cooperator from Gujarat, has been elected as Vice Chairman of IFFCO, according to a statement issued here.

Mr Jakhar, an eminent farmer-cooperator has been deeply involved in providing a fillip to Indian Cooperative Movement for the last three decades. A widely travelled person, Jakhar carries with him rich and varied experience in the field of agriculture and cooperation. He is also serving as Member on Board of International Cooperative Alliance(ICA).

Under the dynamic leadership of Jakhar, IFFCO has created a new record of Sales of 112 lakh MT of fertiliser in the year 2008-09 and achieved the all-time record turnover of Rs 32933 crore in the year 2008-09. IFFCO has earned a net profit of Rs. 360 crore in the year 2008-09.
During his tenure, IFFCO successfully forayed into Rural telecom sector by forming IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd., IFFCO Chhattisgarh Power Limited in Power sector and became the first company in India to make a SEZ for farmers as IFFCO Kisan SEZ.

IFFCO also ventured abroad as a partner in Legend International, Australia, re-structured ICS Senegal, bought Baylis generators-a UK based company to help the Indian farmers by introducing alternate energy Lanterns & Torches.

Balvinder Singh Nakai, Vithalbhai H. Radadiya, MP, Seesh Pal Singh, Seemachal Padhi, Promod Kumar, Prem Chander Munshi, Ravinder Pratap Singh, Parveen Reddy and Tryembekrao G. Sirsath were also elected on IFFCO's Board.

Cooperators from all corners of India hailed Jakhar's election on IFFCO Board as the Chairman and termed this as a moment of pride for IFFCO and the entire Indian Cooperative Movement.

Dr. U S Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO, said that IFFCO is committed to maintain its democratic character in cooperative and once again proved its strong commitment to strengthen the hands of farmers of India.

Jakhar thanked all the members for their valuable support and felt that his election on IFFCO Board shows solidarity of Indian Farmers and commitment to cooperative fraternity.

International, Indian investors show keen interest in IFFCO’s Kisan SEZ

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, May 1: IFFCO Kisan SEZ has gained the International and Indian Investors interest to invest in first high productive agricultural production and processing agro-park. The fertilizer giant, IFFCO has started the development of this world class infrastructure and is open to participate in new and innovative joint ventures aiming at a positive influence on the lives of farmers in the region.

The International Investor’s meet held during this week was successfully hosted by fertilizer giant IFFCO for its first multi-product agriculture-based Agro-Park, christened 'IFFCO Kisan SEZ', coming up in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.

The companies from Netherland, Israel and Italy participated along with many renowned Indian agri-business counterparts. The meet included a one day site visit to Nellore as well as post-visit technical discussions with the participants.

Speaking at the event, Mr Rakesh Kapur, Deputy Managing Director, IFFCO said that IFFCO would be investing in the development of world class infrastructure for the park and was open to new and innovative ways of participation. He added that the co-operative would also evaluate the options of investing in specific joint ventures which when actualized, would have a positive influence on the lives of farmers in the region.

Dr.U.S.Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO, said that the 2,800 acres Park provides very strong logistics advantage as it is located on both sides of the national highway No. 5, just three hours drive from Chennai and half an hour drive from Krishnapatnam port. Both foreign and Indian companies believe that the agro-park opens up excellent opportunities in addressing the growing metropolitan demand for processed food and to address the export markets in a cost efficient manner.

Investors have shown interest to tap opportunities in areas such as greenhouses, dairy production and processing, high end processing of poultry products, fruit and vegetable processing, processing of paddy and bio-mass based power generation. A renowned domestic fruit and vegetable retailer has expressed interest in setting up a fruit processing unit and is in advanced stage of the feasibility study. Like wise, a leading Indian conglomerate has proposed to set up a fully integrated dairy farm and is in dialog with international technology partners.

Leading Dutch and Israeli business houses are scouting for Indian partners to venture into green house production and integrated poultry production.

Under a hub & spoke model, about 108 Rural Transformation Centers (RTCs) will be developed at the village level to enable direct linkage of the farmers to the demand side of the food chain. These centers would act not only as a collection point for supply of raw materials to the AFP but also serve as vehicles for agri-extension and quality control.

It is expected to generate employment avenues for more than 5,000 persons apart from large-scale economic development of the region.

In addition to developing the Kisan SEZ, IFFCO is also planning to set up state-of-the-art technical training institute to impart training in agriculture and post harvesting technologies as well as grain-harvesting facilities and construction related skills. The co-operative is also looking at the option of adopting a few farmer training institutes in the district to upgrade their facilities in its bid to train local manpower.

Buffalo launches portable DVD drive in India for easier Store, Back up and Transport

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, April 21: Buffalo Inc., a global leader in the design, development and manufacturing of wired and wireless networking, storage and memory solutions, has unveiled high performance portable 8x ultra slim DVD drive in India. This new invention is much more compact with the Cubic volume reduced by 23 per cent.

Backed by two years warranty, it also has a glossy body which best fits for net book. It is available in both Black and White models and is compatible with windows XP and windows Vista.

The DVD drive is rich in unique features such as writing software’s and cyber link data. It’s an ideal choice for small to medium sized businesses, especially for those who love to travel a lot. It also serves as an entertainment piece for relaxing whether out or in at home.

