Nov 9, 2013

Tatas give up chase – Scraps $1.2 Bn Bermuda based Orient Exp.Luxury Rail Hotel Chain Bid

After a bitter public battle through the past six years, the Tatas have finally scrapped their $1.2-billion bid for Bermuda-based luxury hotel chain Orient-Express, citing the unfavourable economic environment, other opportunities and changed priorities.

After a board meeting here on Friday, Tata group company Indian Hotels announced all contracts entered into to facilitate the Orient-Express bid had been cancelled.

Orient-Express has 45 properties across 22 countries. These properties include hotels, tourist trains, restaurants and cruise ships. Indian Hotels owns 6.9 per cent stake in Orient Express. So far, it has invested about Rs 1,000 crore in buying these shares.

“Indian Hotels and Samsara (a group company) continue to remain a significant investor in Orient-Express and intend to monitor and review their investment in the company on a regular basis and may, at any time and from time to time, seek to engage into discussions with Orient-Express regarding its investment,” Indian Hotels, operators of the Taj group of hotels, said in a filing with the US regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it would continue to look for opportunities for its seven per cent investment in Orient-Express.

For the Tatas, the Orient-Express bid didn’t fare well ever since it had acquired 11.85 per cent stake in the company for about $211 million in 2007. Soon, Orient-Express shares lost value due to the global slowdown, and the Tatas’ investment shrank considerably.

In 2007, the Tatas had bought Orient shares at $42 apiece; currently, the shares stand at $14.71 apiece.


In October 2012, the Tatas made another offer for the company, at $12.63 a share, which was promptly rejected by the Orient-Express board. This was the second time Orient-Express board had snubbed the Tatas, saying the offer was “too cheap”.

In its offer last year, Indian Hotels had proposed a group managed by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, chairman of Italian sports carmaker Ferrari and a close friend of former Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata, would invest $100 million for a minority stake in the combined company.

According to the plan, Indian Hotels would contribute $650 million in cash for the remaining 93 per cent stake in Orient-Express, while the remaining amount would be funded by other Tata group entities and debt from banks. Indian Hotels was to assume Orient-Express’ debt, which stood at $529.5 million as on June 30, 2012.

However, on November 9, Orient-Express rejected the offer, saying it was better off as a standalone firm. “The Indian Hotels proposal…is deeply unattractive from a financial perspective,” Orient-Express Chairman Robert Lovejoy had said in a statement.

“The board believes the current macroeconomic environment, conditions in the luxury hotel business and factors unique to Orient-Express would make this a highly disadvantageous time to sell the company to realise its true value,” Lovejoy wrote in his rejection letter to Indian Hotels.

Orient-Express had a dual-class share structure that prevented Indian Hotels from making any attempt at a hostile takeover.

Bidding partners

While mounting the second takeover attempt, the Tatas had roped in Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezomolo and, strangely enough, Paul White, the former Chief Executive of Orient-Express, who had rudely spurned their bid for a grand alliance six years ago.

White had been forced out of Orient-Express in a boardroom reshuffle last year.

The Tatas had offered $12.63 per Class A share in Orient Express, which worked out to a 40 per cent premium over the then prevailing price of $9.02 a share. The Orient-Express stock was quoting at $14.79 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

Under the terms of the plan, the Montezomolo family was supposed to invest $100 million for a minority stake in the hotel chain through Charme II, a special fund created by Montezomolo & Partners SpA that invests in leading companies with strong ties to Italy.

Indian Hotels holds 7.13 million Class A common shares of Orient-Express, giving it a 6.9 per cent stake. The shares are held through a Tata subsidiary, Samsara Properties. The Tatas have been stalking the luxury hotel chain since October 2007 when they were rudely rebuffed by Orient-Express.

On August 15 last year, they launched a second overture when they met the then interim chief executive officer of Orient-Express Hotels, Philip R. Mengel.

But this time they were politely told that Orient-Express was not interested in exploring such a transaction.

