|Vol. 754 - January 04, 2013|
Obama signs cliff deal into American Taxpayer Relief Act with an autopen
Obama signed a copy of the fiscal cliff legislation, titled the "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012," with an autopen while on a holiday in Hawaii on Wednesday. The President cut short his holiday earlier to oversee the cliff negotiations flew back to Hawaii after the deal was hammered by US lawmakers a day earlier on Tuesday night. An autopen or signing machine is a device used for the automatic signing of a signature. The reason for employing an autopen is typically emotive, intending to form a compromise between making every signature by hand and printing a reproduction of the signature, perceived as impersonal by the recipient. The House of Representatives, where Republicans enjoy majority, voted 257-167 to approve the Senate's fiscal cliff bill. The legislation which came just in time would prevent most of the fiscal cliff's negative near-term economic implications as the bill as it extends the Bush-era tax cuts for 98% of Americans. In addition to the tax changes the bill would also continue long-term unemployment benefits that were about to expire shortly. The bill has delayed the $110bn spending cuts (aka the sequester) which were to come into effect on January 2 had the fiscal cliff agreement not been reached. But the agreement could lead to standoffs later as it leaves Congress facing with other issues such as federal borrowing hit the $16.39tn debt ceiling on Monday, spending cuts and a continuing budget resolution expiring. The bill is to take effect retroactively from Jan 1. The plan would raise 600bn in taxes over a period of 10 years which falls short of the initially discussed target of $2tn. President Obama speaking post the passage of bill said that 98% Americans wont see hike in tax rates. Bill would help raising revenue by 620bn. He also said that he is open to compromise on budget issue as well as healthcare reforms. On the issue of debt ceiling he said that we would not have another debate with congress over debt ceiling.
There is need to revive investment in manufacturing and service sector: FM
The Union Finance Minister P .Chidambaram said that there is a need to revive investment in manufacturing and service sector in order to create higher job opportunities. The Finance Minister said that at present, the economy is passing through a difficult phase mainly due to external factors and, therefore, there is immediate need to tide over the current situation and then move to the path of higher growth. The Finance Minister was making opening remarks during his second pre-budget meeting with the representatives of various Central Trade Unions. The Finance Minister said that there was a slowdown in investment in manufacturing sector as a result not enough jobs were created. The Finance Minister Shri Chidambaram said due to the various steps and measures taken by the Government in the last few months, there seems to be a change in the investment sentiments both in public and private sectors. The Finance Minister said that higher growth leads to creation of more jobs. He said trade unions can play an important role in reviving the manufacturing sector which in turn can lead to creation of more job opportunities in the sector. Along with the Finance Minister, both the Minister of State for Finance Shri S.S. Palanimanickam and Shri Namo Narain Meena, Adviser to the Finance Minister, Shri Parthasarthy Shome, Finance Secretary, Shri R.S. Gujral, Secretary, Financial Services & Disinvestment, Shri D.K. Mittal, Revenue Secretary, Shri Sumit Bose, Secretary Labour & Employment, Mrityunjay Sarangi, Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Raghuram R. Rajan and Chairman CBEC were present among others.
Representatives of the twelve(12) Central Trade Unions including Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Indian Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of India Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), All India Central Council of Trade Union (AICCTU), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), Self Employed Womens Association (SEWA) and National Front of Indian Trade Unions(NFITU) participated in the aforesaid meeting. All of them except NFITU gave a joint memorandum to the Finance Minister for consideration of their proposals in the ensuing Union Budget 2013-14. The major proposals included in the joint memorandum of Central Trade Unions among others are taking effective measures to arrest the spiralling price rice and contain inflation, ban speculative forward trading in commodities, universalise and strengthen the public distribution system, rationalise the tax/duty/cess on petroleum products to reduce burden on common man, massive investment in the infrastructure to stimulate the economy, higher budget allocation in the Plan and Non Plan provisions to create more jobs and guarantee consistent income to the people, minimum wage be guaranteed to all workers as per the recommendations of the 15th Indian Labour Conference, special allocation for creation of a Welfare Fund for protecting the interest of un-organised workers including agriculture workers, lifting of ban on recruitment in Government departments, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and autonomous institutions, scope of MGNREGA be extended to urban areas and employment for minimum period be increased from 100 days to 200 days, massive workforce engaged in ICDS, mid day meal scheme, vidya volunteers, guest teachers, shiksha mitra etc be regularised and workers engaged in ASHA be brought under the coverage of statutory minimum wage and social security etc...Read More
India's Core sector growth dips to 1.8% in November
During April-November 2012-13, the cumulative growth rate of the Core industries was 3.5 % as against their growth at 4.8% during the corresponding period in 2011-12.
The summarized Index of Eight Core Industries with 2004-05 base is given at the Annexure.
The Eight core industries have a combined weight of 37.90% in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The combined Index was 144.9 in November 2012 with a growth rate of 1.8% compared to their 7.8% growth in November 2011. The decline in growth in November, 2012 was on account of negative growth witnessed in the production of Coal, Natural Gas and Cement and deceleration in growth rates of Electricity, Steel and Petroleum Refinery Products.
Coal production (weight: 4.38%) registered a growth of (-) 4.4% in November 2012 compared to its growth at 4.9% in November 2011. In cumulative terms, Coal production recorded a growth of 6.7% during April-November 2012-13 compared to its negative growth at (-) 4.0% during the same period of 2011-12.
Crude Oil production (weight: 5.22%) registered a growth of 0.8% in November 2012 compared to its (-) 5.7% growth in November 2011. Cumulatively, Crude Oil production recorded a negative growth of (-) 0.5% during April-November 2012-13 compared to its growth at 2.9% during the same period of 2011-12.
The growth rate of Natural Gas production (weight: 1.71%) was negative both in November, 2012 at (-) 15.2% and in November 2011 at (-) 10.1%. Cumulatively also, Natural Gas production registered a negative growth of (-) 13.1% during April-November 2012-13 and (-) 8.5% during the same period of 2011-12.
Petroleum Refinery Products (0.93% of Crude Throughput)*
Petroleum refinery production (weight: 5.94%) had a growth of 6.6% in November 2012 compared to its growth at 11.2% in November 2011. In cumulative terms, Petroleum refinery production registered a growth of 7.2% during April-November 2012-13 compared to its 4.4% growth during the same period of 2011-12...Read More
Indias overall M&A activity climbs 12% YTD
The value of announced mergers & acquisitions (M&A) deals involving India reached US$43.4bn, a 12.0% growth from 2011. Fourth quarter volume this year totaled US$17.0bn, up 99% sequentially from the third quarter of 2012, and a 362% increase from the fourth quarter of 2011. The average M&A deal size for disclosed values involving India increased to US$91.0 million this year compared to US$76.6 million in 2011. Domestic M&A stood at US$12.3bn, up 69.4% over the 2011 period, and the highest annual level since 2010 (US$13.6bn). The bulk of domestic activity focused on the Financials sector with US$3.0bn, up 54% from 2011, and captured 24.7% of the market share. Materials sector reached US$1.9bn (15.8% market share), a 116% growth over 2011. Total cross-border deals stood at US$26.9bn, down 11.6% compared to 2011, despite the 177% sequential increase in deal value to US$12.5bn during the fourth quarter of 2012 from US$4.5bn in the third quarter of 2012. Completed M&A deals involving India, however, declined 62% to US$18.3bn compared to last year, thus making it the lowest annual volume since 2005 when deal value dropped to US$17.9bn. Inbound BRIC M&A activity totaled US$97.4bn, where India accounted for 15.7% (US$15.3bn) losing 1.2 market share points compared to last year. Meanwhile, China captured 36.9% with US$35.9bn.
Materials Captured 23% of Market Activity
The Materials sector dominated the industry breakdown representing 22.8% of Indian-involved acquisitions worth US$9.9bn, a 52% increase from 2011. This was driven by the merger of Sesa Goa Ltd, a 55.1%-owned unit of Vedanta Resources, with Sterlite Industries (India) in a deal valued at US$3.9bn, the largest M&A transaction involving India this year. Concurrently, as part of Vedantas restructuring move, Vedanta Aluminum and Madras Aluminum will be consolidated into the new merged entity called Sesa Sterlite.
Private Equity-backed M&A in India Dropped 22%
Buyside Financial Sponsor M&A activity targeting India slowed down in 2012 with deal value reaching US$4.0bn, a 22% decline from 2011, and the lowest annual period since 2009 when volume dipped to US$2.4bn. Energy & Power accounted for 28.8% of private equity-backed M&A activity in India with US$1.1bn, a 92% increase from the comparable period last year, driven by the acquisition of Transocean Ltds 38 water drilling rigs by United Arab Emirates Shelf Drilling International Holdings Ltd in a deal valued at US$1.05bn.
India Inbound M&A Activity Declines 23.8%
Foreign firms acquiring Indian companies so far this year slowed down with 307 announced deals worth US$15.3bn, down 23.8% from a robust 2011 period and the lowest annual level since 2009 (US$7.4bn). Deal value during the fourth quarter of 2012 grew 33.0% to US$3.9bn from the third quarter of 2012, and saw a four-fold increase over the fourth quarter of 2011. The bulk of inbound acquisitions focused on the Materials sector and accounted for 30.7% of the activity with US$4.7bn, witnessing a significant 362% increase from the same period in 2011. United Kingdom registered the highest value of inbound M&A deals targeting India with 48.7% market share worth US$7.4bn, despite a 27% drop from the comparative period last year. United States and Japan accounted for 13.2% and 12.0% of the market share, respectively.
India Outbound M&A Activity Up 12% YTD
Indian acquisitions overseas grew 12% this year as deal value amounted to US$11.6bn, a 12% increase over the same period last year. Fourth quarter of 2012 deal value significantly jumped 442% compared to third quarter of 2012, and up 376% from fourth quarter of 2011. Energy & Power industry captured 43.0% of Indias outbound activity with US$5.0bn worth of transactions, up eight-times from 2011, driven by ONGC Videsh Ltds announced stake acquisitions in North Caspian Operating Co BV, an Atyrau-based oil and gas exploration and production company, from ConcoPhillips Co. This single deal also pushed Kazakhstan as the most targeted nation for Indias outbound activity in terms of deal value with 43.0% market share. The United States accounted for 15.5% with US$1.8bn and saw the most number of acquisitions from Indian acquirors...Read More
Our commitment to India is intact: Cyrus Mistry
Cyrus Mistry, took over as the chairman of the Tata Group recently. In an email to Tata group employees, Cyrus Mistry said, "Our commitment to India is intact. We live in increasingly competitive times... To succeed in such an environment, we will need to differentiate our approach and innovate. As history has shown, corporations that are happy with resting on their laurels are weeded out by nimble competition...."
Following the text of the letter:
I feel greatly privileged in writing to you to convey my thoughts as I begin the journey of leading the Tata Group into a promising future. At the outset, as we start the New Year, let me wish you and your family the very best for the year ahead. I hope 2013 brings you happiness, good health and a sense of fulfilment in whatever you do. The Tata Group has grown enormously in the last 21 years. Under the enlightened leadership of Mr Ratan Tata, it has evolved from being a large business group operating primarily in India into an even larger institution with a global footprint. Strong foundations have been laid for a culture committed to innovation, quality and collaboration. And thanks to Mr. Tata's uncompromising adherence to a resilient value system, a platform has been created which we can cherish and that evokes pride in all of us. Handing over of the responsibility of Chairmanship brings with it the winds of change, but the core of the Tata Group must and will remain unchanged. Our commitment to maintaining the highest ethical standards in the conduct of our enterprises; our continuous emphasis on business excellence and managerial competence; our belief in our employees and their well-being; our sense of obligation to the customers we serve; our responsibilities towards the environment and the communities that we touch and the greater good of the countries we operate in without this core DNA that is uniquely Tata, there is nothing to differentiate us from our peers.
Our commitment to India is intact. As a Group, we have over the past three years invested over Rs. 50,000 crores across our various businesses in the country, in the process creating primary employment for over 85,000 persons while generating many more secondary and tertiary jobs; and we have already put in place plans for additional investments in excess of Rs. 45,000 crores over the following two years. The recent emphasis on policy clarity and a renewed thrust to economic reforms by the Government of India is encouraging. With a sustained focus on policy stability and implementation, I believe that India would continue to be an attractive investment destination. I look forward to our Group playing its role in continuing to invest in the Indian growth story...Read More
Exploration must to eradicate poverty in India: Anil Agarwal
For a country with one of the largest reserves of natural resources in the world, the transformational potential of Indias resources sector is immense. The sector has the potential to add $1 trillion to the Indian economy that can substantially contribute towards much-needed investments in education, health and nutrition. Indias economic rise since 1991 has resulted in a sharp rise in resource needs, from petroleum products to power and infrastructure. This, in turn, has led to a burgeoning import bill that stands at $485 billion. Oil and petroleum products is the single-largest contributor with $150 billion. This is close to 10% of the countrys GDP. Gold, silver, coal and fertilizer are the other main items that are adding to this bill. If this continues, vulnerability of the Indian economy to external shocks will become higher. It is, therefore, imperative to take corrective actions immediately.
India is blessed with significant reserves of natural resources and we can produce all the key imported resources indigenously at 15-20% of the import cost. Thus, we can save $300 billion on yearly basis and, within 3-4 years, we can add $1 trillion to the economy.
