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 SKP Business Alert - 100% FDI in Single Branding Retail

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India has...formally removed the restrictions on foreign investment in single-brand retail sector by allowing 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in this sector. However, it has put on hold the proposal for allowing up to 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail.

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Landmark ruling of indian supreme court in the case of Vodafone

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has finally pronounced its verdict in the, by now, famous case of Vodafone on the issue of taxation in India of gains arising on extra territorial transactions.

As you would recollect, in 2007, Vodafone International Holding B.V. (Vodafone), a Dutch entity, acquired Shares of CGP Investments (Holding) Ltd. (CGP), a Cayman Island entity from HTIL, another Cayman Island entity belonging to the Hutch group. Through CGP, Hutch group owned 67% stake in their Indian JV operations in Hutch-Essar Limited (HEL). HEL was providing telecommunication services in India.

By virtue of transfer of shares of CGP, underlying business interest of Hutch Group in India was transferred to Vodafone. The deal value was approx. USD 11.1 billion. Payment was made by Vodafone to HTIL without deducting any taxes as the deal took place in Cayman Islands and it was interpreted that the transaction was not taxable in India.

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Source: SKP Tax Team

Civil Nuclear Trade Mission to India - 21st - 25th February 2011

India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power program and expects to have 20GW nuclear capacity on line by 2020 and 63GW by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
The signing of the UK / India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Declaration, will help promotion and facilitation of cooperation in the sector. UK nuclear companies will be part of the supply chain for reactor design in India – a market estimated at $150 billion.

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Source: UK Tarde and Investment

 

US India bilateral trade increases by over 30 percent in 2010 - 2nd February 2011

The Indo-US bilateral trade is expected to increase by more than 30 percent in the first 11 months of 2010 to touch USD 50 billion.
The bilateral trade could even touch the magical figure of USD 50 billion when the statistics for December are available, officials said, adding this reflects the growing trade relationship between the two countries.
According to the latest figures made available by the US Department of Commerce, between January to November 2010, the total bilateral trade between India and the United States was USD 45,011 million.
This is in comparison to USD 34,416 million during the same period in 2009; showing an increase of 30.79 percent. The total bilateral trade in 2009 was 37,607 million(about USD 37.61 billion), which was a a significant drop from USD 43,386 million in 2008 mainly because of the downturn in the global economy.
In 2007, the total bilateral trade was USD 39,042 million. The figures also reflected a greater increase in India’s export to the US than American export to India; even though both showed signs of increase.

Source: Deccan Herald 

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Exports grow by 36.4 per cent in December to $ 22.5 billion - 1st February 2011

India's exports went up by 36.4 per cent year-on-year, highest in the last 33-months to USD 22.5 billion in December 2010.
India's exports rose 36.4 per cent to USD 22.5 billion in December 2010 on an annual basis, the highest in 33 months, on back of increased demand in the US and EU, raising hopes of exceeding this fiscal's target of USD 200 billion.
The country's merchandise exports in December 2009 had stood at USD 16.4 billion.
However, imports during the month contracted by 11.1 per cent to USD 25.13 billion over the same period last year, resulting in narrowing of trade deficit by USD 2.6 billion, Commerce Ministry data released today said.
During April-December period of the current fiscal, the outbound shipment grew by 29.5 per cent to USD 164.7 billion from USD 127.1 billion a year-on-year.
"The US and EU markets have been doing pretty good," Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar had said recently.
In its monetary policy review, the RBI had said global growth prospects have improved in recent weeks.
The recovery in major advanced economies which had weakened during second quarter of 2010, regained strength in the following quarter.

Source: Deccan Herald

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India targets $1 trillion infrastructure investment: Ahluwalia - 28th January 2011

India will double its investments in infrastructure to $1 trillion during the 11th Five Year Plan that begins 2012, with half of that expected from the private sector, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at this Swiss ski resort, the key policy maker said the private sector investment so envisaged includes capital inflow from overseas.
“We didn’t invent the term ‘inclusive growth’ to mean ‘inclusive of the private sector and inclusive of foreign investment’ -- but that’s clearly the nature of the policy,” Ahluwalia said at a session on inclusive growth. “In India, it is clear: It’s private sector-led growth in which the government plays a very important role in providing the infrastructure that will make this growth possible, and it's the social policy that will make growth inclusive.”

Source: Deccan Herald

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Minister's mission strengthens business ties with India - 27th January 2011

Business Secretary Vince Cable wrapped up a high-profile mission to India last week, the result of months of preparation by teams across UKTI.
The mission aimed to identify further opportunities for the UK and India to build an enhanced economic partnership.
UKTI teams in Mumbai and Delhi worked with International Group, Sectors Group and the Press Office to organise an extensive programme of business events and meetings for leading UK and Indian businesspeople and high-level government leaders.
At an event co-hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Dr Cable delivered a speech on “Prosperity in Partnership - India and the UK working together for growth".

Source: UKTI Connect 

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ICICI Bank to open 500 branches every year, says Kochhar - 26th January 2011

India's largest private sector lender, ICICI Bank, will add 400-500 branches annually over the next three years and focus on financing infrastructure projects in road and power.
"I feel that we have to grow beyond the number of existing) branches... Over the next 2-3 years, we would continue to add branches at the rate of 400-500 per year," ICICI Bank Managing Director and CEO Chanda Kochhar told PTI in an interview.
The bank, which reported a 30.5 per cent increase in net profit to Rs 1,437 crore during the quarter ending December 31, has been expanding its branch network at rapid pace. Presently, it has about 2,500 branches and 5,800 ATMs.
Kochhar is here as one of the six co-chairs of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum being attended by the world's top CEOs, heads of states, academicians and even faith leaders.
The Indian government yesterday decided to honour Kocchar with the Padam Bhushan, a civilian award given by the state in recognition of an individual's achievements. Talking about the expansion plans, Kochhar said the bank did not open any new branch in the current financial year, as it acquired Bank of Rajasthan "that itself meant addition of 500 branches".

Source: Deccan Herald

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India is most over-regulated country in the world: Survey - 26th January 2011

India has topped a list of the most ''over-regulated countries in the world'' in a survey on Asian business and politics by Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd (PERC).
The survey used responses from American executives about regulatory conditions in the United States to provide a benchmark against which to assess the Asian scores. India was rated worst in terms of over-regulation, scoring 9.16 points out of 10, followed by China with 9.04 points, Japan in third position with 3.28 points and the US at fourth with 1.51 points.
Hong Kong received the best score in the survey of 0.98 point, while Singapore was second with 1.08 points, according to the survey done in the last quarter of 2010, based on responses from 1,370 executives. In general, regulations were complex and non-transparent, while standards and certifications procedures were onerous in India, according to the PERC survey findings.

Source: Deccan Herald

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FDI to flow into new areas: E&Y - 24th January 2011

India will become a global leader in education, R&D, innovation and a producer of high value-added goods and services by 2020, attracting foreign capital in new areas of growth, international consultancy firm Ernst & Young has said in its latest report. “In order to take India to the next level, collaboration in infrastructure, education and healthcare between corporations and government will be important,” the report said.
According to E&Y, India will see foreign direct investment (FDI) in sectors other than low-cost sectors such as BPO units. The findings are based on a survey of more than 500 global business leaders late last year.
“Between 2003 and 2010, the number of FDI projects increased by 7% and jobs created by FDI increased by 4% annually,” the report said. FDI as a share of GDP grew from 0.03% in 1991 to 3.5% in 2008 before falling in 2009 due to the global financial crisis.

Source: Hindustan Times 

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ICICI Bank's net profit jumps 30.5 percent in third quarter - 24th January 2011

One of India's largest private lenders ICICI Bank Monday reported an increase of 30.5 percent in its net profit for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2010, which stood at Rs.1,437 crore.
"Bank has posted a net profit of Rs.14,370.20 million for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2010 as compared to Rs.11,010.60 million for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2009," the company said in a regulatory filing.
Meanwhile, the consolidated net profit of the bank and its subsidiaries grew by 36 percent in the first nine months of the current fiscal year to Rs.4,525 crore as compared to Rs.3,328 crore in the like period of fiscal 2009-10.
The total income of the private lender jumped by 8.78 percent at Rs.8,444.75 crore for the third quarter from Rs.7,762.71 crore in the corresponding period of last fiscal. The bank's net interest income in the quarter grew by 12.3 percent and stood at Rs.2,312 crore from Rs.2,058 crore in the same period last fiscal.

Source: Deccan Herald

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Mahindra Aerospace to roll-out first aircraft by March - 24th January 2011

Mahindra Aerospace, the first Indian private firm to manufacture small civil aircraft for the domestic aviation market, is likely to roll-out its first aircraft by March this year.
“We are hopeful of rolling-out our first indigenous small aircraft by March this year. But we should make sure that the aircraft is properly certified for airworthiness standards,” Mahindra and Mahindra’s President (Systech Sector), Hemant Luthra, said on the sidelines of an event here.
“We will provide the aircraft at a price at least 20 per cent lesser than a Cessna aircraft,” Mr. Luthra said.
Mahindra Aerospace is the first Indian private firm to manufacture smaller civil aircraft for the Indian general aviation market.
Mahindra Aerospace is developing a five-seater and eight-seater version of small aircraft for the Indian market at its Bangalore facility, Mr. Luthra said.

Source: The Hindu

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'Majority of MNC biz expanding in India' - 24th January 2011

Majority of the multinational businesses surveyed are expanding their operations in India to capitalise on the country's robust domestic demand, according to global consultancy Ernst & Young.
The survey also found that a major chunk of business leaders believe that India would become a global leader in "education, R&D, innovation and as a producer of high value-added goods and services" by 2020.
The findings are based on a survey of more than 500 global business leaders conducted late last year.
"Half of all the survey respondents and 75 per cent of those already present in India are increasing operations there by expanding facilities or head counts," E&Y said.
According to the report, these activities would also help India to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the coming years.
"... domestic demand is expected to grow exponentially. India's young demographic profile also helps it provide an increasingly well-educated and cost-competitive labour force.

Source: Indian Express 

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Offshoring: Indian cos likely to focus more on European market - 10th January 2011

Indian companies are expected to focus on mainland Europe to tap growth opportunities in the offshore technology services market worth tens of billions of dollars, global research group Gartner has said.
"There will be tremendous focus on offshore technology services in the next two years... Indian players will be mainly looking at mainland Europe for their next growth opportunities," Gartner's Vice President and Regional Research Director (India) Partha Iyengar told PTI.
Revenue garnered by domestic players from offshore technology services market is estimated to be at USD 40 billion.
Iyengar noted that Indian firms would be focusing on European markets such as Germany and France where it would be difficult to expand business without good domestic presence.
Even though a major chunk of revenues come from the US market, Indian IT entities also have good presence in various European markets. Going by estimates, the size of the country's technology services is worth over USD 60 billion, dominated by IT services exports.
Meanwhile, Gartner has projected global IT spending will touch USD 3.6 trillion in 2011, an increase of over five per cent as compared to last year. When it comes to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), he said that companies would look at offering high-end services such as those to HR and procurement areas.

Source: Deccan Herald

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India alcoholic drink market to touch Rs 1,75,950 cr by 2014 - 5th January 2011

Driven by increasing disposable income levels and growing social acceptance of alcohol consumption, the alcoholic beverages market in India is estimated to cross the USD 39 billion (over Rs 1,75,950 crore) mark by 2014, as per research firm Datamonitor.
According to a study by the firm, the sector grew at a compound annual growth rate of 12 per cent between 2004 and 2009, with the industry turnover touching USD 21.7 billion (over Rs 97,910 crore) in 2009.
"India is turning out to be an attractive territory for global players as consumption of alcohol has saturated in many countries and even declined in traditional markets like Europe, while India offers immense growth opportunities," Datamonitor Consumer Markets Analyst Amit Srivastava said in a statement.
He said increasing acceptance of alcohol consumption among the rich and aspiring middle class, coupled with rising disposable income and a large young population, indicate high growth potential for the sector.
"This has provided alcohol manufacturers with a lucrative and expanding target segment," he added.

Source: Indian Express 

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Outsource to India and save UK's health services: Official - 3rd January 2011

Britain's National Health Services administration should be outsourced to India to save million of pounds, John Neilson, the head of the government-backed company leading healthcare efficiency reform in the UK, has said, praising the capability of Indian workers in the sector.
Neilson, the managing director of NHS Shared Business Services, said millions of pounds could be saved by outsourcing more National Health Services (NHS) administration to India.
According to a report in The Times, patients may not like calling an operator in New Delhi to book an appointment with their doctor, or having their medical notes stored on overseas databases.
But as pressure on NHS budgets intensifies, Neilson suggested that the alternative is cuts to services.
Call centres and offices in Delhi and Pune already handle invoices and other administration for a significant number of NHS trusts for a fraction of the amount that UK-based labour would cost.
Neilson said that Indian workers were so good that it was only the potential for controversy that stopped medical records or bookings being similarly outsourced.
"There isn't a capability issue, there's more a local UK sensitivity issue," he said.

Source: Times of India 

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Indian auto market stepped on the gas in 2010 - 24th December 2010

A resurgent and confident economy saw Indian car sales beat the developing market tag in 2010 to emerge as the 'market to be in' as sales exploded to record levels, which paled the subdued performance in erstwhile heavyweight markets of the West. The icing on the celebratory cake was that the outlook remained even more bullish.
The festivities, though, were dimmed somewhat as the industry's showcase product, the Tata Nano, failed to have a roaring start, bogged down by repeated incidents of fire that raised questions over the car's safety. Adding further to the unease was the split of Hero Honda, the 26-year-old venture of the Munjals and Japan's Honda, as both partners decided to go separate ambitious ways to end growing differences.
Isolated cases apart, 2010 proved to be a bumper year for the industry as newer models and favourable interest rates gelled well with the economic surge to push numbers to record levels, making India one of the fastest-growing market for cars globally and raising hopes that it may be headed for a boom similar to that witnessed in China, which rode past a struggling US to become the world's biggest car market. Experts suggest that low penetration of cars is a factor that pushed things in India's favour.

Source: Times of India 

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India still world's No. 1 destination for offshore outsourcing - 21st December 2010

India is still the world's favourite destination for offshore outsourcing, but attractive cost structures in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia and the rapid growth of the business in China are posing tough competition, according to a new study by Gartner Inc.
In the study, the IT research and advisory firm identified the Top 30 countries around the world for globally sourced activities in 2010-11, rating them on the basis of 10 criteria.
Many organisations that choose to move IT services to lower-cost countries are daunted by the task of determining which country, or countries, would best suit their requirement. Gartner conducted an analysis of these countries to assess their capabilities and potential as offshore services locations, it said.
India retained its position as the most successful country among global offshore locations, as per the Gartner study. It scored well across all 10 criteria. While its cost-competitiveness is being challenged due to the rising rupee, this is compensated by its strength in other areas, as per Gartner's study.
"Clients continue to seek a portfolio of offshore countries and with India again experiencing increasing labour costs and attrition, this is creating opportunities for other offshore locations to target the services needs of more-mature Asian clients," said Gartner Research Vice-President Ian Marriott.

Source: Deccan Herald

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Siemens to invest Rs 1,600 crore in India over three years - 1st December 2010

German engineering group Siemens today said it will invest Rs 1,600 crore in India in the next three years.
The investment will be used to set up six hubs of base -level products. These products will cater to the mid and low end segments which constitute around 70 per cent of the total market in India, Siemens Managing Director Armin Bruck said.
He was talking to reporters after the inauguration of the second phase of the company's Rs 300-crore steam turbine and compressor facility in Maneja village near here. Bruck said the company will think about setting up of a wind energy plant in Gujarat.
Speaking at the function, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the firm has already set up two plants in the state, where it has made the highest investment in India. He suggested the company to set up a Human Resources Development university in the state for which he assured to extend assistance.
"After emergence of Gujarat as an industrial state and attracting investments of lakhs of crores through Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summits since 2003, there is a need for an excellent HRD centre or university for meeting the requirements of industries in the state," Modi said.

Source: Deccan Herald

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UK - India Manufacturing SME Conference at The Council House, Birmingham - Thursday 11th November 2010

Birmingham City Council and  the High Commission of India, welcomes businesses from the UK and India to a unique event that will celebrate ever strengthening manufacturing trade links between the two countries. 
The free event will take place on 11 November 2010 at The Council House in Birmingham. The event will bring together over 200 small and medium enterprises from the two countries, with delegates given the opportunity to forge collaborations in trade, skills, technology and investment.  The event will deepen bilateral relations following the recent visit of  Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year, in which it was decided that the partnership between the UK and India the partnership between India and the UK will promote economic growth and enhance bilateral trade and double it in the next five years.

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British students learn about emerging economies in India - 23rd August 2010

Enterprising British youngsters are utilising their school holidays to gain first-hand knowledge of the impact of globalisation. At least 30 are learning Indian business processes at leading multinational companies, acquiring basic knowledge of Indian culture as lodgers with Indian families and familiarising themselves with the education environment at schools in India.
They are part of 100 British high school students, new college graduates and youth representatives who are using a six-week break to study the process and understand the scale and speed of transformation of emerging economies in India, China and Brazil under the (British) Prime Minister's Global Fellowship programme.
The 30 students who are located at facilities in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore arrived in the country July 17.
The Indian unit of British publishing giant Pearson India has been hosting two British students at Dorling Kindersley (DK) India, a part of Penguin Books division, since Aug 16.
The students are learning the rudiments of Indian publishing trade like researching stories, gathering facts, photographs and publishing management, according to Aparna Sharma, managing director of Dorling Kindersley and the programme mentor.

Source: Deccan Herald

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Indian pharma firms grow in US market - 11th August 2010

Indian pharmaceutical companies have increased their penetration in the US generic market. Subsidiaries of Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Zydus Cadila, Glenmark, Aurobindo, Torrent Pharma have increased their ranking in US generic market, according to the data of IMS Health, a global market research
agency.
Lupin, which was on eighth position on May 2009, jumped to fifth position at the end of April this year. Zydus Cadila was the biggest gainer in terms of improving ranking which secured 12th in April rank from 17th in April 2009. Aurobindo Pharma improved its rank from 14th to 13th and Glenmark Pharma improved its position from 22 to 18 during the same period by increasing number of prescriptions. Torrent Pharma during the same period managed to figure out in the top 30 by securing 26th place in the US generic market, which is currently pegged around $35 billion and is the largest generics market in the world.
Experts attribute the growth of Indian companies for selection of the products and quick in filing the Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA).

Source: Hindustan Times 

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Corporate tax collections rise 21.7% in Q1 - 7th July 2010

The government’s corporate tax collections grew a strong 21.7% in the first quarter of the current fiscal, confirming that economic recovery was beginning to translate into better profits for companies.
The Sensex was up 1% on the expectation of improved corporate performance.
Overall direct tax collections were up 15% to Rs 68,675 crore in the April-June quarter, data released by the finance ministry on Tuesday showed. India’s manufacturing had grown a strong 19.4% in April, suggesting a strong industrial recovery.
Corporate tax collections for the quarter added up to Rs 43,439 crore while personal income tax grew marginally by 1.24% to Rs 24,075 crore.

Source: The Economic Times

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Exim Bank to expand into cluster financing - 7th July 2010

Export-Import Bank of India is eyeing ‘cluster financing' as a new line of business even as it renews its focus on providing buyers' credit to improve exports from the country.
The Government-owned financial institution is seeking to play the role of a catalyst so that export-oriented units in clusters benefit from pooling of resources in areas such as procurement of raw materials, storage of raw materials, intermediates and finished products, and export marketing.
“We want to expand into cluster financing. We are undertaking studies on how to go about this line of business,” said Mr Prabhakar Dalal, Executive Director, Exim Bank.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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Tata Power plans India's largest solar PV installation in Gujarat - 6th July 2010

After the ultra mega power project (UMPP) at Mundra in Gujarat, Tata Group, has set the ball rolling to tap renewable energy in the state, which is also a home to its Nano plant. Tata Power has decided to set up 50 Mw solar photovoltaic power project at Mithapur in Gujarat.
"The proposed project at Mithapur will be the largest single solar photovoltaic installation in the country," the company said on its website. However, Tata Power officials could not be contacted for further details. The company has its chemical plant at Mithapur.
Plans are also afoot to set up 5 Mw geothermal project in the state. In order to build expertise and capabilities in the area of geothermal, the company has invested $50 million for a 10 per cent stake in Australian company Geodynamics.

Source: Business Standard

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The India Report - 1st July 2010

Half year performance (P/E, index level, % change) of selected Asia/Western markets. Sri Lanka leads with a 36% gain, with a mixed performance in rest of Asia;
Japan’s retail investors (who invest in the $685 bn investment trusts or “toushin” industry) show healthy appetite for BRIC countries as an ageing population chases growth in the face of persistently low interest rates in Japan;
5 year performance in US$ (ignoring inflation and re-invested dividends) of selected Asian and Western markets. 3 indices (Pakistan, UK and US Dow Jones Ind. Avg) are below par. 2 (Japan and NASDAQ) are barely above par. BRICs do well. China leads with $100 appreciating to $425.

Source: Astaire

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India Monthly Economic Report - 30th June 2010

Growth continues. Industrial production as measured by IIP (Index of Industrial Production) grew by 17.6% in April 2010, the seventh consecutive month of double digit industrial growth.
World Bank estimates Indian growth to be in the range of 9% in 2010-11.
Inflation continues to trouble the government. Headline WPI (Wholesale price Index) Inflation touched 10.2% in May 2010 and the average food price inflation still remains in 16-17% range. Government hopes for a good to normal monsoon to bring down inflation rates.
India's exports in May 2010 rose by 34% to US$ 16.1 billion. This was partially helped by the low base last year. Imports for the May 2010 were at US$ 27.4bn (billion), widening Indian trade deficit to US$11.3bn.