In December 2007, its stake had risen to 11.5 per cent when it bought the Orient-Express stock in phases, at times paying as much as $60 a share. In 2007, the Tatas had spent about $300 million to corner the Orient-Express shares.

A poison pill mechanism devised by Orient-Express at that time created a special class of super-voting Class B shares that slashed the voting rights of the Tatas and two other hedge funds that had also bought into the company. Orient-Express was also able to ward off a legal challenge from the two hedge funds against its poison pill and other corporate governance practices.

It would never have been possible for the Tatas to acquire Orient-Express through a hostile bid because of the structure of the poison pill.

Orient-Express Holdings 1 Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bermuda-based hotel chain, holds all 18,044,478 outstanding class B common shares, which represent 64 per cent of the combined voting power of its class A and B common shares.

In a recent filing, Orient-Express had said: “As long as the number of outstanding class B shares exceeds one-tenth the number of outstanding class A shares, Holdings could control the outcome of most matters submitted to a vote of the shareholders.”

Source..Rail News

DPR on Bangalore-Ramanagar/Bangalore-Malur railway project to be ready in 4 months

The State government has entrusted Rail India Technical and Economic Search (RITES) to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the first phase of the Commuter Rail System (CRS) which proposes to connect two railway stations in Bangalore City with Ramanagara district and Malur of Kolar district.

The Directorate of Urban Land and Transport  (DULT) has provided RITES four months time to prepare the DPR for phase 1A of the project. The orders were issued during the second week of October. The phase will connect Bangalore City-Nayandahalli-Jnanabharathi-Kengeri-Hejjala-Bidadi-Ramanagara and Bangalore City-Bangalore Cantonment-Bangalore East- K R Puram- Whitefield-Malur. RITES has already prepared the feasibility for the project and submitted it to DULT last year.

“We are working on the modalities for setting up the Bangalore Suburban Rail Corporation Limited to execute the project. Chartered accountants are working out the structure to float the company,” DULT Commissioner V Manjula said. Once the corporation is set up, it will function as a special purpose vehicle.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had announced in the revised state budget proposal 2013-14 that the government was keen to execute the project in a time-bound manner.

The full project will be spread out in four phases and proposes to connect Bangalore with Hosur, Mandya, Bangarpet, Chikaballapur, Doddaballapur, Tumkur, Nelamangala and Mandya.

Feasibility report

According to the feasibility report, one of the first requirement would be the construction of two additional platforms at the Bangalore City railway station.

At present, the Bangalore yard has 10 platform lines, six pit lines (maintenance lines), eight stabling (meant for stabling trains during their idle time or when they are waiting for their turn onto platform line or pit line).

The study has recommended that two maintenance lines be converted to platforms for passengers of commuter trains.

The phase would also require four pit lines at Byappanahalli railway station. Execution of work will not involve obstruction to running trains. The report has also recommended that initially five electric trains be run on the system which could be expanded further.

Manjula said the DULT is also preparing a proposal for the concurrence of the project from the Railways. “The exact cost of the Phase 1A of the project will be known once the DPR is finalised. The feasibility study has estimated project cost at Rs 950 crore and finally it may touch Rs 1,050 crore,” she added.

The government would also request the Railways for financial participation in the project so that it could be executed on a cost-sharing basis.

Source..Rail News

Besides its Metro Rail, DMRC also working on other streams

DMRC, the country’s metro provider is spreading its wings. It is now providing consultancy services to other metros making intra city travel easy.

“DMRC is being engaged as Consultant by the upcoming new Metros for preparation of Detailed Project Reports at the first instance,” says Mangu Singh, the chief of the corporation. “We also assist them to get clearances for the project and once the project is sanctioned by the government, these Metros have the option to engage DMRC as interim consultant/prime consultant or general consultant and in some cases like Jaipur and Kochi, DMRC has been given works on Deposit Term and Turn Key consultancy basis respectively,” he adds.