Indias current underutilization of resources tells almost an unbelievable story. Despite having a similar geology to North America, Latin America, Australia and South Africa, we produce only 20% of our natural resource requirements. The mineral exploration industry in countries such as Canada spends over $2 billion per annum in greenfield exploration, whereas India spends less than $50 million.
What is worse is that despite having access to key resources like bauxite, India has been unable to tap into the large aluminium market, widely known as a green metal, and lost out to countries like China that have to fully import the raw material. Even with 3.5 billion tonnes of bauxite, which is the third largest reserve of bauxite in the world, India only manages an annual production of 1.5 million tonnes of aluminium. In contrast, China that has no reserves of bauxite, produces about 20 million tonnes of aluminium annually.
The story is similar in the case of iron ore. Given our reserve level, we are in a position to produce quantities matching Brazils and Australias, which produce in the range of 600 million tonnes per annum. Against this, we have so far been producing a modest quantity of 125 million tonnes on yearly basis that also stands drastically reduced...Read More
Lessons in wake of global financial crisis: Joseph E. Stiglitz
It is a real pleasure for me to be able to deliver this lecture in memory of the Reserve Bank of India's first Indian Governor, who set an example and a tradition which has resulted in the Reserve Bank of India being viewed as one of the exemplars of central banks around the world. As I shall comment later, one could not help but notice this in the aftermath of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis which to a very large extent was brought about by failures of central banks in the United States and Europe. C.D. Deshmukh understood not only the importance of the financial sector to the functioning of an economy, but that to ensure that the financial sector fulfills its roles requires regulation otherwise, there is a risk that it won't do what it should and that it will do what it shouldn't. He did not succumb to ideology that has plagued central banks in so many countries: he understood that the state may have to play an important role in providing credit, either directly or through regulation, especially as part of the early stages of the development process and in the rural sector. The themes that I will take up today would, I think, resonate with Governor Deshmukh. I want to lay out a vision of what Central Banks should do, a vision that is markedly different than that which was fashionable in the years before the Great Recession.
It is understandable that the global financial crisis should give rise to considerable reflection among macroeconomists, and especially monetary theorists and policymakers. After all, their models didnt predict the crisis the most important economic event in three quarters of a century. Economics is supposed to be a science, and the test of any science is its ability to predict; and if a sub-discipline cant predict something of this importance, then it suggests something is wrong. I say suggests because devotees of the model claim that there are always random exogenous shocks that cannot be anticipated. But this crisis was not an exogenous shock: the credit bubble that brought the economy down was endogenous. It was a shock created by the market itself. And it was the kind of shock that the theory said couldnt happen: for if markets are rational, there wont be bubbles. This is but one example of the many flaws in the prevalent paradigm that were exposed by the crisis. In this lecture, I do not want to dwell so much on the flaws in the economic theories and models that dominated mainstream thinking, including thinking inside many central banks, but on the central policy stances that typically followed sometimes quite loosely from those theories and models...Read More
New Year Resolutions; Write it to right it
Wish all of you a very happy and fun filled 2013. Given the fact that the world didnt come to an end in December 2012 as many predicted, we can only say that 2013 should be a better year than 2012. The Sensex gave almost 26% returns in calendar 2012. It was unexpected, given the mood in the beginning of the year. It was sombre with the Anna Hazare movement gaining momentum, rupee depreciation and the weak outlook on the economy. External factors like Greece were other dark clouds on the markets. I dont think macro economic factors changed during 2012, yet, once the finance minister changed, the markets went into turbo mode and ended the year with gains. We also saw record FII inflows. Now, you have almost everyone talking about markets touching multi year highs in 2013. It is evident that the mood has suddenly turned extremely bullish. In fact our research team has titled their recent top picks as Lucky 13 for 2013. The tragedy affecting the Indian market is the exit of the retail investor. Most of the Indians dont believe in Indian stocks and are opting to put their money in FMP / fixed deposits and gold. I am afraid, it appears that gold might be peaking out as last year Gold price appreciation is down to a multi-year low of ~10% on a yoy basis. In fact, if this worst yearly return for the last five years continues for a few months, we will enter a scenario where gold price will be under-performing bank FDs, the first time in 5-6 years.
In this backdrop, it will be interesting what retail investors do. The foreigners continue to remain bullish on India simply because they are looking at a geography where the economy is at least growing at 5% when rest of the world is not growing at all. My message to all retail investors is to have a financial plan. There are many studies which prove that the key to successful investing is asset allocation and staying invested for the long term. Timing the market is very difficult. It is impossible to predict the movement of the market correctly on a daily basis and retail investors should not even waste time predicting this. One should invest in a disciplined manner for the long term and have financial assets put in equities, debt, gold and real asset. I know real estate is an illiquid asset but at least everybody deserves a house over their head for shelter. I also wish to politely submit that, this year my resolution is to write every week. The sage advice that I have got is to set goals in writing and make them public; then chances are high that they will be met. So here I am taking the plunge and setting myself the target of at least 50 blogs. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.
How will companies collaborate in 2013 for sustainable commercial gain?
International leaders from business and civil society will descend on London for the two-day Responsible Business Summit returning for its 12th year on 7-8th May 2013. Featuring Jeremy Darroch, Cheif Executive Officer of SKY, John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK and Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of the Economist the summit will address how companies will conduct sustainable business both now and in the future. The summit will be the meeting place for 500+ senior attendees and 50+ speakers and 5+ CEOs from across the world to discuss how business can meet key social responsibility demands and ease environmental strain on the planet. Among the corporate brands represented will be M&S, Microsoft, Unilever, BASF, Dow, Dupont, Rio Tinto, ASDA, HP, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Patagonia and Hyundai. NGOs and academia will also be sharing their thoughts and insight with speakers from Oxfam, Ethical Trading Initiative, EABIS, Cranfield School of Management, European Commission and Institute of Human Rights and Business.
How to make money in 2013
For the millions of people trying to figure out how to make money 2013 is predicted to have a lot in store. While many are still struggling with job insecurity or unemployment, many are hopeful for all the new business opportunities that will present themselves in the coming New Year. The ideas 2013 has in store will likely follow the latest trends when it comes to job opportunities and other ways to earn on the side. One way to make an income that will certainly still be going strong in the new year is online business. This type of work is popular for a number of reasons. For one it is very inexpensive for most anyone to start and it cuts back on a lot of expenses of traditional employment and business such as office rental and utility bills. Another benefit is the flexibility usually afforded with most online businesses. With a flexible schedule, individuals can better plan for time with their family and friends, and also on their personal interests. Many online businesses may also pay as well or even better than the person's regular job. These are some of the reasons that online jobs are some of the best ideas on how to make money 2013 will likely see. Online businesses have even more potential for profit generating success. Businesses like online affiliate marketing and blogging for ad revenue have really skyrocketed in recent years as people have learned how simple it can be to set up a business that generates a full time passive income that keeps coming in even after the work is done.
While setting up this type of online personal business can seem daunting, there are many good resources for new online marketers and thousands of great articles on online marketing that they can learn from. Taking advantage of these resources is a good idea for any one trying to find the best ways to earn in the coming year. Aside from online jobs and businesses, there area also many good offline methods that 2013 has to offer. There are so many people nowadays that are unable to attend to many of their home duties because of their hectic work schedules. Those seeking business opportunities can take advantage of this by filling those duties for them. There are a range of services that people are looking for and so almost any skill provided will be in demand. Simple household tasks like washing cars, mowing lawns and walking dogs are simple ways to earn which do not take up too much time. Making a full time business out of any of these may also be a good option. Providing professional home or pet care as a business has a lot of potential as do many other home based businesses. Business owners can maximize their success by advertising and marketing their services online. 2013 looks like a promising year as far as business and income earning opportunities go. There are numerous new ideas to try and thousands of older ideas that still work like a charm.
Interesting stuff youd like to recall about 2012
Before we look back at
2012, a little bit of trivia on 2013. Its
25yrs since we got a year with all 4 digits being different (first year
Top 10 Drags:
These stocks contributed 480 pts to the
decline even as Nifty rallied +735pts.
Best NPA recovery rate among
Banking Stocks: Karur Vysya, 2002-2012, 81% of NPAs recovered.
2002-2012: returns compounded at a faster rate than HDFC Bank. Still will
give 30% return even if it goes to 2x P/B.
Two-thirds of vehicles do not have insurance: Study
Nearly 70% two-wheelers and around 35% of four wheelers on Indian roads do not have even the mandatory third-party liability insurance, according to a study by insurance companies. Third-party motor insurance is a mandatory cover for vehicles plying on the road. The cover saves the vehicle owner from any financial liability in case his vehicle causes any damage to the life or property of a third person. In case of an accident that causes bodily injury or loss of life, the third party cover is unlimited and the entire amount of compensation is borne by the insurance company. In case of damage to property, the liability is limited to Rs. 7.5 lakh. Many insurers have also found fake motor insurance policies in circulation. Insurers conducted this study with the help of technology. Insurers concluded these figures after calculating the number of vehicles registered and the total number of policies issued. Due to proliferation of fake policies, many vehicles dont buy insurance. Also, vehicle owners in semi-urban and rural areas do not face any scrutiny of their documents. Hence they prefer not to buy insurance cover for their vehicles.
PM unveils new Science Technology and Innovation Policy
The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, unveiled the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STI) 2013 by presenting its first copy to the President of India Pranab Mukerjee at the inaugural session of the Centenary session of the Indian Science Congress at Kolkatta. The STI Policy seeks to send a signal to the Indian scientific community, both in the private and public domain, that science, technology and innovation should focus on faster, sustainable and inclusive development of the people. The policy seeks to focus on both STI for people and people for STI. It aims to bring all the benefits of Science, Technology & Innovation to the national development and sustainable and more inclusive growth. It seeks the right sizing of the gross expenditure on research and development by encouraging and incentivizing private sector participation in R & D, technology and innovation activities. The policy also seeks to trigger an ecosystem for innovative abilities to flourish by leveraging partnerships among diverse stakeholders and by encouraging and facilitating enterprises to invest in innovations. It also seeks to bring in mechanisms for achieving gender parity in STI activities and gaining global competitiveness in select technological areas through international cooperation and alliances. The policy goal is to accelerate the pace of discovery, diffusion and delivery of science led solutions for serving the aspirational goals of India for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth. A Strong and viable Science, Research and Innovation system for High Technology led path for India (SRISHTI) are the goal for the STI policy...Read More
HSBC India Services PMI at 56.3 in December
Activity in the Indian private sector improved during December for the forty-fourth successive month. The HSBC India Composite Output Index posted 56.3 in December, up from 53.2 in November. The rate of expansion was sharp, and the fastest since February. Manufacturers and service providers both signalled increases in output, with rates of growth quickening in both sectors. The seasonally adjusted HSBC Services Business Activity Index posted 55.6 in December, up from 52.1 in the previous month. The latest reading signalled a sharp expansion in activity, the fastest in three months. Monitored companies mentioned that output growth was supported by higher new total business and maintained quality of services. Commenting on the India Services PMI survey, Leif Eskesen, Chief Economist for India & ASEAN at HSBC said:"The service sector provided some holiday cheer with activity fully recovering after two months of deceleration, led by a sharp rise in new business. The additional workload also led to a rise in outstanding business. Inflation readings, meanwhile, eased a bit. With growth showing signs of recovery and inflation still elevated, the case for a policy rate cut is not yet convincing. However, the RBI has clearly teed up for rate cuts in January-March." Continuing the trend that started in April 2009, input prices in the Indian private sector rose during December. Although sharp, the pace of inflation eased to a 30-month low. Monitored companies indicated that raw material, fuel and labour costs all rose. There were also mentions of higher tax rates and unfavourable exchange rates. Part of the burden of cost inflation was passed on to clients as average selling prices rose again, and at a solid pace.
Petroleum Ministry introduces flexibility in gas utilisation by power plants
Considering the fact that many power plants in the country are operating at low Plant Load Factor (PLF) due to acute shortage in availability of domestic gas leading to inefficient production of electricity, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has notified guidelines for clubbing/diversion of allocated gas between two or more power plants of same entity (the ownership structure of the power plants involved in clubbing/diversion must be identical)so as to improve the PLF and corresponding increase in total generation of electricity. The clubbing/diversion, in all spells, should not be for a period of more than a year in total and clubbing/diversion of gas should lead to higher production of electricity compared to pre-clubbing arrangement. The cost of the gas, so diverted, would be in accordance with the price based on the source of the diverted gas so that there is no financial burden on the end consumers. The entity seeking clubbing/diversion would bear any additional financial liability arising from the existing and future Gas Sale Agreement(GSA)/Gas Transport agreement(GTA) and any other swapping transaction resulting there from and the end-use of the diverted gas would remain the same i.e. supply of power to State Discom.The power plants would, therefore, have to obtain no objection from the concerned power distribution company (Discom) to which they are supplying electricity (pre-clubbing/diversion) and the Ministry of Power shall operationalize the arrangement. This step should help many power plants operating at low capacity in improving their power generation.