 

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More Indians join the elite rich - 24th June 2010

The Indian rich list continued to grow at an incredible rate as figures from a Global Wealth Report showed an increase of over 50 percent in the number of millionaires in 2009.
The high net worth (HNI) population in India grew from 84000 to 126000 from 2008 to 2009. The World Wealth Report, released by Capgemini and Merill Lynch Wealth Management, required that to be considered a HNI a person would have $1 Million in investable wealth.
The increase in the number of HNIs in India boosted the overall population of HNIs in Asia-Pacific so that it matched that of Europe. HNI population in Asia-Pacific grew 26 percent to three hundred thousand. The level of HNIs in Europe grew but did so a lot less in comparison to the levels in Asia-Pacific.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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Reliance Broadcast plans venture with CBS for TV channels -  21st June 2010

Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL) (previously Reliance Media World Ltd) plans to forge a 50:50 joint venture with US-based media conglomerate CBS Studios International to launch a series of television channels in India.
CBS Studios is the wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation.
It has proposed an investment of $100 million over five years. Initially, the joint venture will launch English language general entertainment channels and compete with Star World, AXN, Fox Entertainment and Zee Café.
A separate vertical will be floated for the television broadcasting business under the name of Big CBS. The channels will be launched by early next year. The joint venture would include certain programming rights across India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Pakistan for now, and this could see further geographical spread on mutual consent.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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Rs 1,400-cr green urban transport project launched - 9th June 2010

The Urban Development Ministry has launched a Rs 1,400-crore green urban transport project called the Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP).
The Global Environment Facility, The World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme are providing both technical and financial assistance for its implementation.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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India to grow 8.3% in 2010: UN report - 7th May 2010

NEW DELHI: India is likely to post economic growth of 8.3% in 2010, a United Nations report released on Thursday has said.
The report - `Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2010' - an annual publication of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said the outlook for 2010 had improved significantly, with the Asia-Pacific region's developing economies forecast to grow by 7%, led by China at 9.5% and followed by India at 8.3%.
The report, however, urged the Asia-Pacific region to increase social spending to consolidate the region's stronger than anticipated economic rebound and to spur a fairer, more balanced and sustained economic recovery over the long term.

Source: Times of India

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India gets greater say at World Bank - 27th April 2010

India has become the seventh largest shareholder in the World Bank after member nations approved a shift in voting rights as a reflection of its growing economic clout. However, China’s clout has increased more, and the country is now the third-largest shareholder.
At the spring meeting of the World Bank-IMF in Washington, the member countries yesterday agreed to increase India’s voting power from 2.77 per cent to 2.91 per cent.
“These changes reflect the rapid growth of the Indian economy in the past decade and its rising economic weight in global affairs,” a finance ministry statement said.

Source: The Telegraph

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Doing Business in India 2009

Doing Business in India 2009 is the first country-specific subnational report of the Doing Business series that measures business regulations and their enforcement across India. It builds on benchmarks previously published in the regional Doing Business in South Asia 2005–7 series. Doing Business in India 2009 covers 10 out of the 12 previously measured cities, and documents their progress. It adds 7 new locations, expanding the study to 17 locations.
The Indian cities and states covered in Doing Business in India 2009 were selected together with the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry. They are: Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Bhubaneshwar (Orissa), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Guwahati (Assam), Gurgaon (Haryana), Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Kochi (Kerala), Kolkata (West Bengal), Ludhiana (Punjab), Mumbai (Maharashtra), New Delhi (Delhi), Noida (Uttar Pradesh), Patna (Bihar), and Ranchi (Jharkhand).
Comparisons with the rest of the world are based on the indicators in Doing Business 2009. The indicators in Doing Business in India 2009 are also comparable with the data in other subnational and regional Doing Business reports.

Source: The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (Co-publication) 

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Auto sector keeps momentum in tact - 3rd November 2009

Demands generated in the festival season along with tax breaks and easy availability of money kept auto sector’s momentum in tact in October. While India’s car market leader Maruti Suzuki announced 32.4 per cent jump in its total sales, its arch rival Hyundai Motor India reported 11.03 per cent growth. However, it was premium car maker Honda Siel, which surprised industry by clocking a phenomenal growth of 346.9 per cent in October.
Bike makers also didn’t lag behind in October. While India’s second largest two-wheeler maker, Bajaj Auto reported a 52.38 per cent increase in its growth, world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero Honda reported a marginal increase in October sales at 354,156 units as against 352,449 units in the same month last year.
Country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki continued with its healthy performance even in October as the company sold a total of 85,415 vehicles in October against a total of 64,490 vehicles last year, thereby growing by 32.4 per cent in the month.

Source: The Pioneer

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Govt must focus on agriculture sector to maintain growth - 2nd November 2009

The Indian economy is likely to grow by 6.5 per cent in 2009/10 with inflation at around 6 per cent by the end of March 2010, this was disclosed by the Prime Minister's panel recently.
The Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee felt that the economic growth would be around 8% and may be little higher. The Finance Minister also laid emphasis on agriculture to maintain the growth rate. To achieve higher growth in agriculture sector, the Finance Minister asked the banks to increase lending to employment generating schemes especially to the agriculture and micro enterprise sectors. The present Government has given stress on the agriculture sector but in state like Assam credit is not taken by agriculturists, as they are afraid of stringent repayment terms. The agriculture can play a major role in the overall growth of the economy. We still subscribe to this view. The IMF and the World Bank said that India's growth would be around five per cent during this fiscal.
Why the Centre's main policy makers have revised the growth rate? This is due to poor monsoon and lack of contribution from the agriculture sector. The inflation is on the rise despite high contribution of manufacturing sector. The WPI inched to 1.21 per cent for the week ended October 10, highest since May 30. The strong build-up has been observed in the category of primary articles. Food articles have shown 14.13 per cent inflation during the period. India remains an agricultural economy in many important respects. The share of agriculture in the country's GDP constitutes about 18 per cent. Agriculture provides a livelihood for approximately 600 million citizens, at least indirectly.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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India, U.S. to conclude three trade pacts - 27th October 2009

India and the U.S. on Monday agreed to fast-track and conclude within a given timeframe agreements on enhancing and deepening trade and investment engagement, and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) cooperation agreement and an agreement for putting in place traditional knowledge digital library.
The two countries also issued a joint statement at the end of the Sixth Ministerial Level meeting of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) with readiness to continue focus on agriculture, innovation and creativity, investment, services and tariff and non-tariff barriers. The Indian team was headed by the Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, and the U.S. delegation was headed by the U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, Mr. Sharma said although no firm deadline had been fixed for concluding these agreements they would happen soon. “The U.S. has submitted us a draft on these issues and we will certainly study it. We hope to sign agreement very soon. These are in continuation of the high-level engagement between the two countries and in the run-up to the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s, visit to Washington next month,” he added.

Source: The Hindu 

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Lavazza to make India coffee hub - 26th October 2009

Till now it was just software and small cars. But if Italian coffee giant Lavazza S.p.A has its way, India might soon become the hub for coffee in Asia.
In 2007, Lavazza walked into the country by acquiring the Barista coffee house business and Fresh & Honest Cafe, a company that specialises in serving corporate clients with vending machines and ground coffee products, for a reported sum of 100 million euros. And now, it’s time to expand, according to Gaetano Mele, CEO at the Italian Lavazza Group. On the cards is Lavazza’s first coffee plant outside home and an ambitious plan to expand its business in the Asia-Pacific region.
About 60% of Lavazza’s revenues come from Italy and rest from foreign markets. Asia contributes a mere 5% to its coffers. So, it is no surprise that Italy’s biggest coffee maker wants to use India and its relatively cheaper raw coffee beans as a base to expand into other markets.
“We are making fresh investments in building a coffee processing plant in Chennai on the lines of the one that we have in Turin,” says Mele. “It is our first factory outside Italy and should be operational by the first half of 2011.”
Mele is banking on the country’s young population and its potential disposable income. China is also a budding market. In the pipeline is a range of designer cafes, such as the popular Lavazza Espression where décor and service make an exciting proposition to coffee lovers.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Maruti Q2 net zooms 92.5% on record sales - 26th October 2009

Riding on the back of the highest-ever quarterly sales, the country’s largest passenger car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India, on Saturday registered a 92.5% jump in its net profit during the July-September quarter at Rs 570 crore as against Rs 296.12 crore in corresponding quarter of the last fiscal. Net sales during the period were up 46.7% at Rs 7,049 crore vis-à-vis Rs 4,806 crore during the year-ago period.
The company had reported a net profit of Rs 583 crore and net sales of Rs 6,341 crore in the first quarter (April-June) of the current financial year.
The improved earnings are a result of a 29.9% increase in the total number of vehicles sold at 2,46,188 units, again the highest ever by Maruti in any quarter, as compared to 1,89,451 units in the second quarter of 2008-09. While its domestic sales went up by 21.8% at 2,09,983 units vis-à-vis 1,71,706 units, exports more than doubled to 37,105 units as compared to 17,745 units in the year-ago period.

Source: The Financial Express 

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The India Report - 21st October 2009

A new Wholesale Price Index (WPI), with 2004 as the base year is to start from 14 November, according to Commerce Minister Mr Anand Sharma. From that date, the WPI will be announced monthly. The current weekly index uses 1993 as the base year. The change is being made to improve the calculation of price movements and also to make it monthly like the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The government plans to move to a new CPI next year as the WPI does not accurately reflect the true cost of items to individuals. The WPI is currently the benchmark inflation index used by the Finance Ministry and RBI as they feel that other indices do not adequately capture an aggregate price snapshot. However, its frequency of weekly announcements causes high volatility in the bond market. India's Central Statistical Office (CSO) releases four inflation measures to cover the needs of different groups like industrial workers and farmers. We feel a move to a monthly figure, and eventually to a monthly CPI measure as a benchmark, would provide useful clarity to all and be like announcements in many developed markets.

Source: Astaire 

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India emerges as a major player in world textile market - 19th October 2009

The nearly $10-billion Indian textile and apparel industry, buoyed by a growth in August after nine months of decline and by increased demand from Europe, says it’s taking on its biggest competitor by entering the Chinese market.
“We are charting a new course by entering China, the textile behemoth,” said Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) chairman Rakesh Vaid.
“Earlier, we were tied to traditional markets like the US and Europe, where 70 percent of our textiles and apparel are exported. But now we have taken on China, our biggest competitor, on its own turf,” Vaid told IANS.
“China is known for exporting cheap textiles across the globe,” he said, adding: “We are far ahead of China in terms of creativity, fashion, designs and the variety of textiles.”
India’s main competitors are Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia, apart from China. “But India has made inroads into these markets as well,” the AEPC chairman said. “We have been entering new markets over the last two years.”

Source: Assam Tribune 

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Auto sector beats industry expectations - 14th October 2009

Even as auto sales beat industry expectation so far this fiscal, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers on Tuesday said passenger car sales may see a double digit growth compared to just 1.31 per cent last year.
“Given the past trend we will be revising the projections for passenger cars once the the sales figure for October is out in the next 15-20 days or so,” SIAM Director General Dilip Chenoy told The Pioneer, adding, “but whatever growth we have seen in the past a few months in the passenger cars coupled with the overall economic growth, we hope for a double digit growth in the this fiscal.”
Passenger car witnessed the highest ever sales in September by registering a jump of 20.61 per cent at 1,29,683 units as against 1,07,517 units in the same month last year. For the first half of the year it stood at 6,89,339 units as against 6,00,738 units, a growth rate of 14.75 per cent.

Source: The Pioneer 

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IIP growth raises hopes of recovery - 13th October 2009

Mining, manufacturing grow in double digits.
Industrial output grew the most in 22 months to 10.4 per cent in August, indicating a steady turnaround in the economy but also raising worries that the government and the central bank would roll back fiscal and monetary stimulus measures.
Output at factories, utilities and mines, which account for about 17 per cent of GDP, exceeded economists’ expectations of a 9.7 per cent increase and was significantly higher than 1.7 per cent in the same month last year, causing some analysts to attribute this year’s performance to the low base effect.
Most, however, also supported the official claim that the impressive IIP figures were due to the trickle-down effect of the government stimulus packages, though the strength of the private sector demand remained uncertain.

Source: Business Standard 

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The India Report - 12th October 2009

India's economic recovery continues apace as industrial output rose at its fastest in 22 months in August at 10.4% YOY, higher than the 9.2% forecast. July's annual growth was revised up to 7.2% from 6.8%. Manufacturing grew 10.2% in August from a year earlier. The main driver in that month continued to be consumer durables; about 60% of India's GDP comes from domestic consumer demand. Although a large part of August's sparkling growth figure is due to a low statistical base last year, the upward trend is reassuring news that the worst is well behind. Industrial output rose a mere 2.8% in fiscal 2008/09 (April-March), as the credit crisis began to bite, and a healthier 8.5% in 2007/08. Our estimate is +6.1% growth in 2009/10, while the Planning Commission forecasts +7.8%

Source: Astaire 

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Toshiba-JSW venture to start work on Chennai power equipment plant by Dec - 12th October 2009

The joint venture between Toshiba of Japan and the JSW Group, which is setting up a Rs 1,000-crore power plant equipment manufacturing unit in Chennai, plans to start work on the project by December and commission the first phase by 2011.
The joint venture, in which Toshiba Corporation holds 75 per cent and the Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group 25 per cent, will be manufacturing steam turbines and generators for thermal power plants with a total capacity to generate 3,000 MW of power.
Mr S.S. Rao, Joint Managing Director and CEO of JSW Energy, said in the first phase the plant would only produce turbine blades.
After the second phase is completed by 2012 the entire installed capacity would go in for production. “We have completed financial closure for the project last month,” he told mediapersons here on Friday.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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Airbus set to transfer majority of engineering, design work to India - 9th October 2009

European passenger plane maker Airbus SAS will move 20% of its engineering and design activities to low-cost countries, a majority of it to India, by 2012 to bring down the cost of making planes and be able to compete better against its main rival Boeing Co.
Airbus has a 120-people engineering centre in Bangalore, which will grow to 450 employees next year.
It outsources work to around 20 Indian information technology and engineering service providers, including Infosys Technologies Ltd, Satyam Computer Ltd (now owned by Tech Mahindra Ltd), Quality Engineering and Software Services Technologies Pvt. Ltd (Quest) and HCL Technologies Ltd.

Source: livemint.com

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Govt awards seven port projects worth Rs 1,800 cr - 9th October 2009

In a major thrust to expand capacity at important ports in the country, the Ministry of Shipping has awarded seven projects worth over Rs 1,800 crore, to be developed through the public-private partnership (PPP) route.
Another 19 projects, estimated to cost around Rs 18,000 crore, are expected to be awarded on similar PPP basis by early 2010.
These 26 projects together will expand capacity at the major ports in the country by 42 per cent, or 245.97 million tonnes per annum. The ministry intends to double capacity at major and non-major ports in the country to 1,590 mt by 2012 from the present 795 mt.

Source: Business Standard 

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India to be world’s 5th largest coffee producer - 9th October 2009

India is likely to climb up in the ranking list of world top-10 coffee producing countries if the actual output in 2009-10 matches estimates, a top official of London-based International Coffee Organisation (ICO) said.
Talking to FE on the sidelines of India International Coffee Festival 2009 (IICF 2009), ICO executive director Nestor Osorio said that India has a bright chance of becoming the fifth largest coffee producer in the world. Currently, it is placed in the sixth position.
The country is expected to replace Mexico as fifth largest coffee producer in the world if the new crop output matches the post blossom estimates of the state-owned Coffee Board.
According to Osorio, in 2008-09 the estimated coffee output of India stood at 4.37 million bags (60 kg per bag), closely behind Mexico which produced around 4.65 million bags.

Source: The Financial Express 

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SAIL steels spot in global league with record profit run - 8th October 2009

The global economic slowdown has brought the best from state-owned steel maker SAIL as the company has become the most profitable steel company globally beating steel biggies such as ArcelorMittal, Posco, Bao Steel, Nippon in the half yearly profits.
The company has reported net profit of $ 571 million in the January-June period of 2009 bucking the trend where most global steel companies have made losses. Only Korean steel maker has come closer to match SAIL reporting a net profit of $ 565 million in the first half current calendar year.
“SAIL’s performance during the first half of 2009 has been best in the world steel industry because of a series of steps that the company took in response to the economic downturn. Not only did the company improve performance on techno-economic parameters, it lay thrust on value added products and cost efficiency. The efforts have been aided, by consistent growth in domestic steel demand,” SAIL chairman S K Roongta told ET.

Source: The Economic Times 

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BSNL, MTNL offered majority in Zain SPV - 7th October 2009

Vavasi also in talks with Kuwait govt for participation.
The race for control of Kuwait-headquartered Zain Telecom has quickened with the Indian consortium led by Delhi-based Vavasi group saying it is willing to give a majority stake in the consortium to state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) or Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), depending on which company gets government approval to go ahead with the deal.
The Vavasi group has an agreement with the Kharafi family of Kuwait to pick up its 46 per cent stake in Zain Telecom.
BSNL Chairman Kuldip Goyal, who confirmed to reporters in Geneva yesterday that it had given Vavasi a letter expressing interest in joining the consortium, said the telecom company would like to have more than 50 per cent with management control of the special purpose vehicle (SPV) that will be set up to bid for Zain. This effectively means the telecom utility will control 23 per cent of Zain’s equity.

Source: Business Standard 

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PM pitches for simpler tax regime to boost processed food trade - 7th October 2009

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday laid out a blueprint for rapid growth in the country’s food processing sector, which is limited at less than 2% of the world’s food trade. This can be achieved by simplifying the tax structure, formulating a National Food Processing Policy and improving rural infrastructure, he said.
“I recognise that we need to look at the taxation structure in the industry. Though primary agricultural commodities are mostly exempted from taxes, processed foods are subjected to multiple levies. There is therefore an urgent need to rationalise and simplify the tax structure,” Singh said at the Conference of state food processing ministers.
At present, just 6% of the food items produced in the country India are processed in contrast to the developed nations where 60% to 80% of the food items are processed.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Aegis acquires Sri Lankan outsourcing company - 6th October 2009

The $500 million (Rs2,375 crore) business process outsourcing (BPO) services arm of the Essar group, Aegis Ltd has made its 14th acquisition in five years by buying an 80% stake in Sri Lankan BPO firm iSmart Timex Pvt. Ltd for an undisclosed amount. The purchase was done through Essar Services Holdings Ltd, the holding company of Aegis.
Aegis chief executive Aparup Sengupta said the latest acquisition, which was funded through internal accruals, was in line with the firm’s plan to expand its global reach and “inch towards” becoming a $1 billion company in two-three years.
Besides India, Aegis is present in the Philippines, the US, Costa Rica, Kenya, South Africa, Australia and now Sri Lanka. It has 39,000 employees globally and a client base of 130 global clients, including 32 Fortune 500 companies.

Source: livemint.com 

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India must reduce energy use: IEA - 6th October 2009

By 2020, India must reduce its energy use by 16 percent from a business as usual (BAU) scenario if global warming is to be kept within two degrees Celsius, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said here Tuesday. Any more global warming would have catastrophic consequences, scientists say.
By 2030, this reduction from a BAU scenario must go up to 19 percent for India and other developing countries, Fatih Birol of IEA said while releasing excerpts from the 2009 World Energy Outlook (WEO).
The global economic recession has reduced investments in energy generation from fossil fuels in 2009, and that gives the world a second chance to move to a greener and more sustainable energy pathway, Birol said.
But, he warned: “This window of opportunity won’t stay open long. Unless the Copenhagen climate summit sends a strong signal that will significantly boost investments in green energy, by 2020 we’ll be back” to a situation where catastrophic levels of climate change will become all but inevitable.

Source: Assam Tribune

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PM for new Food Processing Policy - 6th October 2009

Calling for the formulation of a newNational Food Processing Policy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday said India had the potential to emerge as a leader in the global food processing industry.
“The food processing sector has the potential to be an industry driver that can transform the rural economy,” Manmohan Singh said while inaugurating the 1st Conference of State Ministers for Food Processing Industries, organised by the ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI).
“I recognise that there are a number of constraints both in the forward and backward linkages in the sector. But if we can get our act together, India can emerge as a leader in the global food processing industry,” he added.
The prime minister lamented the low processing levels in India despite the country being a major food producer.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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GE integrates all healthcare units with Wipro joint venture - 5th October 2009

To accelerate the growth of its $17-billion global healthcare business, General Electric (GE) on Friday announced its decision to integrate all its GE Healthcare units in India and South Asia with the existing Wipro GE Healthcare joint venture. With this move, Wipro GE Healthcare will be the exclusive vehicle for all the company’s healthcare activities in India. The integration would include existing business and manufacturing units such as GE Healthcare Life Sciences, GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics and GE Medical Systems India. The company however, refused to comment on the financial implications of the merger.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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'Indian formulation mkt to cross $13.7 billion by 2013' - 5th October 2009

The surging demand in the domestic market coupled with an increased focus from the multinational pharma companies for contract research and manufacturing services (CRAMS) are set to fuel the Indian pharmaceutical growth in the years to come. In addition to that, a projected CAGR of 10.5% in the global generics market and an growing involvement of Indian companies into clinical research services will further add to the growth momentum, said a detailed research done by Angel Broking.
Socio-economic factors such as rising income levels, increasing affordability, gradual penetration of health insurance and the rise in chronic diseases would see the Indian formulation market to touch $13.7 billion by 2013 with a CAGR of 12.2%.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Organised retail sales grow 20% - 5th October 2009

The Rs 1-lakh-crore organised retail industry, among the largest job creators in the services sector, is showing early signs of revival, after seeing its worst slowdown in the second and the third quarters of 2008-09. Estimates by the Retailers Association of India (RAI), the apex body of organised, modern retailers, show the segment has grown 20% in the September quarter of this financial year. This is a leap from the 5% growth it clocked in the first quarter. Just before the meltdown last year, the retail segment was growing at a pace of 35%.
Indian retail growth had slowed to 12% in the third quarter of FY09, the quarter that followed the Lehman Brothers collapse, and less than 5% during the fourth quarter of FY09. Prompted by the rising demand and the coming festive season, retailers are in the process of building up stocks at their branded retail stores by an additional 20% to 25%.