He says the experience of working with them has been very satisfactory since mutual support is being extended by both the upcoming Metros and Delhi Metro with the common goal of getting the Project implemented by utilising the services of DMRC who have good experience of project implementation & O& M. The DMRC recently has built a portion of the Jaipur Metro in a record time of only three years.

DMRC’s main revenue sources includes property development and fares. In the last financial year, the ratio of revenue from fare box and property development was 80:20.

“DMRC expects the uptrend in both the revenue sources since lot of innovative works, train operation plans rationalisation, energy saving measures, etc are being taken by DMRC to increase our revenues from both the streams and also reduce our expenditure,” adds Singh What is remarkable is that this has happened despite the fact that fares have not gone up & the electricity charges are increasing every year.

Besides its metro rail, DMRC is also working on other streams. Recently, DMRC has proposed a mono rail project in the city of Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram and also the mono rail project for one of the corridors of Delhi has been recommended by DMRC. However, behind the Metro success story lies the fact that they adopted global best practices.

“We studied the other modern Metro Systems in the world before the inception of Phase – I. Contracts which were awarded had sufficient clauses to cover bringing in latest technology in practice on Metros having similar Indian conditions.

We have identified areas like crowd management, automatic fare collection, communication base Train control, tunnel ventilation, simulation as the key areas where we are updating our system ,” says Singh . For now DMRC believes it will stay on the fast track.

Rail News

Inspection Specials upset schedule of regular trains on Secunderabad Division

Many a time, MMTS trains on Lingampally-Falaknuma route, and a few other passenger trains, get delayed for over an hour to ensure a smooth run for specials carrying VIPs

Next time you board a train, pray that no inspection special train carrying the Railway Minister or senior members of the Railway Board is chugging along the same route.
If it is, then the chances of your train being delayed for a long time, is quite possible.
This is what has been happening for the local trains and other services whenever Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge accompanied by a team of senior officials travels in his special inspection train from Gulbarga to Umdanagar via Secunderabad railway station.
The daily schedule of many trains of the Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) on the Lingampally-Falaknuma section and a few other passenger trains is going haywire – at times the delay being for more than an hour – to ensure a smooth run for the special train carrying the VIPs.
Ripple effect
Delays in clearing the MMTS trains is having a cascading effect on other services too, complains S. Krishnamurthy, a regular commuter on the Lingampally route.
In the last few months, Mr. Kharge had travelled quite a few times in his inspection special on the Gulbarga-Umdanagar route and vice-versa. Gulbarga being his constituency, the Minister prefers to travel on this route since it is convenient to reach Shamshabad airport and board a flight to New Delhi.
It is much more convenient than travelling by road from his constituency to the Bangalore airport, say railway officials, pleading anonymity.
While it takes just about half-hour to reach Umdanagar station from Secunderabad station in a special train, covering the same distance by road takes much longer.
And, it’s not just the Railway Minister. Even senior railway officials including Railway Board members prefer special inspection trains over travelling by road.
For instance, during the recent launch of the Raichur-Gadwal railway line, a special train was operated from Secunderabad to Raichur for the convenience of senior railway authorities.
Authorities deny charges
However, railway authorities deny that other train services were being hit or passengers being put to inconvenience because of running the special trains.
“Other trains are not stopped for more than 10 minutes whenever special trains are run,” they claim.
Other passenger trains are usually stopped due to security and operational reasons to make way for the Minister’s special train, the SCR spokesperson said.
Source..Rail News

Railway official held for bribe

MUMBAI: Central Bureau of Investigation arrested a senior rank Group-C category Railway official for taking a bribe of Rs.5000 from the complainant for expediting his pending job.

The Anti Corruption Bureau under Central Bureau of Investigation, Mumbai has registered a case against one Mr.Parshuram Manchekar, Office Superintendent (P) of Central Railway (CST, Mumbai) for demanding and accepting bribe of Rs.5,000/- from a complainant.
Source..Rail News

Three erring Railway Staff taken to task for behaving unprofessionally with a Passenger

After an inquiry into the October 23 incident in which Railway Protection Force (RPF) men had allegedly beaten a BPO employee at the Pune station was conducted, the Railway administration has taken action against the three erring officers.

