Companies & Sectors
Niko seeks 3-month extension to sell stake in KG-D6 block

Niko had in February announced it intended to sell-off its 10 percent stake in the KG-D6 block to square a $340 million debt

 

Reliance Industries' consortium partner Niko Resources of Canada has extended by over three months its search for a buyer of its stake in RIL's eastern offshore KG-D6 gas block to pay off debt.
 
"The Board of Directors of Niko now believes that it requires more time to determine if the sales process will be successful or, if not, to develop an alternative plan with the assistance of its advisors and stakeholders to achieve the best results for the stakeholders of the company," Niko has said in a filing to the Toronto Stock Exchange.
 
It said it has now reached reached an understanding with lenders to extend the search till September 15.
 
Niko had in February announced it intended to sell-off its 10 percent stake in the KG-D6 block to square a $340 million debt. The company had earlier planned to sell off the interest by April 30 but later extended it till May 31.
 
The company has earlier blamed a lower-than-expected gas price announced by the Indian government for its decision to sell its stake in the KG-D6 block.
 
The government had in October announced a new natural gas price of $5.61 per million British thermal unit, raising it from $4.2. 
 
"The announced price for the period from November 2014 to March 2015 is a 33 percent increase over the price received previously, but is lower than expected. In addition, there is uncertainty around the long-term natural gas price outlook in India," Kevin J. Clarke, chairman Niko Resources had said.
 
In April, Niko had said that RIL's gas discovery MJ-1 may hold 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas resources, roughly half of the reserves in the KG-D6 block's main gas fields.
 
Reliance on Friday sought an early revision of gas prices and urged the government to quickly resolve what it termed as "legacy issues" over its production-sharing contracts for discovered hydrocarbons.
 
Announcing the new gas price October last, the government had said the premium to RIL for its gas discoveries being under arbitration, the company would continue be paid the earlier price of $4.2 per unit.
 
The arbitration concerns the penalty imposed on the company for allegedly failing to meet output targets from the Reliance-led consortium's specific offshore blocks. The government wanted the company to make good this shortfall vis-a-vis the terms of the contract.
 
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had told parliament last year that a fresh notice had been served on Reliance Industries seeking additional penalty for lower production of gas.
 
The government had said that a premium would be given for all new discoveries in ultra-deep-water areas, deep-water areas and the high pressure-high-temperature areas, but did not spell out further details on how it will be calculated and when it will be awarded.
 
While shallow-water blocks are at a depth of up to 100-500 metres, deep-water blocks descend to around 1,000 metres. Those at depths beyond 1,500 metres are classified as ultra-deep-water blocks. 
 
These are the areas where the RIL has maximum discoveries.
 

 

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Air Pegasus's Bengaluru-Madurai service soon

The third largest city in Tamil Nadu, Madurai, about 490km from Chennai, is also called as Athens of the East for its cultural heritage

 

Low-cost carrier Air Pegasus will begin flying from here to Tamil Nadu's Madurai from June 26, spreading its footprint to the fourth city across south India in its venture to provide direct air connectivity to tier-two cities.
 
"We will operate a 66-seat twin engine turboprop ATR-72 thrice a week initially on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Bengaluru with a return flight on same day," Air Pegasus managing director Shyson Thomas said in a statement here on Sunday.
 
The third largest city in Tamil Nadu, Madurai, about 490km from Chennai, is also called as Athens of the East for its cultural heritage.
 
"We will be the sole operator to Madurai from Bengaluru with a direct flight, which will add value to the economy of the temple city," Thomas said.
 
The budget airline began booking for the new service from Sunday with tickets priced at Rs.1,234 for the 80-minute flight.
 
Taking off at 10.40 a.m. from Bengaluru, the aircraft will land at Madurai at noon. It will take off from there at 12.30 p.m. to return here at 1.50 p.m.
 
The city-based airline launched its third service to Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh on June 7 from Bengaluru after launching its maiden service to Hubbali in north Karnataka on May 12 and to Thiruvananthapuram on May 13.
 
Its parent company, Decor Aviation, has been providing ground handling services to Indian and overseas airlines from 11 airports across the country over the years.
 
Thomas said Air Pegasus aims to be a regional airline brand providing more connectivity in underserved regions and connecting non-connected sectors.
 
The company, which invested Rs.100 crore to launch the airline, with 3:1 equity-debt ratio, plans to add three more ATR aircraft to the two it has on dry lease by December.
 
The ninth carrier in the country and third to launch service after Air Asia and Vistara during the last 14 months, Air Pegasus named after the winged stallion from Greek mythology, has permit to launch service to and from any of the 22 airports across south India, connecting tier-two and tier-three cities with cities and metros like Chennai and Hyderabad.
 
Though the southern region has 30 functional airports, all of them are not connected yet, as full-fledged, budget carrier and other low-cost airlines have been operating between metros and tier-one cities only.
 

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Selection of chief executives at 5 state-run banks from Monday

A finance ministry source told IANS that this would be the first time when executives from private sector banks would be part of the selection process for top jobs in state-run banks including Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank and the Bank of India

 

As many as 26 shortlisted candidates, including executives from private sector banks, are to appear for interviews here for two days from Monday, for the posts of chief executive and managing director at five major banks.
 
A finance ministry source told IANS that this would be the first time when executives from private sector banks would be part of the selection process for top jobs in state-run banks including Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank and the Bank of India.
 
Each candidate will have to go through three sub-committees or screening committees of two members each, whose members are secretary, department of financial services, the additional secretary and a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank.
 
The sub-committees include three outside experts -- former State Bank of India managing director S. Viswanathan, Indian Institute of Management-Indore director Rishikesha T. Krishnan, and former Allahabad Bank chairperson S. Panse.
 
The final selection of candidates would be made by the appointment board chaired by the RBI governor.
 
The finance ministry had sought applications for the top posts in Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Canara Bank and IDBI Bank for a fixed term of three years.
 
However, it did not find an adequate number of candidates as per the criteria advertised, and, thus, relaxed the norms in April.
 

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