The Japan-based company added that this DVD drive can consume up to 7.5 W and comes with a USB 2.0 port for external drive connectivity. The attached Y type cable enables it with USB bus powered.

The portable DVD will be available in Indian market from this month for Rs. 6,300.

“With PC penetration today reaching almost every household and becoming an integral part of not only work but also entertainment, the range of new optical devices like Buffalo's portable DVD drive will act as a catalyst for users to use the PC more effectively.” Says Hiroo Kanbe, the country Manager of Buffalo.

Buffalo Inc., based in Nagoya, Japan, is a leading global provider of award-winning networking, storage, multimedia and memory solutions for the home and small business environments as well as for system builders and integrators.

With almost three decades of networking and computer peripheral experience, Buffalo has proven its commitment to delivering innovative, best-of-breed solutions that have put the company at the forefront of infrastructure technology.

India confronts global crisis from a position of strength: IMF

NEW DELHI, March 17: Commending India's strong economic performance in recent years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said "India confronts the current global economic and financial crisis from a position of strength."

India's strong economic performance in recent years "reflected sound macroeconomic policies and continued progress with structural reform, the IMF Executive Directors said in their assessment after their annual Article IV Consultation with New Delhi.

Observing that there have been spillovers from the global crisis, they commended Indian authorities' "swift and comprehensive policy response, but underscored the downside risks and called for maintenance of a flexible, pragmatic, and proactive policy stance."

According to a summary of the IMF report released on Tuesday, directors agreed that a key short-run policy objective should be to sustain liquidity and credit flows.

"They believed that monetary and structural policies will have to continue to carry most of the burden of adjustment, given the high public debt-GDP ratio."

Directors welcomed the central bank's actions to ease monetary policy and stimulate bank lending.

A number of directors saw scope for further monetary easing, in light of the projected decline in inflationary pressures and the need to reinforce confidence and sustain bank credit.

However, a number of other directors saw merit in the authorities' wait-and-see approach, given the highly uncertain economic environment, it said.

IMF supported the authorities' flexible exchange rate policy, which will help the economy to adjust to the global downturn, while commending "the strength and resilience of India's financial system, reflected in favourable financial soundness indicators."

The directors however, "stressed that rising credit risk and liquidity pressures could put the financial system under strain, while negative feedback loops between the real and financial sectors could turn out to be strong."

They therefore encouraged the authorities to take additional preventive action, including identification of potential bank re-capitalisation needs and measures to promote early loss recognition, full disclosure of bad assets, and filling of information gaps, the report said.

They underscored the importance of persevering with reforms to deepen and further strengthen the financial sector, develop the corporate bond market, and improve banking efficiency.

IMF Directors broadly supported the authorities' gradual and cautious approach to capital account liberalisation. They encouraged further progress, observing that liberalisation could help to ease external financing constraints. Directors also welcomed the authorities' commitment to trade liberalisation.

Directors acknowledged that the sizeable fiscal stimulus undertaken in 2008-09 should help to support economic growth. However, they stressed that, given the high ratio of public debt to GDP, significant further expansion of the deficit could raise concerns about fiscal sustainability.

They encouraged the authorities to use the limited available fiscal space only for high-quality infrastructure and poverty-related spending, and for bank recapitalisation if needed.

Directors stressed that medium-term fiscal consolidation remains a priority, and should continue to be anchored in a fiscal rules framework to be backed by comprehensive expenditure reforms and measures to broaden the tax base, the IMF said.

Gates back as world's richest; Mukesh Ambani wealthiest Indian

NEW YORK, March 12: With a fortune of USD 40 billion, software czar Bill Gates has regained his position as the world's wealthiest from his friend and legendary investor Warren Buffett, even as the economic crisis wiped off USD two trillion from the wealth of billionaires across the world.

Gates, who himself lost USD 18 billion in the past one year, is followed by Buffett (USD 37 billion) at the second and Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim (USD 35 billion) at the third position as per the World's Billionaires list released by the US magazine Forbes.

Buffett was ranked as the richest person in the world in last year's list, followed by Carlos Slim and Gates at second and third positions respectively.

There are 793 billionaires in the world now, down about 30 per cent from 1,125 a year ago, while collectively they have become poorer from USD 4.4 trillion to USD 2.4 trillion.

There are just two Indians in the list of top 10 richest persons across the world, down from four last year.

Indian petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani has been ranked as the richest among all the Indians with a net worth of USD 19.5 billion, followed by NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal (19.3 billion dollars).

In the global list, Ambani is ranked seventh (down from fifth last year) and Mittal is at eighth position (fourth in 2008).

Others in the top 10 include software firm Oracle's chief Lawrence Ellison (4th; USD 22.5 billion), Sweden's Ingvar Kamprad (5th; USD 22 billion), Germany's Karl Albrecht (6th; USD 21.5 billion), Germany's Theo Albrecht (9th; USD 18.8 billion) and Spain's Amancio Ortega (10th; USD 18.3 billion).

The previous year's list also included Anil Ambani at the sixth position (down to 34th this year) and realty baron K P Singh at the eighth position (down to 98 in this year's list).