Divisional Railway Manager Suneet Sharma had ordered an immediate inquiry into the incident though no formal offense was registered by the 22-year-old victim with the railway police.

On October 23, Debashish Charan Patnaik was allegedly beaten up by home guards Shivaji Shinde and Nitin Salvi, and RPF constable Rahul Kakde around 12.30 am, after Patnaik failed to show them a valid platform ticket. According to the station manager on night duty, who was approached by him immediately after the incident, the three officer also allegedly lied to the bystanders that Patnaik was a thief. The bystanders then reportedly began to beat him. Debashish had gone to the station to receive a friend and was waiting at platform no. 6.

The inquiry report submitted by Divisional Security Commissioner A K Ray blamed Patnaik as well for the incident. The report read, “Patnaik behaved rudely with the officials and refused to co-operate with the police. He also tried to run away when the officers tried to speak with him.”

“I submitted the report to the divisional railway manager, a few days ago, and as per the instructions, we have taken disciplinary action against the three officers. We have held them responsible for behaving unprofessionally with a person visiting the railway premise. The two home-guards have been sent back to their headquarters and the constable has been removed from public interface and been given office responsibilities. His behaviour will be closely monitored,” Ray told.

Rail News

Kolkata Metro eyes all AC fleet – request Railway Board to replace non-AC rakes

A fleet of all air-conditioned rakes is what Metro Railway wants after the city’s transport lifeline got its first fare hike in 12 years.

The new fares — on some stretches they are almost double the previous ones — came into effect on Thursday.

“We will request the railway board to get all the old non-AC rakes replaced by new AC ones. The present approval is for seven AC rakes but we want 14,” Metro rail general manager Radhey Shyam told on Friday.

Metro has 27 rakes, of which 14 are non-AC. Seven of the 14 rakes are more than 25 years old and have outlived their shelf-lives.

The 13 AC rakes, built at railway’s Integral Coach Factory in Perambur near Chennai, were added to the fleet in phases over two years.

“The board has approved replacement of seven of the non-AC rakes and repair of the rest. But we will ask for an all-AC fleet,” Radhey Shyam said.

Metro officials said a proposal to get all the non-AC rakes replaced by AC ones would soon be sent to the board.

Sources said Metro had earlier sent several proposals to the board to replace old rakes as they develop frequent snags and often need maintenance.

The most important reason for the board’s lack of interest in spending more on new rakes and improving passenger amenities was huge losses Metro incurs, said sources.

Metro spends Rs 3.5 for every rupee earned. Indian Railways, in comparison, spends less than 90 paise for every rupee earned.

Metro’s expenditure has gone up with the increase in the number of AC rakes. While each non-AC train consumes 400 units of power on a 50km round trip, an AC train needs double the amount.

Metro earns 85 per cent of its revenue from passengers and the rest from rent and advertisements. “That is why it was important to raise fares to improve services,” said an official.

An overhauling Metro has planned would include replacement of seats, malfunctioning doors, motors, cables, brakes and other equipment.

Among the new amenities the Metro authorities said passengers would get are more escalators and signage. In the next couple of months, Metro plans to install 27 escalators at various stations.

“I have no objection to the fare hike. But the authorities should also improve passenger amenities,” said Subhajit Dutta, a resident of Kasba who takes Metro from Kalighat on his way to office in the BBD Bag area.

Rail News

Engine of Begampura Express train catches fire; no casualty

Korwa: A major mishap was today averted after an engine of Jammutavi-bound Begampura Express caught fire ahead of Musafirkhana railway station in this district of Uttar Pradesh. According to Government Railway Police, the engine of the train coming from Varanasi and going towards Jammutavi caught fire. There was no casualty in the incident. The reason behind the mishap was yet to be ascertained. The movement of trains was affected on the route for some time.