Agriculture growth vital for inclusive Growth: FM
The Union Finance Minister P .Chidambaram said that Agriculture and Allied Sectors are critical sectors for inclusive growth. The agriculture growth rate for the 11th Plan has been targeted at 3.3 per cent as compared to 2.2 per cent achieved during the 10th Plan period, the Finance Minister added. He further said that we need sufficient agriculture production not only to meet our domestic requirement but also for exports. The Finance Minister was making his introductory remarks during his first pre-budget meeting with stakeholders from agriculture sector He said that foodgrain production during last year 2011-12 was 257.4 million tons and during the current financial year 2012-13 equally good foodgrain production is expected. Along with the Finance Minister, both the Minister of State for Finance Shri S.S. Palanimanickam and Shri Namo Narain Meena, Adviser to the Finance Minister, Shri Parthasarthy Shome, Finance Secretary, Shri R.S. Gujral, Secretary, Financial Services & Disinvestment, Shri D.K. Mittal, Revenue Secretary, Shri Sumit Bose, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Shri Arvind Mayaram, Secretary Agriculture & Cooperation, Shri Ashish Bahuguna, Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Raghuram R. Rajan, Chairman CBDT and Chairman CBEC were present among others. Participating in the discussion, the different stakeholders representing different sectors of agriculture gave various suggestions to the Finance Minister for the forthcoming Union Budget 2013-14. The suggestions included setting-up of National Agriculture Climate Damage Fund and creation of post harvest infrastructure in villages. Other suggestions included focus on National Agriculture Research System, extension of the advance quality seeds to the farmers, creating environment for equitable and employment generated agriculture etc. .Others suggested the need to focus on solar operated pumps in the rural areas to save energy and purchase of extra power generated through solar photo voltic pumps, allocation of additional resources for agriculture research, putting a regulatory system in place at the earliest for the FDI related investment in this sector, moré allocation for oil palm farming among others.
Indias current account deficit at US$38.7bn or 4.6% of GDP
The text of the Union Finance Minister P.Chidambarams Statement about Current Account Deficit (CAD) is as follows:
I have spoken about the Current Account Deficit (CAD) on a number of occasions. The Current Account Deficit, for the first half of the current year (2012-13) stood at US$ 38.7bn or 4.6% of GDP.
The main contributors to the CAD were
Exports recorded a sharp decline of 7.4%, while imports recorded a smaller decline of 4.3% leading to widening of the trade deficit. Of the imports, gold imports amounted to US$20.25bn.
This was partly made up by an increase in services exports of 4.2% and, consequently, surplus in services which amounted to US$29.6bn.
Remittances of US$32.9bn.
Notwithstanding the widening of the CAD, the positive aspect is that the CAD was financed without drawing on reserves. This was mainly due to adequate inflow of FDI (US$12.8bn) and FII (US$6.2bn). In addition, external commercial borrowing amounted to US$1.7bn. The net result is that we have not drawn on the foreign exchange reserves and, in fact, there is a marginal accretion of US$0.4bn to the foreign exchange reserves.
As would be evident, gold imports constituted a substantial chunk of the imports and is a huge drain on the Current Account. Suppose gold imports had been one half of the actual level, that would have meant that our foreign exchange reserves would have increased by US$ 10.5bn. I would therefore appeal to the people to moderate the demand for gold which leads to large imports of gold. I may add that we may be left with no choice but to make it a little more expensive to import gold. This matter is under Governments consideration.
While the CAD is indeed worrying, I think it is within our capacity to finance the CAD, thanks to FDI, FII and ECB. I would like to once again underscore the crucial importance of FDI and FII. As I have said before, attracting foreign funds to India has become an economic imperative.
I am confident that even if the year ends with a slightly larger CAD than last year, we would be able to finance the Current Account Deficit without drawing upon reserves.
Favourable policy to incentivise substantial urea capacity additions: ICRA
The Government of India, on January 2, 2013, notified the New Investment Policy 2012 (NIP-2012) to facilitate fresh investments in the urea sector. The policy benchmarks realisation of urea for new projects to import parity prices, subject to floating floor and ceiling prices, which are in turn linked to gas prices. As per the policy, the floor-cap prices of urea increase in line with the gas prices till the gas price of US$ 14/mmbtu. In the event that the delivered gas price crosses US$ 14/mmbtu, the units shall be paid only the floor price based on the delivered gas prices and the concept of ceiling price will not be applicable. The new policy is in line with the demand of the industry to do away with the gas price ceiling of US$ 14/mmbtu in the earlier proposed policy. Further, it provides downside risk protection through a cost-plus mechanism (minimum implicit RoE of 12%) and upside benefit through import parity price (IPP)-linked pricing mechanism (with a maximum implicit RoE of 20%) for new projects. Assuming a 2:1 debt-equity mix, ICRA expects the corresponding post-tax project IRR to remain in the band of 12.8%-15.6% (for gas prices of US$ 7-20/mmbtu) for brownfield projects. Given the clarity on gas price pass-through, ICRA expects at least 5-6 brownfield / greenfield projects to materialise in the near future. The policy may help creation of incremental capacities to the extent of 8-10 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) over the next 5 years, which should improve the self-sufficiency of the country in urea, although it may not eliminate urea imports altogether.
Import duty on gold increased from 1% to 4% in the budget 2012-13: GJF
All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) has expressed their discontentment on the news that aired on 2ND January 2013 where the government announced that it is intending to increase the import duty on gold yet gain from 4% to 5%. The All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) states that it has already submitted its recommendation to reduce the import duty on gold from 4% to 2%. The Gem and Jwellery Trade Federations Chairman Mr.Bachhraj Bamalwa, said "Import duty on gold was increased from 1% to 4% prior to and in the budget 2012-13.The smuggling of gold was practically nil before this period but have increased ever since the import duty has been increased. Gold worth Rs 942 crores was seized during a brief period of three months further increase in the import duty will encourage smuggling and the income generated from these activities might be used in various illegal activities, threatening the national security as well it will destabilize the overall economy of the country. Further, despite a steep hike in the import duty approximately 600 tonnes of god was imported into the country during the 1ST three quarters of 2012-2013 and the countrys trade gap has also not reduced and the governments foreign exchange reserve has also came down. He further added "It is estimated that gold held by Indian household is 25,000 tonnes approximately since generations. The govt. must try to bring out this gold and utilize it by lending it to jewelers at a nominal rate of interest. If the government can bring out 10% of this gold deposits by way of an amnesty scheme and the same is lended to jewelers as working capita, the country would not require to import gold for a minimum of three years which will help in minimizing the trade gap and as well as bringing the gold price down" He has also mentioned that ban must be imposed on banks selling gold coins. In most cases the banks forcibly sells gold coins to its high net worth clients and the gold keeps on lying idle with the consumers for years. Coins are not same as JEWELLERY and hence coin sales are similar to investment options and consumption is recommended to be reduced...Read More
Working Group on Gold: RBI Draft released
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday released the Draft Report of the Working Group to Study the Issues Related to Gold and Gold Loans by Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) in India (Chairman: Shri K.U.B.Rao, Adviser, Department of Economic and Policy Research). The Reserve Bank has sought comments on the draft report from stakeholders and public. The comments may be mailed up to Friday, January 18, 2013. The Working Group was assigned with the task of studying whether large gold imports of India are a threat to external stability. The Working Group was also asked, among other things, to study the recent trends in gold loans extended by large gold loan NBFCs and see whether there are any systemic stability issues that arise out of the interconnectedness between banks and gold loans NBFCs. The Working Group followed an eclectic approach to address the terms of reference assigned by undertaking technical exercises to study the relationship among various related economic variables; and to conduct surveys through intense dialogue with all the stakeholders to firm up related views. Existing regulations related to NBFCs-Non-Deposit taking (ND) - Systemically Important (SI) sector were reviewed and recommendations were offered...Read More
Rangarajan Committee suggests re-pricing of domestic gas production
Prime Ministers Economic Advisor Council (PMEAC) Chairman headed C. Rangarajan Committee has recommended a new model for pricing of domestically produced natural gas in a report on Production Sharing Contract in Petroleum industry. The panel has however recommended an overhaul of practices undertaken by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).Under the recommendations made by the panel CAG is to select blocks for auditing on financial merit and focus on blocks in exploration phase when costs incurred are most. "Since no market-determined arms length price currently obtains domestically and nor is this likely to happen for several more years, a policy on pricing of natural gas has been proposed," the report said. "The committee recommended deriving one price from "the volume-weighted netback price to producers at (LNG) exporting country well-head for Indian imports for the trailing 12 months." It also proposed to scrap the existing production sharing cost for hydrocarbon excavation and replace it with the sharing the revenue between the contractor and the government. Under the current system, Close scrutiny of costs becomes critical for the Government since there is incentive for contractors to book as costs expenses that do not reflect the true economic cost to the contractor (e.g., through transfer pricing). This is perceived by contractors as interference in commercial decision-making, whereas the Government and CAG view it as legitimate and necessary. The report said that "Since cost recovery is at the root of the problems experienced, it is proposed to dispense with it, in favour of sharing of the overall revenues of the contractor, without setting off any costs. The share will be determined through a competitive bid process for future PSCs"
"This will ensure that as the contractor earns more, Government gets progressively higher revenue, and will also safeguard government interest in case of a windfall arising from a price surge or a surprise geological find" The committee recommended that the present pricing system based on market discovery be replaced by indexing the price of domestically produced natural gas with international prices and imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The panel suggested taking an average of prices at international hubs such as USs Henry hub, UKs National Balancing Point and Japans custom cleared rate and then averaging it with the netback price of imported LNG to derive the sale price of domestically produced gas. Tax holiday has been recommended to be extended to 10 years from 7 years for the blocks where substantial portion of drilling has to happen offshore at a depth of more than 1,500m, as the cost for same remains very high. The time for exploration in future PSCs has been extended from the current 8 years to 10 years, for frontier of more than 400m depth and 1,500m depth blocks. Speaking on CAG, Rangarajan was quoted by reports as saying that "Audit is prerogative of CAG and so the power of audit remains with CAG" The Rangarajan Committee was set up after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reprimanded the oil ministry for lapses in implementing oil and gas contracts properly. The Oil ministry after consideration of the recommendations made by the panel would send its own proposal to the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on gas or cabinet.
SEBI rejects consent plea of RIL: reports
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has reportedly rejected Reliance Industries Ltds (RILs) consent plea in the alleged insider trading case in the shares of the Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL). The Sebi note disclosed names of 149 entities whose consent applications were rejected between 26 May and 31 December 2012, according to reports. Reports said that the list included RIL and suggested that the consent applications of 12 more entities were also rejected in the same insider trading case of RPL.
YEAR 2012: Steps taken to improve basic services to poor
The Ministry of Housing & Poverty Alleviation has taken several important policy decision during the year 2012 for the improvement of infrastructure and basic services to the poor residing in cities and towns of India. The details are as follows:
1. Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Established For Low Income Housing:- The Government approved the establishment of a Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Trust (CRGFT) for low income housing, with an initial corpus of Rs.1000 Crore. The Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Trust has been registered on 1st May, 2012 and the scheme has been notified. The CRGF Trust will administer and operate the Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Scheme. Under the Scheme, the fund will provide guarantee to the lending agencies for housing loans extended by them to persons belonging to the Economically Weaker Sections / Low Income Housing Groups up to Rs. 5Lakh, without any third party guarantee or collateral security. The lending institutions eligible to avail benefit of the Guarantee cover under the Scheme are Scheduled Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks, Urban Co-operative Banks, Non Banking Financial Companies-Micro Finance Institutions (NBFC-MFIs), Apex Co-operative Housing Finance Societies registered under the State Co-operative Societies Act and Housing Finance Institutions registered with National Housing Bank (NHB). The CRGF Scheme is a demand driven scheme and applicable for the eligible housing loan extended by the lending institution in Urban Areas. The coverage under urban areas may extend to statutory towns, urban agglomerations and planning areas.
2. Revision of Income Criteria for Eligibility Under Various Housing Schemes for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and the Lower Income Group (LIG) :- The Ministry has also revised the income criteria for fixing eligibility for various Housing schemes being implemented by it targeting the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) / Low Income Group (LIG) beneficiaries. The income ceilings for the Economically Weaker Section household has been enhanced from up to Rs.5,000 per month to up to Rs.1,00,000 per annum and that of Lower Income Group has been increased from Rs.5001-10,000 per month to Rs.1,00,001 to Rs.2,00,000 per annum. The new criteria for income revision have been conveyed to all State Governments, Union Territories and Central Nodal Agencies namely National Housing Bank (NHB) and Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd. (HUDCO). NHB and HUDCO in turn have informed all Banks, Financial Institutions (FIs) and Housing Finance Companies (HFCs). This will enable a larger number of people to access credit and partake in various schemes...Read More
Women-workforce productivity impacted by 40% in Delhi-NCR: ASSOCHAM
ITeS-BPO companies have registered a significant decline in work productivity during the last fortnight as one in three amongst the female worker has either reduced working hours after sunset or quit jobs after horrendous Delhi rape incident, according to quick random survey undertaken by ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF). The unfortunate incident in the national outrage has impacted the productivity of women workforce not only in Delhi-NCR region but also in other major cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahemdabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Dehradun, ASSOCHAM surveyed 2,500 women and they said it was due to long hours and shift jobs. The survey found that Delhi-NCR, BPO-ITeS have being affected to the extent of 40%. There are near about 2,200 ITES and BPO units in Delhi-NCR region and over 2.5 Lakhs women work in BPOs & ITeS sector in Delhi-NCR. The survey highlights that nearly 82% of the women respondents said they have started leaving early after the sunset. The anxiety is more among those women who travel by buses, chartered buses, three-wheelers and metro is the most after sunset. About 89% of those participated in the survey in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad said they have begun insisting on leaving offices on time, immediately after duty hours following the atmosphere of insecurity, adds the survey. Majority of the respondents of Delhi-NCR marked the atmosphere not comfortable enough for them to work in BPO and ITeS sector, majority of them said bad (67%), good (10%), satisfied (15%) and very good (8%). Few respondents reported the fact that they often receive indecent calls, especially during the night shifts. While the productivity has also been affected even among the office-goers and the workforce in other cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, they felt relatively better off than those staying in the Delhi-NCR region, reveals the ASSOCHAM survey. Releasing the assessment, ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr. D S Rawat said that in sector specific cases BPOs, KPO and ITeS Sector, women employees are the most vulnerable and prone to both physical and non-physical attacks especially after their duty hours over. There has been a huge attrition rate amongst females in these sectors. As a result of this, the sectors female employees remain extremely security concern as this anxiety is filled with them in high degrees.