Overall, the Indians' presence on the list has shrunk to half from 53 last year to 24 in the latest list, Forbes said.

The richest people in the world have also endured a financial disaster over the past year in a world that has become a wealth wasteland.

It is the first time since 2003 that the world has had a net loss in the number of billionaires and their average net worth fell 23 per cent to USD 3 billion. The last time the average was that low was in 2003, Forbes said.

The top three billionaires on the list witnessed a combined wealth erosion of USD 68 billion.

Bill Gates lost USD 18 billion but it was less than USD 25 billion lost each by Warren Buffett and Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim Helu.

"It was hard to avoid the carnage, whether you were in stocks, commodities, real estate or technology. Even people running profitable businesses were hammered by frozen credit markets, weak consumer spending or declining currencies," Forbes said.

Out of the 1,125 billionaires who made to last year's ranking, 373 fell off the list 355 from declining fortunes and 18 who died.

There are 38 newcomers, plus three moguls who returned to the list after regaining their 10-figure fortunes.

The US regained its dominance as a repository of wealth and accounted for 44 per cent of the money and 45 per cent of the list's slots, but still it has 110 fewer billionaires than a year ago.

Meanwhile, Russia has become the epicentre of the world's commodities bust, dropping 55 billionaires two-thirds of its last year's figure.

"Twelve months ago Moscow overtook New York as the billionaire capital of the world, with 74 tycoons to New York's 71. Today there are 27 in Moscow and 55 in New York," Forbes said.

Those with ties to Wall Street were particularly hard hit. As across the world 80 of the 355 drop-offs from last year's list had fortunes derived from finance or investments.

Former head of AIG, Maurice (Hank) Greenberg, saw his USD 1.9 billion fortune nearly wiped out after the insurance behemoth had to be bailed out by the US government. Today Greenberg is worth less than USD 100 million.

Citigroup former Chairman Sandy Weill also falls from the ranks. Last year there were 39 American billionaire hedge fund managers; this year there are 28.

Twelve American private equity tycoons dropped out of the billionaire ranks.

Blackstone Group's Stephen Schwarzman, who lost USD 4 billion, and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts' Henry Kravis, who lost USD 2.5 billion, have retained their billionaire status despite weaker fortunes.

While 656 billionaires lost money in the past year, 44 added to their fortunes.

In these tough economic situation most of the newcomers in the list are from diverse backgrounds from cocaine suppliers to selling electric cars.

Out of the 38 newcomers, the more notable new billionaires are Mexican Joaquin Guzman Loera, one of the biggest suppliers of cocaine to the US; Wang Chuanfu of China, whose BYD Co began selling electric cars in December, and American John Paul Dejoria, who got the world clean with his Paul Mitchell shampoos and sloppy with his Patron Tequila, Forbes said.

World Bank says global economy will shrink in 2009

WASHINGTON, March 9: With over half a million jobs lost in India alone in recent months, the World Bank predicts the global economy and global trade would both shrink this year for the first time since World War II.

While the global economy is likely to grow at least 5 percentage points below potential in 2009, world trade is on track to record its largest decline in 80 years - with the sharpest losses in East Asia.

World Bank forecasts show that global industrial production by the middle of 2009 could be as much as 15 per cent lower than levels in 2008, it said in a paper for next Saturday's meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors.

Developing countries face a financing shortfall of $270-700 billion this year, as private sector creditors shun emerging markets, and only one quarter of the most vulnerable countries have the resources to prevent a rise in poverty.

The paper said that 94 out of 116 developing countries have experienced a slowdown in economic growth. Of these countries, 43 have high levels of poverty.

To date, the most affected sectors are those that were the most dynamic, typically urban-based exporters, construction, mining, and manufacturing.

For example, "more than half a million jobs have been lost in the last three months of 2008 in India, including in gems and jewellery, autos and textiles," the paper noted.

Many of the world's poorest countries are becoming ever more dependent on development assistance as their exports and fiscal revenues decline because of the crisis.

Noting that donors are already behind by around $39 billion on their commitments to increase aid made at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005, the bank said: "the concern now is that aid flows will become more volatile as some countries cut their aid budgets while others reaffirm aid commitments, at least for this year."

The World Bank said that international financial institutions cannot by themselves currently cover the shortfall-that includes public and private debt and trade deficits-for these 129 countries, even at the lower end of the range.

A solution will require governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector. Only one quarter of vulnerable developing countries have the ability to finance measures to blunt the economic downturn, such as job-creation or safety net programs.

"We need to react in real time to a growing crisis that is hurting people in developing countries," said World Bank Group President Robert B Zoellick.

"This global crisis needs a global solution and preventing an economic catastrophe in developing countries is important for global efforts to overcome this crisis.

Roubini Says Recession May Continue Until End of 2010

NEW DELHI, March 6: The global recession may continue until the end of 2010 as the response by governments to rectify it is “too little, too late,” said Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the financial crisis.

“Governments are falling behind the curve,” Roubini said at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi today. “This recession can end up becoming even worse.”