Source: The Financial Express 

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MindTree to acquire Kyocera Wireless' subsidiary in India - 30th September 2009

In a move that would help it consolidate its position in the growing product engineering services (PES) space, Mindtree, the IT and R&D services company, has signed an agreement with Kyocera Wireless Corp (KWC) to acquire its Indian subsidiary, Kyocera Wireless (India).
The acquisition involves an upfront payment of about $6 million (about Rs 29 crore), other than payments linked to the revenues to be acquired from Kyocera during 2010-11 and 2011-12. MindTree expects this acquisition to contribute about $9 million in revenues for the period October 2009 to March 2010, with profit after tax in the range of 13-15 per cent.
California-headquartered KWC is a global producer of mobile handsets and wireless products, and is part of the $11.5 billion Kyocera Corporation. Established in 2003, Kyocera Wireless (India) employs about 600 people in India, with its development centre located in Bangalore.

Source: Business Standard 

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PEs see gains in core sector - 30th September 2009

Fund-raising to the tune of Rs 8,500 crore underway.
Sensing huge opportunities, a clutch of private equity (PE) players are rushing in to raise funds for the infrastructure sector.
At present, close to Rs 8,541 crore is in the process of being raised. Out of this, Rs 6,800 crore is being raised by India-dedicated infrastructure funds, according to data by Preqin, a global firm that tracks PE and alternative assets.
The latest to join the bandwagon is Principle Europa Indian Infrastructure Fund, led by Shailesh Pathak, a former senior director at ICICI Ventures. The fund is aiming to raise $1billion (around Rs 4,800 crore) from overseas investors, mainly endowments and pensions, to invest in early-stage greenfield infrastructure projects.

Source: Business Standard 

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The India Report - 30th September 2009

MONSOON UPDATE: This season's (June-September) monsoon rainfall is the driest in over 30 years, according to Mr Ajit Tyagi, Director General of the India Meteorological Department. Monsoon rainfall this year is 23% below the long-period average. This is only slightly better than the 23.4% deficit in 1972. India's large population makes it a big consumer of foodstuffs and if rains fail it can have a knock-on effect on world prices. For example, sugar hit a 28-year high in London on rumours that India, the world's largest consumer, will be the largest buyer in international markets. Focus is shifting in India to increasing winter agriculture production. Stock piles ensure that there is no risk of severe food shortages but uneven releases from the stock pile and hoarding by merchants in anticipation of price increases have sharply pushed up food inflation.

Source: Astaire 

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Core sector, excise duty growth confirm revival - 29th September 2009

Friday saw corroboration of an industrial rebound from two sets of government data: a record 7.1% year-on-year expansion in the output of six core infrastructure industries and a 22.7% month-on-month growth in excise duty collections.
Infrastructure sector growth was driven by double-digit increases in cement and coal output. Buoyed by this robust performance, economists expect positive news from the index of industrial production, almost a third of which is accounted for by the core sector.
The latest numbers are a marked improvement over the 2.1% growth seen a year earlier, as well as the dismal 2.5% increase seen in the previous month. In the five months ended August, the sector grew 4.8%, against 3.3% in the corresponding period last year.

Source: The Financial Express 

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India emerges as key direct selling destination - 29th September 2009

India is fast emerging as a key destination for international direct selling companies. Lured by consistent annual growth in excess of 30% for the last four years, at least five international companies selling cosmetics, tableware, home furnishings and health products plan to enter India’s Rs3,300 crore direct selling industry. A senior executive of the Indian Direct Selling Association (Idsa), who did not want to be identified, said Jafra Cosmetics International, Nu Skin Enterprises, Srithai Superware Public Co. Ltd, Sportron International Inc. and Golden Warp Pty Ltd have trained their sights on India and have started the process to enter the market. The method involves marketing of consumer products or services directly to consumers, generally in their homes, at the workplace or anywhere away from permanent retail locations, through explanation or demonstration.
Headquartered at California, Jafra, which sells skincare and beauty products, is a division of the Germany-based Vorwerk group. The company is planning its entry through a joint venture with India’s Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd.

Source: livemint.com 

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Pharma exports grow 29% in 2008-09 - 29th September 2009

Exports of pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals increased 29 per cent at Rs 39, 538 crore compared with the year-ago period beating recession blues.
This was disclosed by Mr Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, at the inauguration of the Indo-Africa Pharma Business here on Friday.
Exports in the sector had grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 17.8 per cent during the five-year period 2003-04 to 2007-08.
On the trade with Africa, Mr Sharma said that on the generics segment, Indian companies had established their lead in most of the markets, including Africa.
“The growing exports of India in African countries are causing concern in multinational companies who have started a false campaign that the Indian generic medicines are counterfeit and substandard. This has to be countered effectively,” he said. The Government is taking up some related issued with the European Union, he added.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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Victory for India as G-20 endorses most demands - 29th September 2009

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not have got a better birthday gift as he walked away with much of what New Delhi wanted in the Group of 20 Summit at Pittsburgh. Not only did the Summit pledge continuation of stimulus till a durable recovery is secured but it also acknowledged the shift in the global balance of power by designating the G-20 as the premier forum for discussing international economic issues. The G-20 will, in effect, replace the Group of Eight (G-8) that was increasingly being seen as an outdated club not reflecting contemporary economic realities.
Addressing the media after the G-20 Summit declaration, Singh said continuation of stimulus and emergence of G-20 as a premier forum were very significant from India’s point of view. “We need an external environment that will enable us grow our exports, attract larger capital inflows and better technology transfers,” he said, emphasising how crucial it is for developing countries that stimulus was not prematurely withdrawn.

Source: The Financial Express 

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'Engineering services outsourcing to reach $40 billion by 2020' - 25th September 2009

The engineering services outsourcing (ESO) market, which is estimated to grow at $40 billion by 2020 from the current level of $2.5 billion to $3 billion, presents huge potential for domestic IT companies, said ValueNotes in its latest research.
Domestic service providers has the potential to bring down cost in the range of 20% to 40% for the European and The US clients that too in a short period of around 24 months along with a dedicated team set up.
Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Technologies, Infotech Enterprise would benefit from new opportunities unfolding in the sector, the research pointed out.
Quoting examples, the research said in March 2009, Bombardier announced a deal worth $1.44 billion signed with Lease Corporation International Aviation for a firm purchase agreement for CSeries jetliners.
Bombardier has decided to outsource $200 million worth of engineering services overseas.
This deal is being vied for by Indian IT biggies- Infosys, Mahindra Satyam, Capgemini as well as specialists like Infotech Enterprises and QuEST Global.

Source: The Financial Express 

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GM, Reva tie up for electric vehicles - 25th September 2009

General Motors’ Indian subsidiary signed an agreement today with Bangalore-based Reva Electric Car Company (RECC) to jointly develop and produce electric vehicles for the Indian market. They hope to be able to produce one for sale by next year.
The two companies said the plan is to make India a hub for environment-friendly vehicles.
RECC is already making and selling electric cars for both the domestic and export markets. And, it says other domestic car makers have approached it for a similar agreement. “Nothing has been finalised,” said Chetan Maini, deputy chairman and chief technology officer of RECC.
Maini was speaking on the sidelines of the signing event. The partnership will help GM, India build Chevrolet-badged electric cars for the domestic market. Its entry compact car, Spark, will be the first Chevy model to use the electric drive train of Reva. Officials say even the other small car models like the U-VA and the soon-to-be-launched Beat will benefit from this collaboration.

Source: Business Standard 

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Logistics revenues set to cross Rs 5 lakh crore in five years' time - 25th September 2009

The Indian logistics sector is expected to clock Rs 5,96,114 crore in annual revenues by 2013-14 on the back of strong growth in economic fundamentals as well as favourable regulatory environment. The introduction of goods and service tax (GST) from April 1, and the development of logistics parks will be a boost to the sector, which will post a 11% compound annual growth rate for the next five years, according to research firm Crisil.
The logistics industry revenues are pegged at Rs 3,60,000 crore in 2008-09, which includes primary transport modes and infrastructure as well as secondary movement (from the hub to various depots). This accounts for 10.7% of GDP, which is significantly higher than 5-7% that is registered in developed nations.
“A strong growth in the sector is expected, following a favourable regulatory environment, greater thrust on logistics infrastructure spending and the changes that we expect from organised players gaining a larger market presence in the industry,” Crisil Research head Manoj Mohta said on Wednesday.

Source: The Economic Times 

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PM wants G20 to act against protectionism - 24th September 2009

On Board Pm's Aircraft: The short-term takeaway from the Pittsburgh summit of the G20 would be a strong statement against protectionism, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his departing statement in the Capital on Wednesday.
While the previous two summits of the G20 had taken place while the financial and economic crises were at their peak, emerging global recovery forms the background to the present, third one that will take place at Pittsburgh on September 24-25.
The decisions at the previous summits for governments around the world to undertake large-scale stimuli and provide additional resources to the tune of $1.1 trillion to multilateral financial institutions have borne fruit. As a result of such additional resource empowerment, World Bank lending to India has gone up, said Mr Singh.
“The Pittsburgh summit is expected to focus on medium- and long-term issues such as a framework for sustainable and balanced growth, strengthening the international financial regulatory system, reforming the mandate, mission and governance of the IMF and development banks, strengthening support for the most vulnerable, an open global economy and energy and climate change,” the PM's statement said.

Source: The Economics Times 

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WB okays $4.3 bn loan for infrastructure and banks - 24th September 2009

The World Bank on Wednesday sanctioned four loans aggregating $4.3 billion to support India’s economic recovery by strengthening its state-run banks and funding infrastructure projects. The bank said the loans would support the country’s economic stimulus measures by channeling resources into infrastructure, power and irrigation sectors.
“This is a crucial time to support Indian economic recovery,” World Bank country director for India Roberto Zagha told reporters in a video conference. “Despite the uncertainty about the pace of economic recovery, current trends suggest a growth rate of between 5.5% and 6.5% for 2009-10 is realistic,” he said.
Of the total sanctioned amount, $2 billion will go to the Centre for enhancing the capital base of public sector banks, $1.195 billion to the India Infrastructure Finance Company (IIFCL), $1 billion to PowerGrid Corporation and $150 million to Andhra Pradesh for a rural water supply and sanitation project, the World Bank said here.

Source: The Economic Times 

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The Indian Report - 23rd September 2009

The domestic Indian economy is clearly improving. Our earlier views on the timing of the recovery remain unchanged, despite the drought this year. For example, in our forecast for this year we stated in the India Report of 7 January 2009 that "India should recover from the downturn before developed Western markets. Once there is confidence and clarity of an upturn, demand will revive and be stimulated in H2 2009". More recently, our Report of 1st June stated "we see a clear upturn in H2 2009, especially around September-October."
Car sales rose for a 7th consecutive month in August, up 25% YoY. 3 out of the top 5 gainers in the SENSEX are auto firms: Tata Motors: +282%, Maruti Suzuki: 218%, and M&M: +215%vs the SENSEX: +73% this year.

Source: Astaire 

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H1 trends point to long-term retail growth: Richard Ellis - 22nd September 2009

Long-term growth in retailing in India is expected to stay on track, with the country being one of the fastest growing retail markets in Asia-Pacific, says a new CB Richard Ellis report. It says despite the global recession and slowdown in the Indian economy, there were substantial enquiries by retailers for space in prominent high-street locations and malls in metros in the first half of the year.
Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director, CB Richard Ellis, South Asia, said, "India is one of the fastest growing retail markets in the Asia-Pacific. Due to the slowdown, retail rentals across key markets did witness a fall as compared to the same time last year. However, I expect the long-term growth in retailing to stay on track. With the Indian economy's continued growth resulting in improved consumption, the year ahead and beyond promises to be a time of opportunities for the retail industry."
NCR continues to be the preference for retailers to consolidate their position in terms of new acquisitions in prime micro markets like south Delhi, NH-8 Gurgaon and central Delhi. During the first half, rentals in NCR saw an overall drop of 20% to 40% from the levels in the beginning of 2008.

Source: The Financial Express 

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'India, China growth help emerging mkts outperform developed peers' - 22nd September 2009

Emerging market economies have outperformed developed economies in 2009, owing largely to the continued high growth (and market size) of India and China. Emerging market economies would have contract this year but for these two countries, although, with the exception of Eastern Europe, they would still have fared less despairingly than developed economies, according a report by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Economist Intelligence Unit.
The relatively strong performance of China and India might suggest a degree of independence from Western economic performance. However, the GDP growth gap between developed and emerging markets in recent years has remained at 5-6 percentage points, indicating a continuing linkage. “Much of the emerging market performance in 2009 is, of course, due to the continued high growth rate of China and India. This is the reason why average emerging market growth will remain positive”, says the report adding, “China, India and other Asian destinations are heavily favoured investment locations over the next five years (45% of respondents cited China, 43 % India and 35 % other Asian nations)”.

Source: The Financial Express

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Stimulus package to stay till full recovery, says Pranab - 22nd September 2009

Finance minister said the government was encouraging imports of commodities like sugar, edible oil and pulses to arrest the rise in prices.
The economic stimulus package to protect the country from the impact of the global financial crisis would continue till the economies of Europe and the US recover, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today.
“We shall have to wait for some more time before we take any decision to reverse the stimulus package. I am watching the situation carefully. As you are aware, the first quarter growth was 6.1 per cent. If there is some improvement in second, third and fourth quarters, at the time of preparing the Budget next year, it will be possible for me to take an overall look into all aspects,” he said.
Addressing a press conference here today, he said all finance ministers of G-20 countries agreed at a meeting in London recently not to reverse the economic stimulus package before the recovery in Europe and North America happens. The finance ministers had met to prepare the brief for the G20 summit to be held on September 24 and 25 at Pittsburg, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also going to participate, he said.

Source: Bussiness Standard 

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FDI tide turns in favour of BRIC countries: Report - 18th September 2009

The economic and financial crisis seems to have altered the global investment landscape considerably. It is now the developing countries that are taking the lead in attracting investments as well as investing globally, according to the Unctad World Investment Report 2009.
Unctad predicts global inflows to fall from $1.7 trillion in 2008 to below $1.2 trillion in 2009. Recovery is expected to be slow in 2010 (to a level up to $1.4 trillion) and gain momentum in 2011 (approaching $1.8 trillion).
According to Unctad secretary-general Supachai Panitchpakdi, “The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are the most favoured destination for FDI. Not all trans-national corporations (TNCs) have been affected by the financial crisis, particularly those involved in food and agriculture. Others that have not been affected are those that put their targets on long-term prospects such as the pharma industry.”

Source:  The Economic Times 

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Nissan Motor to source auto parts from India - 17th September 2009

Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Company plans to source auto components worth $20 million during 2010 from India for its operations spanning countries including Thailand, Japan and China.
The company is looking at sourcing components including engine pistols, clutches and start-up motors from India, said Kiminobu Tokuyama, chief executive officer and managing director, Nissan Motor India Private Ltd. By 2012, the sourcing is expected to touch $ 40 million.
Despite its French alliance partner Renault deferring its India plans for the time being, Nissan said its joint venture with Ashok Leyland and its plans at Chennai greenfield plant are on track.
“We are moving on schedule and plan to start the Chennai plant by May next year,” said Tokuyama. He pointed out that of the yen 350 billion investments to be made by the company globally in financial year 2009-10 (as per the company’s financial calendar), “the maximum investment has been routed to India.”

Source: The Financial Express

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Chinese handset co ZTE enters India - 15th September 2009

Chinese network and handset major ZTE has entered the retail space in India and will sell handsets under its own brand here from this week, its chairman and managing director DK Ghosh told ET.
So far, ZTE has sold over 25 million handsets in India through telecom service providers such as RCOM, BSNL, Tata Teleservices & Vodafone Essar. Mr Gosh also said that the company had crossed the $1-billion mark in revenues from India for the first time in the year-ended March 2009.
India is ZTE’s second-largest market after China and generates a little over 10% of the company’s global revenues. At present, India accounts for about 16% of ZTE’s global handset sales and its entry into the retail space could see this going up to 20%.
Mr Gosh said that ZTE has appointed Overseas Mobiles as its national distributor for mobile and data devices. “Overseas Mobiles will appoint 80 regional distributors across India and manage relationships with distributors and corporate customers on behalf of ZTE as we are targeting to have a presence in 1 lakh retail outlsets in India by this year-end,” he added.

Source: The Economic Times 

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India to turn world's third largest steel producer this year - 15th September 2009

Going by the production of steel in the country so far this year, India is on its way to becoming the third largest steel producer in the world. With an output of 55 million tonne (mt) last year, the country was ranked fifth in the world after China (501 mt), Japan (119 mt), United States (91 mt) and Russia (69 mt). Germany, Ukraine and Brazil followed India at the sixth, seventh and eighth positions, respectively.
India, which had earlier set itself the target of becoming the world’s third largest steel producer by 2013, is also aiming to produce 124 mt of steel by 2011-12. Speaking to FE, Joint Plant Committee (JPC) executive secretary Goutam Kumar Basak said that going by the production figures for April-August 2009, which saw a production of 22.14 million tonne of steel (a jump of 6.6% over the corresponding figure for 2008), the country India is likely to emerge as the third largest producer of steel in the current year itself.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Betting big on Indian R&D when chips are down - 11th September 2009

A demand slump in the global semiconductor industry notwithstanding, Indian R&D centres of global chip majors are playing crucial role in designing products for global rollouts. Over the past few months, Indian centres have seen greater proportion of value-added semiconductor design being carried out while in some cases, the captives have handled end-to-end product design.
The value-addition tops India’s growing reputation as a chip design back-end even thought the country is yet to boast of a major fab or manufacturing unit. LSI Corporation India’s MD and veep, Pravin Desale, explains it succinctly: “The complexity of designs and platforms developed in MNC captives have grown. Earlier, most of them were leveraged to provide point activities: Few parts of the workflow and not end-toend delivery. Gradually, the value chain has expanded from product specification and architecture to integration at customer site and pre and post-sales support.”
Industry watchers say while design centres have gained in expertise to move up the value chain, a greater focus on local markets/emerging geographies is also fuelling development of global-level products. Since at a future date, a ready locally-designed product can always expedite go-to-market strategy.

Source: The Economic Times 

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InterfaceFLOR plans facility in India - 11th September 2009

InterfaceFLOR, a global modular flooring specialist, has identified India for its next big manufacturing facility, according to Mr Lindsey K . Parnell, President and CEO (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa).
“Given the potential growth in the Indian market, an inevitable factor, it could take a couple of years for us to get things in place such as funding and location,” Mr Parnell said.
“The global economic recession has in a way slowed our entry into the Indian market, as we depended on the rapid growth of multinationals, large consumers of floor tiles, who have taken a hit. But, we see growing opportunities in the Indian corporate and construction sectors,” he explained.
“We have also taken up market diversification from the present office focus to education, stores, leisure and Government, where increasing global spends are visible,” Mr Parnell told Business Line here today.
The US-based company, whose turnover has dipped this year due to the recession, expects to gain from its established practices in sustainability.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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New reforms in education sector may attract more investments - 11th September 2009

Making business out of education was a social taboo, but the concept has been changing gradually. Now, the education has become a focal point of business. Education sector is about three to four times bigger than the healthcare sector and the predictability and sustainability of profits are higher in the education sector. Return on investment is also high, attrition levels are low, the clients are locked in for long- period and pricing is largely in the management control. These factors make education a lucrative business.
The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) has recommended increasing the number of Universities from the present 350 (approximately) to 1500, almost three- fold growth. Clearly the Government cannot achieve this target alone. The Yash Pal Committee suggested that central schools and universities need to have enough money not for unnecessary frills but to function efficiently, with the requisite infrastructure. Most of the Universities suffer from fund crunch to run the show and the governments are finding it extremely difficult to keep funding. What is the answer? Private participation obviously. Failure of Postal Department has given birth to booming courier business; failure of present education system will give birth to booming education business. “Education is the best business today” says VG Krishnan, CEO, Global School of Management Science.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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FIIs put 422% more into construction in 6 months - 10th September 2009

Foreign institutional investors are shoring up investment in the country’s construction sector. With the BSE Sensex touching a 15-month high, the market capitalisation of FII investment in construction has gone up a whopping 422% in the past six months. A detailed analysis by FE Research illustrates a return of confidence in the sector, which was missing during 2008 and also in early 2009.
While market cap does not depict an investment, the sum indicates the returns being generated for investors, which, in turn, is a tool for fresh investment. This move will also have a cascading effect on the sum poured into the real estate sector. Till September 8, FIIs have registered a net investment of Rs 40,362 crore in the domestic stock market. The total FII market cap in 13 leading sectors is Rs 4,45,313 crore.
Along with construction, the market cap of FII investment in infrastructure and heavy engineering has also shot up, largely due to higher government spending and leveraged investment by companies in these sectors. In heavy engineering, FII market cap has gone up 202% and in steel it was up 274% in the past six months. But the sectors that have not generated much FII interest are FMCG, PSUs, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications, considered as defensive stocks, as they give returns after a longer period of time.

Source: The Financial Express 

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The India Report - 10th September 2009

The south-west monsoon rains, which account for about 70% of annual rainfall and are crucial to India's US$1trillion+ economy, were 20% below normal (normal=50-year average) between June and 7th September. Mr Tyagi, Director-General of India's Meteorological Department, has forecast that rains, which start to withdraw in early September, will be extended by up to 10 days in northwest India and help narrow the seasonal rainfall deficit to 15-18%. Although the Planning Commission forecast food grain output to be lower by 18m tonnes in 2009-10, the country has no worries about food shortages as adequate stockpiles exist. PM Dr Singh said "we had record production and procurement of food grains in both 2007/08 and 2008/09. We thus have adequate food stocks and there is no cause for concern or fear of shortages of food grains in the country as a whole."

