Accessibility links

Asia Business: The Week Ahead - 2003-04-14


India has been invited to join in building a pipeline that would supply natural gas to Central and South Asia. In Australia and New Zealand, consumer watchdog agencies look likely to reject a deal between Qantas and Air New Zealand to cooperate on routes.

The Asian Development Bank says a planned gas pipeline, which would tap fields in southern Turkmenistan and cross Afghanistan and Pakistan, could be more viable if India participated in construction.

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan last week invited India to take part in the project, as an investor and a buyer of natural gas.

"This is a very positive step on behalf of the three countries," says Seethapathy Chander, project coordinator of the Asian Development Bank. "The pipeline capacity is quite large and although we believe there is a possibility of the pipeline being financially and economically viable even without India's participation, it's good to get a larger throughput into the pipeline and thereby enhancing the viability of the project." He adds that construction will cost about two and a half billion dollars and take at least three years.

India's decision hinges on the pricing of gas and political concerns over the security of the pipeline.

Consumer watchdogs in Australia and New Zealand say they will reject a proposal by Qantas Airways and Air New Zealand to cooperate on routes, including those between Australia and New Zealand. Qantas owns about 22 percent of Air New Zealand.

New Zealand's Commerce Commission says the alliance will not benefit passengers and will reduce competition. The Australian Consumer Competition Commission has said it will reject the plan, but its final ruling is not expected before June.

Infosys Technologies, the Indian software giant, reported lower-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter on Thursday.

Net profit for January through March grew by 23 percent compared with the same period a year ago, to $55 million. Many analysts had expected growth closer to 30 percent.

Infosys warned investors that it expects growth to slow further in the coming months. It says the war in the Persian Gulf and the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in parts of Asia have undermined business confidence.

The news panicked investors and the company's share price fell more than 30 percent last week.

XS
SM
MD
LG