Rail News

Karnataka Cabinet allocates 1118 Acres Land to Rail Coach Factory in Kolar

The State Cabinet on Friday decided to give 1,118 acres of land to the Railways to set up the proposed Rail Coach Factory in Kolar

Briefing reporters about the Cabinet decision, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the government has released Rs 25 crore for acquiring land for the project. The project will be implemented by the Railways. But the State government has to give land, water and power free of cost, besides sharing 50 per cent of the project cost. The State government’s share is estimated to be Rs 700 crore, he added.

Besides, the cabinet decided to appoint an Assistant Commissioner rank officer exclusively for acquiring lands required for implementing railway projects in the State, he added.

Marketing policy

The cabinet gave its approval to Karnataka Agricultural Marketing Policy 2013, which envisages fair returns to all stakeholders with seller having the choice to decide the time and place of sale.

The policy proposes adoption of technology by setting up a comprehensive electronic auction system for transparent price determination and establish a virtual market with a state-wide network by linking various regulated markets and accredited warehouses, the minister said.

A cabinet sub committee will be set up to look into the various aspects of implementing the policy. Public objections and suggestions on the policy will be called for one month, he added.
Source..Rail News

Minister of Railways Flags off first ever Dual Cab Freight Diesel Locomotive ‘Vijay’

The Minister of Railways Shri Mallikarjun Kharge flagged off the first ever Dual Cab 4500 HP Freight Diesel locomotive, ‘Vijay’ from Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), Varanasi, a production unit of Indian Railways, today i.e. 6th November 2013. Before flagging-off the flower bedecked locomotive decorated in resplendent colour scheme, he performed rituals along with Shri Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri B.P.Khare, General Manager and other railway officers. 

Expressing happiness over the performance of DLW, the Railway Minister said that it is not only in the area of production that DLW is creating new milestones. Keeping in mind the requirement of Zonal Railways, DLW has also delivered In the area of technology upgradation and designing of new variants of locomotives. Be it Dual cab passenger locomotive WDP4D, Hotel load locomotive, 5500 Horse power locomotive WDG5 and now the first ever Dual cab diesel freight locomotive WDG4D, DLW has always lived-up to it's promise. The very fact that the design of WDG4D is a completely indigenous effort of DLW and RDSO. On this occasion, Hon’ble Minster announced the stoppage of Swatantrata Senani Express at Bhulanpur Rly. Station, Sub-way at DLW Admn. Building Railway Crossing and opening of a PRS at DLW with cash transaction as well as ` 20 lakh group award for DLW employees. 
Source - PIB
On this occasion, expressing his view Shri Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board said that DLW has not only increased its production in large but also developed latest state-of-the-art technologies. Building of this WDG4D High Horse Power freight locomotive is a wonderful breakthrough not only for DLW but for Indian Railways and the country also. 

Welcoming the Hon’ble Minister along with guests, officers and employees General Manager Shri B.P.Khare focussed upon the achievements of DLW in locomotive production and future prospects. 

Indian Railways has steadily been moving towards higher speeds in freight operations. With the freight trains touching 100 kmph and future strategies aiming for even higher speeds, there is a need to upgrade the existing levels of crew comfort and visibility in freight locomotives. Indian Railways has till now been working with the single cab versions of diesel-electric freight locomotives. These locomotives have been very effective in the sub 100 kmph operations. However with the increasing horsepower levels over the years, the locomotive lengths have increased and their profiles have become wider. The increase in length and envelope of the locomotive affect visibility and therefore there is a need to introduce dual cabs on freight locomotives as well. 

‘Vijay’ the dual cab freight WDG4D is a trailblazer. It is the first dual cab diesel electric freight locomotive to be built by Indian Railways. The locomotive has been designed on a 21.7 metre platform to accommodate two cabs and this is about two meters longer than the single cab version. The cabs have full width front view. Besides the obvious visibility advantages, the locomotive also has several features for crew comfort. Recognizing the fact that a comfortable work area reduces fatigue and increases alertness, Vijay has been provided with air conditioned cabs. The AC unit is designed to heat up the cab during winters while cooling it during summers, thus maintaining a comfortable ambient for efficient working. The loco also has TFT screen based integrated driver display. This feature which is similar to the one used in the aero planes allows the operating parameters to be displayed on a single screen. Using icons it naturally provides focus to the more important parameters. The system also provides alarm levels for the ease of the crew. The display system naturally assists the crew through fault diagnostics. The system reduces eye fatigue, improves reliability and improves crew response. 

