Air India board reviews turnaround plan

The plan for 2010-14 envisages revenue enhancement and expenditure reduction over different phases

Air India's five-year turnaround plan for financial revival of the ailing national carrier was today reviewed at its board meeting in the presence of civil aviation minister Praful Patel, reports PTI.

The plan for 2010-14 envisages revenue enhancement and expenditure reduction over different phases, airline sources said.

CMD Arvind Jadhav and newly-appointed chief operating officer (CEO) Gustav Baldauf gave a presentation on the plan at the three-hour long meeting, which was also attended by civil aviation secretary Madhavan Nambiar, they said.

The meeting came three months after the government appointed four independent directors on the Air India board to utilise their expertise in turning around the national carrier, which suffered an estimated loss of Rs5,400 crore in 2009-10.

The independent directors are Mahindra Group vice chairman and MD Anand Mahindra, Ambuja Reality Group chairman Harshvardhan Neotia, FICCI secretary general Amit Mitra and former Indian Air Force chief Fali Homi Major.

According to the sources, today's exercise is likely to be followed by a meeting with union representatives, who are being taken into the fold so that they can have a proper say in the company's turnaround plan.

"The CMD has informed us that the independent directors are playing an important role in formalising the turnaround strategy. He has assured the unions that there will be a meeting between the board and unions to consider our inputs on the turnaround strategy," said George Abraham, a senior leader of the Aviation Industry Employees Guild.

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India has its way on bank tax at G-20 meet

Discussing the issue threadbare, the G-20 leaders declared that though the financial sector should make a fair and substantial contribution towards paying for any bailouts, the policy should take into account each nation's "circumstances and options"

India's stand against any tax on banks for funding bailouts was vindicated, with the Group of Twenty (G-20) leaders agreeing that any such levy should be left to individual nations, reports PTI.

Discussing the issue threadbare, the leaders of the developed and fast developing economies declared that though the financial sector should make a fair and substantial contribution towards paying for any bailouts, the policy should take into account each nation's "circumstances and options."

It may be recalled that just before G-20 summit in Canada, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had said, "We are not in favour of having taxation on banks." He voiced India's opinion within days of participating in the G-20 ministerial meeting at Busan in South Korea.

In their Toronto declaration, the G-20 leaders, including prime minister Manmohan Singh, US president Barack Obama, German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, decided that while the financial sector should make a contribution to prevent a breakdown, the policy approach should differ from country to country.

"We agreed the financial sector should make a fair and substantial contribution towards paying for any burdens associated with government's intervention, where they occur, to repair the financial system or fund resolution...

"To that end, we recognise that there is a range of policy approaches. Some countries are pursuing financial levies. Other countries are pursuing different approaches. We agreed the range of approaches follow these principles:

"To protect tax payers: reduce risk from financial system... take into account individual countries' circumstances and options and help promote a level playing field," the declaration said.

While countries like Britain, which has already levied a tax, France and Germany campaigned for such a tax, India has reservations.

It pointed out that its banking institutions were conservative by nature and followed healthy norms that prevented any crisis in the country in 2008.

India has been in favour of strong financial regulations, rather than imposing a levy on the banks.

Mr Mukherjee had said that if there were well-placed regulations, the health of banks can be protected.

The governments in the US and several other Western countries had pumped in hundreds of billions of dollars into many big financial players to avert their collapse in the wake of the economic turmoil in 2008-09.

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Daily Market View: Slower gains

As we suggested on Friday, the market went on to rise but a reversal can hit anytime. Watch out for 17,800

The market ended in the green on the positive sentiment triggered by the fuel price deregulation announced last Friday and the good monsoon forecast. The Sensex surged 200 points at 17,774 (up 1.1%) and the Nifty settled 64 points higher at 5,335 (up 1.2%). The indices started the day with a sharp rise. They traded range-bound till early afternoon and touched their intraday highs in the afternoon session taking a cue from European markets.

Asian markets were up on Monday on easing of concerns over the drafting of a harsh bill by Washington for regulating the banking sector and conclusion of the G-20 summit, where leaders agreed to take their own paths to ensure economic growth. Key benchmark indices in Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore were up by 0.1% to 0.6%. Markets in China and Japan were down 0.4% to 0.7%. 

The US markets were up on the expectation that the financial regulation bill wouldn't weigh on Wall Street profits and as Oracle's strong results revived hopes about business spending. The Dow was down 9 points (0.09%) at 10,143.8. The S&P 500 was up 3 points (0.3%) at 1,076.7. The Nasdaq was up 6 points (0.27%) at 2,223.

Japan's retail sales expanded for the fifth straight month in May, though the growth in spending lost momentum as government stimulus measures faded. Retail sales rose 2.8% from the same month a year earlier, the government said on Monday.

World leaders agreed on Sunday (27th June) to take different paths for cutting budget deficits and making their banking systems safer. In a reversal from the unity of the past three crisis-era G-20 summits, the leaders left room to move at their own pace and adopt "differentiated and tailored" policies.

Back home, the weather office said that the annual monsoon should revive in two days after a 10-day lull, raising hopes for a pick-up in soybean planting. The rains were 12% below normal from 1st June to 27th June. Countrywide rainfall was 122.4 mm during the period against a normal 139.7 mm.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs307 crore on Friday. Domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs446 crore.

Venus Remedies (up 1.4%) has marked its presence in the Australasia region by receiving a patent from Commissioner of Patents, Trademarks & Design, Intellectual Property office of New Zealand for its antibiotic 'Potentox', a fixed dose combination of cefepime and amikacin. This combination is a super-specialty product indicated for the treatment of hospital-acquired pneumonia, community-acquired pneumonia and febrile neutropenia.

Reliance Industries (RIL) (up 2.3%) has announced its seventh oil discovery in exploration block CB-ONN-2003/1 (CB 10 A&B), awarded under the fourth round of the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-IV). The well CB10A-N1 was drilled to a total depth of 1579 metres in Part A of the block.

HSIL's (up 0.9%) step-down subsidiary in The Netherlands-Haas International-has entered into a definitive share-purchase agreement to acquire 100% equity share capital of Barwood Products (Staffordshire), in an all-cash transaction. The acquired company is a small boutique manufacturer of specialised bathroom ceramics. With this acquisition, the building products division of HSIL hopes to get far greater reach in the UK and other European countries.

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