GoM meeting on Coal Regulator bill postponed: Reports
"The GoM which was to meet tomorrow to discuss the draft Coal Regulator bill has been postponed due to unavailability of a few ministers," a government official was quoted by reports as saying. To set up a regulatory body for Coal sector the cabinet had referred a draft bill to the GoM. Earlier in November, Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said that GoM is to come up with final recommendations to set up a regulatory body for coal sector. The Union Cabinet in May proposed a regulator for coal sector and requested GoM for their recommendations on its powers and functions. Earlier a meeting on December 18 was also postponed owing to winter session of parliament. Shankar Committee and countrys Integrated Energy Policy recommended to set up a coal sector regulator.
Largest coal block put up for auction; energy companies in for scramble
Top energy companies along with energy PSUs such as NDMC and Coal India are set for a scramble as government has put 8.5 bn tone (bt) coal reserves up for auction, said the reports. The largest thermal coal block, Deocha Pachami block in Birbhum district of West Bengal, with over 2bt reserve is reportedly a major attraction for the companies. The block was put up for auction yesterday amongst 17 acreages put up for auction by the coal ministry. The move comes even as NDMC demanded the allocation of the block for 3 years. It had come up with a Rs.100bn plan to develop the block in a joint venture with Coal India (CIL). In wake of the block being put up for sale, the worlds largest coal miner CIL wants to exploit the reserves alone. "We will write to the coal ministry to give this block to us. There is nothing we can do in a joint venture which we cannot do alone," a top CIL was quoted by reports as saying. CIL which already has reserves of up to 67 bt is increasingly facing the governments pressure for not increasing the production in order to meet the 630 mt domestic demand. The PSUs cash and bank balance at the end of September increased to Rs 646bn from Rs 582bn in March.
The government wants to allocate the block to a power firm to set up an end-use wing to utilise the coal internally. The block has been therefore listed in the "end-use" category of the list. CIL has reportedly said that the company would request the ministry to strike the block off from the end use list and allocate it to CIL under a special provision. NDMC is a strong potential contender for the block given it meets the end user condition alongwith the financial strength of the company. The company could revamp capacity by rejuvenating its fuel securing strategy. But the new guidelines bars firms from seeking blocks placed in the end-use category which might have dimmed the NDMCs chances of securing the block. A coal ministry official was quoted by reports that NDMC cannot apply for the block. The applicant firm should have a power purchase agreement signed prior to January 2011. Meanwhile, the government move might have blocked NMDCs plan to develop Deocha Pachami. The new guidelines bar mining firms from seeking blocks placed in the end-use category. "NMDC cannot apply for this block. It is meant for power generation," a senior coal ministry official said. It cannot apply even if it sets up a power plant, as the applicant firm should have a power purchase agreement. NDMC could get a block by entering in JV with a power company like NTPC, said the reports.
Coal Production and Offtake registers significant growth
2012 has been an eventful year for the Coal Ministry with performance review of 66 coal blocks and actions including deallocation and deduction/ of bank guarantee against defaulters. The process started to streamline and increase coal production in the country. The basis of grading and pricing of thermal coals switched over to Gross Calorific Value (GCV) system in place of Useful Heat Value (UHV) system besides, a number of steps for technology development and modernization.
Following are the major highlights of the working the coal ministry during the year.
Coal Production & Offtake register significant growth
The target of coal production for the financial year 2012-13 has been set at 578.10 million tonnes as against the actual production of about 540 million tonnes achieved in 2011-12 which implies a growth of 7% over the previous year. As against this, the actual production during the period April-November, 2012 has been 330.61 million tonnes which is about 93% of the target for this period and registered a growth of 6.4% over the corresponding period of the previous year. The target for coal offtake for the current financial year 2012-13 has been set at 585.60 million tonnes. As against this, the actual coal offtake during April-November, 2012 has been about 360 million tonnes indicating an achievement of 95% of the target for this period and registered a growth of 7.8% over the corresponding period of the previous year. The coal offtake to power during April-November, 2012 from Coal India Limited and Singareni Collieries Co. Ltd has been about 237 million tonnes indicating an achievement of 92% of the target for this period and registered a growth of 12% over the corresponding period of the previous year...Read More
Small business confidence holds steady in December: CFIB
Optimism among Canada's small- and medium-size businesses held steady in December, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The latest monthly Business Barometer index came in at 62.6. "After a few months of swings, small business confidence ends the year very close to what it was in November," saidTed Mallett, CFIB's chief economist and vice-president. "While optimism is better than it was during the summer, the December reading is lower than index levels that were registered in the preceding winter, spring and fall months." Small business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador (69.1) remain the most optimistic in the country. Entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan (66.5), Alberta (65.7) and British Columbia (65.0) are above the national average, while Ontario (62.9) and Manitoba (62.3) is roughly equivalent. Nova Scotia (61.8), Quebec (59.8), New Brunswick (59.1) and Prince Edward Island (54.3) are all below the national average. "The economy continues to grow, albeit modestly," added Mallett. "Entrepreneurs are reporting generally positive news about employment and capital investment plans. That suggests growth could improve once we see more economic optimism in the U.S. and Europe." Full-time hiring plans continue to be strong for this time of the year. The percentage of businesses expecting to hire full-time staff in the next three or four months remains above 20%, compared to 10% who say they will cut back. Overall, 41% of business owners described their state of business to be in "good" shape, about three-times the 14 per cent who said their state of business is "bad." Measured on a scale of 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses' performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 70 when the economy is growing at its potential. The December 2012 findings are based on 889 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.3% 19 times in 20.
Railways revenue earnings up by 19.23% During AprNov 2012
The year 2012 has been significant for the Railways in achieving goals and targets with regard to the following:
Railways infrastructure projects on fast track
The year 2012 saw a big push for the key infrastructure projects of Railways. After a review meeting on infrastructure held by the Prime Minister in the last week of November 2012, deadline has been set for such important infrastructure projects like the elevated rail corridor in Mumbai, setting up of locomotive factories on public private partnership, rail tariff authority and Dedicated Freight Corridors. A time bound action plan has since been initiated by the Railway Ministry on these issues.
Growth in Revenue generation
The total approximate earnings of Indian Railways on originating basis during 1st April to 30th November 2012 were Rs.78868.17 crore compared to Rs. 66150.48 crore during the same period last year, registering an increase of 19.23 per cent. The total goods earnings have gone up from Rs. 43891.25 crore during 1stApril 30th November 2011 to Rs. 54487.10 crore during 1st April 30thNovember 2012, registering an increase of 24.14 per cent. The total passenger revenue earnings during 1st April 30th November 2012 were Rs. 20423.31 crore compared to Rs. 18742.83 crore during the same period last year, registeringan increase of 8.97 per cent. In the calendar year 2012, Indian Railways has achieved scrap sale of Rs. 3903.84 crore till Nov. 2012. For the corresponding period in 2011 sale achieved by Railway was 3748.68 crore...Read More
HDFC Bank plans to acquire office space in Lower Parel for Rs 2.20bn: reports
HDFC Bank is reportedly planning to acquire nearly 1.3 lakh sq ft of commercial space in Peninsula Business Park at Lower Parel in central Mumbai. The bank is paying around Rs 17,000 per sq ft totaling nearly Rs 2.20bn for acquiring the office space in Peninsula Business Park's 20-storey tower-B owned by Alok Realtors, says report.
There are reports that the bank will use the office space to expand its operations and will also shift some of its current operations from other offices.
SEFPL's securitization transaction rated "AAA (SO)": CRISIL
Srei Equipment Finance Private Limited (SEFPL)s securitization transaction aggregating to ` 185.49 Crore has been assigned "AAA(SO)" rating by CRISIL. This is the first securitization transaction of SEFPL originated assets being rated by CRISIL. The instrument with the rating of "AAA(SO)" indicates the highest degree of safety regarding timely servicing of financial obligations and carries lowest credit risk. The rating is based on the credit quality of the pool cash flows, SEFPLs origination and servicing capabilities, credit-cum-liquidity enhancement, payment mechanism, and soundness of the transactions legal structure. Srei Equipment Finance had securitized portfolio of ` 4,334 crore last fiscal and is managing the securitized portfolio of ` 2,917 crore post amortization as on December 31, 2012. Commenting on the rating, D K Vyas, Chief Executive Officer, Srei Equipment Finance Private Limited, said, "The AAA(SO) rating is an indication of the good quality of our assets, robust due diligence and a strong sense of risk awareness that is imbibed in our work culture. Financing by us is backed with good quality security and our customers are leading infrastructure developers of the country. As such our securitization transactions have been rightly given the highest rating".
Hero MotoCorp reports marginal increase in sales: reports
Hero MotoCorp reported a marginal increase in its sales at 5,41,615 units in December 2012, according to reports. Reports said that the company had sold 5,40,276 units in December 2011. Hero MotoCorp Senior Vice President (Marketing and Sales) Anil Dua said: "December being the last month of the calendar year usually witnesses sluggish retails as customers tend to postpone their purchases to the new year. "
Hyundai domestic sales up 4.7% from Jan-Dec 2012
Hyundai Motor India Ltd, the countrys second largest car manufacturer and the largest passenger car exporter recorded a 4.7% jump in domestic sales, 3.1% in Exports and the Cumulative sales stood at 4.1% in calendar year (CY) Jan-Dec 2012. Domestic sales in December 2012 were 26,697 units against 29,516 units in the corresponding month last year. Aggregate sales were 47,833 units against 49,050 units last year. Exports were 21,136 units in the month against 19,534. Hyundai operates on January- December as business year. Commenting on the year-end sales Mr. Rakesh Srivastava, VP- Sales & Marketing, HMIL said, "In the year 2012, in difficult market conditions, we refreshed i20, launched Sonata and Elantra which resulted in strong volumes and consolidated our leadership position. The marketing initiatives in the rural market, corporate sales and focused efforts on exchange sales through Hyundai Advantage helped increase sales of petrol variants. This strong sales was led by Eon and i10. The increased production capacity of diesel vehicles with strong price value equations gave a higher than industry growth in diesel models. Overall we were able to improve on volumes while maintaining market share in passenger cars." The segment-wise cumulative sales for December 2012 are: A2 segment 41,069 units (Eon, Santro, i10, i20); A3 Segment 6,270 units (Accent and Verna); A4 segment 428 (Elantra), A5 segment 20 units (Sonata); Santa Fe (SUV) 46 units.
Bajaj Auto December sales up 13%
Bajaj Auto Ltd. said that its total vehicle sales was up by 13% in December to 3,43,946 units, with exports also up 5% 126,016 units.
Commercial Vehicle (CV) sales was up 9% at 45,596 units in the month.
Total motorcycle sales for the month also surged 13% at 298,350 units.
Mercedes-Benz India sells 7138 units in 2012
Mercedes-Benz India announced its sales achievement for the period from January- December, 2012. During the period, Mercedes-Benz India has sold 7138 units of cars as wholesale(Wholesale refers to no. of unit sold by manufacturer (MBIL) to its dealer partners). Mercedes-Benz India achieved segment benchmark in terms of overall sales in luxury cars in India (The range of cars priced upwards Rs 30 Lakhs). The new M-Class SUV launched in India in May-2012 has been a runaway success and is booked until May-2013. The B-Class pioneered the Sports Tourer category in India and is also booked until February 2013. The S-Class which epitomizes luxury motoring continues to remain the overwhelming leader in its segment. Mercedes-Benz India has pursued its aggressive network expansion strategy in 2012. With opening of 6 new touchpoints in Tier II & III cities, Mercedes-Benz India now is present in 31 cities with 72 touchpoints and has the densest network among all luxury car manufacturers in India. Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India commented, " Our sales performance has been overall in line with expectations. At the same time we have managed to retain our profitability and premium in 2012. 2013 would be an exciting year for us. We will continue to delight our customers through an array of fascinating products, engagements and experiences."
