Friday, April 1, 2011

Pakistan, India to carry forward talks’

Pakistan and India have decided to carry forward the dialogue process and all issues, including the core issue of Kashmir, were discussed with the Indian leadership in Mohali.

Briefing the Senate about his recent India visit, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said the cricket match provided an opportunity for bringing closer both the nations and their leaderships.

He said the outcome of this meeting was very positive and both the sides agreed to move forward for resolving various issues, working for peace.

Referring to the recent hike in fuel prices, Gilani said that they were linked with international market and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority set the oil prices.

He said that the government had so far given a subsidy of Rs35 billion on petroleum products this year. He said that the government had tried its best to cushion the people against the sharp increase in oil prices in the international market.

Gilani stressed the need for devising a consensus on a national strategy to overcome the menace of terrorism.

The prime minister appreciated the Senate for making useful legislation on various issues, especially a bill regarding bringing transparency in the election process. He said only transparent and free election could ensure a sustainable democratic system.

Referring to various issues confronting Balochsitan, the prime minister said that the government was focusing on the development of this province with an objective to remove the sense of deprivation.

He said government was aware of the deteriorating law and order situation in the province and it was taking all possible measures to bring peace.

Later, the house passed a resolution condemning attacks on Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The Senate unanimously passed two bills, including the arbitration (international investment disputes) bill of 2010 and the code of criminal procedure (amendment) bill of 2010.

Earlier, the opposition parties staged a token walk-out from the House to register their protest against increase in the prices of petroleum products. link....


Forex trader news: Sterling rises against euro

The pound has risen against the euro this morning (March 30th), forex traders may be keen to note.

According to Reuters, the single currency has shed 0.4 per cent against sterling after the former struck a five-month high of 88.365 pence on Tuesday.

Concerns over the eurozone's debt crisis are being blamed for the currency's drop, however there are still expectations that UK interest rates will rise later than those in Europe.

A London-based spot trader said: "There was some selling in the euro earlier in the session but this pair isn't the most aggressive of movers and in the current market I can't see it travelling too far."

However, the euro is still up by 2.3 per cent on the year despite today's fall.

This comes after sterling increased by 0.1 per cent against the dollar, following on from its little change revealed against the US currency revealed this morning.


Canada Dollar Gains to Strongest Since 2007 on Recovery Outlook

Canada's dollar rose to a three-year high versus its U.S. counterpart and approached the strongest level since 1950 as speculation the global economic recovery is quickening fueled investor appetite for higher-yielding assets.

The currency had the biggest weekly gain since November as U.S. employers added more jobs in March than forecast and Chinese manufacturing accelerated. Oil and gold gained, and the Canadian dollar strengthened the most versus the yen during a week since 2009. Canada’s employers added jobs for a sixth month, a report next week may show.

“Risk has been the theme of this week,” Brian Dolan, chief strategist at, a unit of online currency trading firm Gain Capital in Bedminster, New Jersey. “Oil prices are holding firm, gold prices are holding firm.”

The Canadian dollar, nicknamed the loonie for the image of the aquatic bird on the C$1 coin, appreciated 1.8 percent, the most since the five days ended Nov. 5, to 96.32 cents per U.S. dollar yesterday in Toronto, from 98.05 cents on March 25. It touched 96.26 cents, the strongest level since Nov. 15, 2007. One Canadian dollar buys $1.0382.

The loonie’s strongest level since it was allowed to float in 1950, 90.58 cents, was reached on Nov. 7, 2007, as the collapse of the U.S. subprime-mortgage market disrupted financial markets and weakened the greenback. link......


