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Wipro, RIL, NTPC and BHEL may witness some action today

Wipro has bagged a $200-million (Rs 1,090 crore) technology service contract in Europe, believed to be one of the largest deal wins for India's third-largest software services exporter this year. The deal, described as a strategic partnership to provide information technology infrastructure to a European telecom equipment-maker, is spread over five years. It will also give innovation support to the company's research and development. The Bangalore-based company competed with global multinationals IBM and Accenture as well as Indian rival Tata Consultancy Services to win the deal. The deal comes as a relief to Wipro's $1-billion telecom practice that has been struggling to find new work due to lower technology spending by telecom service providers and equipment-makers in the face of non-profitable growth. The economic slowdown in the US and Europe has also been adding to the woes of the sector.

Reliance Industries (RIL) has opposed a move to make marketing margin charged by it and other sellers of domestically produced natural gas uniform, while giving gas importers a free hand, saying that it would be a gross discrimination. RIL, whose 13.5 cent per million British thermal unit as marketing margin on KG-D6 gas is higher than 11 cents charged on gas produced by ONGC/OIL but lower than 18 cents that GAIL charges for western offshore gas stated that there was no legal basis to regulate the levy. RIL said that the PNGRB Act does not discriminate between different forms of natural gas, domestic gas sellers have been transparently charging marketing margin in a narrow range as opposed to LNG/CNG operators charging much higher rates in an opaque manner. GAIL has been levying marketing margin on the sale of non-APM gas in the range of 18-20 cents and more than 20 cents on imported LNG. Marketing margin for KG-D6 gas has been agreed between buyers and sellers for five years as was the $4.2 per mmBtu price of gas fixed by the government.

NTPC may consider downsizing its Katwa project in West Bengal by half so that it can be built within the 550 acres that has been given to the power company by the state. Options available include downsizing capacity from the proposed 1,600 mw to 800 mw. Alternatively, if it is handed over an additional 250 acres of land nearby, which need not be contiguous, NTPC could set up the plant with the original envisaged capacity. The company also needs a coal block that will supply coal to the project because the state government has surrendered the mines at Dhamagaria which was supposed to provide the supplies. The plant will require 7.5 MT of coal annually. The state government, headed by Mamata Banerjee, has ruled out acquiring land for industry. Instead it wants companies to acquire land directly from farmers.

State-run BHEL plans to invest up to Rs 2,000 crore for setting up solar equipment manufacturing facility having a capacity of 600 MW. BHEL, grappling with persisting headwinds in the power sector, is betting on business diversification spread across various areas including solar energy and defence sectors. BHEL's move to foray into solar equipment manufacturing comes at a time when the imports of cheap solar gears, especially from China, as well as overcapacity are hurting the Indian players. The state-run power equipment major would also get into manufacturing silicon wafer, solar cell and solar module. Meanwhile, the company is pitching for safeguard duty on imported solar equipment to protect domestic makers from cheap imports.

Monnet Ispat and Energy is mulling setting up a 660 MW thermal power plant at Angul in Odisha at an investment of around Rs 4,000 crore. Once set up, this facility will take the company's generation capacity to nearly 2,000 MW. The project is however now at a conceptual stage and the company has to get all the clearances for setting up the plant. The proposed power project would be financed with a debt-equity ratio of 70:30 and the company may dilute some minimal equity at the project level at an appropriate time. Monnet Ispat and Energy generates 270 MW power now, but that is used mostly by its steel plant. The company plans to foray into renewable sector for generating power.

Coal India (CIL) expressed the hope that it can start mining by 2014 in 13 of the 119 blocks allotted to it. The Ministry of Coal in May 2012 had allotted 116 blocks to CIL. In addition, it was allotted three de-allocated mines -- Brahmini, Chchro Pastimal and East of Damogoria. The state-owned firm had asked for 138 mines in August 2008 in order to reverse the declining trend of production and to augment output. Coal India has set a target to produce 464 million tonnes production for the current fiscal. Last fiscal, it had produced 435.84 MT and envisaged to take its production to the level to 615 MT by 2016-17, the last year of the 12th Five Year Plan. Coal India at present has 466 mines. Meanwhile, the miner has also identified 142 new projects, including 107 open cast and 35 underground mining schemes with an ultimate capacity of 380.22 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), as new projects.

Drug firm Ind-Swift Laboratories has set a target of achieving revenues of Rs 1,500 crore by 2015 with overseas markets like Japan, the European Union and the United States being the main growth drivers. Ind-Swift Laboratories is currently witnessing 15 percent to 20 percent growth. The current revenues of the company at present stand at over Rs 1,000 crore. The main focus of the business for Ind-Swift laboratories continues to be its active pharmaceuticals Ingredients (API) business. Established in 1995, Ind-Swift's business model is focused on domestic market and high-value mature regulated markets along with considerable focus on the emerging markets as well. The accreditations of the company's facilities from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for five products and Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), Japan for two products have boosted the efforts to tap these highly regulated markets for products.

The Competition Appellate Tribunal has begun its final hearing on a plea by DLF against a fine of Rs 630 crore imposed on the realty company by the fair trade regulator CCI for alleged abuse of dominant market position. The lawyers appearing on behalf of DLF completed their arguments last week in the matter, while the owners' associations of the company's two housing projects -- DLF Park Palace and The Belaire -- would start presenting their case before the Tribunal from this Wednesday. The case has been pending for quite some time, as the CCI order was passed on August 12 last year, wherein it had imposed a penalty of Rs 630 crore on DLF after finding the realty major guilty of abuse of the dominant market position. The order was passed after probe into complaints filed by the flat buyer associations of two separate DLF projects in Gurgaon, alleging delays in the project and increase in the number of floors than planned earlier, among other things.

Corporation Bank and global remittance and foreign exchange company UAE Exchange have entered into an agreement to offer FLASHremit services to customers. The pact will enable customers to now send money real time to their beneficiaries' bank accounts in Corporation Bank. The service will enable money transfer to bank account 'within minutes' and also intimate both sender and receiver through SMS on account credit. Seven banks in India have partnered with the remittance major since the launch of FLASHremit. Apart from India, FLASHremit extends convenience to customers in Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan & Bangladesh. Corporation Bank has been serving millions of customers since 1906. With over 6000 service outlets overseas, it is one of the premier public sector banks in India.

Private carrier Jet Airways, which expects its aviation academy to be functional from early next year in Mumbai, will set up similar centres in Delhi and Kolkata to cater to the growing in-house and industry demand. Initially, the airline had planned to set up the academy in Mumbai alone but with queries coming in from other cities, the airline company has decided to expand it to Delhi and Kolkata as well along with Mumbai. The company will create two subsidiary ventures for setting up a marketing services company and an aviation training academy. As part of the plan, the academy will run certificate courses, ranging between one-and-half month to three months in the areas such as cabin crew, airport services like ticketing, check-ins, and security apart from crew resources management and personality enhancement.


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