The situation can be improved by appropriate policies, including governments taking over insolvent banks, cleaning them up and re-selling them to private investors, he said. The Group of Seven and the Group of Twenty economies “must act together to get out of this mess,” Roubini said.

Roubini said the global economy may shrink 1 percent or grow 0.5 percent in 2009, before recovering to about a 1 percent growth in 2010, effectively extending the recession until the end of next year.

Emerging market economies, including China and India, will slow down sharply, he said, adding that “we are already seeing the beginnings of a hard landing.”

China’s economy may grow 5 percent “at best” in 2009 after expanding at an average 10 percent pace each year in the past decade, Roubini said, rejecting the theory that emerging markets are decoupled from the problems in industrialized countries.

“It’s becoming a vicious cycle between demand, supply and the financial system,” said Roubini, who served as an adviser to the U.S. treasury department from 2000 to 2001.

Consumers and companies are cutting spending to survive in the current recession, “making the contraction even more severe.” Even if there are banks with sound assets, they wouldn’t lend in an economic decline, he said.

“If you don’t take the right policy action, this U-shaped recession will turn into an L-shaped recession like in Japan in the 1990s,” the professor said.

American banking system insolvent, says US economist

NEW DELHI: The American banking system has become insolvent following the global financial crisis which is likely to be deep and prolonged hitting the economies of the developing and developed world, said a US-based economist.

"In our assessment, the US banking system is insolvent... they are below the water level", said Nouriel Roubini, professor of the US-based Stern School of Business, while addressing a session on the global meltdown at the India Today Conclave 2009 here on Friday.

According to research, he said, the losses of the US banking system are a mammoth $ 3.6 trillion, with banks accounting for $ 1.8 trillion and pension funds, hedge funds and other shadow banking institutions, the remaining portion.

Pitching for nationalisation of crisis-ridden banks by the American government, the US-based economist said, "they (banks) could be handed over to the private sector after cleaning up".

Suggesting ways for tackling the global crisis, Roubini said it was time for the governments of developed and developing countries to act in concert to prevent further deepening of the global recession.

He furhter added the low growth in developing countries like China and India, amount to recessesion as these nations have the potential to grow at much faster rate.

IFFCO and QAFCO to set up Fertiliser Project in Qatar

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Feb 25: World’s largest producer and marketer of fertilizers in cooperative sector, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) has taken another giant overseas leap by signing an Agreement with Qatar Fertiliser Company S.A.Q. (QAFCO) for establishing project for production of fertilisers and chemicals in Qatar which has extensive proven and possible reserves of natural gas.

This pact has been entered into with the objective of making India self reliant in availability of required quanity of fertilisers so as to boost foodgrain output.

In the light of this, the Government of India has initiated steps in promoting large scale fertiliser plants in strategic alliance with friendly countries.

A high level government delegation under the leadership of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, visited Qatar in the last quarter of 2008 and held bilateral discussions with Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thanii of the State of Qatar.

Based on the outcome, an agreement to this effect was signed here on February 24 by Mr. Yousef Al-Kuwari, Acting Managing Director, QAFCO and Dr. U S Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO in the presence of Dr. Khalid Bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Minister Of State for International Cooperation of the State Of Qatar, Mr. T.K.A.Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and Mr. Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary (Fertilizers), GOI.

Under the agreement IFFCO and QAFCO will form a joint venture company for setting up the project with 51 per cent shareholding of QAFCO and balance 49 per cent stake will be held by IFFCO.

IFFCO will buy the entire quantity of fertilisers to be produced by the JV Company based on market price and agreed terms and conditions.

IFFCO and QAFCO will endeavour jointly to complete the study and assessment of the broad technical parameters and financial viability of the proposed joint venture project.

On the occasion, Dr. U.S.Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO said “This agreement is in line with a series of Memoranda of Understanding signed with companies in countries like Australia, Russia, Germany, U.S.A., Kazakhstan etc. so as to make our country self-reliant in production of fertilisers”.

IFFCO, IPL and PhosChem set to assure DAP availability in country

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Feb 19: IFFCO, IPL and Phosphate Chemicals Export Association, Inc (PhosChem) have entered into a landmark agreement wherein PhosChem will supply 1.25 million metric tonnes of DAP. The price for these supplies will be linked to the published international prices.

The Agreement to off take 1.25 million MT of DAP is for the period beginning on March 1, 2009 through February 28, 2010 and may be extended by mutual consent of the parties.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. U. S. Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO said “For close to 40 years IFFCO has been working towards providing fertilizer security for the Indian farmers. This arrangement goes a long way in guaranteeing availability of DAP, a very important fertilizer for the Indian soils, to the farmers of India in adequate quantities throughout the year. This is a first of its kind effort by the Indian industry to lend stability of supply of this product.

Mr P.S. Gahlaut, the Managing Director of IPL said, “This agreement is unique and will lend much needed stability to the fertilizer subsidy as well as to ensure supply security and availability in times of volatile prices.”

Steve Paxton, Pressident of PhosChem stated, “This agreement demonstrates our commitment to serving the growing demand for crop nutrients in India. We are pleased to reach this agreement and look forward to serving our Indian customers in the years ahead.”

