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RIL, NMDC and Bharti Airtel may witness some action today

The government has approved Reliance Industries' (RIL) plan to start drilling for developing a new area in KG-D6, the first major decision after Veerappa Moily took charge at the oil ministry late last month. The decision is seen as a shot in the arm for exploration companies, particularly Reliance Industries that has waited for three years to develop new fields in the D6 block, where output from the existing D1 and D3 fields has fallen drastically. The fall in output and adverse comments from CAG on the way the field was administered prompted the government to penalize RIL, souring the relationship between the company and the ministry and leading to long delays in approvals. The permission to drill in the proven D19 gas field was taken this month by the technical arm of the oil ministry, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH). The satellite fields of the block can produce 10 million standard cubic metres per day of gas. The block's output has fallen to 25 mmscmd from a peak of 60 mmscmd.

India's largest iron-ore producer NMDC has appointed KPMG to help it devise a pricing formula for the mineral after complaints by steel companies that NMDC is overcharging them. KPMG was chosen from among six consultants who bid for the job, and a pricing mechanism is expected to come into force from January 2013. Besides, the government has stated that it is planning 10 percent stake sale in NMDC by mid-December, which could fetch the exchequer about Rs 7,500 crore. The Finance Ministry last week had stated it is looking at divesting stakes in three PSUs-- Hindustan Copper, NMDC and Oil India by end December, which may fetch Rs 12,000 crore to the exchequer. The government has also appointed Citigroup Global Markets India, Goldman Sachs (India) Securities, DSP Merrill Lynch (all Mumbai based), Enam Securities and ICICI Securities (Delhi based) as Merchant Bankers for the stake sale. The stake sale will take place through 'Offer for Sale by promoters through the stock exchanges' (OFS) method.

Bharti Airtel introduced the world's first intercontinental roaming facility that offers free incoming calls to businessmen, tourists and students from its African network while travelling in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The world's fourth largest telco by customers had included India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to its current bouquet of One Network services for its African customers, who already avail this service across Airtel's mobile network in 17 countries across Africa. Airtel customers in Africa will be automatically provisioned for this service and do not need to register or buy new SIM cards. With this, 60 million Airtel customers in Africa will be able to roam at affordable tariffs in the Indian sub-continent.

Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, which is yet to pay part dues to its employees, has sought more time to submit a comprehensive revival plan to the aviation regulator DGCA. The beleaguered carrier has written a letter to Civil Aviation Secretary K N Shrivastava seeking more time to submit its plan to get the suspension of its flying permit revoked. The letter came a day after its employees threatened to chalk out an action plan next week if they did not receive their May salaries by November 17. The communication also came in the backdrop of airport operators asking the DGCA to keep on hold the renewal of Kingfisher's license until their dues are cleared.

Cairn India is looking to increase Rajasthan field output from current level of 175,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 300,000 bpd (15 million tons per annum) and had several months back made an application to the Oil Ministry seeking permission to explore within the ring-fenced development area that contains 25 oil and gas finds. Vedanta Resources Chairman Anil Agarwal has sought intervention of the new Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily to help his group firm Cairn India raise output from the Rajasthan oil fields by allowing further exploration the prolific block. The Ministry, which about a fortnight back saw change of guard when Moily replaced S Jaipal Reddy, had so far not allowed the company to explore for oil even though the contract for the block allowed such an activity.

Tata Motors' global vehicle sales rose 6 percent in October from a year earlier. The sales at its key Jaguar Land Rover subsidiary rose 7 percent, after falling in September for the first time in 14 months. Tata Motors, part of the salt-to-steel Tata Group conglomerate, sold a total of 100,660 vehicles in October. Overall passenger car sales stood at 49,264 vehicles, down 5 percent from a year earlier. The company has sold 27,897 Jaguar Land Rover vehicles during the month. Commercial vehicle sales rose 19 percent to 51,396.

Kerala-based Muthoot Finance, a leading gold loan company, has tied up with Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Finance, to act as a service provider for the National pension scheme. Muthoot Finance is the only Non-Banking Financial company in the state to be approved by the PFRDA to act as a service provider for the pension plan. With its pan India network of close to around 4,000 branches in both urban as well rural areas, Muthoot will ensure that the benefit of this pension scheme reaches maximum number of Indians.

Emkay Global Financial Services, one of the leading financial services firms, has formed alliance with Icon Capital, a London based boutique investment bank to tap a wide range of investment banking and equity broking activities, including corporate advisory services, research led securities trading and capital markets advisory. The alliance seeks to complement Emkay's strengths in Indian equity market and Icon's Capital strength in Indian convertible and fixed instrument and would cover activities relating to undertaking cross-border M&A's and other investment banking related activities. In addition, the alliance would offer Indian companies the access to the London Securities Market; the distribution of the offerings and placements of equity, debt and continental Europe, and the facilitation of secondary trading in India through Emkay Global.

Israeli firm Taro Pharmaceutical Industries has postponed a meeting of shareholders to consider the company's proposed merger with Sun Pharma. The extraordinary general meeting of shareholders and the class meeting of holders of ordinary shares, originally scheduled for December 6, 2012, to consider the proposed merger of Taro with a subsidiary of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has been postponed. In August this year, Taro's board had agreed to sell the remaining stake of the company to Sun Pharmaceutical and its affiliates for an enhanced price of $39.50 per share. On completion of the merger, Taro would become a privately held company, wholly owned by affiliates of Sun Pharma.  

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