Source: Astaire 

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Car sales cross 1-m mark on soft rates, new launches - 9th September 2009

A slew of new car launches, easing loan rates and an early pick-up in festive season demand helped the Indian auto industry continue its robust sales growth in August, crossing the 1 million mark for the first time in the current fiscal.
Commercial vehicle sales also reported an increase for the second consecutive month, growing 18.5% to 40,624 units in August from 34,289 units in the year-ago period. The major pull came from light trucks which has shown strong growth with demand picking up in rural markets, FMCG and infrastructure sectors. Commercial vehicle sales were negative for almost a year before bouncing back in July this year.
As per figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), auto sales in August stood at 10.08 lakh vehicles, 24% more compared to the year-ago period. This was largely due to increased demand for passenger cars that grew 26% to 1.20 lakh vehicles followed by two wheelers which grew 25% to 7.76 lakh units in the same month.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Clinton Foundation to set up five solar parks in Gujarat - 8th September 2009

Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), a programme of US based William J Clinton Foundation, today signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Gujarat government for setting up solar parks in Gujarat. Each park will serve as a concentrated zone of solar development and will include 3,000 plus megawatts of solar generation as well as manufacturing facilities.
Under the MoU signed with CCI, the government would facilitate in identification of land and create required infrastructure for setting up of solar plants in co-ordination with CCI and invite national and international developers to set up these plants on chargeable basis for the infrastructure created. The power produced by these plants shall in turn be purchased by state power utilities.

Source: Business Standard 

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India speeds past China in auto exports - 8th September 2009

China may be the world's shop floor, but India is rolling it out faster when it comes to automobile exports.
India exported a total of 2.30 lakh cars, vans, SUVs and trucks between January and July 2009, a growth of 18% even as China’s exports tumbled 60% in the same period to 1.65 lakh units.
The Indian domestic market may be just 19% of China’s — which has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest — but the ‘Made In India’ tag, especially on small cars, has clearly acquired a global cachet, helping auto exports grow even as other countries suffered a slump.
Industry experts pointed out that India scores due to its liberal investment policies and high quality manufacturing which stems from its growing prowess in research and development.
India’s biggest advantage is its edge in small cars and the way companies — including global giants — are using the market for selling, as well as developing, new compact models.

Source: The Times of India 

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Made in India, shipped to China, Thailand - 8th September 2009

Japanese automaker Nissan has kicked off its India sourcing programme by shipping out key components from its Chennai facility to China and Thailand.
“Trial production of parts has begun for the global platform cars scheduled to debut in China and Thailand next year. The tests have been very successful so far,” Mr Kiminobu Tokuyama, Managing Director and CEO, Nissan Motor India, told Business Line.
It is from the same platform that India will see the rollout of a hatchback, the revamped Micra whose production will be shifted from the UK, in mid-2010.
This will coincide with the launch of cars from the same platform in China and Thailand.
The common global platform strategy is part of Nissan’s endeavour to produce a host of cars, be it hatchbacks or sedans, across five countries. Thus far, India, China and Thailand have been identified as key manufacturing locations. “We still have not taken a decision on the other two countries,” Mr Tokuyama said.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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HP eyes data centre biz avenues in India; targets bankers, telcos - 7th September 2009

The world's largest technology company Hewlett-Packard (HP) is betting big on the India data centre story.
HP Critical Facilities Services , that caters to the data centres, says that it is increasingly witnessing data centre upgradation and augmentation projects from the Indian market, despite global economic downturn. The firm says the growth is coming from the banking financial services and insurance (BFSI), telecom and manufacturing space.
David Winn, managing principal, HP Critical Facilities Services, said, “Clients in India are being conservative, watch the market before they spend. But data centre owners are now forced to expand because of the demand of information, high bandwidth applications and requirement to increase the ability to deliver. At the same time, they are constantly under pressure from the boards and investors not to overspend and yet deliver services.” He adds that, moving from a pure co-location business model to an IT services business model will be critical for third party data centre service providers as the market slows down.

Source: The Financial Express 

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K'taka plans Rs 22,000 cr project for Bangalore development - 7th September 2009

Karnataka government has drawn up a blueprint for the overall development of Bangalore city with a massive financial outlay of Rs 22,000 crore. The development works will be carried out through Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). The move is aimed at drastically changing the face of the city with improved roads, drains and lakes in the next three years.
State minister for transport, R Ashok, who presented the proposal under the Capital Investment Plan for Bangalore (2009-12) said though the cost involved for the works is huge, it can be mobilised by the BBMP with contributions from the state government, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and funds from Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and other loans. Most of these works will be undertaken under the public private partnership (PPP) model, he said.

Source: Bussiness Standard 

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Bhushan Steel buys Aussie exploration firm - 5th September 2009

Ups stake to 60% in Australia’s Bowen Energy, which has large prospecting licence for thermal and coking coal
Bhushan Steel (Australia), part of Delhi-based cold roller, Bhushan Steel group, has acquired a 60 per cent stake in Australian exploration company, Bowen Energy. Bowen Energy has 2,400 sq km of prime exploration ground in the heart of the Bowen basin, close to major mines operated by BHP, Rio Tinto, Xstrata and Anglo Coal.
Nitin Johri, director (finance), Bhushan Steel, said the company has four-five licences for thermal and coking coal. Bowen’s projects also include uranium, but Bhushan’s interest is in thermal and coking coal. In 2006 Bhushan had acquired 15 per cent in Bowen. Johri said this was raised through an on-market offer. The remaining 40 per cent was with institutions.
According to a filing with the Australian stock exchange, the Takeover Panel has received an application from Macrae Holdings (WA) Pty Ltd, seeking a review of the Panel’s decision to okay the stake sale. Neeraj Singal, managing director, Bhushan Steel, said he was not aware of the latest review application, but an earlier one had been rejected. Macrae Holdings has 0.318 per cent stake in Bowen Energy.

Source: Business Standard 

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Domestic consumption holds the key to India's turnaround - 3rd September 2009

India’s domestic consumer goods and services market is now close to half of China’s in terms of sheer size, even though India’s GDP is well below a third of China’s — a tempting proposition for investors who continue to place their bets on the Indian domestic consumption story.
Among the major economies in the Asia-Pacific region, India’s private domestic consumption as share of GDP, at 57 per cent in 2008, was the highest, according to an analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute.
China, the world’s fastest growing economy, had a much lower 37 per cent share, the data showed.
Considering that India’s GDP, on a nominal basis, was recorded at around $1.209 trillion in 2008 against China’s $4.4 trillion, the private domestic consumption estimates for India works out to around 45 per cent of China’s on the basis of the McKinsey data.
Significantly, the data also show that India’s private domestic consumption as a share of GDP was higher than a number of developed economies including Japan, Germany, Singapore and South Korea.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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'India, Canada to sign investment, partnership pact' - 3rd September 2009

India and Canada will sign the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) in 2009, according to Mr Gerald Keddy, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of International Trade, Government of Canada.
This would be followed by the signing of the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), he said, adding that the agreements were aimed at boosting bilateral trade between the two countries to $14 billion in five years from $5 billion. Addressing media persons on the sidelines of a conference – organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry to announce the opening of the Canadian Trade Office in the city here on Wednesday – Mr Keddy said, “While negotiations towards signing of the two agreements are on separate tracks, the FIPA seems to be the first logical step before the CEPA comes up.”
FIPA would be the building block towards the inking of the CIPA, he added. “We discussed the issue with the Indian Government Ministers in New Delhi yesterday (Tuesday) and India too is eager to seal the agreements,” he said.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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Car, bike sales zoom in August - 2nd September 2009

Wholesale deliveries before the festive season kept the momentum going in the auto industry as car and bike sales swelled to record numbers in the domestic market in August. Companies across the board reported a healthy year-on-year growth in sales that was also enabled by ease in retail finance availability.
Maruti, the car market leader, said sales were up 29% in August at 69,961 units against 54,113 units in August 2008. The growth was led by a 39% jump in volume-heavy compact car segment where it sold 52,473 units (37667) on the back of higher demand for new models like Ritz and Estilo. The company's export volumes shot up 156% on heavy demand for its A-Star compact in European markets.
Close rival Hyundai saw domestic market sales going up 13% at 24,401 units against 21,610 units in the same month last year. "Over the last two months, we have registered steady growth figures and in August, the domestic market sales have been strong. We are now entering the festival season phase and strong sales would help the Indian automotive industry to return to healthy growth. We do have a lot of expectations from the festival season and we expect it to be much better than the previous year," Hyundai India V-P (marketing and sales) Arvind Saxena said.

Source: Times of India 

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Govt may sell 15 % stake in Coal India - 2nd September 2009

The government is planning to increase its disinvestment target in Coal India from 10 per cent proposed earlier to 15 per cent as it wants to put a sizeable number of shares in the market and also offer them to employees and farmers displaced by its mines.
“The company wants to offer a chunk of shares in the market so that there is an adequate floating stock for trading,” a Coal Ministry official said, adding that it would be only through enough offering that Coal India Ltd would be able to discover its valuation.
The official said the CIL’s initial public offering of about 15 per cent would be done in one go and not in bits and pieces.
The company, which has a paid-up equity capital of about Rs 6,316 crore, clocked a pre-tax profit of Rs 8,738.46 crore in the last fiscal. It plans to offer stock options to over 4 lakh employees.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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India to set up trade centres in LatAm - 2nd September 2009

In order to capitalise on the lull in trade between the US and Latin American countries, the commerce ministry has proposed to open up four to five trade centres in a few LA countries on a permanent basis, to create awareness among investors and business people alike on Indian products, technologies, manufacturing and R&D capabilities, apart from promoting bilateral relations between Indian and LA corporates in a big way, said Suchismita Palai, director, department of commerce, commerce ministry.
A recent by CII, ‘Augmenting synergies in the post-crisis world’, released in Chennai on Tuesday, said India and Latin American countries have the potential to treble their bilateral trade from the 2007-2008 level of $12 billion to $36 billion by 2012-2013, with a compounded annual growth rate of 25% at a relatively modest pace. The study also cited long distances and complicated sea routes, cultural and language difficulties and the frequent fluctuation of Latin American currencies as the primary reasons for low trade, compared to China which deals in trade worth over $140 billion.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Hyderabad Tech Expo sees 22 business deals - 1st September 2009

Twenty-two business deals were signed between Indian entrepreneurs and business houses, including foreign companies, at the Hyderabad Technology Expo here on Monday.
The event was part of the third edition of the DST (Department of Science and Technology, Government of India)-Lockheed Martin India Growth programme, a nationwide initiative to enhance growth and development of India’s entrepreneurial economy.
The 22 deals, which included six with international companies, encompassed a wide array of sectors, mostly related to medical, renewable energy and environment sectors.
A chemical catalyst-based process that converts hydrocarbon-based material into fuels, a technology to convert algae into diesel fuel, nano polymer coating on coronary stents, heart sound analyser and a technology to create more efficient blades for generating wind energy formed the crux of some of the business deals that were concluded on Monday.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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JSW Steel among 11 projects worth Rs 40,000 cr cleared - 1st September 2009

A total of 11 projects worth about Rs 40,000 crore were cleared at a high-level clearance committee meeting on Monday, said Karnataka’s Large and Medium Industries Minister, Mr Murugesh Nirani. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Mr B.S. Yeddyurappa.
These projects, with an investment of Rs 40,336.43 crore, would provide employment to about 30,352 people, said the Minister. Of the 11 projects cleared, six are in the iron and steel sector at an investment of Rs 28.594.39 crore, providing employment to 10,862 people. The biggest of them all is a Rs 15,131.7-crore project by JSW Steel, for expansion of its integrated steel plant from 10 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 16 MTPA and a 600-MW captive power plant in Bellary district.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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Private equity investors bet big on Indian SMEs - 1st September 2009

Poised to invest Rs 24,415 crore in smaller enterprises
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to which most banks are chary of lending, are being actively wooed by private equity (PE) investors. According to industry representatives around 70 per cent of the PE investment that came into India last year was invested in SMEs.
PE funds are poised to invest an estimated Rs 24,415 crore ($5 billion) in Indian SMEs, they added. In the PE context, companies with revenues in the Rs 50-500 crore range have been categorised as SMEs.
SMEs are typically promoter-or individual-driven and, in many cases, are led by first-generation entrepreneurs. Many of these companies are very competitive and have, over the last few years, capitalised on opportunities that have presented themselves.
According to a World Bank report, India has 13 million SMEs in the manufacturing and services sector. One of the greatest challenges for them is the current credit crunch.

Source: Business Standard 

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Robert Bosch to set up centre in Coimbatore - 1st September 2009

Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Ltd (RBEI), the engineering and IT services subsidiary of Bosch in India, said it would invest an initial Rs 170 crore in a new centre in Coimbatore, which would be developed in three phases.
The first phase of the new facility that is expected to be completed by January 2010 would accommodate 1,700 engineers, the company said. By the end of the year, the headcount would be increased to 2,500 engineers. The second phase of the development would be spread over 2010 and 2011, while the third phase would be taken up after that, it added.
The company would invest Rs 40 crore in the new centre in 2010, said Mr Friedhelm Pickhard, Managing Director, RBEI. While Rs 50 crore has already been spent in acquiring land and other expenses, another Rs 130 crore has been committed to constructing the building for the new centre, he added.
RBEI said Coimbatore, compared to Bangalore, offers 15 per cent cost savings. It said the attrition level in Coimbatore is negligible, and there is access to quality manpower as well. At present, RBEI employs about 900 people in a STPI unit and another 600 people in a temporary SEZ unit in Coimbatore, it added.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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Rs 31,000 cr to upgrade higher education sector - 31st August 2009

The Centre will spend around Rs 31,000 crore to support the state universities across the country to improve the quality of higher education, said the Union minister for Human Resources Development (HRD), Kapil Sibal.
Improvement in quality of higher education is required to arrest the brain drain, he observed. Sibal made these remarks while inaugurating the first Central University in the state at Koraput on Saturday.
The minister said, about 1.6 lakh students go abroad every year for higher studies. It could be checked if the quality of education is improved within the country. At the time of independent, he recalled, there were only 20 universities and 450 colleges with combined strength of one lakh students.
The number of educational institutions in the country has increased manifold and there now 480 universities and 22,000 colleges with 1.25 crore students and 5 lakh teachers. But the quality of education is not up to mark at many places.
Stating that the government is encouraging establishment of educational institutions in the public private partnership (PPP) mode, Sibal asked the corporate houses to participate in setting up of world-class educational institutes in the state. Efforts are being made to invite private partners from within the country and overseas to participate in opening up of high quality educational institutions in the PPP mode, he added.

Source: Business Standard

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Harley Davidson gears up to hit Indian roads in 2010 - 28th August 2009

After sporty bikes from Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Ducati established themselves in the Indian market, the “all-American bike” or “ultimate cruiser maker” Harley Davidson is finalising its plans for India.
Almost two years after Harley Davidson first got permission to start operations in the country, the company on Thursday said it is setting up an Indian subsidiary and will launch the iconic motorcycle in India in 2010. Once on the roads, Harley will compete with Hayabusa and Intruder from Suzuki; CBR 1000RR Fireblade and CB 1000R from Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India; R1 and MT 01 from India Yamaha Motors, and 15 super bikes from the stable of Italy-based Ducati.
“As a first step, we are looking for local dealer partners to help establish the Harley Davidson brand and our business in India for the long term,” said Anoop Prakash, the newly appointed managing director of Harley Davidson in India.
“Given the rapid development of India’s economy and infrastructure, this is exactly the right time to bring the world’s greatest motorcycle to one of the world’s largest motorcycling nations,” said Matthew Levatich, president and COO, Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Govt eyes $200-bn exports next fiscal - 27th August 2009

India today extended tax holiday and duty refund for exporters, while allowing duty-free capital goods import under its Foreign Trade Policy to insulate them from protectionism induced by recession abroad.
Unveiling the five-year policy, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma set a target of $200 billion worth exports for next fiscal, a feat that India failed to achieve in 2008-09 due to a slump in global demandin the face of financial crisis.
“India has not been affected to the same extent as other economies of the world, yet our exports have suffered a decline in the last 10 months due to a contraction in demand in the traditional markets. The protectionist measures being adopted by some of these countries have aggravated the problem,” he said, presenting his first trade policy.
While exports for the April-June quarter contracted by 31 per cent, Sharma set a growth target of 15 per cent for FY’10.
“I would be hesitant to hazard a guess on the nature and extent of this recovery and the time the major economies will take to return to there pre-recession growth levels,” he said, encouraging exporters to look beyond traditional markets like the US and western Europe.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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IT majors bag $1.5-billion outsourcing deal from BP - 27th August 2009

TCS, Infy, Wipro among those that have bagged a five-year deal.
Ending a long drought of major outsourcing deals, especially from the recession-struck UK, Indian IT majors Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys Technologies and Wipro Ltd, besides global IT giants IBM and Accenture, have bagged a five-year $1.5-billion outsourcing deal from BP (British Petroleum), the world’s third-largest petroleum refining company in the world.
BP told Business Standard that it chosen six partners in all for its $1.5-billion contract from among 40 suppliers “...who had, between them, 82 contracts”.
“We carried out a 12-month tender process looking at potential partners and those we work with... We feel the six contractors we have chosen have the scale and global reach to meet our IT demands,” said a BP spokesperson, adding that the company had issued a tender of around $2 billion (over five years) of projected third-party spend.
While BP did not comment on individual deals, it is understood that each of these players received outsourcing contracts worth $100 million (around Rs 490 crore) from BP. The company, said the spokesperson, will manage to save around $500 million (around Rs 2,450 crore) over five years because of these part deals.

Source: Business Standard  

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Motherson Sumi clinches Rs 4k-cr German contract - 27th August 2009

Motherson Sumi System (MSSL), the flagship company of the Samvardhana Motherson Group, has bagged a contract worth 500 million euro (Rs 4,000 crore) from a group of German car makers to supply rear-view mirrors for six years.
Motherson Sumi has bagged the contract through its subsidiary Samvardhana Motherson Reflectec (SMR), and the delivery is slated to begin from 2011.
“We have bagged contract worth 500 million euro from a group of German auto majors, including BMW and Volkswagen, for supply of rear-view mirrors to their cars,” Vivek Chaand Sehgal, chairman, Samvardhana Motherson Group (SMG), said, adding that the orders would be supplied from SMR’s European plants, including the one at Hungary. “We will start delivering the orders by 2011 and the deal is spread over a period of five-six years, which means a business of 80-90 million euro annually,” Sehgal said.

Source: The Financial Express 

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New foreign trade policy today - 27th August 2009

India will tomorrow unveil its foreign trade policy that is expected to eliminate or refund taxes and offer cheaper bank credit to recession-battered exporters, besides encouraging them to look beyond the US and European markets.
The policy will outline the government’s priorities over the next five years for resurrecting the sector that contracted by over 31 per cent in the April-June quarter.
Job-intensive segments such as textiles, handicrafts, leather and gems and jewellery will receive special attention by way of zero taxes or tax refunds and subsidised credit.
“Tomorrow’s FTA may satisfy many... (but) may not satisfy everyone. It will be forward looking, taking on board the concerns of the industry, particularly the labour-intensive sectors. They will get special attention,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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The India Report - 26th August 2009

Privatisation in India may be accelerated in a creative way, in our view, after being held hostage to coalition politics for many years. Badly needed funds may thus be freed to reduce the highest fiscal deficit in 16 years and speed up social causes to widen inclusive growth. According to leading Indian business daily, The Economic Times, Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee has approved a plan that requires companies listed on stock exchanges, including state-run firms, to have at least 25% public float. He had innocuously announced the intention of raising the public float in his budget announcement on July 6. Currently at least 25% of a companys shareholding has to be with the public, but state-run, IT, infrastructure, telecoms and media firms are exempted. Once the plan is approved by the law ministry (hopefully by March 2010) companies with less than 25% in public hands would have to increase this by at least 5% annually from April 2010 until the 25% is reached, within 5 years at the latest. This would  prompt sales in over 500 companies (including about 150 big ones) of the Bombay Stock Exchange?s 3000+ most-active stocks. Bloomberg has estimated that about US$39bn in total would have to be raised. This roughly equates to about US$8bn annually. This is over and above the normal capital raising on bourses and can be expected to cause indigestion on stock markets and limit share price appreciation unless fresh capital is introduced, both domestically and from foreign investors. The top 10 companies that would have to sell stock are state-run, accounting for about 80% of the total by value. The new rules would impact state-run firms like Steel Authority of India (government holding of 85%), State Bank of Mysore (92%) and private companies like WIPRO (79%), Jet Airways (80%) and Novartis (76%).

Source: Astaire 

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Fortis to buy 10 Wockhardt hospitals in Rs 909-cr deal - 25th August 2009

Plans Rs 1,000-cr issue to fund acquisition; deal to help Khorakiwala clear Rs 500-cr debt
In the largest acquisition in the Indian healthcare businesses, Fortis Healthcare, promoted by the former owners of drug maker Ranbaxy, has acquired some of rival Wockhardt Hospital’s assets comprising eight operational and two greenfield projects for Rs 909 crore.
The deal will help Habil Khorakiwala-promoted Wockhardt Hospital repay its entire debt of Rs 500 crore. The remaining amount is to be used to expand 10 facilities and set up new ones.
Before this deal, the largest healthcare acquisition was the Rs 650-crore acquisition of Escorts Heart Institute, also by Fortis Healthcare, in 2005.
The acquisition of the 10 hospitals by Fortis will help the company, promoted by the Singh family, add 1,902 beds to its current capacity of 3,278 beds.

Source: Business Standard  

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PM approves national mission on energy efficiency - 25th August 2009

The Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change has given an in-principle nod to the National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency.
According to an official communiqué approving the Mission, the Prime Minister said that, “This Mission will enable about Rs 75,000 crore worth of transactions in energy efficiency. In doing so, it will, by 2015, help save about five per cent of our annual energy consumption, and nearly 100 million tonne of carbon dioxide every year.”
The Mission is the second of the eight under India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change to be approved by the Council.
In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said, “...The implementation of this mission will also be a powerful signal to the international community that we are willing to contribute in a significant manner, to meeting the global challenge of climate change.”

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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WTO lauds India’s efforts to push forward Doha trade talks - 24th August 2009

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Saturday lauded India’s efforts to impress upon the global community about the ‘dire need’ for a ‘successful outcome’ of the stalled Doha round of trade negotiations.
“The effort by India to hold a two day mini-ministerial meeting here beginning from September 3 is a positive signal to get Doha round moving once again,” the WTO Deputy Director General Harsha Vardhana Singh said while addressing an interactive meeting with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). The mini-ministerial WTO meeting is expected to bring together trade ministers from nearly 40 developed and developing countries to iron out differences in perceptions and lay the groundwork for successful outcome of the Doha Round of trade negotiations.
“World leaders at various forum have emphasised a successful result for Doha negotiations because they see the positive contribution that improved international trade and multilateral trade regime will make to economic recovery and stable conditions in the world,” he said.