No election sops in Interim Budget

NEW DELHI, Feb 16: Presenting the interim budget acting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee offered no election sops. While experts and economists were expecting the ruling UPA to use the interim budget to woo the voters by offering certain populist measures, however it ended up being business as usual and it ended as a damp squib with BSE plunging more than 300 points.

* Major subsidy spending for 2009-10 at Rs 95,500 cr

* Country's social security net will be strengthened

* New scheme unveiled for young widows in the age group of 18-40

* New disability pension scheme introduced for age group of 18-40

* 15 point programme for welfare of minorities set up

* Global economic situation not encouraging

* Financial sector reforms need to be accelerated

* Non-performing assets (NPAs) of public sector banks have declined

* State-run banks see NPAs drop from 7.8 per cent to 2.3 per cent in four years

* Rural job scheme to get Rs 30,100 crore

*Rural sanitation spending at Rs1,200 cr next FY

*Urban renewal spending in 2009-10 at Rs11,842 cr

*Allocation of Rs 40900 cr for Bharat Nirman scheme

*Flagship NREGA scheme gets Rs30,100 cr in 09-10

*Rural job scheme to get Rs 30,100 crore

*2009 food subsidy revised to 10960 cr

*FY 09 Fiscal deficit seen at 6% GDP

*Central plan expenditure increased from Rs2,43,386 crore to Rs2,82,957 crore

*Tax collections down by Rs 60,000 cr over budget estimates for 2008-09

*Tax collections down by Rs 60,000 cr over budget estimates for 2008-09

* Six new IITs started functioning in 2008-09

*Farmers to get loans upto 3,00,000 at 7% pc

* In past three years, India grew by average of over 9 per cent

* Per capita income expanded by 4.7 per cent per annum

* Fiscal deficit was brought down from 4.5 per cent to 2.7 percent

* Revenue deficit was cut from 3.6 per cent to 1.1 per cent

* Exports increased 26.4 per cent per annum

* Foreign trade increased from 27.3 per cent to 35.5 per cent

* Inflation rate fell to 4.4% in Jan 31, 2009

* Global situation in 2009 may be worse

* Export growth slowed down to 17.1% for last nine months

* India infrastructure co to re-finance 60% of projects

* 37 infrastructure projects worth Rs 70, 000 cr clear

* Extension of export credit for labour intensive project

* Under public-private partnership (PPP), 54 central infrastructure projects approved

* Total expenditure of PPP projects estimated at Rs 67,700 crore (Rs 677 billion)

* India Infrastructure Finance Company to raise Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) by end-March

* India has weathered inflation criris, but no room for complacency

* Country's agriculture outlook is encouraging

* Record foreign direct investment of $32.4 billion attracted

* Extraordinary situation merits extraordinary measures

* Need to consider additional fiscal measures in regular budget

* Minimum support price for wheat increased from Rs630 to Rs1,080 per quintal

* Outlay of higher education hiked by 900%

* Educational loan scheme revived

* 2008/09 farm outlook encouraging

* Apr-Nov FDI at $23.3 billion

* Six new IITs started functioning in 2008-09

* Rural infrastructure development scheme to be expanded via suitable allocations.

IFFCO organises Vendor Programme on e-procurement

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Feb 16: Indian Farmers Fertilisers Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) conducted a two-day workshop to educate Vendors on the benefits of digital signature based e-procurement process from Feb 12 at its corporate office here. The workshop shows IFFCO’s efforts to promote the digital signature based electronic transactions for which the Government of India has created necessary infrastructure.

IFFCO is amongst the first organization in the country to have adopted this channel and so far it has awarded around 7000 Purchase Order/Work Orders through e-Procurement process.

Addressing the participants, Rakesh Kapur, Dy. Managing Director, IFFCO, said that e-Procurement which was launched in IFFCO in 2004, reduced the workload on the staff, vendors, contractors & service providers and improved quality in tendering with transparent transactions.

He also addressed the apprehension of vendors and communicated that to enhance response, IFFCO has decided to bear the cost of Digital Certificate, set up helpdesks at IFFCO Head Office and all Production Units. These certificates can even be used for other e-Commerce applications elsewhere.

V. K. Bali, Director (Technical) and S.K.Mishra, Director (HRD), expressed IFFCO’s commitment to e-Procurement and said that the problems of vendors, if any, will be addressed promptly.

S.C.Mittal, Executive Director (MS&IT), IFFCO, explained the salient features of the system as to how Vendors receive E-mail and SMS Alerts, can view a new tender, see status, seek clarification, authorise distributor channel partner, see Quotation Comparative Statements, Purchase orders and update its address and contact details on the website in full transparent way.

J.S.Kochar, Executive Director (IT), M/s n(Code) solutions, Ahmedabad, renowned Digital Certifying Authority of India, addressed the apprehension of the Vendors regarding the confidentiality, integrity and authentication process. IT and commercial experts and legal luminaries answered the entire gamut of queries by vendors. About 250 vendors participated in the workshop.

IFFCO transforms villages life through Lift Irrigation

By Vimal Suneja

CHITRAKOOT, Feb 14: As we pass through fields in the village of Bhujauli in Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh, India, we encounter an old farmer, his wife and his young son tilling the field with the help of a pair of bullocks. He offers us water and enquires as to what brings us to the sleepy village. On learning that we are from IFFCO, the largest cooperative of not only India but the world, he greets us with folded hands and expresses his gratitude to Iffco for turning their barren land to fertile fields.