M&M registers 18% growth in passenger vehicles in December 2012
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M Ltd.), Indias leading SUV manufacturer, announced a 6% rise in its auto sales numbers, which stood at 45297 units during December 2012 as against 42761 units during December 2011. The companys domestic sales stood at 42307 units during December 2012, as against 39891 units during December 2011, an increase of 6%. The Passenger Vehicles segment (which includes the UVs and Verito) registered a growth of 18%, having sold 22761units in December 2012, as against 19341 units during December 2011. The 4 wheeler commercial segment which includes the passenger and load categories registered a sale of 13706 units, while the 3 wheeler segment clocked 5209 units in December 2012. Exports for the month of December 2012 stood at 2990 units, a growth of 4% over December 2011...Read More
Ford India sells 10,899 cars combined in December
Record exports for the third consecutive month combined with steady domestic demand helped Ford India end 2012 with sales of 10,899 domestic wholesale and export units in December. Despite persistent market challenges, domestic sales remained healthy with 6,517 vehicles sold in December this year compared to 5,978 units sold in the same month last year, a year-on-year increase of 9 percent. Ford Indias exports rose to 4,382 cars last month the highest-ever exports in its history, and have more than doubled from the 1,685 units exported in December last year. Exports hit an all-time high for the third consecutive month after shipments hit 4,211 units in November. Year-to-date exports stand at 30,435 up 35 % from last year. "Despite a tough business environment, we have seen record exports and sustained customer interest in December," said Joginder Singh, president and managing director, Ford India. "It is great to see that we are closing the year on a positive note with strong growth momentum. As we head into 2013, we will continue to focus on providing products and services, with Quality, Green, Safe and Smart attributes, that our customers want and value," he added.
Ford India also organised its Midnight Sale on December 5, making it the best day to buy a Ford with the companys 160 sales outlets across the country remaining open from 8 am till midnight and allowing customers to win free gifts and avail exciting offers on interest rates, discounts and insurance benefits. Ford India carried on the celebrations throughout the month with its December Dhamaal campaign, generating substantial consumer interest. In 2012, the company also stepped up its efforts to reach out to customers and reduce cost-of-ownership for them by pushing further into tier-two and three cities and towns and opening new channels of service. The first ever Ford Quick Lane service centre in Asia was launched in Bangalore this year, making routine vehicle maintenance and light-repair needs possible for customers who are short on time. Ford Indias pan-Indian network of sales and service outlets, which stood at 200 in December 2011, have seen a 25 % spurt in the current year to reach 250 across 130 cities. The company plans to take the number to over 500 by mid-decade.
TVS Motors December sales decline 8.3% yoy
TVS Motors sold 156,221 units in December 2012, indicating declines of 8.3% yoy and 9.1% mom. The declines were seen in both domestic (-8.1% yoy) and export volumes (-9.9% yoy). In the two wheeler segment, scooters reported disappointing volumes at 30,398 units (lowest since April 2010) implying sharp declines of 32.2% yoy and 18.9% mom. Mopeds at 61,127 units saw contraction of 8% yoy while the motorcycles volumes at 60,210 units grew by 6.3% yoy. 3-wheeler category witnessed a 78% yoy jump but saw a decline of 11.2% sequentially (against highest till date volumes in November 2012). YTD, the company has seen its total volumes decline by 8.8% yoy. Motorcycle and scooter segments have led the declines contracting by 13.3% yoy and 16.5% yoy respectively, while mopeds have managed to remain flat (+0.8% yoy). The 3-wheeler category has been the only positive wherein a growth of 8.9% yoy has been recorded YTD. While domestic volumes declined by 6.7% yoy, fall in exports was steeper at 21.6% yoy...Read More
BMW India announces price increase
Philipp von Sahr, President, BMW Group India said, "The success of BMW Group India has always been built on long-term thinking and responsible action. We want to maintain sustainable leadership in the Indian market with a strong brand and an exceptional model range with unbeatable product substance. With the price increase BMW Group will maintain its premium positioning in the Indian luxury car segment." BMW dealerships presently display the BMW 3 Series, the BMW 5 Series, the BMW X1 and the BMW X3 that are produced at the BMW Plant Chennai. BMW dealerships also display the BMW 6 Series Coupe, the BMW 6 Series Convertible, the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, the BMW 7 Series, the BMW X5, the BMW X6, the BMW Z4 and the BMW Gran Turismo which are available in the country as Completely Built-up (CBU) units. The BMW M3 Coupe, the BMW M3 Convertible, the BMW M5, the BMW M6 Coupe, the BMW M6 Convertible, the BMW X6M, the BMW 6 Series Individual and the BMW 7 Series Individual can also be ordered as CBU at BMW India dealerships.
In 2013, BMW India will launch the new BMW 7 Series, the new BMW X1 and the BMW 1 Series in Indian market. The new BMW 7 Series will be locally produced by mid-2013 and the BMW 1 Series will be locally produced by end of 2013. BMW India is the pioneer in bringing luxurious dealerships to India. BMW India has set a decisive course by setting up BMW dealerships of international standards across the country. BMW India has also set very high standards in service quality and customer care. Currently, BMW India has 33 sales outlets in the Indian market across New Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kanpur, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Ahmedabad, Surat, Indore, Raipur, Nagpur, Bangalore, Mangalore, Kochi, Calicut, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar. By end of 2014, BMW India will further expand its dealer network by increasing the number of sales outlets to 50 across major metropolitan centers and emerging markets in India.
Civil Aviation Minister directs immediate removal of Air Indias GM (Operations)
The Union Civil Aviation Minister has asked Air India to immediately remove its General Manager (Operations), Capt. H.Y.Samant from his present assignment, for his failure to put a crew in place for Flight A-330, Mumbai- Singapore. Ajit Singh, Union Civil Aviation Minister was informed that Flight A-330, Mumbai- Singapore, did not take off in the mid-night of 1st/2nd January, 2013 because of non-availability of the crew. On preliminary enquiry, it was found that Capt. R.S. Dhillon was supposed to fly the said flight from Mumbai to Singapore. However, because of his suspension on 31st December, 2012 for irregularities regarding fudging of records of Simulator training, he became ineligible to fly. This information was available with General Manager (Operations), Incharge of Scheduling, Capt. H.Y. Samant, who was also informed about the suspension of Capt. Dhillon. However, no alternative arrangement for crew was ensured by the Operations Department of Air India working under Capt. Samant and consequently the flight was cancelled putting 220 passengers at great inconvenience. Taking a very serious view of this, the Union Civil Aviation Minister has instructed Air India management to immediately remove General Manager (Operations), Capt. H.Y.Samant , since it was his responsibility to ensure that the alternative arrangement for the crew is made well in time, more so when he was aware of the suspension of Capt. Dhillon and was also informed in this regard. It is seen as a gross dereliction of duty by Capt. Samant. The Minister has asked that an inquiry be conducted in this regard and immediate disciplinary action be taken against Capt. Samant and all those responsible for the lapse. The Minister has also asked the Air India to ensure that such an incident is not repeated in future, and that all concerned may be informed accordingly.
Civil Aviation Minister sets up Committee to suggest cost-cutting measures
Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Ajit Singh has constituted a five-member Committee, headed by Prof. Ravindra H. Dholakia, Professor of Economics & Public Systems, IIM, Ahmedabad to suggest various measures for cost cutting and optimal utilisation of resources in Air India. Other Members of the Committee are Dr. Prabhat Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Shri Rajesh Agrawal, Director Finance, ICRISAT, Hyderabad, Shri S. Mukherjee, Ex-Director Commercial & Inflight Services, Air India, Shri Nasir Ali, Joint Managing Director, Air India. Shri Nasir Ali will also act as a Member Secretary of the Committee. Although, the Committee has been asked to submit its report in 2 months, it has also been asked to give immediate/interim recommendations without waiting for final report, so that these can be implemented in Air India immediately without any loss of time. The Committees terms of reference include analysis of all Heads of Expenses of Air India in the light of best practices adopted by various other airlines in the world; examination and analysis of various measures, including cost-cutting, adopted by other turned around airlines in the past; and identification of various loopholes in the existing structure and functioning of Air India leading to wasteful expenditure, and also to suggest measures for plugging such loopholes. Further, the Committee will analyse various cost components and identify those expenses & costs which can be abolished immediately, or reduced in phases or curtailed after sometime in future. It will also analyse the inventories of spare-parts and suggest a system of Optimal Inventory Management and disposal of obsolete/ excess inventories. It will critically review the expenses on overseas offices including the manpower deployment and suggest measures to reduce such expenses, will analyse the ATF utilisation by Air India and suggest measures to reduce/optimize ATF utilisation in the background of best practices followed by other airlines...Read More
Air traffic growth may decline by 2.5% in FY13: CMIE
Air traffic growth may decline by 2.5% in FY13 as travel is being impacted by higher fares, CMIE reportedly said. CMIE also reported that they expect total passenger traffic to decline by 3.2% year-on-year in the second half of FY13. According to the DGCA data, the total number of passengers carried by the domestic airlines in the first 11 (rpt) 11 months of the year stood at 534.14 lakh, marginally less than 550.33 lakh fliers during the corresponding period of the previous year.
Foreign tourist arrivals up 6% upto November 2012
Despite negative signals from the global economy, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country in 2012 (up to November) showed an increase of about 6 % over the same period of 2011. During the period January- November 2012, 58.99 lakh tourists visited India against 55.72 lakh in 2011.Similarly foreign exchange earnings from tourism in rupee terms during 2012 ( up to November) were Rs.83,938 crore with a growth of 22.1% over the same period in 2011.The foreign exchange earnings during 2011 was to the tune of Rs.68,721 crore. The year 2012 also witnessed the launch of campaign clean India to enhance the image of country abroad. The Tourism ministry signed MoUs with the Ministries of Railways, Civil Aviation and Information & Broadcasting with the purpose of seeking their cooperation to boost tourism in the country. Some of the major initiatives of the ministry undertaken during 2012 are given below:
MoU on Tourism with ASEAN
India signed an MoU with and ASEAN in January this year which would serve as the key instrument for more action oriented cooperation, encouraging both parties to cooperate in facilitating travel and tourist visit and further strengthening the close tourism partnership. The MoU was signed by Union Tourism Minister at Manado, Indonesia. The main objectives of the MoU are to : cooperate in facilitating travel and tourist visits, further strengthen the tourism partnership, enhance mutual assistance and human resource development for tourism sector, take necessary steps for exploring avenues of cooperation and sharing of information, exchange information pertaining to investment opportunities and economic data in tourism, travel and hospitality sectors...Read More
Ministry of tourism to set-up multi-lingual helpline for Tourists
Union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi, has approved the setting-up of a multi-lingual helpline to provide general information and assistance to tourists. To begin with, the helpline will be in the languages of the important source countries besides Hindi and English. The Minister has directed that the toll free helpline should be accessible from everywhere in India and should start functioning in the new calendar year. The primary objective of the proposed helpline would be to provide tourism related information to free independent travelers. The proposal was mooted at a meeting with the representatives of various leading travel trade associations held in the Ministry of Tourism yesterday.
CA Technologies: Top 5 IT predictions for 2013
CA Technologies released its top five IT predictions for 2013:
1. Big Data Grows Up: Big Data isnt just big. Its useful, and sentiment analysis will no longer be the biggest use case. There will be an emergence of Big Data Administrators, who will play a critical role in using new technologies and processing power to take a cold, hard (and useful) look at data and its business application. In 2013, Big Data projects will begin to show demonstrable ROI. As with cloud, our definitions will mature, enabling better focus on delivering business value. This infrastructure that integrates with data from social media and open data sources will dramatically increase the demand for management and security. The risk of Big Data decision is much lower and the insights Big Data provides will increase ITs leadership on innovation.
2. Enterprises Adopt Public Cloud: Enterprises will adopt public cloud services, spurred by the expansion of offerings from Service Providers (SP) like established telcos, who have already earned their trust. In addition, as SPs franchise their business models and technologies, cloud services will surge outside the US. Additionally, the buzz of "the cloud" will dim as people realize its just the way business is done. Vertical industries such as healthcare will lead this trend, realizing its impact on security, the value of specialized community cloud services and the ability to address compliance while driving down costs. Mainframe will move more rapidly to the cloud as companies that already have a mainframe will adopt cloud technologies and processes to get the most out of them. Externally hosted private cloud adoption will also increase in the next couple of years...Read More
Persistent Systems unveils PersisTrends 2013
Persistent Systems the global leader in software product and technology services, unveiled PersisTrends, a new report on 2013 technology trends and recommendations from the Companys CTO Office. Trendsetters provides guidance for enterprises and ISVs on the cloud computing, mobility, analytics and collaboration technologies that should be adopted, sunsetted, trialed or tested with an eye to future implementation. The report is based on external data and input from Persistent Systems global customers that include 300 of the worlds largest technology companies, cutting-edge start-ups and innovative enterprises. PersisTrends helps organizations understand the impact both emerging technologies and dated technologies can have on their ability to effectively compete in their respective markets. "2013 marks a turning point as certain key technologies in cloud computing, mobility, analytics and collaboration have emerged to form the backbone of next-generation products and enterprise applications," said Dr. R Venkateswaran, CTO of Persistent Systems. "Our PersisTrends report makes concrete recommendations to both ISVs and enterprises on the technologies within these four core areas they should evaluate for adoption and future use as well as those they should retire over the next six-twelve months."...Read More
Decibel launches Open API framework and CMS for web development
Decibel Technology, an enterprise-level web content management system (CMS), launched its Open API offering, creating a brand new category of CMS designed to significantly speed up and enhance website development and management. Based in Tech City, and with clients that already include Nokia, LOreal and Miss World, Decibel Technology has invested £1 million into the product architecture and is currently bolstering the team with bilingual experts to make Decibel an even more truly global product. Noted by a leading analyst as part of the leading group of CMS solutions and one of the most comprehensive CMS solutions on the market, Decibel expects to create more than 100 new highly skilled jobs over the next 24 months. Decibel Open API (Application Programming Interface) opens up Decibels successful closed source framework and CMS to be fully extensible so that developers have complete control to build new or extend existing features. After integrating the website design into Decibel, they simply write their code in an app, and plug and play. Importantly as Decibel cant be edited directly, it retains its integrity, stability and security.
