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BUSINESS | News Briefs | AUGUST 2010

Reliance, Universal Eye Theme Park in India
BBC Worldwide: New Channels
India Inc.: $1.79B Raised
Airlines Owe

Reliance, Universal Eye Theme Park in India

Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fla.

India's Reliance ADA Group is in talks with Universal Studios to build a $1.5 billion, 400-acre theme park and resort in India, the Wall Street Journal reported citing a person familiar with the matter.

Reliance's Big Entertainment unit and Universal, a unit of General Electric Co's NBC Universal could reach a deal this year, although one person familiar with the matter warned the talks were at an early stage and could break down, the newspaper reported.

Reliance ADA is controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani.

The newspaper cited a source as saying that Reliance ADA would have full ownership of the venture but would pay Universal royalties and fees for using content linked to popular movies like Jaws, E.T., Spider-Man and the Harry Potter franchise.

The park would look much like Universal's parks in Los Angeles, Orlando, Fla., and Japan, with a variety of roller coasters and rides, shops with movie-related merchandise and nearby hotels.

Universal declined comment and officials for Reliance were not immediately available.

The main cities being considered for the park are New Delhi and Mumbai, according to the report.


BBC Worldwide: New Channels

BBC Worldwide Channels has identified India as a key growth market and is working on widening the reach of its channels and introducing new ones in the country, a senior official said.

“We have identified India as a high-growth market and will be making substantial investments in bringing quality content and increasing distribution here,” Darren Childs, MD of BBC Worldwide Channels, said July 29.

BBC Worldwide is a wholly owned commercial arm of London-based British Broadcasting Corporation.

Childs said Indian pay television market is set to grow immensely in the next five years, making it a key market for the future growth of the company.

BBC is targeting to have two-thirds of its sales come from overseas market by 2012 and India is a “tier one priority” market that will help achieve this target, he said.

Currently, three BBC channels —BBC World News, BBC Entertainment and Cbeebies —are available in the country.

It will relaunch BBC Entertainment by the end of this year and have a wider distribution for its channels, Childs said.

“We will also look at bringing other channels like BBC Knowledge and BBC Lifestyle in India at the appropriate time," he added.

He also hinted at bringing in its high-definition channel to the country next year.

“It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that in one year’s time we would have BBC HD channel available in the country. We have been at the front of launching HD content globally and we would like to do the same in India,” he said.


India Inc.: $1.79B Raised

India Inc raised $1.79 billion through debt from overseas markets, a jump of over two-fold compared to $696 million in the previous month.

RIL's Infotel Broadband Services and Essar Oil accounted for major portion of the borrowings.

Around 50 companies mopped up $1.79 billion through external commercial borrowing and foreign currency convertible bond route in June, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement.

Infotel Broadband, in which Reliance Industries acquired a 95 percent stake last month, has raised $500 million for apparently paying for its spectrum license fee, while Essar Oil borrowed $300 million for modernization.

Besides, Bharat Oman Refineries borrowed $200 million during the month for new projects and Adani Power raised $150 million for power.

Other companies which borrowed from overseas during the month include Vodafone Essar and Jindal Steel and Power.


Airlines Owe

The private sector airlines owe Airports Authority of India Rs 3.04 billion till the end of June this year, Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel informed the Lok Sabha.

Kingfisher Airlines owes Rs 1.8 billion, Jet Airways has outstanding of Rs 363 million, Jet Lite (Rs 146 million), Indigo (Rs 111 million), SpiceJet (Rs 111 million), Go Air (Rs 52 million), Paramount (Rs 45.3 million) while others owe Rs 366 million.

The losses suffered by Air India and other airlines due to strikes were around Rs.1.27 billion, the minister told the Lok Sabha.

The estimated loss suffered by National Aviation Company of India Ltd, the company created through the merger of Air India and Indian, due to these strikes was around Rs 770 million, the minister said.

NACIL executive pilots had resorted to stoppage of work through mass sick leave among others because of the proposed cut in flying allowance, between September 26 and 30 last year. All India Aircraft Engineers' Association and Air Corporations Employees' Union, the two unions of erstwhile Indian Airlines, without giving any notice or reasons, went on a flash strike on May 25 this year.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

Patriot Everywhere:
Makhan Singh (1913-1973)

Makhan Singh loved India. He also loved his adopted country Kenya, where the British jailed him, writes Ved Prakash Vatuk.

Celebrating a Nobelist:
Charles Townes

Charles Townes found common cause with activists working on the environmental challenges of the Bengal and Himalayan basins, who honored him recently. A Siliconeer report.

Why Naxals Thrive:
A Social Critique

Socio-economic disparity, marginalization, and a lack of peaceful avenues to agitate have led to Naxal violence, writes Sandeep Pandey.

EDITORIAL: Patriot Everywhere
SUBCONTINENT: Mega Power Projects
TECHNOLOGY: India News On the Go
CINEMA: Chat with Dileep Rao
SUBCONTINENT: Fuel Price Decontrol
SUBCONTINENT: India Defense Buildup
RECIPE: Egg Veg. Fried Rice
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: Khatta Meetha
TAMIL FILM: Ananthapurathu Veedu
BUSINESS: News Briefs
COMMUNITY: News Briefs

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