With a heavy voice, he revealed that he has sown wheat in his field after a gap of 25 years. This has been made possible due to the help rendered by Iffco through “Lift Irrigation” and “Pond renovation”, he added.

Though Mandakini River flows through the Chitrakoot district, but it barely satisfies the thirst of man and animals of the area. However, the farmers need water for irrigation to feed millions of mouths. This district gets scanty rainfall and the soil is rocky. Therefore, tube wells are not successful.

IFFCO along with IFFDC, CORDET and Deendayal Research Institute surveyed the area and zeroed on the village Bhujauli for development of natural resources (water) of the area. The village had undulated topography and little irrigation facilities. Though a river, named Balmiki, flows near the village but farmers are unable to utilize its water due to inadequate infrastructural support. Study was done and projects for ‘Pond Renovation’ and ‘Lift Irrigation Scheme’ were launched and successfully executed.

Lift Irrigation Scheme

Though India has the resources, but there is no proper canal infrastructure. We can solve many of the problems within the available framework but what is required is a Leader or Torch-bearer like IFFCO, who can be a ray of hope for the farmers and work towards fulfillment of their dreams. Here also the water was there in the river Balmiki, but the problem was how to take it to farmers’ fields as river flows downstream and fields are at a height of 15 meter.

After a thorough survey of the Balmiki River, a point was selected where water remained at a depth of 10 feet throughout the year. An intake well was planned and constructed near it. From the pucca constructed covered well, the water is lifted with the help of submersible pump with the help of 15 Horse-powered motor. When there is no electricity in the village, a 22 KV generator is put to use. Subsequently, water flows through the 200-meter GI pipes connected with 500-meter long underground PVC pipe with 9 gateways in between in the farmers’ field.

At one given time; two gate-valves are opened and farmers irrigate their fields in equitable basis and pay for electricity/diesel charges fixed by the farmer’s Committee of the village.

Pond Renovation Work

We were also shown the Renovated Village Pond. IFFCO helped in removing silt-disposition in the bed of the pond. This helped in saving rainwater, which is 850 mm, and utilised for irrigation purpose. We saw jatropha plant on the bunds of the pond and the goats of the village were eating some. Some of the villagers requested the extension of Lift-irrigation pipes up to this pond.

Farmers now sow cereals, pulses and oilseeds. We were shown five-plot demonstration and vermi compost pits by IFFCO Field Representative Manoj Choudhary, who is also involved with his maiden successful Lift Irrigation Project.

We also saw the use of mobile phone in the village. On enquiry, we were told that mobile phones are more than the landline phones. Farmers rotate crops as suggested by IFFCO Senior Area Manager Dr. Ajay Singh. Dr. Singh added that fertiliser consumption of N, P and K is low but with the addition of irrigation facilities, it is increasing gradually.

On our way, we encountered some disgruntled youth of the village who expressed their dissatisfaction to us. They complained that IFFCO has done wonders in the village but we are missing the dry and barren fields on which they used to play cricket.

Dr. Ajay Singh organized a meeting in the village school and introduced us to a group of girls and farm-women of the village. All these women and girls were direct or indirect beneficiaries of the IFFCO social-welfare programmes. IFFCO engaged Gram Shilpi Dampathi of KVK, Ganima for training of girls/women in tailoring work. Asha Diwedi, a post-graduate and daughter-in-law of Village-coordinator Joginder, taught the unlettered women of the village.

We were amazed to see the women reading Ramayana, who were hitherto used to put thumb signature on the paper. On interaction with the girls, we came to know that some are earning Rs.1000 per month from tailoring work whereas the stitching of a blouse fetch them Rs.12 ,which cost Rs.120 in the cities. Smile was writ large on their faces as they could contribute towards the family income.

The best part is that IFFCO works only as a catalyst of transformation and asks villagers to take their own future decisions. Therefore, a society ‘Balmiki Manav Kalyan Samiti’ has been formed having 11 members from the village beside SDM Karvi and District Magistrate of Chitrakoot as ex-officio members. The Samiti decides on the quantum of distribution of water and levying of charges so that project remains self-supporting and can be expanded as per the village requirements.

Lalu presents people-friendly interim rail budget

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Feb 13: Departing from normal practice, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Friday announced an across-the-board two per cent cut in fares of ordinary and AC class in the interim budget for 2009-10.

Presenting the vote-on-account for expenses in the first four months of next fiscal, Lalu Prasad also announced reduction in the fares of ordinary passenger trains by Rs one for fares costing upto Rs 50 for journey above 10 km.

The interim budget makes no changes in relation to freight rates.

Normally, the interim budgets do not carry any financial proposals in view of the fact that it is a vote-on-account ahead of the General Elections.

Recalling that he had decided to reduce the second class fares of all mail, express and ordinary trains by 5 per cent for tickets above Rs 50 last year, Prasad said respecting the aspirations of the long distance passengers he has decided to reduce the second class and sleeper class fares of all mail and express and ordinary passenger trains by two per cent for the ticket costing more than Rs 50.