With minimal code required to customise Decibel, development is more accurate and significantly faster, reducing the cost of the development over the life of a website. Rather than wasting significant time preparing and debugging systems to make them fit for purpose,like typical systems, developers can use Decibel straight out of the box, providing more valuable value-add development time and making it a more enjoyable working experience. Designed for developers, web agencies and ultimately website owners, the Decibel Open API proposition provides a complete set of enterprise-level features, which is downloadable by developers for free, and can be learnt from behind a desk in hours. Providing risk free adoption, web agencies and developers can very quickly embrace Decibel to see the dramatic impact on developer productivity and output while running it alongside their current offerings...Read More
Juniper Networks: Top Trends in Cyber Attacks 2012
1. Simple attack methods on web applications remain effective - Many of the large public companies this year fell victim to web application vulnerabilities like SQL Injection and Cross Site Scripting. These types of attacks have been known about for several years and remain a popular hacking method because of the relatively low level of sophistication needed and the potential difficulty in preventing them.
2. Mobile malware and application-centric threats continue to pose a risk to enterprise data - With the continued adoption of Bring Your Own Device policies in the workplace, the risk of mobile malware and invasive applications infiltrating critical corporate data continues to be a top concern. Indeed, 2012 saw a significant increase in the amount of malware and invasive apps aimed at mobile users with a 350 percent increase in mobile malware from Oct. 2011-Oct. 2012, and free applications being four times more likely to track user location and three times more likely to access address books than paid apps.
3. Increased transparency about data breaches - As the frequency of data breaches continues to increase, companies are judged more on how they handle incidents than if they experience an issue. It seems that many companies, who in the past would have hidden a breach, are now being open and honest about it with the public and their customers. Many companies are still not providing extreme detail about the nature of a breach, but they are taking a publicity risk by acknowledging their existence. Ultimately, this is a very promising development in the industry because it will help raise awareness about the importance of security.
4. Botnets take a beating - Building on earlier success, public/private partnerships were successful in taking down several prominent botnets responsible for everything from spam to the Zeus banking Trojan. Through a combination of forensic security research and novel legal arguments, researchers were able to block the command and control systems of some of the most infamous botnets...Read More
India Ratings assigns Mahindra EPC IND A-'/outlook stable
India Ratings has assigned Mahindra EPC Services Pvt. Ltd. (MEPC) a Long-Term Issuer rating of IND A- with Stable Outlook. A list of additional rating actions is provided at the end of the commentary. The ratings reflect MEPCs moderate operational, strategic and legal linkages with its parent Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M&M). M&M holds a 100% stake in MEPC through its 100% subsidiary Mahindra Holdings Ltd. India Ratings have used a bottom-up approach described in its Parent Subsidiary Linkage Criteria while assigning the ratings. The M&M groups support to MEPC enables it to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, while M&Ms strong brand equity provides a competitive advantage to MEPC. Moreover, MEPCs board of directors are employees of M&M and hold key strategic functions at M&M. A group company, Mahindra Consultancy Engineers, offers engineering, advisory and infrastructure consulting solutions to MEPC in its on-going projects. The ratings are however constrained by MEPCs limited operating track record. The company is executing three orders worth of INR4,840m to set up three solar power plants totalling a capacity of 52.6MW, which is likely to be completed by January 2013.
Geometric acquires 3Cap Technologies GmbH
Geometric Limited, a leader in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Global Engineering Services and Outsourced Software Product Development (OSPD) solutions and technologies, announced that its German subsidiary, Geometric Europe GmbH has acquired 100% stake in 3Cap Technologies GmbH (3Cap), a specialist in electronics engineering, primarily for the automotive industry, based in Oberschleißheim near Munich, Germany. 3Cap employs over 110 people, all of whom work out of Germany. It has seven customers, which are mostly tier 1 automotive suppliers. 3Cap offers a multitude of services to its customers ranging from Embedded Systems Development Verification and Validation, and Calibration in the areas of powertrain and chassis. 3Cap is a young multicultural company founded in 2004 by Mr. Henri Sadoune, who is a French national based out of Munich, Germany. Mr. Sadoune has entered into a long term agreement with Geometric and will take responsibility for all embedded systems activities, including Geometrics existing embedded systems projects. Henri Sadoune, MD, 3Cap Technologies added, "We are very happy to provide our customers the global reach and end-to-end capabilities that this association with Geometric gives us. Moreover, the underlying ethos of both companies to partner with customers will further cement this merger and strengthen our common business development". 3Cap is valued at Euros 11 million of which Euros 7.5 million will be paid up front. Geometric is funding the acquisition out of accrued cash. The balance payments will be subject to earn-out under mutually agreed terms and conditions over a maximum period of 3 years. In the calendar year 2012, 3Cap had revenues close to Euros 11 million. The acquisition is effective 1st January 2013.
Dr Reddys Laboratories launches Finasteride Tablets
Dr. Reddys Laboratories announced that it has launched Finasteride Tablets (1 mg), a bioequivalent generic version of Propecia® (Finasteride) Tablets in the US market on January 02, 2013. Dr. Reddys ANDA for Finasteride 1 mg Tablets has been awarded a 180-day period of marketing exclusivity in the U.S. on 2 Jan, 2013.
The Propecia Tablets brand has U.S. sales of approximately $136 Million MAT for the most recent twelve months ending in October 2012 according to IMS Health*. Dr. Reddys Finasteride Tablets 1 mg is available in bottle counts of 30 and 90.
Glenmark Pharma receives nod for Crofelemer 125 mg delayed-release tablets
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Limited announced that the US Food and Drug Administration has provided Marketing approval to its partner in US, Salix Pharmaceuticals Limited for Crofelemer 125 mg delayed-release tablets for the symptomatic relief of non-infectious diarrhea in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) on anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Crofelemer is believed to improve HIV associated diarrhea via dual mechanisms of action with inhibition of both CFTR (Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Protein) and CaCC (calcium-activated chloride channel) resulting in reduced chloride ion secretion into the GI lumen". Data supports the use of Crofelemer as an orally administered, anti-secretory anti-diarrheal agent that may provide relief to patients through the inhibition of chloride secretion into the gut. In addition, the Phase 3 study showed that Crofelemer did not influence the efficacy or safety of the patients HIV medications. The FDA approval of Crofelemer is based on a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled (one month) and placebo-free (five month), multi-center study of 374 HIV-positive patients on ART, with a history of diarrhea for one month or more. The primary efficacy endpoint was the proportion of patients experiencing less than or equal to two watery bowel movements per week, during at least two of the four weeks of the placebo-controlled phase of the study. Patients who received concomitant anti-diarrheal medications or opiates were counted as clinical non-responders. Data demonstrated that a significantly larger proportion of patients taking Crofelemer 125 mg twice daily experienced clinical response compared with patients in the placebo group. In addition, statistically significant reductions from baseline to the end of the double-blind period also were observed for the number of watery bowel movements per day, and daily stool consistency score, among patients taking Crofelemer compared with placebo. Further, the Crofelemer treatment effect for clinical response (125 mg twice daily vs. placebo) was similar in subgroup analyses based on duration of diarrhea, baseline number of daily watery bowel movements, use of protease inhibitors (PI), and CD4 cell count. The most common adverse reactions in the study were respiratory tract infection, bronchitis, cough, flatulence, and increased bilirubin.
Important Safety Information for Crofelemer
In clinical studies, the most common adverse reactions (occurring in = 3% patients and at a rate greater than placebo) were upper respiratory tract infection, bronchitis, cough, flatulence and increased bilirubin.
Aurobindo Pharma gets final nod approvals for Rizatriptan Benzoate Tablets
Aurobindo Pharma Limited has received final approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) to manufacture and market Rizatriptan Benzoate Tablets 5mg (base) and 10mg (base) (ANDA 202490), which was earlier tentatively approved. The product is ready for launch. Rizatriptan Benzoate Tablets 5mg (base) and 10mg (base) is the generic equivalent of Merck and Cos Maxalt Tablets 5mg (base) and 10mg (base) and is indicated for the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults and in pediatric patients 6 to 17 years old. The annual sale of the product is approximately US$ 300mn for the twelve months ending March 2012 according to IMS. The product has been approved out of Unit VII (SEZ) formulations facility in Hyderabad, India Aurobindo now has a total of 171 ANDA approvals (146 Final approvals including 2 from Aurolife Pharma LLC and 25 Tentative approvals) from USFDA.
CCI modifies apartment buyers agreement in DLF Case
The Competition Commission of India passed a supplementary order modifying the Apartment Buyers Agreement entered into between DLF and the apartment allottees. This order under Section 27 of the Competition Act, 2002 relates to the order of the Honble Competition Appellate Tribunal of March 29, 2012, by which the Commission was directed to pass an order specifying the extent and manner in which the terms and conditions of the Apartment Buyers Agreement need to be modified. This order has been passed under Section 27(d) of the Competition Act. The Commission in its order after considering the modified terms of the Apartment Buyers Agreement submitted by both parties, has modified the terms of the Apartment Buyers Agreement in a manner which it considers fair and reasonable and takes into account the interest of both parties. The Commission in its earlier order dated August 12, 2011 had held that DLF Ltd. was a dominant enterprise which had violated the provisions of Section 4 of the Competition Act 2002 by entering into an agreement with apartment allottees that was one sided, abusive and unfair to the allottees. Accordingly the Apartment Buyers Agreement has been amended such that the abusive and unfair conditions present in the original one sided agreement have been removed. The Commission in its order has also considered the relevant provisions of the laws applicable to the development of group housing projects in Haryana, particularly the mandatory requirements which must be followed by every developer/builder, but which were not followed by DLF Ltd. in this case.
JLL: Increased Ready Reckoner rates will hurt housing demand
The increase in Ready Reckoner rates will definitely have an impact on housing sales as this increases stamp duty. This will hold true for both primary and secondary sales. Over the last six months, the housing market in Mumbai had started showing signs of revival after an 18-month period of sluggishness beginning in the 4th quarter of 2010. The hiked Ready Reckoner rates could dampen that revival, given the fact that home buyers are already burdened with service tax, sales tax, VAT, taxes and duties on construction materials, etc. Moreover, land owners will cite the increased Ready Reckoner values to demand higher prices for their plots. This will negatively affect land sales, as there is already a pronounced lack of liquidity in the sector. Developers will also feel the heat by virtue of having to pay higher capital gains tax. In many locations, it has been noticed that the Ready Reckoner rates are not in line with market rates. In 2008-09, the Government had provided relief to home buyers and developers by not increasing the Ready Reckoner rates. Given the current uncertainties in the real estate market, the Government should definitely reconsider its stand on this issue. About 25% of the real estate cost to buyers comprises of various taxes such as excise, VAT, service tax, stamp duty, octroi and local corporation taxes. Reduction of stamp duty and taxes brings down overall costs and increases the affordability of homes. Any increase in duty and taxes gets passed on to the end user, i.e., the buyer, and will reduce demand and therefore sales.
This is contrary to the Governments avowed aim to encourage and support affordable and mass housing. Reduced duties will encourage more buyers to register home purchase transactions. Instances of understatement of sale proceeds would also come down with a reduction in stamp duty. There is sufficient historic evidence to the fact that state revenues rise when stamp duty reduces, as this stimulates housing demand. Furthermore, there has been a country-wide debate on the safety of citizens over the last two weeks. In the light of this, the Government should take all steps to encourage home ownership. Research clearly indicates that neighbourhoods which have higher incidences of home ownership are safer, with citizens being more involved in the community. This provides more stability to families and promotes personal responsibility.
Indian real estate sector 2012 the year of correction: Cushman & Wakefield
For the Indian real estate sector, 2012 was a year of cautious approach as stakeholders - developers, investors and occupiers began the year with an air of skepticism, a trait that continued through the year. Rising inflation, rupee depreciation and increasing cost of capital added to the woes that affected demand as well as future supply dynamics of real estate in the country. Though the Government failed on many front and therefore had no choice but to do its bit, mostly in the second half of the year, by announcing new policies and reforms, there was limited impact of these measures within this year. Larger benefits of the policy reforms will be only be seen in subsequent years. Residential was the only sector that witnessed moderate growth, compared to the commercial sector that includes office, retail and industrial that saw limited or no growth. Many new projects were launched in last few years, I expect most of them to complete in next 3-5 years. We should witness another correction at that time before the uptrend begins again.
