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Kochi Refineries Board to consider scheme of amalgamation with BPCL
11th January 2005: Kochi Refineries Ltd has informed BSE that a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Company is scheduled to be held on January 17, 2005 to consider the Scheme of Amalgamation of the Company with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).

Tata Finance, 2 others to merge with Tata Motors
8th January 2005: Tata Motors today informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that it is considering a proposal to merge Tata Finance with itself. The company will also consider amalgamation of two subsidiaries- Telco Dadajee Dhackjee and Suryodaya Capital & Finance (Bombay) with itself. The boards of Tata Motors and Tata Finance will meet independently on January 10, 2005 to consider the proposal, two companies informed the stock exchange. The most significant of the three companies is Tata Finance, which was in severe financial trouble a couple of years ago. The company, offering financial services and housing finance, is today only a financier for Tata Motors. It posted a net profit of Rs 16.75 crore for 2003-04 on sales of around Rs 322.08 crore. However, Tata Finance’s accumulated losses stood at around Rs 543 crore as on March 31, 2004. Telco Dadajee Dhackjee owns a property in south Mumbai. The company posted a net profit of Rs 62 lakh on an income of around Rs 1.11 crore for 2003-04. More than a year ago, Tata Finance had sold its housing finance business to IDBI.

The Tata Group holds a stake of 87.71% in Tata Finance. The public holds 8.99%. Institutions, NRIs, OCBs and PCBs, hold the rest. The single largest Tata Group shareholder is Tata International with 42.7% followed by Tata Sons with 30.18%. Tata Motors holds only a 9% stake directly in Tata Finance. Sheeba Properties & Kalimati Investments hold 2.82% and 1.45% respectively in the company (all these shareholdings as on December 31, 2004). The Tata Motors stock closed today at Rs 493.25 against the over night close of Rs 495.25. The Tata Finance stock closed at 53.75 today, compared with yesterday’s close of Rs 52.25.

SBI to complete 2 overseas acquisitions within 3 months
5th January 2005: The State Bank of India (SBI) is all set to complete the acquisition of at least two banks abroad within the next three months, according to its managing director, Mr. Chandan Bhattacharya. “We are almost at the final stages of due diligence to finalise the local entity in these two foreign countries and everything will be finalised within the next three months,” said Mr. Bhattacharya. However, he refused to name the banks or the countries where they are based. “We are looking at European, Asian and African countries,” said Mr. Bhattacharya. He added that the bank has decided to enter retail banking abroad in a big way. “We have identified the US, UK, Canada, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives as the most preferred nations to go for retail banking in a big way,” added Mr. Bhattacharya. He said all overseas branches of SBI have been given retail-banking targets. Their focus will be non-resident Indians.

However, Mr. Bhattacharya declined to comment on whether SBI is planning to take over any other public sector commercial bank in India. “All I can say is that the SBI management had several rounds of discussions with a number of them in this regard. We will only consider taking over a domestic unit only if it adds value to our existing business,” Mr. Bhattacharya said. He ruled out the possibility of merging the seven associate banks of SBI with the parent bank. He said that these associate banks would continue to operate with their existing identity.

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