Saturday, February 20, 2010

'We have crossed $1 billion in India'

After seven years, the world’s third-largest PC manufacturer Dell managed to break HP’s stranglehold in the Indian notebook market. Dell India Country General Manager Sameer Garde and Executive Director & General Manager (Consumer Division) Mahesh Bhalla tell Shivani Shinde the reasons behind the success, and the way forward. Edited excerpts:

Asia has performed well for Dell during the fourth quarter (October-December). How did India perform?
Garde: India’s contribution to Dell revenue is 2 per cent. We have crossed the $1-billion revenue mark in India. On a year-on-year basis, India revenue grew 52 per cent. In terms of units, we grew 82 per cent in India. Sequentially, revenue grew 8 per cent. For us, both SMEs and consumer segment grew over 100 per cent.

What do you attribute this growth to?
Garde: We have done a lot of things in the past five to six quarters that have led to this growth. These include building the brand and doing phenomenal amount of advertisement. We will also increase our product lines despite contraction of the market.

Do you think you will be able to hold on to this position?
Garde: We will continue to add new products, focus on customers, and continue to be competitive. We will also focus on our channel (distribution) strategy. We will continue to expand our desktop and notebooks range, drive more solutions for our clients in the large and the public sector domain.

In a way, Dell’s strategy to move to the indirect marketing has worked?
Bhalla: Going into retail and increasing the number of points of sale is one of the reasons for the success. But the essence has been listening to the customer. We have had a multi-channel strategy that has allowed us to reach newer markets and customers. Earlier, Dell was available online and through telephone only. But today, Dell is available across thousands of retail outlets as well as in large retail formats like Croma. Within these outlets, we also have Dell shop-in-shops managed by the company. With 35 Dell exclusive shops, we plan to expand this in future. We have also powered our sales persons as experts and help people buying online.

Do you think desktop market growth will be slower compared to the portable products?
Bhalla: There is variation across segments. In the consumer segment, the majority of growth is coming from the portable section (notebook and netbooks). But that does not mean that the desktop is not growing. We have see the all-in-one-category becoming interesting. Customers are choosing it as it gives simplicity — you need one power cord to connect. You get a much smaller form factor. Besides, PC penetration is still low in India. There is a lot of headroom to grow, as well as the various form factors to grow.


Castrol net jumps 45% to Rs 381cr

MUMBAI: Castrol India has reported a 45% jump in profit after tax for the year ended December 31, 2009 at Rs 381.1 crore against Rs 262.3 crore in
the previous year. Net sales for the fiscal rose 5.1% to Rs 2,318.2 crore from Rs 2,205.7 crore, a company release said.

In the fourth quarter, the company clocked a PAT of Rs 80.8 crore, up 72% over the year-ago figure of Rs 47 crore. Net sales for the quarter was up 14% at Rs 609.5 crore.

Naveen Kshatriya, regional V-P, Asia & Pacific, BP Castrol Lubricants, told ET NOW, this newspaper’s business news channel, the company has done well in the last quarter of the fiscal due to the combination of a couple of things. “First, there is an uptrend in the economy and that’s reflecting in our volumes. Second, we have been very diligent in terms of execution of our strategy, focusing on specific areas and investing heavily in brands... I mean in terms of introducing new products or uplifting the quality of our products,” Mr Kshatriya said.

Ravi Kriplani, COO & automotive director, Castrol India, told ET NOW that the company has seen its volumes bounce back in the fourth quarter. “It’s a combination of better volumes, better margin management and better cost,” he said.

The board of directors of the company has announced a bonus issue in the ratio of 1:1 and recommended a final dividend of Rs 5 per share and a special dividend of Rs 10 per share for FY09. This dividend is in addition to an interim dividend of Rs 10 per share for the full-year 2009.

Mr Kshatriya said the bonus issue was in recognition of the company’s centenary year. “This will improve the liquidity in the market and will enable investors to participate in our business a bit more,” he said.

Mr Kshatriya said the company commands around 21% share of the Indian automotive lubricant market. “But if you look at the areas where we focus on... in the new generation truck oils, in motor cycle oils, in the premium passenger car oils, we have actually shown a growth in market share,” he added. “We will continue to improve our shares in the strategically important areas, Mr Kshatriya said. link...


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