Source: Deccan Herald 

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4G threatens to spoil govt’s 3G party - 23rd August 2009

As India dithers over a policy on 3G mobile telephony, USA’s Motorola wants to test the next level (4G) that could pour cold water on the governments plan to raise Rs 35,000 crore from selling radio frequency for the existing version.
Motorola, which has tested the new next-generation technology, called Long-Term Evolution (LTE), is all set to start trial services of 4G that can offer 70 MB per second (Mbps) download speeds on a mobile phone by the end of this year.
The company is likely to approach the department of telecom (DoT) for trial spectrum, Mr Subhendu Mohanty, a senior executive with networks mobility business, Motorola India, said.
This development may, however, prompt operators planning to launch 3G telephony to wait and watch, thus spoiling the government's plan to mop up a whopping Rs 35,000 crore from auction of 3G spectrum.

Source: The Statesman 

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Anil Ambani group to develop five airports - 23rd August 2009

The Anil Ambani Group’s Reliance Airport Developers Ltd (RADL) has bagged contracts worth a total Rs.63 crore (Rs.630 million) to develop airports at Yavatmal, Nanded, Osmanabad, Latur and Baramati in Maharashtra, according to an official announcement here.
The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has been given the green signal to sign the agreements with RADL as part of the government’s move to privatise five airports in the state.
The RADL had submitted the highest bid - Rs.270 million (Rs.27 crore) to develop and manage Yavatmal, Nanded and Latur airports. It had also bid Rs.320 million (Rs.36 crore) - the highest, for Baramati and Osmanabad airports, according to an official spokesperson this evening.
The MIDC will also hand over a little more than 600 hectares land to RADL for a 95-year period for the development and maintenance of these five airports.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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Bacardi eyes whisky brands - 23rd August 2009

Bacardi Ltd — the world’s largest private liquor maker — is planning to acquire mid-segment brands in India.
“We will acquire brands, especially in the whisky segment, that will fit into our premium market strategy,” said Mahesh Madhavan, president and chief executive of Bacardi-Martini India Ltd.
The company, which has a considerable share in the metros, will expand its distribution network to enter the tier II and tier III cities.
Most of Bacardi’s global products will also be launched in India in the next 1-2 years.
“The company’s priority segments will be the existing white spirits and Scotch whisky in  the niche and the semi-premium segments that have potential in the long term,” he said.
Bacardi, which entered the domestic market with its premium Carta Blanca white rum a decade ago, expects to introduce its gold rum series by year-end, Madhavan said.

Source: Telegraph

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GDP growth likely to be 7%: Survey - 23rd August 2009

Though India is yet to make full industrial recovery, its GDP growth for 2009-10 is likely to be between 6.5 and seven per cent, according to a CII-Mascon survey carried out for the period April-June of the financial year 2009-10.
The survey found a greater number of sectors in the excellent growth category. When compared with survey results for the period April 08-March 09 (FY 2009), the number of sectors in both excellent and high growth category has recorded an increase reflecting that industry is building on marginal signs of recovery that was reported in the last survey done for the period April 08-March 09. However, while 18 sectors moved upward to higher growth levels on Y-o-Y basis, 23 sectors moved downwards to lower growth. Out of these as many as 18 sectors moved down to negative territory.
Dr Surinder Kapur, chairman, CII Manufacturing Council, said that the concern was the increase in the percentage of sectors in the negative category to 39 per cent this quarter compared to 21 per cent in Q1 FY 2009. And it is not just a year-on-year figure as the number of sectors reporting negative growth has seen an increase even when compared with results for the full year FY 2009.

Source: The Statesman 

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India, South Africa agree on road map to enhance trade ties - 23rd August 2009

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Saturday called on South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria and pledged to expand and diversify trade ties with the African nation to give a new dynamic dimension in the coming years.
Mr. Sharma, who is on an official visit to South Africa from August 20 to 24, conveyed the greetings of the Indian leadership to Mr. Zuma and congratulated the African National Congress on its resounding victory in the elections under his leadership. Mr. Zuma also conveyed his felicitations to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on their success in the Indian elections and described the successful elections in both countries as a step towards strengthening democracy worldwide.
Both sides agreed on a roadmap to enhance bilateral cooperation in several key sectors, including cooperation on security issues and in addressing international terrorism. Mr. Sharma reiterated that the Indian leadership was looking forward to the visit by President Zuma to India early next year, which would give an added impetus to the relationship.

Source: The Hindu

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Many states want two GST rates - 23rd August 2009

States and the Centre are yet to reach a consensus on the rate of proposed Goods and Services Tax as many states do not agree to a single rate for the new indirect tax, as suggested by the Union government.
There has not been any consensus between states and the Centre as regards GST rate, sources said. This is despite the fact that there are barely seven months left for the scheduled implementation of GST from 1 April 2010.
Sources said the Centre wanted a single rate for GST, possibly eight per cent, to be imposed by both the Union government and the states, to which many states did not agree. A number of states want two rates for GST like in the present system of VAT, they said. Currently, items attract mainly four per cent or 12.5 per cent in state-level VAT.

Source: The Statesman

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Education sector attracting pvt equities - 20th August 2009

Private equity players are beginning to show a fair amount of interest in the non-regulated education business in India. More than half a dozen companies in the education business have received private equity investments in the past two years, Mr Mohit Khullar, Vice-President, Equirus Capital Private Ltd, said.
Franklin Templeton India’s private equity arm recently invested Rs 50 crore in Career Point Infosystems Ltd. This company which is based in Kota (Rajasthan) has been in the news recently for the high success rate of IIT aspirants that it trains.
Other companies in the education business that have received private equity investment are Mahesh Tutorial, FIITJEE, Time, Career Launcher, Time, Hurix System, Wigan & Leigh, Tree House Play School.

Source: The Financial Express 

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iGate expands Chennai facility; focuses on media vertical - 20th August 2009

iGate, a Nasdaq listed integrated technology and operations company with 85% of its operations in India, is ramping up its operations in Chennai. The company, on Wednesday, inaugurated the first phase of its 'green' certified facility at DLF's IT park in the city. It has invested US $ 2 million on setting up the 56000 square feet facility, with a capacity to hold 540 people.
"The new premises consume 30% less energy compared with our existing facilities here," said iGate CEO Phaneesh Murthy. "But, we have had to spend 60% more on that count." The company will be adding another 56000 square feet housing 540 seats (phase II) to its facility in Chennai by April 2010.
IGate had conceived its new facilities, including the 75-seater inaugurated recently in Mexico, before the onset of the recession. "So, we are unable to say when we will fill up these facilties. But, we will recruit 150 people here by the end of this year, and we believe IT SEZs are the place to be now," Mr Murthy said.

Source: The Economic Times

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Nokia gets strong signals from Indian market - 20th August 2009

Nokia, the world's largest handset manufacturer and also the market leader in this segment in India, on Wednesday declared that India would continue to be a strong destination in the communications sector and the drought was unlikely to affect the company’s sales in the country, which dominates the bulk of its entry level models.
According to a study conducted by Nokia, which was released on Wednesday, the communications sector is expected to emerge as the single largest component of the country’s GDP with a 15.4% by 2014. “We have an ambitious plan to have as much possible share of that contribution,” Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, global CEO Nokia Corporation, who's on a India visit said.

Source: The Financial Express 

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SAP looks to India for enterprise market growth - 20th August 2009

Validating some of the forecasts made by technology analysts such as Gartner and Forrester about the Indian market, the Indian arm of global software major, SAP, has recorded over 100% growth in licence fee revenues in the June 2009 quarter, even as developed markets like the US and the UK struggle to grow.
The German software maker enjoys a dominant position in the enterprise market and its India subcontinent head, Ranjan Das, is suddenly in focus because India and China are two regions that are still delivering good growth in hard times.
“There is a slowdown. But, India and markets like China are still growing rapidly for SAP, which is both good and bad. Good because we’re getting a lot of attention and focussed investment from SAP, but personally, bad for me because expectations are high,” Mr Das told ET in an exclusive interview.

Source: The Economic Times

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Maharashtra attracts Rs 10k cr of plans - 19th August 2009

Maharashtra has received investment commitments worth around Rs 10,605 crore under its mega project policy. The state industries department signed memoranda of understanding with eight companies on Tuesday for projects mainly in the steel, power, cement, and automobile sectors.
Maharashtra industry minister Narayan Rane said at the MoU signing ceremony that the state continues to attract investment amidst the slowdown.
Welspun Power and Steel (WPSL), part of the $2 billion Welspun Group, announced an investment of Rs 6,000 crore to set up a fully integrated steel plant through an SPV called Welspun Maxsteel. The greenfield steel plant with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per annum will be set up in Murud tehsil of Raigad district. The plant, where the production would start in April 2012, would employ about 5,000 people.
Bhushan Steel (BSL), which already has facilities at Nifan and Savroli in Raigad and Khopoli, has committed Rs 1,250 crore on a plant to produce large diameter ERW pipes, API pipes, and structural pipes. The plant will have a capacity to manufacture 7 lakh tonnes per annum and will be operational from April 2012. It will be set up at the existing facility of BSL at Khalapur near Khopoli. BSL director PK Aggarwal said the project would generate 550 jobs.

Source: The Economic Times

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Bharti's global network open to overseas telcos - 18th August 2009

Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel on Monday announced the completion of its “global wholesale service portfolio”, a network that connects 50 countries on Bharti’s network. The telecom operator had invested over $500 million on building cable capacity, network infrastructure and international points of presence. A statement released by the company said, “This entails a network that will reach 50 countries across the continents of Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australia. This portfolio will enable the global carrier community access to Bharti Airtel’s services in any part of the globe.”
Bharti Airtel’s wholesale portfolio would offer MPLS, ethernet, IP and international private leased circuit (IPLC) services to global carriers. The portfolio would include solutions for voice and data connectivity, collaboration services, co-location, carrier outsourcing and content distribution through its next-generation, high-speed submarine network.

Source: The Financial Express

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Indian generics profit from Glaxo patent expiry - 18th August 2009

GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s anti-migraine drug brand, Imitrex, is turning out to be a good revenue earner for Indian generic companies, as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given almost half of the final approvals for the reverse engineered or generic versions of the drug made by Indian pharmaceutical companies, following its patent expiry.
The final approvals for generic versions of the drug, named sumatriptan succinate tablets, are for Indian companies such as Orchid Healthcare, Aurobindo Pharma, Sun Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in different versions of the tablet, with dosages of 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg. The other approvals from the FDA last week were for overseas drug companies like Hikma Pharma, Mylan, Sandoz, Roxane and Cobalt.
Analysts said with more than a dozen players in the market, each of these companies are unlikely to get more than $5-10 million from sale of Imitrex generics, due to competition causing price erosion.

Source: Business Standard 

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Societe Generale upbeat on Indian banking business - 18th August 2009

French major Societe Generale (SG) has decided to expand its private banking operations in India. The bank plans to spread out its reach, introduce innovative products and recruit more employees.
Executive director and head of private banking with Societe Generale Nipun Mehta said currently the bank has about 47 employees in the private banking space that includes relationship managers, compliance, legal advisory and the operations team.
“We will expand the team and recruit in a big way in another 2-3 years’ time. However, for this year we will add about seven employees to our private banking business,” he said.
In Societe Generale 25-30 clients are handled by one relationship manager. Mehta said that the bank will focus on high net worth individuals with an investable surplus of above $0.5 million in the country.

Source: The Financial Express 

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The India Report - 18th August 2009

The SENSEX, which is up 56% YTD and trades on a P/E valuation of 17.6x for year end March 2010, is the fourth best performer among major indices this year. It trades at a premium to the current year P/Es of 13-15x of emerging market peers like South Korea, Indonesia and Brazil. Positive election results spurred hopes for renewed economic reforms to re-start the India growth story. Broadly reassuring economic data and better-than-expected corporate results for 1Q09 to 30 June fuelled optimism that India was past the worst effects of the global financial crisis; and that a recovery is surely underway. Investors thus entered and supported the market on any dip. Foreign Institutional Investors switched from being net sellers of Indian equities this year until March to net buyers as the P/E reached a low and attractive 8x. YTD they are US$7.7bn net buyers and have helped push the SENSEX 84% higher since its 8,160 low of 9 March. Last year they sold US$13bn of Indian equities and helped depress the SENSEX 52% lower by year end.

Source: ASTAIRE 

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Datacom, Tata Tele ink infra-sharing agreement - 17th August 2009

Datacom Solutions has signed an infrastructure sharing deal with Tata Teleservices (TTSL) that will allow it to lease bandwidth as well as towers across the country from the Tata group firm, executives familiar with the development said.
While TTSL will provide transmission services, Wireless-TT Infoservices (WTTIL), the tower joint venture of TTSL and Quippo Telecom Infrastructure, will provide passive infrastructure like towers and shelters to the telecom subsidiary of consumer goods giant Videocon Industries.
As both Datacom and TTSL are rolling out GSM networks, infrastructure sharing will help the two operators reduce operating costs. Setting up an independent tower costs around Rs 35 lakh to Rs 40 lakh, depending on the location.
The deal will enable them to earn up to Rs 10,000 crore over the next 10 years, said an executive requesting anonymity. “For its requirement outside WTTIL, TTSL will use Datacom’s towers,” he said. Videocon group chairman VN Dhoot confirmed the development, but declined to provide details. A Tata-Quippo official refused to comment.

Source: The Economic Times

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Govt will go all-out to get back to 9% growth: PM - 17th August 2009

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said on Saturday the Government will take every possible step to restore annual economic growth to nine per cent.
“Restoring our growth rate to nine per cent is the greatest challenge we face. We will make every necessary effort to meet this challenge — whether by increasing capital flows into the country, or by encouraging exports or increasing public investment and expenditure,” he said in his address to the nation on its 63rd Independence Day.
Dr Singh, delivering his fifth Independence Day speech as the Prime Minister, indicated that despite the deficient monsoons, things were looking up.
“We expect that there will be an improvement in the situation by the end of this year, but till that time we will all have to bear with the fallout of the global economic slowdown,” he said in his 40-minute address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, after unfurling the tricolour.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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Huawei aims to double India revenue - 17th August 2009

Chinese equipment major Huawei Technologies is looking to double its India revenues to $2.6 billion (approximately Rs 12,575 crore at current exchange rate) in 2009. The company, which overtook Alcatel-Lucent earlier this year to become the world’s third-largest mobile network gear maker, is also keen to have a manufacturing facility here.
Huawei is working with all major telecom operators including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular and Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL). “We witnessed 100% revenue growth here last year. This year, too, we are targeting to double India revenues from $1.3 billion (Rs 6,287 crore) in 2008,” Huawei India executive director A Sethuraman told ET.
Huawei’s revenues from global operations stood at $23.3 billion in 2008. Business outside China makes for 75% of Huawei’s earnings, with biggest business generators being the Asia Pacific region, Africa, Europe and South America.
The Indian equipment market is estimated at $24 billion (Rs 1,15,400 crore) in FY09. Finnish giant Nokia is the market leader, with over Rs 16,500 crore revenues last fiscal, followed by Ericsson at Rs 10,300 crore. Huawei currently ranks fifth in India, where it has been adding 5,000 base stations every month.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Mercedes-Benz, BMW fight it out for top slot - 17th August 2009

After a gap of five months, Mercedes-Benz India Pvt. Ltd overtook BMW India Pvt. Ltd in July, selling 297 units against BMW’s 261, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam).
Although a month’s numbers are not quite indicative of a trend reversal, it’s a breather for the Indian arm of German car maker Daimler AG, which had been losing ground to its younger rival BMW India in the Indian market.
Mercedes-Benz and BMW are the market leaders in the foreign luxury car segment. Although the segment is small and accounts for just 2.5% of total cars sold every year in India, it has not deterred new firms from entering the market at regular intervals.
Mercedes-Benz India, which in 1994 became the first foreign car maker to enter the Indian luxury car market when it set up a plant in Chikhali-Pimpri near Pune in Maharashtra, had a headstart over Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Audi AG, which entered in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The latest entrants are Jaguar and Land Rover, now part of Tata Motors Ltd.

Source: livemint.com 

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State lines up Rs 75,000 cr to boost power generation - 17th August 2009

More than Rs 75,000 crore worth of investments have been lined up for various power projects in Maharashtra alone, underscoring the fact that both the investors and the government expect the demand for power to grow in the state in the near future.
According to senior executives from the state’s power department, these investments are spread in generation, transmission and distribution, and also include those projects that are currently at various stages of development after having obtained all approvals.
Maharashtra power secretary Subrat Ratho told ET: “In the next 3-4 years, over Rs 60,000 crore would be invested by state-run power utilities, with about Rs 30,000 crore marked for generation projects and Rs 15,000 crore each for transmission and distribution.” The remaining amount of Rs 15,000 crore would be invested by private players.
Interestingly, a major portion of debt has been committed by public financing companies, including Power Financing Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), said Mr Ratho. This development comes at time when most sectors across the world are struggling with a tight liquidity situation.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Indian economy set for positive growth in 2010: S&P - 13th August 2009

The turbulence in the global economy and its financial markets during the last year or so has brought home to all of us that were witnessing a shift in the economic world order, from being G-8 focused to, increasingly, the more inclusive and relevant G-20.
As signs of stabilization and even a turnaround have begun to manifest, Standard & Poor's Asia-Pacific chief economist, Subir Gokarn, presents a mid-year review of the Indian economy.
"We anticipate that India will remain in positive growth territory throughout this global recession and financial turmoil," observed Dr Gokarn. Explaining this he added, "Domestic policy responses, both monetary and fiscal, appear to have played a significant role in shoring up domestic demand in an environment of drastically reduced exports."
India's GDP growth is forecast at 5.8-6.3 per cent in 2009 and 6.8-7.3 per cent in 2010. GDP will be driven by the Indian economy's very strong domestic consumption, which has been held up by stable rural demand and the recent hike in public sector salaries."

Source: The Economic Times 

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MphasiS to buy AIG's Indian IT arm - 13th August 2009

The acquisition is expected to strengthen its domain-based solutions in key BFSI vertical IT and BPO services company MphasiS today said it will acquire AIG Systems Solutions (AIGSS), the IT arm of the US-based insurance giant AIG (American International Group), for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition, which comes with guaranteed business from AIG, is expected to strengthen MphasiS’ domain-based solutions in its key banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry vertical, MphasiS CEO Ganesh Ayyar said. The BFSI segment brings in 40 per cent of the company’s revenues.
MphasiS, a majority of which is owned by Hewlett-Packard subsidiary EDS, did not disclose the financial details of the deal. With cash and bank balances of $74 million in its second quarter ended April 30 this year, the company is likely to fund the acquisition through internal accruals, according to analysts.
The MphasiS buy of AIGSS signals renewed activity in the tech merger and acquisitions space, which has been sluggish since January this year. TCS had bought the back-office unit of Citigroup Inc for $505 million in October last year, while Wipro acquired in December another captive unit of Citigroup for $127 million.

Source: Business Standard 

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Bill allows merger of Indian companies with foreign firms - 12th August 2009

The Companies Act Amendment Bill, which was tabled in Parliament in the Budget session that adjourned last week, has proposed to allow Indian companies to merge with overseas companies, a move that could introduce greater flexibility in cross-border merger and acquisitions (M&As).
At present Sections 391-394 of the Companies Act, 1956, allow only foreign companies to merge with Indian ones. The Bill has introduced Section 205 that also allows the reverse and stipulates that payment to shareholders of listed Indian companies being merged can be in the form of cash, shares or Indian Depository Receipts (IDRs) issued by the overseas companies.
The amendment was first suggested in 2005 by an expert committee on company law chaired by Tata Sons Director J J Irani. The report had stated that “both contract as well as court-based mergers between an Indian company and a foreign company, where the foreign company is the transferee, needs to be recognised in Indian law. The committee recognises that this would require some pioneering work between various jurisdictions in which such mergers and acquisitions are being executed/created”.

Source: Business Standard

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SEZs exports up 25% in Q1 - 12th August 2009

Bucking the trend, exports from special economic zones (SEZs) increased by over 25% in three months ended June 2009, even as overseas sale of Indian goods remained in the negative territory during the period.
Briefing the Board of Approval (BoA) on SEZs on Tuesday, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said between April and June this year, exports from 98 functional SEZs stood at Rs 39,410 crore.
“This is substantial, but could have been better,” Khullar told reporters after the meeting.
The BoA on Tuesday gave its in-principal approval to India’s largest solar energy-based SEZ. The 101-hectare zone will be built by Lanco Solar Pvt Ltd in Ramdaspur near Cuttak, Orissa. The developer is yet to complete land acquisition for the zone and so was given in-principle approval. There are four other solar energy-based SEZs, which had been cleared by the BoA in its earlier meetings.

Source: The Financial Express 

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The India Report - 12th August 2009

India's industrial output rose at its fastest pace in 16 months in June at 7.8% compared to a year ago. This is the third consecutive monthly rise in manufacturing. Industrial output rose more than double the +3.3% median rise expected by economists. This confirms that India has escaped the worst of the global recession and that the domestic economy is slowly but definitely reviving. Our forecast on 7 January of an economic recovery in H2 2009 remains unchanged, although the pace of recovery will now be hampered by poor monsoon rains (more below). The recent government fiscal stimulus, low interest rates and a resumption of credit flow by banks has helped to stimulate consumer demand. The RBI aggressively cut interest rates by 425 basis points in six stages between October 2008 April 2009 to counter the unfolding global recession. This policy has paid dividends. However, exports continue to struggle badly, booking a ninth consecutive monthly fall in June - down a massive 27.7% year-on-year at US$12.8 bn. We believe a bigger picture is emerging of a slow but sure domestic economic revival in India, while still recession-mired developed markets put Indian exports under continued pressure.

