SC permits petroleum regulator to process applications for CGD, PNG licences

The PNGRB had not been able to issue a single city gas distribution license during its four-year existence as the government had not notified a crucial section of the PNGRB Act that gave the multi-member board powers to issue such authorisations

New Delhi: Ending years of uncertainty, the Supreme Court today allowed oil regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) to process all pending applications for the grant of licences to provide retail compressed natural gas (CNG) to automobiles and piped cooking gas to households in cities, reports PTI.

The PNGRB had not been able to issue a single city gas distribution (CGD) license during its four-year existence as the government had not notified a crucial section of the PNGRB Act that gave the multi-member board powers to issue such authorisations.

Section 16 of the PNGRB Act was notified last year and today, a three-judge bench headed by justice Dalveer Bhandari allowed applications for CGD licences to be processed by the multi-member board.

The apex court, however, ruled that the PNGRB cannot process authorisations for areas where licences have already been issued by the central government, like Ghaziabad.

The bench also directed the government to fill up all vacancies on the board within a period of four weeks.

The PNGRB is a five-member board—one chairman and four members. Currently, it is headed by L Mansingh as the chairman, while the position of member (commercial) is vacant.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court bench said PNGRB member (infrastructure) BS Negi, against whom allegations of impropriety were levelled, should not participate in any meeting of the board granting authorisation for CGD and cross-country pipelines.

The court said the government can nominate a suitable person in his place for such meetings.

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Silver plunges to Rs53,300 on global cues; gold down by Rs410

Selling in the precious metals gathered momentum as their prices in global markets fell sharply as the dollar advanced against major currencies, reducing demand for precious metals as an alternative investment

New Delhi: Snapping their four-day rally, both the precious metals—silver and gold—nosedived today on heavy sell-off by stockists, in tandem with a weakening global trend, pushing silver down by Rs7,200 to Rs53,300 per kg and gold by Rs410 to Rs22,170 per 10 grams.

Selling in the precious metals gathered momentum as their prices in global markets fell sharply as the dollar advanced against major currencies, reducing demand for precious metals as an alternative investment, reports PTI.

Gold in global markets, which normally sets a price trend on the domestic front, fell by 0.7% to $1,491.30 an ounce and silver by 5.2% to $33.65 an ounce.

Fall in domestic demand at existing high levels also dampened the market sentiment to some extent.

On the domestic front, silver ready nose-dived by Rs7,200 to Rs53,300 per kg and weekly-based delivery by Rs7,440 to Rs52,300 per kg. Silver coins also plunged by Rs9,500 to Rs57,500 for buying and Rs58,500 for selling of 100 pieces.

In a similar manner, gold of 99.9 and 99.5 per cent purity dropped by Rs410 each to Rs22,170 and Rs22,050 per 10 grams, respectively. Sovereigns lost Rs100 to Rs18,400 per piece of eight grams.

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Tata Capital raises $800-mn for PE fund

Last year, Tata Capital had said it would raise $1 billion for its private equity fund by December 2011

Tata Capital, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, today said it has raised $800 million for its private equity fund.

Last year, the company had said it would raise $1 billion for its private equity fund by December 2011.

“We have already raised $800 million till March 2011, against our target of raising $1 billion for private equity fund by December 2011,” Tata Capital’s managing director and CEO Praveen Kadle said.

Of the $800 million, $220 million has been raised from domestic banks and financial institutions and $580 million was raised from international investors, which includes 40% of fund from Japanese investors. The company has not yet approached the US investors, Kadle said.

“Once we get $1 billion from good quality investors, we may go beyond that figure as we have already raised 80% by March,” he said.

Kadle pointed out that the company has invested $150 million, and plans to make the balance of investments over the next three-to-five-years and is looking at a return on equity of about 18%. Typically, the company remains invested for 7-10 years.

So far, the company has put money into six companies, two of which are Tata Group companies and the rest from outside the group. It has invested $30 million in Tata Technologies.

Of the $150 million, 11% has been invested in the engineering sector, 12% in autos, 21% in information technology and IT-related, 48% in consumer and 8% in healthcare, he added.

Commenting on its investment strategy, Kadle said that in line with economic growth, sectors like IT services, healthcare, education, engineering and manufacturing and logistics supported areas have good investment potential. However, it is not making investment in real estate and infrastructure sector, he said.

“We are into the fund management business and going ahead we may raise more funds,” he said, adding that the firm aims to be among the top five PE fund managers in India.

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