The locomotive has been provided with an ergonomically designed control stand and seat. The seat which has been based on the excavator design (which needs 360 deg view and operability) has been provided with movement on three axis for operational flexibility. Besides it has tilting back with lumbar support and breathing upholstery. The locomotive has also been provided with airplane type task light and automotive type auto wash wipers. 

Vijay has been built around the 4500HP 710 G3B engine with inverter controlled three phase traction motor drive. The inverter control uses the state of the art IGBT technology. This is the technology being used worldwide by the leading manufacturers i.e. GE, ABB, Alsthom etc. The locomotive is provided with the latest Computerised Control Brake system which is the world standard. The brake system uses the latest in the electronics and communication to improve response times and to improve reliability. 

The locomotive has been designed to implement the Indian Railways’ efforts at increasing the speed of loaded trains to 100kmph. It can run at 105 kmph and can be used to haul passenger trains in emergencies. The locomotive has been designed to haul as much as the existing workhorse WDG4. The cost of the locomotive is approximately Rupees 14.7 crore as compared to 14.38 crore for the single cab version. Since the future would belong to dual cab freight locomotives, this model has been designed to retain as many elements as possible of the passenger dual cab being built by DLW. This standardization in the manufacturing elements will enable IR to easily move into series production after successful prototype trials.


Revised Rates of Night Duty Allowance w.e.f. 01.07.2013: Railway Board Order

(रेलवे बोर्ड RAILWAY BOARD)
RBE No. 113/2013
New Delhi, dated 29-10-13
The General Managers/CAOs,
All Indian Railways & Prod. Units etc,
(As per mailing lists Nod & II).

Subject: Rates of Night Duty Allowance w.e.f. 01.07.2013.

Consequent to sanction of an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance vide this Ministry's letter No. PC-VI/2008/117/2/1 dated 25.09.2013. the President is pleased to decide that the rates of Night Duty Allowance, as notified vide Annexures 'A' and ‘B' of Board's letter No. E(P&A)II-2012/HW-2 dated 21.05.2013 stand revised with effect from 01.07.2013 as indicated at Annexure A' in respect of 'Continuous', 'Intensive', 'Excluded' categories and workshop employees, and as indicated at Annexure 'IV in respect of 'Essentially Intermittent' categories.

2. This issues with the concurrence of the Finance Directorate of the Ministry of Railways.

Railway Board.
अनुबंध "क"
अनुबंध "ख"
गहन, निरंतर एवं वर्जित कोटियों तथा कारखाना कर्मचारियों के लिए 1.7.2013 से लागू रात्रि-कालीन डयूटी भत्ते की दरें।
Rates of Night Duty Allowance (NDA) with effect from 01.07.2013 for 'Intensive', 'Continuous' and 'Excluded' categories and Workshop staff.
अनिवार्य संविरामी कोटियों के लिए 1.7.2013 से लागू रात्रि-कालीन डयूटी भत्ते की दरें।
Rates of Night Duty Allowance (NDA) with effect from 01.07.2013 for 'Essentially Intermittent' categories of Staff
क्रम संवेतन बैंडग्रेड वेतनरात्रि-कालीन डयूटी भत्ते की दर
S.No.Pay BandGrade PayRate of NDA (in Rs.)
119300-348004600 and above (4600 व अधिक)235.50
क्रम संवेतन बैंडग्रेड वेतनरात्रि-कालीन डयूटी भत्ते की दर
S.No.Pay BandGrade PayRate of NDA (in Rs.)
119300-348004600 and above (4600 व अधिक)157.00
Source: AIRF





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