Falling global economy, reduced GDP against projection and heightened inflation have disrupted the cash in-flow in the market. Fiscal deficit and interest rates were high while the rupee depreciated. All this did not bode well for any industry, especially real estate. Developers were reeling under high debt with limited funding options for development purpose. However, there was certain vibrancy in the investors who capitalized on the opportunities available in the market. Even foreign direct investment saw an increase in the real estate sector. I expect the global economy to stabilize next year. This clubbed with more government reforms should boost everyones confidence moving the market upside...Read More
Bharti Airtel launches mEducation services
Bharti Airtel, leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa now brings education on the mobile device with the launch of its mEducation services. The innovative new service platform now enables Airtel mobile customers across the country to easily access a host of education services including courses for language skills, entrance exam preparation and career counseling from the best of universities and professors in the country with just a few clicks on their mobile phones. Commenting on the service, K Srinivas, President- Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel said, "In many parts of the country, access to formal education is still restricted. Mobile platform has the potential to bridge this restriction using technology. Airtel mEducation service uses technology-enabled platforms to address the challenging issues of education with an endeavor to enrich the lives of our customers. Airtel mEducation has been designed to replicate a classroom experience for a mass market and enable learning at a convenient, accessible and affordable platform." Customers can now easily improve their capabilities with new skills and build self-confidence by improving their use of English language, through test preparations for entrance exams or personality development sessions. MBA aspirants can now learn the tricks to crack the CAT by the CAT guru Arun Sharma. Both working professionals and students can easily avail the services in the convenience of their homes with the flexibility to learn at their own pace at affordable prices. Based on both voice (IVR) and SMS format, the curses offer interactive learning in the native language of the customers. Regular assessment tests also help customers to evaluate their progress. Customers can now also easily access the details of campuses and the scholarships on their fingertips...Read More
Tata DOCOMO launches New Year special 2G data pack
On the special occasion of New Year, Tata DOCOMO, the unified telecom brand of Tata Teleservices Limited (TTL), introduced an amazing 2G Data Pack for GSM prepay customers. This pack will be available to all the GSM prepay customers across Karnataka. The 2G data pack is priced at just Rs 46 with data benefits of 2013 MB valid for 5 days. Speaking at the launch of data pack, Yatish Mehrotra, Hub Head-South, Tata DOCOMO, said, "We are very excited to launch special GSM 2G Prepaid Data Pack to Welcome 2013. In our continuous effort to provide unique and innovative offerings to our customers, we have especially designed data pack which will appeal to all our GSM prepay customers. We really hope that the New Year celebrations will become a lot more special with our exciting 2G Data Pack". The 2G data pack will be available only through electronic recharges for GSM customers. The data pack will be available to the customers till 3rd January,2013.
I will sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans : Obama
"Thanks to the votes of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, I will sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest 2 per cent of Americans while preventing a middle class tax hike that could have sent the economy back into a recession and obviously had a severe impact on families all across America," Obama told the White House press corps. US House of Representatives where Republicans are in majority, passed the fiscal cliff bill. The house voted in a 257-167 Yea to Nay ratio after which Obama said that the measures were "just one step in the broader effort to strengthen the economy"
The bill was passed as 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans voted in favour of the bill. A majority 151 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted against the legislation. The bill has raised the taxes for rich Americans and delayed the spending cuts which are mostly aimed at Defence, for two months. The legislation would avert much of the fiscal cliff's negative near-term economic impact by extending the Bush-era tax cuts for almost all Americans. It would also extend long-term unemployment benefits that were set to expire. The bill would increase the top 35% income tax rate to 39.6% for incomes exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples, while continuing decade-old income tax cuts for the majority who fell outside this slab. The bill stipulates raising taxes that top earners pay on capital gains , dividends and inherited estate properties; permanently stopping the alternative minimum tax from raising levies on millions of middle-income households; extend expiring jobless benefits; preventing cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors; and delay for two months billions in budget-wide cuts in defence and domestic programs slated for this year.
But the agreement leaves Congress facing other issues in coming months that could lead to standoffs: federal borrowing hitting the debt ceiling, the so-called sequester of automatic spending cuts and a continuing budget resolution expiring. The bill is to take effect retroactively from Jan 1. President Obama speaking post the passage of the bill said that 98% Americans wont see hike in tax rates. Bill would help raising revenue by $620bn. He also said that he is open to compromise on budget issue as well as healthcare reforms. On the issue of debt ceiling he said that we would not have another debate with congress over debt ceiling. Earlier, the bill was passed in the senate in less than 24 hours and was negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and passed the senate in a 89-8 ratio on Tuesday morning...Read More
Money for Nothin writing checks for free: Bill Gross
It was Milton Friedman, not Ben Bernanke, who first made reference to dropping money from helicopters in order to prevent deflation. Bernankes now famous "helicopter speech" in 2002, however, was no less enthusiastically supportive of the concept. In it, he boldly previewed the almost unimaginable policy solutions that would follow the black swan financial meltdown in 2008: policy rates at zero for an extended period of time; expanding the menu of assets that the Fed buys beyond Treasuries; and of course quantitative easing purchases of an almost unlimited amount should they be needed. These werent Bernanke innovations nor was the term QE. Many of them had been applied by policy authorities in the late 1930s and 40s as well as Japan in recent years. Yet the then Fed Governors rather blatant support of monetary policy to come should have been a signal to investors that he would be willing to pilot a helicopter should the takeoff be necessary. "Like gold," he said, "U.S. dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply. But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost." Bernanke never provided additional clarity as to what he meant by "no cost." Perhaps he was referring to zero-bound interest rates, although at the time in 2002, 10-year Treasuries were at 4%. Or perhaps he knew something that American citizens, their political representatives, and almost all investors still dont know: that quantitative easing the purchase of Treasury and Agency mortgage obligations from the private sector IS essentially costless in a number of ways. That might strike almost all of us as rather incredible writing checks for free but that in effect is what a central bank does. Yet if ordinary citizens and corporations cant overdraft their accounts without criminal liability, how can the Fed or the European Central Bank or any central bank get away with printing "electronic money" and distributing it via helicopter flyovers in the trillions and trillions of dollars?...Read More
Averting the 'Fiscal Cliff' has wider ranging effects than expected
As Washington took last minute action to avoid the so-called 'Fiscal Cliff', businesses are changing their outlook for the next year. Avoiding the Cliff means that the Bush Tax Cuts will remain in place for 98% of Americans. The Cliff, an artifice manufactured by Congress to force action on the budget, would have raised taxed and cut federal spending across the board. By putting a deal together at the 11th hour, Congress was able to avert billions of dollars from exiting the economy. Wall Street reacted to the news immediately, adding nearly 2.4% to the Dow Jones Industrial Average on the first day of trading in 2013. Although how small and medium sized businesses, as well as consumers, will react to the deal still remains dubious, the early indicators are positive. The prospects for some have improved dramatically since Tuesday, however. Steve Green, Lead Sales Strategist for American Auto Move, believes that 2013 would be an even stronger year than expected after a deal had finally been struck. "The truth is that if people don't have money in their pockets, they can't spend. And if they're not spending, everybody gets burned especially small and medium sized businesses like ours. Transport is considered by some to be a luxury, so even the perception that taxes are going up, that people are going to have to budget their expenses more, and so on, forces a bit of a pull back on what people are willing to spend with us. But with a deal in place, we know that things aren't going to get any worse, at least from a consumer spending perspective. And now that we know more or less what our tax situation will look like in 2013, we are ready to make the necessary investments to grow." The automotive industry, which appears to have made a sizable resurgence since the Auto Bailout Deal, is one of the most important sources of business for American Auto Move, and a fiscal deal in Washington means that the outlook for that sector should remain upbeat. "Specifically, we're looking at how the automotive industry is going to perform in light of this deal. Car dealerships are a huge revenue stream for us. If people are buying new cars, the dealerships have more work for us." Mr. Green also suspects that internet sales will continue to grow at fever pitch as consumers will most likely have a sunnier economic outlook in general...Read More
Rolls-Royce celebrates 10 Years of Excellence
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars celebrates 10 Years of Excellence. On 1 January 2003 the Home of Rolls-Royce officially opened for business and the first car was presented to its delighted customer at one minute past midnight.
Described at the time as the last great adventure in automotive history, production of Phantom was initially one car per day, rising to three by the end of 2003. Today, with a product range spanning two model families (Phantom and Ghost) and six models, the companys craftsmen and women hand-build up to 20 cars each day. In 2011, Rolls-Royce celebrated a second consecutive sales record and the best result in the companys then 107-year history.
The response to the companys portfolio from customers, media and enthusiasts has been overwhelmingly positive throughout the companys first ten years of business. Each new model has been warmly welcomed and attracted worldwide acclaim, with the cars winning many design and luxury awards. The companys growing dealer network provides the same unique and effortless customer ownership experience across the world, with superlative customer service offered as standard. Whilst the company does not, as a rule, quote its customers, several have offered the following kind words:
Its a seminal car. It changes the landscape - Jack Corwin, California, USA
I bought the Ghost as a gift to myself on my 40th birthday. The release date was 20 June; my birthday. I saw it as proof of my success, a way of marking a milestone in my life Zhang Yong, Beijing, China
I feel like Im at home when I drive my Ghost Simone Ceruti, Florence, Italy
I couldnt choose any other car - Sultan Khouri, Abu Dhabi, UAE
There will never be another Rolls-Royce - Harold Tillman, London, UK...Read More
Minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting
Minutes of the Federal Reserve Board meeting held on 11-12 December reveal that many central bankers were either sensing a slowdown or outright halt to Fed bond purchases before the end of 2013.
Following is an extract from the minutes of the meeting:
Committee Policy Action
Committee members viewed the information received over the intermeeting period as suggesting that economic activity and employment continued to expand at a moderate pace in recent months, abstracting from weather-related disruptions. Household spending had continued to advance and the housing sector had shown further signs of improvement, but growth in the business sector had slowed. Anecdotal evidence indicated that uncertainty about U.S. fiscal policy weighed heavily on sentiment in the household and business sectors. Although the unemployment rate had declined somewhat since the summer, it was still elevated relative to levels that members viewed as normal in the longer run. Members generally agreed that the economic outlook was little changed since the previous meeting and judged that, without sufficient policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions. Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continued to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. Inflation had been subdued, apart from some temporary variations that largely reflected fluctuations in energy prices. With longer-term inflation expectations stable, inflation over the medium term was anticipated to run at or below the Committee's longer-run objective of 2 percent...Read More
US has reached 16.4 tn debt limit: U.S. Treasury Secy
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has communicated to US Congress that the country has reached its borrowing limit of $16.4tn because of which the government has been left with no option but to employ "extraordinary measures" to avoid default. In a second letter to leadership of Congress, Geithner said that the Department of Treasury has begun employing extraordinary measures to avoid default as the borrowing limit has been reached. The Department of Treasury has decided to begin a debt issuance suspension period, he said. He also confirmed that Treasury has discontinued investments in two government retirement funds, a move which is commonly employed by it whenever it reaches the borrowing limit. In a letter on December 26, Geithner alerted that $200bn that the government has at its disposal for its extraordinary measures could only buy 2 months of time. "However, given the significant uncertainty that now exists with regard to unresolved tax and spending policies for 2013, it is not possible to predict the effective duration of these measures. "At this time, the extent to which the upcoming tax filing season will be delayed as a result of these unresolved policy questions is also uncertain," he wrote. "If left unresolved, the expiring tax provisions and automatic spending cuts as well as the attendant delays in filing of tax returns would have the effect of adding some additional time to the duration of the extraordinary measures. "Treasury will provide more guidance regarding the expected duration of these measures when the policy outlook becomes clearer," US Treasury Secretary said.
Europe's largest CSR and Sustainability summit
Europe's largest CSR and Sustainability summit returns for the 12th year Featuring Jeremy Darroch, Chief Executive Officer of SKY, John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK andDaniel Franklin, Executive Editor of the Economist - the summit will address how companies will conduct sustainable business both now and in the future. International leaders from business and civil society will descend on London for the two-day Responsible Business Summit returning for its 12th year, on 7-8th May 2013. The summit will be the meeting place for 500+ senior attendees and 50+ expert speakers from across the world to discuss how business can meet key social responsibility demands and ease environmental strain on the planet. Among the corporate brands represented will be M&S, Microsoft, Unilever, BASF, Dow, Dupont, Rio Tinto, ASDA, HP,National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Patagonia and Hyundai. NGO's and academia will also be sharing their thoughts and insight with speakers from Oxfam, Ethical Trading Initiative, EABIS, Cranfield School of Management, European Commission and Institute of Human Rights and Business.
