IOC rejects partnership offer for proposed Barmer refinery

After IOC turned down an offer to partner in the proposed Barmer refinery in Rajasthan due to financial constraints, the state government is consulting ONGC about the feasibility of the project

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has turned down an offer to partner in the proposed Barmer refinery in Rajasthan due to financial constraints, minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Jitin Prasada said on Tuesday, reports PTI.

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) is in consultations with the Rajasthan government on the feasibility of the refinery, he said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

"IOC has regretted its participation as equity partner in the proposed Barmer refinery due to the financial constraints faced by the corporation," he said.

Originally proposed in 2004-05, the project was declared economically unviable after the previous Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan did not agree to give fiscal incentives like an interest-free loan and sales-tax exemption for the products to be produced at the 15 million tonnes a year unit.

After Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot renewed the demand of setting up of the refinery project in the state last year, ONGC decided to do a feasibility study again considering the fiscal concession that the state government was willing to extend to the project.

"The government of Rajasthan has not yet firmed up its nature of assistance for establishing (the) refinery in Barmer," Mr Prasada said.

The refinery was proposed to turn the crude oil produced by Cairn India from its Barmer fields into products. However, considering the fact that the peak oil production from Cairn's Barmer field, where ONGC has 30% stake, was only 8.75 million tonnes, which may last a maximum of seven years, the refinery was considered unviable.

Also, the economic scenario had undergone a sea-change since the project was first proposed with fuel demand expanding at a slower pace. India already has surplus refining capacity, meaning more fuel is produced that can be consumed in the country, that makes a new refinery addition unviable.

 

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Tayals not promoters of Bank of Rajasthan, says CEO

A day after market regulator SEBI barred the Tayal group of entities and others from trading in securities and RBI appointed Deloitte Haskins & Sells to conduct a special audit, the Bank is trying to distance itself from the Tayal Group

Seeking to distance itself from a controversy over the Tayal Group's shareholding in it, Bank of Rajasthan (BoR) on Tuesday said the Tayals were technically not its promoters.

The clarification came a day after market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) barred the Tayal group of entities and others from trading in securities in any form till further directions.

"Legal opinion has been obtained that they are not the promoters. The bank doesn't consider them as its promoters. They are just dominant shareholders in the bank," Bank of Rajasthan's managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) G Padmanabhan told PTI.

SEBI was peeved that the Tayals had increased their shareholding in the private sector lender from 44.71% in the quarter ended June 2007 to 55.01% in the October-December quarter 2009, although they had claimed they were actually divesting stake.

The Bank said that it was still studying the order issued by the market regulator late last night and would come up with an appropriate response later, Mr Padmanabhan said.

The SEBI action against the Tayal Group itself came after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appointed Deloitte Haskins & Sells to conduct a special audit of BoR's accounts, suspecting violation of operational norms by the lender, including transparency in lending. The RBI had also imposed a Rs25-lakh fine on the bank alleging violation of a host of norms.

Referring to the SEBI action, Mr Padmanabhan said, "From the bank's perspective these are two different things. They (the Tayal Group) have no control on the day-to-day activities of the bank."

The market regulator also said that while the promoters apparently conveyed the impression that they were reducing their shareholding, they did not, in fact, dilute their controlling stake in Bank of Rajasthan.

"On the contrary, they had actually increased their shareholding in a deceptive and fraudulent manner with the active connivance of others," the SEBI statement said.

Barring entities including the Tayals from accessing the share market, SEBI said, "It is imperative that the groups of entities including the promoters, the other Tayal entities, the Yadav Group and the Silvassa Group (are) restrained from dealing in the securities markets till further directions."

Started in 1943, Bank of Rajasthan has a network of 463 branches across the country and over 20 lakh customers.

For the quarter ended December 2009, BoR's net profit declined to Rs44.70 crore as against Rs49.20 crore in the year-ago period while its total income dropped to Rs373.70 crore from Rs419.80 crore.
 

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IndusInd Bank: ‘Idiotic’ branding

One of the perils of celebrity endorsement: the brand gets lost in the clutter

So, the ‘3 Idiots’ saga in Indian advertising rages on. IndusInd Bank has gone a step further and hired one of the idiots… no fun only being inspired by the story, right? The bank has released three commercials to highlight its various services such as mobile alerts, online payments and the ‘Ready2Use Savings Account kit’. And to add some zing to the proceedings, they have high-jacked that dumb geek from ‘3 Idiots’: Chatur aka Omi Vaidya. The funny commercials feature a young couple… Vaidya and TV actor, Shruti Seth, who plays his hapless wife.
 
Basically each commercial involves Omi tormenting the missus in various ways. In one, he orders her around to be served. Like the typical MCP hubby. So she fetches him spectacles, newspaper, tea and so on. In another, he demands his food be cooked swiftly, he finds wifey to be a slow coach. And in the third, he messes up her mind asking moronic questions, exactly the way nerds do. And towards the end of each TVC, one of IndusInd’s features gets tied in with each situation.
 
Yup, the commercials are humorous. Nerdy, geeky, robotic Omi performs his role well, exactly as he did in ‘3 Idiots’. In fact, he carries the character so effortlessly, it’s almost like he simply ambled across from the film’s sets to the IndusInd ad’s sets. And as his harassed wife, Shruti Seth does a fine job too. She contrasts him well; from the very first frame you realise this partnership is headed for disaster. So humour is in-built into the commercials.
 
So can we safely assume all is well for IndusInd Bank, to use that most abused cliché? Er, not really. There’s a huge problem out here. Because of his compelling screen presence and berserk nerdy antics, Omi Vaidya totally steals the show. And whatever little space he leaves, is occupied by his harried bitter half. And the bank’s claims appear like statutory warnings towards the end of the commercials. Almost like those breathlessly read-out legally-stipulated warnings at the end of investment ads. In short, the geek manages to vampire the brand, full-on.
 
A good lesson in the perils of indulging in celebrity advertising. I would be quite surprised if in the brand recall tests, too many respondents connect IndusInd with the commercials.
 
Bottom-line: marketers need to watch out for the two extremes. It’s never a good idea to ram the brand name down viewers’ throats. Something Tata DOCOMO does, and that’s totally off-putting. And then on the other hand is IndusInd Bank. Which does great service to boost Omi Vaidya’s career, but loses out on its own branding in the process. Ergo, wonder who’s the real idiot out here? 
 

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COMMENTS

HSR

7 years ago

I entirely agree with this article. Anil Thakraney's conclusion that IndusInd is actually lost in this ad - is precisely what I felt the very first time I saw the ad and I was sure the second time. Yes, Omi is just superb.

Rajesh

7 years ago

It's a very cute campaign. Chatur is annoying, but in a very lovable way. And one can easily relate to such situations

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