He said during the last four years, he had reduced the fares of AC First class by 28 per cent and AC II tier by 20 per cent.

Even as air travel is reportedly reflecting reduction in number of passengers due to economic slowdown, there has been a significant increase in the number of passengers of these classes on the Railways.

"Therefore, I have decided to reduce the fares of AC First Class, AC II tier and AC III tier and AC Chair Car by two per cent," he said amidst thumping of desks by members of ruling benches in Lok Sabha.

The Minister said since the fare for rail travel for 10 km and below has already been reduced from Rs 4 to Rs 1, this reduction will not be applicable for second class rail journey upto 10 km.

He announced introduction of 43 new trains and extension of services of 14 others. Frequency of 14 trains has also been increased.

In the wake of his visit to Japan, Germany and France to see the running of trains at speed between 300 and 350 km per hour, Prasad said action is on for examining feasibility of running bullet trains between Delhi-Amritsar, Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune, Hyderabad-Vijayawada-Chennai, Chennai-Bangalore, Ernakulam and Howrah-Haldia.

Action would also soon be started for conducting a pre-feasibility study to run bullet trains between Delhi and Patna.

Surveys for 14 new lines, gauge conversion of three and doubling of eight railway lines are proposed to be undertaken.

The Budget estimates for 2009-10 project a freight loading target at 910 million tonnes an increment of 60 million tonnes on 2008-09 and the number of passengers is likely to grow by 7 per cent.

Gross Traffic Receipts (GTR) is estimated at Rs 93,159 crore, an increase of Rs 10,766 crore over revised estimate of 2008-09.

Ordinary working expenses have been budgeted at Rs 62,900 crore to cover the full year impact of Sixth Pay Commission recommendation and the payment of 60 per cent arrears due in 2009-10.

Dividend payable to General Revenues has been kept at Rs 5,304 crore at the current applicable rates.

Budgeting ratio has been pegged at 89.9 per cent and annual plan outlay for the next year envisages an investment of Rs 37,905 crore.

The Budgetary support from General Revenue has been proposed at Rs 9,600 crore excluding Rs 1,200 crore to be received from the Central Road Fund.

The Internal and Extra Budgetary Resource component would accordingly comprise 72 per cent of the annual plan.

Recalling performance of the Railways in the last five years under his stewardship, Prasad said the organisation scaled a new pinnacle every year without imposing any burden on the common man.

The Railways are set to establish the historic landmark of earning a cash surplus before dividend of more than Rs 90,000 crore in five years.

"The same Railways which faced a paucity of funds for replacement of over-aged assets in 2001 and which had to defer payment of Rs 2,800 crore as dividend to General Revenues, have now surprised the whole world with a historic financial turnaround," he said.

Speaking about the revised estimates for 2008-09, he said during this period freight loading and earnings registered a growth of 9 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. The passenger earning increased by 14 per cent.

However, in October and November, the growth in freight loading was adversely impacted by the recession in the international markets.

There was a steep reduction in iron ore for export and container traffic.

Steel traffic also reflected a decreased growth, resulting in a decrease in freight loading and earning in October-November.

He said the situation in December/January reflected some improvement and hoped that the Budget targets for passenger and goods earnings set for the current year will be surpassed.

Prasad also said the first train service in Kashmir valley commenced between Anantnag and Rajwansher during the year, to be extended to Baramulla and Qazigund.

IFFCO & IPL join hands with Phos Agro/Ameropa for DAP

A first of its kind effort by the Indian industry to lend stability of supplies and dampen the prices of DAP in the international market

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Feb 4: IFFCO and IPL have entered into a year long contract for DAP supplies with Phos Agro/ Ameropa at prices linked to the published prices for two months prior to the month of delivery.

The Agreement to off take 1.2 million MT of DAP initially is for duration of one year. The duration of the contract and the quantity will be reviewed at the end of the one year period, based on the experience of operation of the contract during the first year.

“With India’s near total dependence on imported raw material for fertilisers and its largely agricultural character, the task of balancing the need on the one hand to provide adequate fertilisers to our farmers at an affordable price and on the other, to minimise the impact on Government’s finances, has been a constant challenge. This structure is unique and will lend much needed stability to the international price of DAP and hence to the fertiliser subsidy as well as ensure supply security in times of volatile price and availability.” said P.S. Gahlaut, Managing Director of IPL.

“This arrangement is in the interest of farmers as it guarantees availability of DAP in uniform quantities throughout the year. This is a first of its kind effort by the Indian industry to lend stability of supplies and dampen the prices of DAP in the international market. In some ways it is better than the Oman model of fixed prices as unlike in the Oman model where the buyer carries the entire risk of fall in prices, whatever be the rate of fall, here the risk is only if the rate of fall is steep, that too only until the rate of fall stabilises” said Dr U. S. Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO.

Maxim Volkov, CEO of Phos Agro Russia and Marcus Damm of Ameropa signed the agreement.

Maxim Volkov said that he felt very happy by the start of this long term relationship to bring stability to fertilizers and in turn agriculture prices.