Source: ASTAIRE 

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India emerges as the new IT front office of the world - 10th August 2009

Global markets may be the breadwinners for Indian technology majors, but the domestic market is fast becoming the next hot destination for global firms, particularly smaller, niche market players. While the western economies are still waiting for ‘green shoots’ of recovery, a slew of niche technology vendors, who were focusing on the US and Europe for so long, are finding greener pastures in emerging markets such as India.
“The global tech giants are already present in India in a big way. But what we are observing now is the gradual entry of small- and medium-sized tech companies with niche product offerings,” says Diptarup Chakraborti, principal research analyst of Gartner, the world’s largest IT research and advisory firm. It’s the slowdown in key western markets that’s leading these firms to emerging markets, he adds.
Some of the companies that have set up shops in India in the past six quarters include business intelligence provider MicroStrategy, anti-virus vendor AVG Technologies, investment analytics provider MSCI Barra, document manager ReadSoft, insurance software company IDIT Technologies, banking solutions firm Trasset and financial technology outfit SmartStream.

Source: The Economic Times 

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India, Korea agree to cut tariffs to boost trade ties - 10th August 2009

India today signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the Republic of Korea in a bid not only to promote trade of industrial and farm goods but also boost exchanges of manpower, particularly in the services sector between the two countries.
A terse official statement issued here said that the CEPA was signed by the Korean Trade Minister, Mr.Kim Jong-hoon, and the visiting Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Anand Sharma, in Seoul.
Billed as India’s second comprehensive pact with any country, the first being with Singapore in 2005, the CEPA with Korea is also India’s first free trade agreement (FTA) with an OECD country.
Korea is the fifth largest investor in India, with a raft of big brands such as Hyundai, Daewoo, LG and Samsung having a robust presence here. Steel major Posco’s proposal to invest $12 billion in an integrated plant in Orissa with option to buy ores and ship back the finished product to India is a notable investment.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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ArcelorMittal to use India, China as sourcing hub - 7th August 2009

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, plans to make India and China the sourcing hub for its greenfield projects equipment to bring down overall costs.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), ArcelorMittal Design & Engineering Centre CEO Pierre Jonette said: “Our main objective is to bring down the total project cost by 20-22 per cent across all the green projects. We have internally decided to increase sourcing from local low cost destinations for most of our greenfield projects.”
Jonette pointed out the cost of equipment in India and China were about 30-40 per cent cheaper than in Europe and other markets. Also, there was a greater scope for localisation in India and China compared to other markets, he added.
Cost of equipment roughly constituted half of the total project cost. India stands to be the biggest beneficiary as the two of the biggest greenfield projects of ArcelorMittal are being planned in India.

Source: Business Standard 

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StemCyte to conduct clinical trials for spinal cord injuries in India - 7th August 2009

After conducting clinical trials for spinal cord injuries in the US and China, US-based stemcell transplantation and therapeutics company, StemCyte Inc is planning to conduct the same in India next year.
The company has set up a first-of-its-kind umbilical cord blood (UCB) public bank for India in a joint venture with Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals and Ahmedabad-based Cadila Pharmaceuticals. All set to be operational by the end of this year on the hospital premises in Ahmedabad, the new entity, called StemCyte India Therapeutics Pvt Ltd (SCITPL), will aid in carrying out clinical trials in India.
"Umbilical cord blood stem cells have become a prime source of stem cells for the field of regenerative medicine for various diseases and our aim is to provide the service of banking cord blood cells to families who want to store stem cells. We are looking at being fully operational by next year in India and will start clinical trials for spinal cord injury here as well. At present, we plan to focus on spinal cord injuries resulting out of an accident or trauma," said Kenneth Giacin, chairman and CEO of StemCyte Inc.

Source: Business Standard 

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Govt unveils roadmap for financial sector reforms - 5th August 2009

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee may have chanted the reform mantra in Budget 2009-10 without mentioning any specifics, but on Tuesday, the finance ministry made its priorities clear for the first time, by tabling in Parliament its menu of financial sector reforms to be taken up immediately.
These include liberalisation of rules governing sale of shares by Indian companies abroad through American depository receipts (ADRs), relaxation in the external commercial borrowings (ECBs) guidelines and coming up with innovative measures to spur investments through public-private partnerships.
Maintaining the public shareholding in listed firms at a minimum level of 25% is also a priority, which has already been discussed with the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). The requirement of higher public shareholding will be implemented in phases, though the government is yet to finalise the exact percentage of the minimum float, an official said. “It could be more (than 25%). It is being debated,” he said.

Source: The Financial Express 

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IT companies eye $1.8 bn engg services market - 5th August 2009

At a time when revenues from application development and maintenance are shrinking, Indian tech firms are seeing newer opportunities emerging from engineering services outsourcing market, estimated to be worth around $1.8 billion and expected to reach $50 billion by 2020.
Tech companies such as TCS, QuEST Global, Infotech Enterprises and Tata Technologies are finding new opportunities because their top customers, including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and EADS, are changing their business models to cut costs with more outsourcing, bring in new risk-sharing partners and get closer to growing markets of India and China.
Besides seeing increase in volumes from aerospace customers for projects, such as Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus 380, these companies are seeing new growth in the number of customers from verticals such as life sciences, healthcare and energy conservation which will grow the current $1.8-billion offshore market in India.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Auto cos log double-digit growth on new launches - 4th August 2009

Driving on the back of new models, passenger car manufacturers like Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), Tata Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) and Fiat India witnessed a high double-digit growth in July sales.
While Hyundai Motor India, the country’s second largest passenger car manufacturer, registered a 53.l9% jump in domestic sales last month at 23,193 units against 15,066 units in July last year on the back of recently launched i20, its close competitor Tata Motors posted an increase of 17.3% at 17,191 units as compared to 14,652 units during the same month last year, courtesy the Tata Nano.
“HMIL registered a steady growth rate in July and it seems the market is stabilising at this point,” Arvind Saxena, senior vice-president (marketing and sales) said, adding that strong demand for its latest models i20 has helped HMIL maintain its share in the domestic market.

Source: The Financial Express  

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L&T wins $1.18-billion contracts from ONGC - 4th August 2009

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has won two offshore platform contracts worth over Rs 5,300 crore ($1.18 billion) from Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). The order, the single largest in the Indian hydrocarbons sector, comes to about 13% of L&T’s net sales in 2008-09.
The company secured the turnkey order for the Mumbai High North process platform & living quarters project, with an additional order to build three process gas compression modules in the same complex. The projects have to be completed within three years.
Hyundai, Samsung and National Projects Construction Corporation were the other bidders for the contracts.
With large exploration & production companies planning big investments in offshore business, the segment offers huge opportunities for engineering & construction companies such as L&T, both domestically and globally.

Source: The Financial Express  

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NEEPCO to add 800 MW power to NE - 4th August 2009

The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) said it was hopeful of adding another 800 MW of power to the North East by 2013.
Work on the Pare Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura Gas-Based Project (100 MW each) is expected to start within a month’s time, while the 600 MW Kameng project in Arunachal, which is under construction, is scheduled to be completed by December 2012, the company’s new chairman cum managing director I P Barooah told PTI.
Currently the power company, dedicated to the north eastern region, has a production capacity of 1,130 MW through its projects in the region, but the drought-like condition has hit power generation in the hydro-electric plants.
Official records say, the projects were able to generate 1,555 million units of power till August 2 this financial year compared to 2,047 mu in the corresponding period last year.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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Online ad spend will see highest growth over next five years: PwC - 4th August 2009

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has forecast the domestic entertainment and media (E&M) industry to grow by 10.5 per cent cumulatively between 2009 and 2013 to reach Rs 93,900 crore. Releasing its report for 2009, PwC claimed that the E&M industry had witnessed remarkable growth in recent years having consistently outpaced growth in domestic GDP.
While the annual average growth in nominal GDP was 14.48 per cent over the period 2004 to 2008, overall E&M growth in 2008 slowed, reflecting weaker overall economic conditions. This is expected to continue in 2009.
Mr Timmy Kandhari, Leader, India Entertainment and Media practice, PwC, said, “The slowdown in growth requires the E&M industry to revisit its short-term business plans and strategies. However, double digit growth is expected to return over the forecast period with India recording one of the highest growth in the E&M industry as well as in advertising spending in the world, along with China.”

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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India set to sign pharma export deal with Nigeria - 3rd August 2009

The government is set to sign an exhaustive deal with Nigeria to boost pharmaceutical exports to its eighth- largest global consumer, where the reputation of Indian drugs was recently dented by fake drugs from China bearing ‘Made-in-India’ labels.
The department of pharmaceuticals and the ministries of commerce, external affairs and health will start talks with a visiting Nigerian delegation on Monday on ways to prevent fake drugs from other countries bearing fabricated ‘Made-in-India’ labels from reaching the Rs 1,000-crore West African market for Indian generic drugs.
Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals and Medo Pharma are the biggest Indian exporters to the region. To salvage the reputation of Indian generic drug exporters and to promote sales of Indian generics, India is likely to use resources from the ‘challenge India fund’ maintained by the commerce ministry.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Infrastructure-based funds back in vogue due to govt's big push - 3rd August 2009

The infrastructure theme in mutual funds industry is like festivals in India. It recurs with predictable regularity to garner mixed response. This year funds that play on infrastructure theme are back in vogue, because of the Budget’s emphasis on infrastructure. The government has earmarked Rs 12,887 crore for urban infrastructure, an increase of 87% over the previous year.
This gives an indication for infrastructure funds and investors to align their strategies towards the theme. If reports are to be believed, Reliance MF new infrastructure fund offer has managed to mop up around Rs 2,500 crore. So would these do well to offer good returns ? Would it be prudent to invest in these funds? We at ETIG analyse the performance of existing schemes in bullish and bearish phases in the light recent development in the power sector.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Japanese financial firms develop a yen for India - 3rd August 2009

Just a fortnight ago, Japan’s financial powerhouse, Nomura, bought a 35 per cent stake in LIC Mutual Fund in a deal that values the Indian firm at Rs 800 crore. Nomura, which in October 2008 acquired the Asian operations of bankrupt US investment bank, Lehman Brothers, employs over 2,600 people in India. Last week, it surprised many by issuing half-page advertisements expressing its intent to recruit in large numbers.
Four days ago, the mutual fund arm of the $120 billion Shinsei Bank launched its second equity fund in India, just a month after the first — an open-ended liquid fund — closed successfully. The second fund, which closes on August 25, will invest in companies that are leaders in their respective sectors, and the fund house plans to launch two more equity funds by the end of this financial year.

Source: Business Standard 

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PSUs pay higher dividends than their pvt sector peers - 3rd August 2009

Call it a stimulus package for equity investors. Government companies in India have outperformed their private sector peers in doling out dividends during the recent phase of economic turmoil.
The average dividend yield of PSUs stood at 2.01% in FY09, whereas private companies showed an average dividend yield of merely 1.73%, according to a SundayET analysis. The government, which is the largest shareholder of the PSUs, in turn became the major beneficiary of the dividend dole-out. Dividend yield shows what percentage of the share price a company gives to its shareholder in the form of dividend.
Led by banks such as Bank of Maharashtra and Vijaya Bank which had a dividend yield of over 5% in FY09, other high dividend paying PSUs included Shipping Corporation of India and GAIL (India) both of which yielded a dividend of over 3%. Two other PSU banks - Indian Bank and Allahabad Bank - also had dividend yield of over 4%.

Source: The Economic Times 

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FM sees recovery, offers realty more sops - 28th July 

Steering the Finance Bill’s passage through the Lok Sabha on Monday, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee asserted that an economic recovery is underway and India would be back on a high-growth trajectory by 2010. Reiterating the government’s commitment to economic reforms, he said, “Reform will be on the agenda—it is a continuous process, not a mantra to be chanted occasionally.”
The finance minister admitted that 2009-10 is an “extremely difficult year” and the Centre had reached the limit of fiscal expansion, with tax revenues falling and stimulus measures so far adding up to Rs 2.4 lakh crore. Nevertheless, he introduced a few more concessions for industry and consumers in the Finance Bill with a firm focus on providing a further boost to economic activity.
 

Source: The Financial Express 

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RBI sees turnaround in business sentiment - 28th July 2009

In its most optimistic prognosis for the economy in 2009, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said overall business sentiment was slated for a sharp improvement from its nadir in the April-June 2009 quarter.
The central bank also did not sound all that concerned about inflation, explaining an inevitable rise later this year to the waning base effect.
According to the report on Macroeconomic and Monetary Development, which is released on the eve of RBI’s quarterly monetary policy review, there is a turnaround in business sentiment as per industrial outlook survey conducted by the central bank.

Source: The Economic Times 

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RComm ties up with Gameloft to enhance its VAS portfolio - 28th July 2009

The country’s second largest telecom operator, Reliance Communications (RComm), that has been dabbling with the idea of enhancing its value-added services (VAS) portfolio so as to boost revenues, has tied up with US-based mobile games company Gameloft.
Under the agreement, Gameloft that specialises in developing ‘mobile games’ based on world celebrities and Hollywood movies, will soon release a mobile game based on the life of Paris Hilton. This will be available on RComm’s GSM and CDMA network across WAP/Brew and Blackberry platforms. The game is called ‘Paris Hilton’s Diamond Quest’.
As part of its tie-up with Reliance Mobile, Gameloft will also launch the mobile games version of some of the latest Hollywood offerings. These include ‘Night At Museum 2’, ‘Terminator Salvation’ and ‘The Mummy 3’.
Interestingly, ‘Night At Museum 2’ released across Indian cinema houses on Friday, July 24, while ‘Terminator Salvation’ has been one of the biggest Hollywood successes in recent times.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Sanofi-Aventis buys Shantha for Rs 3,740 cr - 28th July 2009

France’s biggest drugmaker Sanofi-Avenits on Monday agreed to buy Shantha Biotechnics in a deal whose generous valuation is seen tempting other Indian vaccine makers to consider a sell-out if similar offers come their way.
The deal between Sanofi its French owners Meriuex Alliance values the unlisted Indian company at Rs 3,740 crore, or about eight times its projected sales of Rs 440 crore for this fiscal.
“A valuation of eight times the sales is unheard of. If other companies get such an attractive valuation, they may be tempted to sell,” said HDFC Securities VP for institutional research Ranjit Kapadia.
A top executive at a rival vaccine company admitted that if offers as generous as that by Sanofi are made, similar buyouts could happen. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Dr Reddy’s dares Ranbaxy - 27th July 2009

Dr Reddy’s may overtake Ranbaxy to become the largest Indian pharmaceutical company in terms of turnover by the end of this fiscal.
While Ranbaxy is saddled with regulatory problems in the US, Dr Reddy’s is going strong in key markets, fuelling analysts’ expectations that it is “only a matter of time’’ before the Hyderabad-based company topples the Daiichi Sankyo unit to occupy the top slot.
At present, Ranbaxy is the largest pharmaceutical company with a consolidated turnover of Rs 7,400 crore in 2008. Dr Reddy’s comes second with a topline of Rs 6,901 crore in fiscal 2008-09.
Dr Reddy’s chairman Anji Reddy expressed a similar optimism at the company’s annual general meeting. “By the end of this fiscal, we will probably be the No. 1 pharmaceutical company in India in terms of turnover,” Reddy said.

Source: Telegraph 

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Global drug cos set sights on India’s veterinary market - 27th July 2009

Animal healthcare in India is no longer an afterthought, as global pharmaceutical companies facing loss in revenues due to expiring drug patents are looking for new growth markets.
With many of their blockbuster drugs going off-patent in the coming months, pharma MNCs are looking to focus more on the animal healthcare space in the emerging markets, such as India and China.
Many MNCs are scheduled to lose their blockbuster drugs, which have sales of over $1 billion, to generic competition over the next three years. Globally, drugs worth over $20 billion are likely to go off-patent by 2012.
These companies, hence, see the animal healthcare sector, particularly in the BRIC nations, as a sure-fire way to prop up their main business of innovative R&D and pharma. “The animal healthcare market in India is currently worth Rs 1,200 crore compared to the pharma market of Rs 30,000 crore,” said Sanjay Singh, associate director at consultancy firm KPMG.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Right time for banks to expand their role: FM - 27th July 2009

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee struck a bullish note on Saturday to tell Indian banks this is the year to push for growth and expansion. In his first major speech in India’s commercial capital after presenting the Budget in Parliament in July, the minister told the packed house of financial sector and corporate leaders at the FE India’s Best Banks Awards on Saturday, “Look for new opportunities”.
Mukherjee said Indian banks are well poised to take the chances coming their way. Without going into specifics, the minister struck the right chord with the expectations of bankers and industrialists, who all said domestic banks must expand their footprint to become globally effective. He spelt out the government’s position that the economy has been able to weather the global slowdown and, therefore, it was the right environment for the banks to expand their role. “We have noted that better-then-expected GDP numbers for the financial year 2008-09 improved the sentiments in the market and industrial production is showing improved performance in the last two months of the current financial year.”

Source: The Financial Express 

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'Long only' FIIs step up their India focus - 24th July 2009

Traditional ‘long only’ foreign institutional investors, many of them from newer markets such as Australia and China, have stepped up their equity investments in India over the past couple of months, say officials at institutional broking firms. Long-only funds follow the strategy of buying shares and staying invested for the long term; they do not take any leveraged bets. So far in 2009, FIIs have net bought a little over $6 billion, of which roughly a third could have come from investors buying into India for the first time, these officials said.
“Incremental flow of money from regions like Europe, the US, and even China, into India is on the rise. This is largely because equity markets in these regions are in a trading range and as such offer very few incentives for investment,” said an official at a foreign brokerage firm, which executes deals for FIIs.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Overseas investors buy the India story again - 24th July 2009

i-Bankers say election results made all the difference; Asians contributed 40-45% to GDR subscriptions.
Indian equity is clearly back in favour with overseas investors, and the consensus among investment bankers is that the election results have made all the difference.
Brijesh Mehra, head (corporate clients), ABN Amro, said fund managers were less risk-averse to India, now that a stable government was in power. “Moreover, while the rest of the world is still coming to terms with the economic downturn, the India story still holds,” he said.
The India story not only holds, it is getting stronger, going by the spate of GDR (Global Depository Receipt) issues and Qualified Institutional Placements (QIPs) over the last one month

Source: Business Standard 

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India seeks US clean tech to fight climate change - 22nd July 2009

India has urged the US to transfer clean technology and provide funding to the renewable energy sector in India to help fight climate change. It was the high point of the discussion between new and renewable energy minister Farooq Abdullah and visiting US special envoy for climate change Todd Stern in the Capital on Tuesday.
Keeping aside the climate change standoff on greenhouse gas emission cuts between India and the US, talks between the two leaders focused on exploring collaborative opportunities in renewable energy sector, particularly on clean technology transfer. Abdullah emphasised on the need to break technology transfer barriers.
At the international forums, India has been insisting all along that the issue of technology transfer can by resolved by making an ‘‘adjustment’’ in intellectual property rights as in the case of HIV/AIDS drugs, bidding for patented technology from a global fund set up for the purpose, or undertaking publicly funded research on a collaborative model to come up with appropriate clean technologies.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Infosys bags ten-year govt e-biz project - 22nd July 2009

Doing business in India is set to become easier, more convenient and investor-friendly, with the ministry of commerce & industry on Tuesday awarding the country’s second-largest software firm, Infosys Technologies a project to enable budding entrepreneurs to obtain central, state and even municipal clearances, licences and permits online.
The ten-year ‘e-biz project’ calls for the development and maintenance of a one-stop portal and is the third of 27 government mission-mode projects under an ambitious
Rs 23,000-crore national e-governance plan. Infosys topped a pack of five bidders for the prestigious assignment under the department of industrial policy & promotion, the nodal central agency responsible for industry-related issues.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Intel, AMD in race for $300 mn Indian graphics card market - 22nd July 2009

Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), traditional rivals in the global chipset space, are now set to take each other on in the $300-million Indian graphics card market.
With the country turning out to be a hub for graphic industries like animation and design, both the companies are reworking their India strategies to grow their businesses in the computing segment.
The move has been triggered by the emergence of high-end games involving real-time 3D rendering (such as first person shooting or racing games). A FICCI-KPMG study claims the Indian animation industry alone will grow from the current Rs 17.4 billion to Rs 39 billion by calendar 2013.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Investments in health infra to get a booster dose - 22nd July 2009

The spend on healthcare infrastructure in the country is projected to grow at 5.8% annually to reach $14.2 billion by 2013, a near 50% increase over the 2006 level, according to KPMG. This forecast on the expenditure includes spends both by the government and the private sector on construction and maintenance of buildings that would house medical research, drug production or primary health care services.
Going by the 2006 data, the six large states—Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh account for over 50% of the total expenditure on health infrastructure while 12 states combined end up spending less than 4.5% of the sum.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Wipro numbers beat forecast - 22nd July 2009

The dark clouds over the domestic IT sector seem to be receding.
After Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services surpassed Street expectations, Wipro Ltd — the country’s third-largest IT company — surprised analysts today by reporting a 12 per cent rise in profit after tax at Rs 1,016 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2009, against Rs 907.8 crore in the year-ago period.
Client additions and cost-cutting measures propelled Wipro’s quarterly revenues to Rs 6,274 crore, a 5 per cent rise over year-ago figure of Rs 5967 crore.

Source: Telegraph 

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'India's growth is in everyone's interest' - 20th July 2009

The US on Sunday said it would not initiate any steps that impede India’s economic progress. While making a strong pitch for a low-carbon economy, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said, “The US does not and will not do anything that will limit India’s economic progress. We believe that economic progress in India is in everyone’s interest and not just in the interest of Indians.” She was speaking at a conference on climate change at the ITC green building in Gurgaon.
Clinton also said India was well positioned to lead the fight against hunger through increasing agricultural yield and technology innovation.
While acknowledging the US’ responsibility as the biggest historic emitter of greenhouse gas, she said, “But we also believe that there is a way to eradicate poverty and develop sustainability that will lower significantly the carbon footprint of the energy that is produced and consumed to fuel that growth.”

Source: The Financial Express 

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Anil Ambani enters Hollywood, signs $825m deal with Spielberg - 16th July 2009

Making his Hollywood debut, Anil Ambani is set to invest around $825 million as a first tranche towards making six films a year for global audiences. In one of the largest deals in global cinema in recent times, Ambani has teamed up with noted Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg for their Los Angeles-based production house, Dreamworks Studios.
In a late-evening global conference call from New York, Ambani and Spielberg said the movies produced by Dreamworks would be distributed by Walt Disney globally, while the exclusive rights for India, ‘‘including DTH, DVD and theatre rights'', would rest with Reliance BigEntertainment. Anil Ambani said $325 million would come from his personal contribution, ‘‘$150 million would be chipped in by Disney and the rest would be with banks and institutions.'' ‘‘Clearly, the outlay of $825 million is what we are aiming at in the next three years: $325 million will be in the form of equity,'' Ambani said.

Source: Times of India 

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Samsung to invest $20m - 16th July 2009

Samsung India Electronics is planning to invest $20 million (around Rs. 100 crore) during 2009. The company has a turnover target of $2 billion (around Rs. 10,000 crore) in the current calendar year.
Addressing a press conference, after the launch of a range of fully automatic washing machines here on Wednesday, R. Zutshi, Deputy Managing Director, said the proposed investment would be used for the purchase of plant and machinery and investment in modules. The funds would also be used to expand capacity of its Noida plant, near Delhi, to one million units from six lakh units.
He said the Chennai facility, which had a capacity to make 1.5 million television sets annually, had now started manufacturing washing machines and had targeted to produce 50,000 of them.

Source: The Hindu 

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Small and medium pharma cos in US eye India for growth - 16th July 2009

The US-based pharma and biotechnology companies, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) numbering over 4,500, are looking at India for potential partnerships—either joint venture or acquisition or offshore outsourcing or sharing of tech know-how—to offset the possible dip in their overall business prospects over the years due to high production and marketing costs and lack of products.
“We see number of US companies, particularly that of small and medium pharma and biotech, looking at India to reduce their overall production cost, increase productivity, reduce cycle times, introduction of new therapies apart from capturing local markets,” said Murali Parthasarathy, managing director, Learning Organised, a US-based pharma and biotechnology consultancy and business development organisation.
“If one were to go with the current trend, Indian companies will be in a position to do multi-billion dollar worth business over the years,” he added.

Source: The Financial Express 

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The India Report - 16th July 2009

MARKET COMMENTARY
The post election euphoria was finally punctured by the limp Budget about 10 days ago. Since then a much delayed monsoon that could turn into a drought (more below) and derail economic growth has sobered investors. The SENSEX at 14,250 trades on a stretched P/E of 17.1x for 2009/10 and 14.2x for 2010/11. This is about 20% higher than peers. Our post election SENSEX forecast for 2009 of a floor of 12,500 and a (liquidity driven) top of 16,000 remains unchanged. The underlying optimism for India will keep medium and long-term investors very interested in the country, thus lending support to the 12,500 floor (P/E 15x 2009/10). Short term traders will have to be nimble with a sharp eye on India's weather forecasts and the earnings results for Q1 2010, which should dominate sentiment in the short-term.

Source: Astaire Group 

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Bangla team to visit Tipaimukh dam site - 15th July 2009

Bangladesh will send a team of lawmakers and water resources experts to India on July 29 to visit the site of the proposed Tipaimukh dam project in Manipur state in the North East. Opposition leaders and environmentalists here allege the dam poses a threat to the climate, ecology and drinking water supply of Bangladesh.
“The parliamentary team will leave Dhaka on July 29,” State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hasan Mahamud told media here Tuesday, ending uncertainty over the visit that India proposed in May.
The Tipaimukh dam is proposed to be built on Barak river in India’s Manipur state. Both governments are committed to resolve the issue through talks as protests mount in Bangladesh where opposition parties have joined a section of conservationists and NGOs to stage rallies against the project.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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Nissan looks at sourcing for non-compact cars from India - 15th July 2009

Nissan Motor India is steadily progressing on its business plans in India — be it sourcing, hiring or identifying production bases. Even for the non-compact car segment, the Japanese auto major has found India to be an attractive and cost-effective sourcing point, according to company officials.
A senior Nissan official said the upcoming Oragadam plant near Chennai is being perceived as the hub for sourcing spares for Nissan’s operations in other parts of the world. India is a cost-effective location and so, Nissan is looking at the prospect of sourcing spare parts for non-compact cars from the subcontinent.
While it plans to procure parts from all locations in India, Chennai would be a focal point, where special packing and other value-engineering aspects would be taken care of.
About 90% of the car produced at the new facility would have indigenous content. Nissan has already signed up with 94 Indian vendors for this project.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Rural telecom: Network vendors go green - 15th July 2009

To enable mobile operators offer low-cost cellular services in the rural areas with less power, network vendors are bringing energy efficient base stations that run on renewable energy sources.
Rural telecom is the next big market with about 70 per cent of country’s 1.2 billion people concentrated in such areas. With as many as 50 per cent of the new subscriber base coming from the rural areas, vendors such as Nokia-Siemens, Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent are all introducing energy-efficient solutions.
Huawei: no air-conditioning
Mr A. Sethuraman, Executive Director, Huawei Telecommunications India. Huawei said, “The technology used in rural areas should be of low power consumption, more reliance on renewable source of energy such as solar and wind power.” The Chinese network vendor is rolling out WiMax-based broadband infrastructure in 1,000 blocks across India for BSNL. Huawei is using an architecture that saves power by not using air-conditioning.

Source: The Hindu Business 

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Entrepreneurs can shape the destiny of North East - 14th July 2009

India is emerging as a favourite destination for investment. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also expressed optimism on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in his recent Budget speech. In the World Bank Report, “Doing Business in India 2009”, it is said that it is easier to start and operate business in India than it was three years ago. The report talks about 17 cities in India and Guwahati is one of them, where it is easier to start a business.
The report ranks the cities based on seven parameters- starting a business, dealings with construction permits, registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business. However, the rankings do not take into account the macro-economic conditions, infrastructure, workforce skills or security. While New Delhi has been ranked first, Kolkata is at the bottom of the list. Interesting and important to note that Guwahati figures in the World Bank report as a city where business can be started and operated easily. This will help image make-over of Guwahati nationally and internationally.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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India Inc finds stem cells a healthy business - 14th July 2009

15 firms, 20 research outfits eye Rs 2,200-crore market.
In March this year, Bangalore-based Stempeutics Research received clearance from the Drug Controller General of India to conduct human clinical trials to develop drugs using stem cells.
With this, India became the first country after the US to allow human clinical trials to develop drugs by using dormant cells in the body that have natural regeneration capabilities. Once injected into a patient, the stem cells can be controlled with a simple magnet to direct them to the damaged area and cure it.
Welcome to the stem cell research boom in India – something that revived eight-year-old Pramita Aich, who was suffering from abdominal cancer. Aich underwent bone marrow stem cell transplant at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Research Institute in Kolkata. It was the first such successful treatment in eastern India.

Source: Business Standard 

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India’s ad spends to grow 7.7% this year - 14th July 2009

While the global forecast for advertising expenditure is an 8.5 per cent plunge, media agency ZenithOptimedia’s projection for India shows that the nation is bucking the trend with a positive 7.7 per cent jump despite an economic downturn.
Almost all media, spanning across television, newspapers, radio, cinema, outdoor and the Internet are projected to grow in India.
Magazines, however are projected to record negative growth, dipping quite steeply from Rs 1,142 crore in 2008 to an expected Rs 442 crore in 2009.

Source: Hindustan Times 

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Nuclear energy tops Indo-France agenda - 14th July 2009

With nuclear cooperation with France set to intensify, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed hope that his visit to France would lead to building up the partnership in atomic energy.
Mr Singh in his departure statement was clear that India was looking forward to building a strong civilian nuclear partnership with France, which was the first country India signed an agreement with after casting off the nuclear apartheid status.
“We would like to build upon our partnership in the areas of trade and investment, high technology, space, nuclear energy, defence, education, culture, tourism and scientific research and development,’’ said Mr Singh in a departure statement. He left for a five-day tour that will first take him to France and then to Egypt for the 15th Non-Aligned Summit.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Areva planning major investments in India - 13th July 2009

Areva, the French nuclear reactor maker, is broadening its business plan for India with major investments in its strategic joint ventures with Bharat Forge, Tata Group, Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), though it is exiting from the power transmission and distribution (T&D) business in the country.
Areva, which is planning a large scale nuclear reactor forgings facility in India with Bharat Forge, will invest over Rs 2,000 crore in two shell companies, Sushil Kumar Chadda, advisor (energy) for Bharat Forge told Business Standard.
Also, the company said on Friday in a statement from Paris, “Areva has finalised the terms of a framework agreement with the Indian engineering company TCE Consulting Engineers (TCE), a subsidiary of Tata Sons. This agreement for the supply of engineering services will be signed shortly.”

Source: Business Standard 

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New Budget will definitely boost India’s growth - 13th July 2009

The general Budget which was presented by the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, aiming at higher growth and making provision for better domestic consumptions.
The infrastructure sector has been given due importance. There is nothing new in the corporate tax structure. The finance Minister also gave some relief to the senior citizens, women and general public by raising the income tax slab.
As far as agriculture sector is concerned, the Government wanted to take some positivesteps in the Budget. I am of the view that these steps may boost the growth in near future.

Source: Assam Tribune 

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Education sector to open for foreign, pvt institutions: Sibal - 10th July 2009

Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday reiterated the UPA government’s keenness to open up the education sector to foreign education providers and private players. The minister made this clear in his keynote address at the plenary session of the World Conference on Higher Education at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Earlier this week, Mr Sibal had told Parliament that the government was considering introducing a legislation allowing foreign education providers to set up campuses in India. In Paris, Mr Sibal said higher education providers delivering cross-border education should ensure that their programmes are of comparable quality to that provided in their home country. Acknowledging the tremendous potential of cross-border education, Mr Sibal warned: “We have to be mindful of the risks involved regarding the entry of ‘diploma mills’ and unscrupulous for-profit providers”.

Source: The Economic Times 

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India Inc's capex up 21.6% despite slowing profit - 10th July 2009

Auto, oil and gas sectors are leaders in capital expenditure.
India Inc’s appetite for growth continues unabated, but at a slower pace, with spending on capital expansion and investments rising a healthy 21.6 per cent in the financial year 2008-09, compared with 38.5 per cent in 2007-08. In absolute terms, capex spending has risen by Rs 228,000 crore, despite declining profits and a 37 per cent decline in fund flow from financial markets in 2008-09.
The capital-intensive sectors of India Inc do not find the current environment a deterrent to push ongoing expansion and so they continue with capex plans. The study looks at 323 listed companies whose capex spending data for 2008-09 is available. The sample is reasonably representative, as it accounts for half of the capex spent by the corporate sector in 2007-08.

Source: Business Standard 

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Mahindra Satyam signs deal with GlaxoSmithKline - 10th July 2009

Mahindra Satyam has signed a 5-year multi-million dollar SAP contract with the global pharma major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
According to the contract announced today, Mahindra Satyam, the new brand identity of Satyam Computer Services, would provide SAP and other critical systems support to GSK’s businesses across the world.
GSK has been a customer for the global consulting and IT services provider since 2002. “This development is a big boost for Mahindra Satyam, as it sends positive signals across a large number of clients, especially in Europe and the US,” said Mr Jacob Paul, Head of Global Delivery (Health Sciences).

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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Sterlite to invest Rs 20,000 cr - 10th July 2009

Sterlite Industries (India), the country’s largest private sector power producer, is planning to invest Rs 20,000 crore over the next one year to create additional capacity of 4,500 mw. This will also mark the company’s foray into commercial power generation.
The company, part of the Anil Agarwal-promoted $6.5-billion Vedanta Group, is setting up new power projects at Jharsuguda and Lanjigarh in Orissa with a combined capacity of 3,150 mw. It also plans to set up a 160 MW project at Rajpura Dariba in Rajasthan and another 1,200 MW project at Korba in Chhattisgarh.
The new initiative would be rolled out by Sterlite Energy (SEL), a 100% subsidiary of Sterlite Industries. SEL will function as the commercial power generation arm of the company.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Cement despatch growth at 4-yr highs - 9th July 2009

The 224-million-tonne domestic cement industry, the world’s second largest after China, has yet again come up with a robust despatch growth of 12.84 per cent in June. This is the highest growth in the last four years in the month of June.
With this, the industry, with over 50 players, has managed to maintain a consistent growth of over 10 per cent for the fourth month in a row since March this year. It despatched 16.70 million tonnes of cement in June against 14.8 million tonnes last year. Production during the month rose 13.01 per cent to 16.59 million tonnes.

Source: Business Standard 

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GST, FDI can quadruple FMCG turnover in 10 yrs: Survey - 9th July 2009

Despite the economic slowdown, India’s Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector has grown consistently during the past three to four years, reaching a size of $25 billion (Rs 120,000 crore) at retail sales in 2008. The industry is poised to grow 10-12 per cent yearly for the next 10 years to reach $43 billion (Rs 206,000 crore) by 2013 and $74 billion (Rs 355,000 crore) by 2018.
Implementation of the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) and opening of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are expected to fuel growth further and raise the industry’s size to $47 billion (Rs 225,000 crore) by 2013 and $95 billion (Rs 456,000 crore) by 2018, according to a new Ficci-Technopak report.

Source: Business Standard

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India continues to be most attractive outsourcing hub - 9th July 2009

India continues to be the most preferred destination for companies looking to offshore their IT and back-office functions, despite the backlash against outsourcing to the country. It also retains its low-cost advantage and is among the most financially attractive locations when viewed in combination with the business environment it offers and the availability of skilled people, according to global management consultancy AT Kearney.
India has retained its numero uno position even as some other well-established outsourcing hubs dropped in their attractiveness to be replaced by new emerging destinations in AT Kearney’s latest ranking of the top outsourcing destinations across the globe. “The top three countries in the 2009 Global Services Location Index (GSLI) remain the same — India, China and Malaysia — but the world’s volatile economic environment is reflected in the rest of the rankings,” the consultancy pointed out. The study evaluates 50 top countries.

Source: The Economic Times

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G8 begins today, India working hard on sidelines - 8th July 2009

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will spend the next three days at the high table of global diplomacy at the G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, where the high point will be his meeting with US President Barack Obama. It’s learnt that Washington wants to extend the honour of the first state visit to the US in the Obama presidency to Singh; the plan could be firmed up during this trip.
Invitations are pending on both sides and even though the PM will be traveling to New York for the UN General Assembly and then to Pittsburg for the G20 meet, the US is said to be keen on a proper bilateral state visit at a time convenient to both sides. If it materialises, that visit would pave the way for a Obama trip to India next year.

Source: The Financial Express

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India Value Fund raises $725 million - 8th July 2009

In a difficult fund-raising environment, leading Indian private equity fund India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA) has raised $725 million (Rs3,516 crore) for its fourth fund. A spokesperson for India Value Fund Advisors confirmed the development to VCCircle.com.
PEI Asia, a private equity tracker based in the UK, first reported that IVFA has achieved the close of the fund.
There are 78 India-focused funds on the road looking to raise $24 billion, according to data compiled by Prequin. Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint
Achieving the close of a fund of this magnitude for Indian markets is significant, given tight liquidity, limited investor interest and cautious markets. The competition for fund-raising is also tough. There are 78 India-focused funds on the road looking to raise $24 billion, according to data compiled by Prequin, a UK-based fund tracker.

Source: livemint.com

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Toshiba-JSW to invest $160 million near Chennai - 8th July 2009

After the auto major, Nissan, another Japanese MNC, Toshiba is betting big on Tamil Nadu for boosting its power equipment business.
Toshiba-JSW, a 75:25 joint venture between Japan based Toshiba corporation and the JSW group ( O P Jindal group) has firmed up its plan to invest US $ 160 million ( Rs 800 crore) in setting up a manufacturing unit for super critical power equipment in Tamil Nadu, over a five year period.
The $ 67 Billion Toshiba is one of the world’s leading providers of steam turbines and generators with over 1800 units with a total capacity of some 150 gW installed in over 40 countries worldwide.
Currently, Toshiba operates a steam turbine and generator manufacturing facility in Yokohama near Tokyo. The JV wll be its second manufacturing base and will strongly support the long term development of Toshiba’s power systems business, the MNC said in a statement.

Source: The Economic Times

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Indian carmakers cashing in on Europe's green drive - 6th July 2009

Indian carmakers are reaping the benefits of the incentives offered by the governments of Germany, France and the UK to people exchanging their old cars for new fuel-efficient ones.
The country’s largest car exporter, Hyundai Motor India, recorded its highest export growth rate last month while Maruti Suzuki is raising its export target, as the scrappage policy in Europe that gives € 750-5 ,000 (Rs 50,000-350 ,000) to people buying fuel efficient cars has led to an increase in demand for their small cars.
The 11-year-old subsidiary of Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor recorded a 33% growth in exports in June to 24,241 cars over the same month last year. On a sequential basis , exports increased 21% in June from 20,125 cars in May.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Economy is sound, let's push reforms, says Economic Survey - 3rd July 2009

Painting a picture of a resilient economy, the pre-Budget Economic Survey 2008-09, tabled in Parliament today by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, said India could grow up to 7.75 per cent in 2009-10, up from 6.7 per cent in 2008-09, provided the global economy, particularly the United States, bottomed out by September and the government was able to push the button on significant economic policy reforms.
The World Bank had recently said India would grow 8.1 per cent in 2010, ahead of China (7.5 per cent). The numbers in the survey also suggest India is finally ready to rub shoulders with its northern neighbour.
The economy, according to the survey, can count among its strengths the large services sector which has historically been less affected by cyclical downturns than manufacturing, a strong farm sector, robust savings rate, ambitious infrastructure development programme and upbeat foreign investors. The "shock absorbers of the economy," it said, were the sound banking system, large foreign exchange reserves, a comfortable external debt position and low inflation. It listed as concerns the dip in growth of private consumption and gross capital formation and said the downside risks were the reduced availability of risk capital, lower capital inflows and delayed revival of the OECD economies.

Source: Business Standard

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India may get 40% of Carlyle's $1 bn fund - 1st July 2009

The Carlyle Group, the world’s largest private equity (PE) investment firm, on Tuesday announced the closure of its fourth Asian growth capital fund at $1.04 billion, of which around 40% is likely to be invested in Indian companies. The fund, Carlyle Asia Growth Partners IV (CAGP IV), will invest between $15 million and $75 million in each company, said Shankar Narayanan, managing director of the firm, responsible for CAGP’s investments in India.
“We will look at a 20-35% stake. We generally invest in unlisted companies and will target those that are growing at 40-50% on a compounded basis,” he added. The PE firm is likely to earmark around 80-85% of the fund for investment in India and China.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Biocon ties up with Mylan of US for biogenerics - 30th June 2009

Biocon Ltd on Monday announced an exclusive collaboration with the US-based generic drugs major Mylan Inc to develop, manufacture, supply and commercialise many high-value generic biologic compounds for the global markets.
It did not disclose the financial terms or product details.
“Mylan and Biocon will share development, capital and certain other costs to bring products to market,” Biocon said in a release.
“Mylan will have exclusive commercialisation rights in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and in the European Union and countries of the European Free Trade Association through a profit-sharing arrangement with Biocon. Mylan will have co-exclusive commercialisation rights with Biocon in all other markets. All other financial terms and product details remain confidential.”

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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World Bank Provides more Support to Boost Incomes of Poor Farmers in Uttar Pradesh, India - 30th June 2009

The World Bank today approved a US$197 million IDA credit to India, designed to increase the agricultural productivity of degraded lands in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Nearly 80 percent of Uttar Pradesh’s 166 million inhabitants live in rural areas, and about two-thirds of them depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Poor households not only own very small pieces of land, but their land is often degraded and productivity is typically low. Ten percent of total cultivable area of the state comprises low productivity sodic lands, with yields less than one-third of the state average.

Source: World Bank 

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Jaguar, Land Rover drive into the Indian luxury mart - 29th June 2009

Legendary British automotive brands Jaguar and Land Rover officially hit Indian shores, home to owner Tata Motors, today. The Indian launch follows sliding global demand for the luxury brands thanks to the global economic meltdown.
Both brands will launch three models each from an exclusive company-owned showroom in Worli, Mumbai. A senior Land Rover executive said the company has started bookings.
Jaguar will introduce the XF, XFR and the XKR sedans and Land Rover will start business with Discovery 3, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover sport utility vehicles. Being fully-imported models, all six cars carry a hefty price tag — starting at Rs 63 lakh at the lower end and going up to Rs 92 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai).

Source: Business Standard

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DuPont enters India's cotton-seed market - 26th June 2009

Dupont, one of the world’s top five seed companies, has acquired Nandi Seeds and the cotton germplasm business of Nagarjuna Seeds in India, hoping to target the country’s $275-million-a-year cotton seed market and marking its maiden entry into the cotton seed business worldwide. India is the world’s second-largest producer and consumer of cotton.
Significantly, with this deal, DuPont India will now sell dominant-player Monsanto’s Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton through Nandi Seeds, which has a licence from Monsanto India to use BT technology to produce cotton seeds here.
The Rs 40-crore acquisition of Nandi, through DuPont India’s subsidiary Pioneer Seeds, will give DuPont an easy entry into a cash crop that has seen yields grow manifold over the past six years. Buying Nagarjuna’s cotton germplasm business would allow DuPont to introduce some elite hybrids in India.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Volvo Buses targets 35% growth in India sales this year - 26th June 2009

On the backdrop of two stimulus packages that were announced in December last year and January 2009, Volvo Buses India is eyeing 35% growth in domestic sales this year at 550-600 units as against around 440 units sold in 2008.
Volvo Buses India is a 70:30 joint venture between Sweden’s Volvo Bus Corporation and India’s Jaico Automobiles.
“Reduction in excise duty and the Centre’s assistance to states under the JNNURM for purchase of buses has resulted in demand for 12,000 to 15,000 buses. Out of this, low floor buses constitutes about 800 to 1,000 units and Volvo is eyeing over 50% market share in the low floor bus segment with 300-350 units,” says Akash Passey, managing director, Volvo Buses India, adding that another 250-300 coaches would be sold, taking the total sales of the company to 550-600 units.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Astro group to hike stake in Sun TV’s FM arm to 20% - 25th June 2009

In order to capitalise on the increased FDI limit in the Indian multimedia industry and to meet the future growth needs, Sun TV Network has decided to allow Mauritius-based South Asia Multimedia Technologies Limited, an investment arm of Malaysia-based Astro group, to increase its stake in its FM subsidiary South Asia FM Limited to 20% from the current 6.98% for an undisclosed sum. South Asia Multimedia Technologies Limited had in January 2008 indirectly picked up 6.98% stake. The other major shareholder of the South Asia FM is Red FM of NDTV group.
In order to accommodate the Astro group arm as a major equity partner in its FM arm, Sun TV Network promoters have decided to dilute 5% of their stake to bring down to 60% on the expanded capital of the FM arm, said market sources here. Interestingly, Astro group is also the equity partner of Sun TV Network's DTH arm—Sun Direct - with 20%.