Recent volatility in commodity prices and the subsequent worldwide economic recession have magnified the need for a more sustainable and a stable fertiliser availability and price regime. It is paradoxical that even though India is the world’s third-largest consumer of fertilisers more often than not, it finds itself in a position of following the price line rather than setting it.

IFFCO-GAIL join hands for cooperation in Gas Sector projects

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Feb 2: GAIL (India) Limited and Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in natural gas sector related opportunities in India. The Agreement was signed by A. K. Purwaha, Director (Business Development), GAIL and V. K. Bali, Director (Technical), IFFCO in the presence of Dr U. D. Choubey, Chairman & Managing Director, GAIL and Dr U. S. Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO.

Welcoming the development, Dr. U. D. Choubey, Chairman and Managing Director, GAIL said that with the increased availability of natural gas in the country from eastern offshore, more gas is likely to be available for fertilizer sector which may be used not only by existing gas based fertilizer plants but also for other fertilizer plants in the country which are proposed to be converted to gas based.

He further said that with 7000 km of GAIL’s natural gas pipeline network and upcoming additional 5500 km pipeline of GAIL, pipeline infrastructure will not be a constraint for providing gas to the fertilizer industry.

He was confident that this tie-up will be successful because of shared values between the largest gas transporter and one of the largest cooperatives in the country.

Dr. U S Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO, described the signing of the MoU as a major milestone wherein a raw material supplier has joined hands with the consumer.

Dr Awasthi also highlighted the common value systems of the two organizations such as best safety standards, emphasis of corporate governance and work ethics and hoped that the MoU will add value for both the companies.

Under this cooperation agreement, both the companies would jointly evaluate the potential of setting up of a Gas based Power Plant and other industries including Chemicals, Fertilisers, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) & Piped Natural Gas (PNG) in India and also explore the possibility of sourcing of Natural Gas / LNG for the identified projects.

The feasibility study for identified projects would be carried out by GAIL and IFFCO jointly. Subsequently, based on the techno-economics of the project, a Joint Venture Company between GAIL & IFFCO would be formed for implementing the projects.

GAIL (India) Limited, is India's principal Natural Gas Company with activities ranging from Gas Transmission and Marketing to Processing (for fractionating LPG, Propane, SBP Solvent and Pentane); transmission of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG); production and marketing of Petrochemicals like HDPE and LLDPE and leasing bandwidth in Telecommunications.

The Company has extended its presence in Power, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) re-gasification, City Gas Distribution and Exploration & Production through equity and joint venture participations. GAIL has also globalised its business activities through equity participation in three retail gas companies in Egypt and one company in China in addition to having participating interest in three offshore blocks in Myanmar and one on-land block in Oman.

IFFCO is World’s largest manufacturer & marketer of Fertilizers in Cooperative Sector and is primarily engaged in production and distribution of nitrogenous & phosphatic fertilizers with an objective to serve Indian farmers.

Starting with a modest capital of Rs. 6 lakh IFFCO has witnessed meteoric rise on the firmament of Indian Cooperative Movement.

IFFCO has five state-of-the-art plants with a capacity to produce over 82 lakh MT of fertilizer per annum. Further, IFFCO has joint ventures in countries such as Oman, Senegal, Jordan and Australia etc. IFFCO has also diversified its business activities in the areas of Insurance, Power, Mobile Telephony, and Agriculture Commodity Trading & is setting up India’s first Kisan SEZ at Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.

IFFCO inks MoU with Kazphosphate for supply of Rock Phosphate

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Jan 24: IFFCO, the fertilizer giant, has added another feather to its cap to make another great leap on global scale.

In order to ensure backward integration plan to meet the essential feedstock requirement of Rock Phosphates, IFFCO signed an MoU with KAZPHOSPHATE, llc, a leading chemical and fertilizer manufacturing company of Kazakhstan, for supply of rock phosphate from its huge, extensive and proven reserves of rock phosphate.

Dr. U S Awasthi, Managing Director of IFFCO, and Mr Maxutbck Sh. Yessenov, Chairman, KAZPHOSPHATE, signed the agreement in New Delhi on Friday evening.

Both the companies have ample experience of successfully operating joint ventures on global level and have affirmed their keenness to collaborate on exchange of information and specialists on production technology for mineral fertilizers.

On Saturday at the Business meeting with the Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, at the Maurya Hotel, six other agreements were signed between the Indian and Kazakhstan companies.

The MoUs signed were between Nasscom and IT Association of Kazakhstan; Agnecy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for Information and Communication, "Zerde" National Infocommunication Holding and National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM); IT Park of Kazakhstan and Paharpur; Agreements of KazStoriSercie (Kazakh company) with HPCL Mittal Energy, BPCL and with L&T.

Under the agreement KAZPHOSPHATE, llc would supply quality of rock phosphate from its mines to IFFCO on long term basis. Both the parties will also explore the possibility of jointly establishing phosphate project in Kazakhstan.

IFFCO, globally acclaimed largest producer and marketer of fertilizer in cooperative sector has already successfully set up joint ventures in Oman, Jordan and Senegal. The Cooperative also holds major stake in IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company, IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited and IFFCO Chattisgarh Power Limited on the domestic front.

 

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