Source: The Financial Express

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Japan's Astellas eyes marketing alliances in India - 25th June 2009

Astellas Pharma, the second largest pharmaceutical company in Japan, is eyeing marketing alliances in Indian pharmaceuticals sector.
The company is also likely to conduct clinical trials in India for development of molecules under trials.
The company, which has announced entry into India by setting up own subsidiary, is likely to enter marketing alliances with major Indian players, for drugs in areas of urology, diabetes, central nervous system, oncology and pain management drugs.
Earlier, Eisai, the first Japanese company to enter India, had entered into marketing alliances with Wockhardt and GlaxoSmithkline India.

Source: The Financial Express 

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Tata DoCoMo rolls out GSM service in Chennai, Tamil Nadu - 25th June 2009

Tata DoCoMo, the joint venture between telecom majors Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Japan-based NTT DoCoMo today forayed into GSM operations by launching its service in Chennai and Tamil Nadu circles today. The telecom operator has earmarked around $2 billion (around Rs 10,000 crore) on its pan-India GSM network rollout.
The company has commenced the service saying “call anywhere in India for just 1 paise per second”.
TTSL has become the second telecom service provider after Reliance Communications to be providing services on both CDMA and GSM platforms under the dual-technology policy of the Indian government.
Speaking to reporters after launching the service in Chennai today TTSL's Managing Director Anil Sardana said that, the company is planning to roll out pan-India service by end of this year. The entire southern region will be completed over the next ten days.

Source: Business Standard

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Duty-free import regime ushered for 2,202 items from Singapore - 24th June 2009

India has knocked off import duties on 2,202 items as part of its tariff elimination commitments under the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Singapore.
The 2,202 items on which tariffs have now been eliminated include sail boats, ships, trawlers and fishing vessels, dredgers, golf clubs, wrist watch, wall clocks, percussion instruments, musical keyboards, flutes, ultrasound scanners, aircraft parts, optical fibre, helicopters, railway coaches, instant print film, photographic paper, new tyres for aircraft, used tyres, ice-cream, pasta, and fish.
Ever since the CECA came into effect in August 2005, the rupee has depreciated about 30 per cent against the Singapore dollar, making imports into India costlier. This may to an extent nullify the advantages of tariff removal on these products.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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GM India sets eyes on exports, Spark diesel version on cards - 24th June 2009

After Hyundai, Maruti, it is time now for General Motors India to focus on exports in a big way. Despite being presence in almost 200 countries, the Indian arm of the global major sees that its small cars have huge potential in the global markets.
The company is also currently working on alternate fuels, including diesel, for its small car Spark which may hit the stands in due course of time, said P Balendran, vice-president, corporate affairs, GM India.
Speaking to the FE here on Tuesday on the sidelines after launching Spark LPG version, he said: ‘‘We are definitely looking at the Asia Pacific and European markets. We have a flexible engine production facility at Talegaon as well as a new manufacturing facility. We see the revival of market and hope by 2011 GM India will be in a position to export 20% of its total production capability of 2.25 lakh cars per annum.’’

Source: The Financial Express 

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India Inc retains appetite for UK cos, creates 4k new jobs - 24th June 2009

Indian companies are still investing in the UK in droves, though the action seems to have moved to the medium and small sector. India retains its position as the second highest foreign employer in the UK, after the US, according to the 2009 UK inward FDI official data.
This year, Indian inward investors created 4,149 new jobs, with 108 new projects, up 44% in the absolute number of projects. Indians account for 11% of new jobs created by foreigners in 2008-09, out of around 35,000 new jobs.
Indians have been responsible for 7,966 British jobs in 2008-09, including ‘safeguarded’ as in jobs protected by the entry of foreign employers, at a time when the UK jobless figures peaked at over 2 million for May.

Source: The Economic Times

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Infrastructure is key to success of govts: Montek - 24th June 2009

Infrastructure development will be the key to running successful governments in India, feels Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.
Speaking at a conclave of Indian and global top financial experts, Ahluwalia said: “The recent poll results show that governments that are seen to have developed infrastructure have won, which in the long run will support demand.” He was speaking at the fourth Emerging Markets Forum organised by IDFC and supported by the Express group and the Bombay Chamber of Commerce.
The deputy chairman’s statement is the clearest indication so far of the importance the government is expected to place on infrastructure in the Budget, and through the rest of the year.

Source: The Financial Express 

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At 8%, India to grow fastest in '10: World Bank - 23rd June  2009

The World Bank has projected an 8% growth for India in 2010, which will make it the fastest-growing economy for the first time, overtaking China’s expected 7.7% growth.
The multilateral lender has revised upwards the growth rate for the Indian economy this year to 5.1% from an earlier projection of 4%, according to its Global Development Finance Report released on Monday. India has consistently outperformed growth forecasts by the World Bank in the past.
The prospects for the global economy remain ‘unusually uncertain’ despite recent signs of improvement in some parts of the world, the report points out. Barring a few countries, including India and China, the bank has cut 2009 growth projections for all other economies and expects the world economy to contract by 2.9% this year.

Source: The Economic Times

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Indian foods business poised for leap - 23rd June  2009

The Indian foods industry is at an inflection point, believe major fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies. While Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has already worked out a 10-year turnover road map, others like ITC and PepsiCo are scaling up their businesses to cater to the rapid growth.
HUL, which has completed 75 years of operations in India, is confident that its foods business alone will reach a top line of more than Rs 20,000 crore (almost its current turnover) over the next decade. If it achieves this target, the figure will be at least eight times more than the current turnover of its food and beverages division. For the 12 months ending December 2008, the division's turnover stood at Rs 2,642 crore, of which beverages (Brooke Bond and Lipton) accounted for Rs 1,805 crore, processed food (Knorr and Kissan) for Rs 647 crore and ice creams (Kwality Walls) raked in Rs 190 crore.

Source: Business Standard

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Investment in infra uplift to touch Rs 45,900 cr by 2013 - 23rd June 2009

Investment in airport infrastructure was over $5 billion (Rs 25,500 crore) in 2008 and will go up $9 billion (Rs 45,900 crore) by 2013, of which close to $6.8 billion (Rs 34,680 crore) is expected to come through public private partnerships (PPP) model, states a recent study by research firm Frost & Sullivan.
The study further states that a key driver for the airport infrastructure market is the upgradation of 35 non-metro airports identified by the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
Says Chethan Kambi, an analyst from Frost & Sullivan, “The primary challenges that face the market are financing and the identification of key geographical areas. Funding for the airport development projects encompasses equity from loans, government grants, investors and consortium partners, all of which will be invested in the project in a phased manner to accommodate planned expansions.” He added that infrastructure projects have been based on PPP model in the past.

Source: The Financial Express

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Renault puts India car plans on the fast track - 23rd June  2009

French carmaker Renault has completely recast its plans for India as part of a new, aggressive approach that will see it producing cars in its Chennai plant by 2011.
“It is important for us to speed up our activities in India because we do not have the luxury of time now. I know a step-by-step approach is always seen as being sensible but it is equally important not to stop. There is also no question of abandoning the Indian project,” Mr Marc Nassif, Country General Manager, Renault in India, told Business Line.
According to him, the company has a clear roadmap for the future and is here for the long haul. “We have small cars, sedans and sport-utility vehicles. It is up to us to rebuild all over again after checking out which model could be the best bet for India. Issues of economic viability and volumes will be part of this exercise,” he said.
Mr Nassif is also Deputy Managing Director of Renault Nissan Automotive and Executive Director of Renault India.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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German, UK-based biotech cos eye India for outsourcing - 22nd June 2009

As part of the cost-cutting measures to combat global recession, German and UK-based biotech companies plan to outsource more work, transfer technology and tap India’s burgeoning biotechnology market.
“We will see more collaborations in industrial enzyme technology, bio-food technology, renewable energies and regenerative medicine. Several companies plan to bring in over $100 million investments to India this year and set up production facilities here,” said Martin Pohle, consultant Bio Mitteldeutschland Gmbh, which works towards strengthening the BT industry in Anhalt, Central Germany.
The Indian bio-tech industry is poised to grow by 18% in FY09 to Rs 12,137 crore from Rs 10,274 crore in FY08, said CMD of Biocon Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. This year, more partnerships are likely to be struck between Western and Indian companies, she said.

Source: The Economic Times

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Indian companies conquering shores abroad - 22nd June 2009

A considerable amount of time has flown since the period when India was primarily seen as a destination for global foreign direct investment. The trend continues but with a difference. Over the last few years, the growing ambitions of Indian firms, both big and small, have added a new dimension to the Indian economy.
This has been made possible through a reverse flow of resources as outward FDI from companies in India looking to become global players. With the result some ambitious and daring steps were taken by the Indian Inc lately. Hindalco-Novelis, Tata Steel-Corus, Suzlon-REpower, Wipro-Infocrossing, United Spirits-Whyte & Mackay are some of the major acquisitions by the Indian corporate abroad.
As per the RBI's data for the year 2007-08, the total outward investment from India, excluding that made by individuals and banks, rose 29.6% to $17.4 billion, largely due to acquisitions. A large part of this was through the equity route. If we consider a sectoral spread of India's investments abroad, manufacturing topped the charts followed by the non-financial service sector.

Source: The Economic Times

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India: Political and Economic Update - 20th June 2009

The 15th general elections were held in India over mid-April to mid-May. The Indian National Congress (INC) has emerged as the single largest party with 206 seats as against 145 seats in the previous Lok Sabha (2004-2009). The principal opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has come second with 116 seats as compared to 138 in the previous election. The INC-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government currently has the support of around 310 Members of Parliament as against the minimum requirement of 272. Given its much stronger position in the current Lok Sabha, there is optimism that this UPA coalition government will provide continuity with stability. It will also have greater flexibility to push ahead with several required policy reforms.

Source: Asian Development Bank 

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FMCG industry set for 20-30% growth on increased rural demand - 19th June 2009

The FMCG industry is set to grow 20-30 per cent in 2009-10, up from 10-20 per cent in 2008-09. The growth would be driven by the launch of new products and increasing rural consumption, according to industry experts.
“By definition, FMCG addresses a very core need in the consumer’s life and so it is less prone to economic swings than high ticket items such as television or even apparel,” said Mr Hemant Kalbag, Principal, AT Kearney. Price increases on products by the companies have also been well-absorbed by the market, and so there is no reason to question the growth rate projections, he added.
The beverage industry in India is being estimated to grow at 17 per cent this year, according to experts. “Food and beverages segment has not suffered despite the slowdown in the economy. FMCG in our stores has done very well. In fact, we registered 10-15 per cent growth in this segment last year,” said a spokesperson at Spencer’s Retail Ltd.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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India is the second largest investor in UK - 19th June 2009

India is now the second largest ‘foreign direct investor’ in the UK in terms of the number of projects, outdone only by the US, according to the UK Inward Investment Results, 2008-09, released recently.
With 108 projects, the number of Indian FDI projects rose 44 per cent in the year, replacing Japan as the largest Asian supplier of FDI projects in the UK.
Dr Reddy’s Labs, Hemair Systems, Zanec Soft, IMI Mobile, Value Labs, Sri Jugal Kishore Jewellers, Virtual Marketing, Virinchi, Emsyne, Northgate — all from South India — are part of record-high new FDI into the UK, says a press release issued by the British Deputy High Commission, Chennai.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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World Bank Supports Modernization of Old, Polluting Coal-fired Power Plants in India to Lower Carbon Emissions - 18th June 2009

The World Bank today approved a US$180 million loan to the Government of India, designed to renovate and modernize old, inefficient and polluting coal-fired power plants. The project, which is expected to lower carbon emissions and boost power production at these plants, is co-financed with a US$45.4 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
This would be the first step in a decade-long Government of India plan to augment power supply by rehabilitating a range of old coal-fired plants even as the country moves to more climate-friendly options for energy generation in the long term. The planned modernization would bring these power producing units to energy efficiency levels comparable to similar units in OECD countries.
India’s power shortage is a daunting barrier to the country’s development. More than 40 percent of Indian homes do not have electricity and 60 percent of Indian industrial consumers are forced to make their own arrangements for securing a reliable power supply. For example, last year, the country faced a 16.6 percent shortfall during hours of peak consumption and a 9.9 percent gap for energy generation.

Source: The World Bank 

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European biotech firms woo Indian counterparts - 17th June 2009

European biotech firms seem to be wooing their Indian counterparts, not just to be part of the growing sector, but also to get around globally difficult times.
India has a relatively young biotech sector and all the ingredients for growth, such as quality services and businesses, observed Mr Philip Kendall, Senior Sector Manager (International Biotech and Pharma) with the United Kingdom Trade and Investment arm. “We want to be part of this growth, or we will lose out,” he told Business Line, at an interaction between a life-sciences delegation from the UK and local firms.
European delegations are already here exploring business opportunities, he said, referring to a German delegation that was in the country. About 15 UK companies are here this week, and five may come away formalising collaborations, he observed. But for the rest of the delegates, the interaction would have opened up leads for the future, he added. The UK delegation is scheduled to visit Bangalore on Wednesday.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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India Inc aims to raise over Rs 1,00,000 crores through capital markets - 17th June 2009

The stock market recovery may have reached only its half-way mark, but companies’ confidence level for raising funds through sale of shares seems to have already hit a new peak as they have lined up plans to mop up capital in excess of Rs 1,00,000 crore.
This include an estimated Rs 40,000 crore being eyed by public sector firms through IPOs or rights issues, over Rs 40,000 crore by non-PSU companies through private placement of shares and about Rs 20,000 crore by private sector IPOs.
Besides, many companies have announced intentions for raising funds through this route, but there are no words on the size of their targeted funds.

Source: MSN news 

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Liquidity and Funding back on track in India - 17th June 2009

After a near six-month drought, India Inc is finding some takers for debt and equity issues
If trends over the past few weeks are anything to go by, banks are slowly shedding their aversion to financing new projects and foreign investors are heading back to India.
Though private and the foreign banks are yet to step up lending in a big way, public sector banks have started financing projects.
The result: Funding of over Rs 58,000 crore for large projects has been tied up in the last six weeks.
The list includes Indian Oil’s Paradip refinery (Rs 14,900 crore), State Bank of India’s loan to NTPC (Rs 8,500 crore), Krishnapattnam Port (Rs 3,000 crore), BGR Energy’s engineering, procurement and construction work (Rs 4,000 crore), SBI’s loans to Vodafone (Rs 10,000 crore) and the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group’s three projects (Rs 14,500 crore for the Sasan Ultra Mega Power project, Rs 2,000 crore for Delhi Metro Express and around Rs 1,000 crore for transmission projects in the west).

Source: Rediff 

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PM leaves on three-day visit to Russia; to meet Zardari - 16th June 2009

An India-Pakistan meeting will define PM Manmohan Singh's participation in two key summits in Russia.
As Singh left for Yekaterinburg on Monday, expectations ran high for a "chance" meeting between Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, which might be an ice-breaker after the diplomatic chill in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.
But Singh was clear that he did not want to dwell on the possible talks with Zardari. Instead, he will push India's role in ending the global economic slowdown.

Source: The Times of India 

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Global loans once again flowing for Indian cos - 15th June 2009

Global money markets are fast becoming favourable for Indian companies to borrow, with bankers saying it’s only a matter of time before the tap opens again.
The premiums above the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (Libor), a benchmark used by bankers for pricing corporate loans, have fallen significantly over the past few weeks.
Already, ICICI Bank’s Credit Default Swap (CDS), widely considered as the benchmark for measuring investor appetite for Indian debt, has fallen to levels before investment bank Lehmann Brothers succumbed to the global financial crisis and filed for bankruptcy on September 15, 2009.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Indians top tech service consumers: study - 15th June 2009

Indian consumers rank highest in the world when it comes to their demand for multi-channel and self-service technologies like ATMs, kiosks, internet and mobile phones, with as much as 97 per cent preferring such services, a global survey says.
According to a consumer survey carried out by BuzzBack Market Research for global technology firm NCR Corporation, 97 per cent of Indian respondents are more likely to interact with firms providing multichannel self-service technologies, while 81 per cent have increased their likelihood of using self-service in the past one year.
In contrast, 79 per cent consumers in the US and about 77 per cent in the UK are likely to do business with a company which offers an ability to use self-service technology, while in Canada just 63 per cent want such services, the survey said.

Source: The Assam Tribune 

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India top retail destination for investors, says study - 15th June 2009

Providing good growth potential for global retailers amid economic slowdown, India has emerged as most alluring market for investment in the retail sector, surpassing China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
India has been ranked as the most attractive nation for retail investment among 30 emerging markets by US-based global management consulting firm A T Kearney.
According to the entity’s Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), India is followed by Russia (2), China (3), United Arab Emirates (4) and Saudi Arabia (5).

Source: New York, Press Trust of India 

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Industrial output rises in April, holds out hope - 15th June 2009

Industrial output clawed back into positive territory to rise by a better-than-expected 1.4% in April, its best performance in five months, and providing the clearest signal yet the country may have seen the back of the slowdown that has buffeted its economy since last October. The index for industrial production (IIP) bounced back from a revised negative 0.8% in the preceding month on the back of resilient domestic demand, after slipping into negative terrain in December, February and March.
Pronab Sen, the country’s chief statistician, attributed the jump to industries building their inventory levels in anticipation of an increase in demand, and said the strength of the recovery will be evident in the ensuing months. “By July, we will have a clearer picture about the strength of the recovery,” he said, adding that a lot will depend on whether private investments will remain robust.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Chennai unit top producer for nokia - 12th June 2009

Chennai has edged past China as a unit-wise volume producer of Nokia cellphones. In fact, Nokia’s Chennai factory is now the company’s largest cellphone manufacturing facility in the world.
China has two such Nokia factories and Chennai one. But Chennai Nokia has now edged past the larger of the two Chinese factories. While the Finnish cellphone maker is not revealing the annual capacity of its Chennai factory, a senior member of its global planning team said the factory is now indeed its largest manufacturing factory. Unofficial reports suggest Chennai manufactures over 100 million phones every year.
Interestingly, over 70% of Nokia’s 8,000-strong employee pool at the Chennai plant are women, involved in a mix of running productions lines, maintenance and assembly and testing operations.

Source: The Economic Times 

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Honda identifies India as launch pad for global small car - 12th June 2009

Honda has identified India as the launch pad for its global small car which will debut during the next two to three years.
“The vehicle is being developed for India specifically as the lead country. It will then enter other markets across the world,” Mr Masahiro Takedagawa, President and CEO, Honda Siel Cars India, said here on Thursday.
This is part of the Japanese automaker’s strategy to create models for lead countries and then have them modified appropriately for other global markets. For instance, the Civic, Accord and CR-V were targeted at the US (as the lead country) while in the case of the City, it was the Asian market comprising India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Source: The Hindu Business Line 

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'Economy should grow at least 6.7% in '09-10' - 9th June 2009

With some sectors of the economy still reeling under the impact of the global economic downturn, deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Monday said that the plan panel is discussing with the finance ministry the possibility of raising planned outlay for some sectors in the coming Budget.
After being reappointed as plan panel chief, Ahluwalia said: "What we are looking at is, is there a case for doing a little bit more (in plan expenditure) in some sectors."
With economic conditions turning better, he was optimistic that the economy should record at least 6.7% growth rate this fiscal, the same witnessed in 2008-09.
The plan panel chief said basically expenditure absorption capacity of different sectors was being looked at for making "some" recommendations. "Obviously how much can be done depends on what you regard as a tolerable overall fiscal deficit, and that is one of the key issues being discussed with the finance ministry at this moment," Ahluwalia said.

Source: The Times of India 

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PTC plans $1-bn power fund - 9th June 2009

India, the country’s largest electricity trading company, is putting together plans to set up a $1-billion equity fund to finance power projects in India. It is also exploring the possibility of launching multiple equity funds to meet the varied requirements of power projects.
The public-private partnership company is understood to have initiated talks with a host of global financial institutions and private equity firms such as Macquarie, Blackstone and Soloman Brothers to create the fund. The company, which is yet to decide whether to set up the fund in India or another country, plans to launch its new initiative later this year.

Source: The Economic Times

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India's exports to France increase by nearly 23% - 8th June 2009

Bilateral trade between the two countries in 2008 clocked €6.8 billion, with India enjoying a trade surplus of around €150 million.
Exports of consumer goods, accounting for 34 per cent of the country’s exports to France, garment and leather (28 per cent), agro food (10 per cent) and semi-finished goods such as chemical, plastics etc (24 per cent) picked up last year with more Indian items entering the European markets.
The bilateral trade balance between India and France shifted in favour of India in 2008, as India’s exports to France increased by nearly 23 per cent vis-À-vis one per cent decline in French exports to India, according to Mr Francis Bouquin, French Trade Commissioner in Kolkata.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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India's clean energy investment up by 12% to $3.7 billion - 5th June 2009

Sustainable energy investment in India went up to $3.7billion in 2008, up 12% since 2007. It included asset finance of $3.2 billion, up by 36%. Venture capital and private equity saw an increase of 270% to $493 million. Mergers and acquisition activities totaled $585 million. Most acquisition activity was centred on biomass, small hydro and wind projects, according to a new report.
The wind sector got the biggest chunk of investment, up from $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion. While investment in solar, particularly in module and cell manufacturing facilities, went up from $18 million in 2007 to $347 million, investment in small hydro quadrupled to $543 million. Investment in biofuels dropped from 251 million to $49 million, notes Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009.

Source: The Financial Express 

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