The keynote topics for the summit will focus around resource scarcity, greater collaboration post Rio+20 and steps to rebuild public trust in corporations. Mike Barry, Head of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, reflected in Ethical Corporation's end of year survey: "Extreme weather is going from a theory to a new reality. Middle class consumers will triple to three billion in the next 20 years with all the strains this puts on resources. The 'cosy' sustainability debate of a few years ago is fast being replaced by one of tough choices." The Summit will feature over 20 breakout sessions focusing on the toughest CSR topics such as supply chain engagement, implementation of the Ruggie principles for human rights, public/private partnerships and how to engage frontline employees on CSR. The usual conference format will be dispensed with; "It's clear that there are better ways to learn than the conference format of "sit and listen to speakers and watch PowerPoint. At the Responsible Business Summit 2013 we'll be using scenarios to generate comments and discussion with our speakers, we'll be breaking attendees into small groups and using up to a dozen both tried and tested and new innovative techniques to make this our best ever learning and networking event," said Toby Webb, founder of Ethical Corporation...Read More
Expansionary budget to support growth in Saudi Arabia: Fitch
Fitch Ratings says an expansionary 2013 budget based on a conservative oil price will support another year of healthy economic growth for Saudi Arabia and a further strengthening of the sovereign's net creditor position. However, overall growth will slow due to a decline in oil production that was already evident in recent months. The FY13 (31 December 2012 to 30 December 2013) budget unveiled on December 29 projects record spending of USD219bn (34% of GDP), up by almost 20% on the 2012 budget. Budgeted capital spending is 28% higher than in 2012, though the government has struggled to achieve its capital spending targets in recent years. Education and healthcare remain the focus of spending, accounting for 37% of the total. Defence and security tends to be the largest single item, constituting around one-third, but is not disclosed in the budget. Revenues are based on unstated oil price and production assumptions, with the former well below prevailing market prices. An 18% jump in revenues is projected. With no new revenue-raising measures announced and little scope for higher oil revenues (Fitch anticipates Saudi production and prices will be lower in 2013 than 2012), the revenue projection appears less cautious than usual. However, actual revenues generally substantially exceed budget revenues (by an average of 82% over the past five years) and should do so again in 2013. A USD2.4bn (0.4% of GDP) surplus is budgeted for 2013. Fitch expects a larger surplus, of 7.6% of GDP. The budget is consistent with an oil price (Brent) of around USD60/b and production of 9.7 million barrels per day, compared with Fitch's forecast of an average USD100 per barrel for Brent. Spending is also expected to surpass the budgeted level; actual spending has exceeded budget by an average of 24% over the past decade. With pension funds expected to post modest surpluses, the general government surplus is forecast at 8.3% of GDP. Fiscal performance in 2012 was strong. The central government surplus rose to 14.2% of GDP, as greater oil production and high oil prices pushed total revenues to an all-time high. Spending growth slowed to 3%, the lowest since 2002, though this followed a significant one-off spending package in 2011. In absolute terms spending is up by 43% since 2009...Read More
Hillary Clinton hospitalised blood clot discovered
Secretary of State Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton remains hospitalized in New York after a blood clot was discovered between her brain and skull behind her right ear. The clot was discovered during a follow-up exam related to a concussion she suffered this month, her spokesman was quoted as saying. In a statement, her doctors clarified that the clot found "did not result in a stroke or neurological damage" and that they "are confident she will make a full recovery." Hillary Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. In the 2008 election, Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
USP seeks comments on Proposals from Food Manufacturers, Ingredient Suppliers
To help ensure the quality of popular food ingredients increasingly being incorporated into products sold in the United States and worldwide, standards for omega 3-rich krill oil and natural, low-calorie stevia sweeteners are among the latest proposed revisions to the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC). FCCis an internationally recognized compendium of food ingredient quality standards published by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). Manufacturers and other parties are encouraged to comment on these proposals, which are contained in the most recent FCC Forum (www.usp.org/fcc/fccForum.html)the free, online vehicle for public review and comment on draft FCC standards. "Ensuring the quality of the food ingredients that make up so much of our global food supply is not only part of responsible business practice, but is critical to the health of consumers, " said V. Srini Srinivasan, Ph.D., executive vice president, global science and standards at USP. "Public standards defining the identity, quality and purity of ingredients incorporated into finished products can be an important resource for manufacturers as they source ingredients from suppliers around the world, offering some assurance that they are receiving the ingredients they expect by providing public specifications to which they can be compared. While important for all ingredients, it is especially crucial for high-value ingredients, including those linked to health benefits such as krill oil and so-called natural ingredients such as stevia, which manufacturers and consumers pay a premium for and are in high public demand. We invite comment on the new proposals to allow us to develop robust public standards that are valuable to all parties."...Read More
Opel plans to cut production by 10%: Reports
Opel, the European arm of General Motors, plans to cut production by 10% in 2013 in wake of weak demand in the European car market, said the reports. In 2012, the loss making carmaker plans to churn out only 8,45,000 vehicles in Europe, said the reports. The company at its Opel and Vauxhall plants in 2011 produced only 1.19mn cars in Europe; figures for last year remain unavailable. European car sales slumped by 7.2% from January to November as compared to a year earlier, data from Association of European carmakers showed, volumes are expected to fall further, said the reports.
DFW International Airport named most hassle-free airport in US
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has been named as the most hassle-free airport in the United States, according to a new survey conducted by Concur. The study shows travelers giving high satisfactory percentage levels, based on clear signage (42%), good Wi-Fi coverage (41%) and availability of a variety of quality food options (41%). The survey was conducted through an online interview with 1,500 passengers who regularly travel for business purposes. The respondents were asked to assess check in lines, security checkpoints, customs and airport signage, among many other factors. Travelers from the UAE have also shown high levels of satisfaction for DFW, as reflected in an impressive 8.67 out of 10 ranking given by Emirates Airlines passengers for their overall customs experience at the airport where its high-capacity customs facility provides short wait times, even during peak hours. Additionally, DFW has ranked in the top five for customer service among large airports worldwide in surveys conducted by Airports Council International for the past five years, making it one of the worlds most highly regarded airports. With the growing reliance of today's passengers on technology and connectivity, DFW provides free Wi-Fi coverage to all its passengers, a service instigated since April 2012, leading it to be ranked number 1 Tech-Friendly US Airport by PC World Magazine. In addition to the high level of customer satisfaction, the increasing number of new airlines flying to the mega-hub, and the continued increase in domestic and international routes to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, is building on its reputation as the best international gateway into the United States.
Emirates doubles A380 Capacity to New York and Paris
Emirates has doubled its A380 capacity to New Yorks John F. Kennedy and Paris Charles De Gaulle airports with a twice daily A380 service fromDubai now operating into both cities. Upgrading capacity into New York by 1848 seats per week, flights EK203 and EK204 will now be operated by the Airbus A380-800. EK203 departs from Dubai at 0225hrs, arriving at JFK at 0745hrs. The return sector EK204 leaves JFK at 1040hrs arriving in Dubai at 0810hrs the next day. In Paris, an additional 2198 seats per week will be added; EK 075 leaves Dubai at 1500hrs and arrives in Paris at 1930hrs. The return flight, EK 076 departsParis at 2110hrs and gets into Dubai at 0640hrs the next day. With the worlds largest fleet of A380 aircraft at 31 and another 59 on order, Emirates continues to set the pace for A380 deployment. In the four years since the Emirates A380 has been in operation over 11.5 million passengers have flown on the aircraft, covering 169 million kilometres. In 2012 alone, Emirates added 11 A380s to its fleet. Despite its size at over 24 metres high and with a wing span of nearly 80 metres, the A380 is the quietest long range aircraft and uses the very latest fuel-efficient technology. Passengers in the First Class cabin can freshen up in one of two on-board Shower Spas before joining fellow premium class travellers in the On-Board Lounge where they can enjoy complimentary beverages and canapés. The Emirates A380 fleet currently serves 21 destinations with new cities to be announced in the coming months. Emirates has the largest number of A380s on order which will total 90 by 2017. In January 2013, the worlds first purpose-built facility for the Emirates A380 will open at Dubai International Airport, allowing faster boarding and smoother connections. From the direct boarding from the lounges for First Class and Business Class passengers, to the expanded duty free shopping, dining options from cafes to fine dining, a full service Timeless spa, two hotels and other amenities, the new concourse represents another first from Emirates in providing innovative products and services that give customers an unsurpassed travel experience.
Worldwide IT spending to reach $3.7 Trillion in 2013 : Gartner
Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2013, a 4.2% increase from 2012 spending of $3.6 trillion, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. The 2013 outlook for IT spending growth in U.S. dollars has been revised upward from 3.8% in the 3Q12 forecast. Gartner analysts said much of this spending increase is the result from projected gains in the value of foreign currencies versus the dollar. When measured in constant dollars, 2013 spending growth is forecast to be 3.9%. The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the leading indicator of major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. For more than a decade, global IT and business executives have been using these highly anticipated quarterly reports to recognize market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork. "Uncertainties surrounding prospects for an upturn in global economic growth are the major retardants to IT growth," said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner. "This uncertainty has caused the pessimistic business and consumer sentiment throughout the world. However, much of this uncertainty is nearing resolution, and as it does, we look for accelerated spending growth in 2013 compared to 2012." Worldwide devices spending which includes PCs, tablets, mobile phones and printers, is forecast to reach $666 billion in 2013, up 6.3% from 2012 (see Table 1). However, this is a significant reduction in the outlook for 2013 compared with Gartner's previous forecast of $706 billion in worldwide devices and 7.9% growth. The long-term forecast for worldwide spending on devices has been reduced as well, with growth from 2012 through 2016 now expected to average 4.5% annually in current U.S. dollars (down from 6.4%) and 5.1% annually in constant dollars (down from 7.4%). These reductions reflect a sharp reduction in the forecast growth in spending on PCs and tablets that is only partially offset by marginal increases in forecast growth in spending on mobile phones and printers...Read More
GETIT partners with Yahoo!! for local search
GETIT, Indias leading digital marketing company announced its association with Yahoo wherein Getit will power results under Yahoo Local. This will mean that Getits entire databases of over 3 million business listings will be accessible to Yahoo users on Yahoo Local. Any search conducted on Yahoo Local will automatically land on a co-branded section which will be powered by Getit. Yahoo with 40 Million unique users is the number 1 portal in India and has an engagement rate of over 100%. Yahoo Front Page averages 5.6 million unique users every day. This association will help to create further brand awareness and popularity of GETIT among masses. Further, for searches conducted on Yahoo! web search which correspond to a local need, Yahoo! users will have the benefit of the listings powered by Getit, depending upon relevance, location and keywords. Commenting on the association, Sidharth Gupta, CEO, Getit said, "This is a very significant partnership since it brings the power of Getits databases to Yahoo! users and likewise brings the immense distribution of Yahoo! to Getits advertisers and SMEs. It is a privilege to be partnering a leading brand like Yahoo! to bring powerful yet simple solutions to our users and advertisers."
Singapore residential property prices rises in Q4: reports
Singapore residential property prices rose sharply in the fourth quarter as persistently low interest rates and continued capital inflows fueled demand, according to reports. Reports said that the country's private-residential property price index rose 1.8% in the fourth quarter from the third quarter to a record 211.9 points. The home-price index rose 0.6% in the third quarter and 0.4% in the second, says report.
Average UK house prices rose 0.3% between October and November: reports
Average UK house prices rose 0.3% between October and November, taking the average property value in England and Wales to £161,490, according to reports. Reports stated that Land Registrys House Price Index for November shows average house prices have risen 0.9 per cent on an annual basis. Wales saw the most significant monthly price fall with a decrease of 1.6%, says report...More
Ericsson signs agreement with Etisalat Egypt
Ericsson has announced a new agreement with Etisalat Egypt to transform the telecom operators radio network to enable a full range of converged information and telecom services that will bring improved quality and speed of services to its subscribers. As part of the deployment, Ericsson will provide Etisalat Egypt with its latest RBS 6000 radio base station technology. This will enable energy-efficient and cost-effective operations while allowing the operator to meet the demands of its growing subscriber base with better and faster mobile internet connectivity and quality mobile coverage throughout the country. Whats more, it will enable Etisalat Egypt to prepare the network for LTE (4G). Saeed ElHamly, CEO, Etisalat Egypt, says: "Demand for voice and data services is constantly increasing. This is why we are always striving to cater to our subscribers needs by continuously upgrading our network and adopting the latest technology." As a multi-standard base station, the RBS 6000 will not only minimize Etisalat Egypts operational expenses and reduce environmental impact but will also ensure smooth transitions and upgrades to new technologies in the future. Deployment of the latest Ericsson technology will also allow for the development of new, high-speed mobile broadband services and web applications.
Isil Yalcin, President of Ericsson, North East Africa Unit, Ericsson Region Middle East, says: "We are proud to build on our longstanding relationship with Etisalat Egypt by taking on this project. We understand that Etisalat Egypt is always looking to provide its subscribers with the latest services and highest levels of quality networks and we are committed to supporting them with our solutions, technologies and expertise to achieve this. It will also allow us, at Ericsson, to continue to progress in our quest to enable a truly networked society in Egypt and the region where everything that can benefit from connectivity will be connected." Etisalat Egypt and Ericsson have a long-term relationship, which is based on a common commitment to enhancing the telecommunication experience for customers in Egypt. Ericssons versatile portfolio of radio base stations gives an unrivalled flexibility, allowing coverage and capacity for all applications, ranging from rural to dense urban deployment scenarios.
He does well, we must say, in whats a self-financed debut. So, he deserves to rake in the returns too. Why not? His debut may have been unduly glorified, yet it stands out for the no-nonsense approach and striking innocence, unlike the vain Kundalkars of the industry who churn out squeamish notions of creativity financed by unwary producers from the much hyped offbeat fraternity.
Most notably, Arbaaz steers clear of some stupidity that took centre-stage in the first part Pandey shooting his own man in a fake encounter, Pandey humiliating his lady love in a police station et al Instead, he makes Pandey more humane (is it the Being Human effect?) , logical and just.
Kanpur is Chulbul Pandeys new karmbhoomi. Lalgunj is history now. Zandu Balm has made way for Fevicol. Unlike the first part, Pandeyji is well-settled in life a transformed step dad - step-bro duo and the cherubic homemaker Rajjo by his side. We have new substitutes for the goon gang as well - Bachcha Bhaiyaa (the dependable Prakash Raj) and sons in lieu of Chhedi Singh and company.
Dabangg II is largely monotonous, yet it entertains. Even though Salman Khan gainfully looms large; his support cast gets memorable screen footage (esp. the sweet, adorable cop Choubeji and his mouthful of amusing quips) Even the comic fillers Pandeys colourful chemistry with his dad and Makhkhis Suppandi-like quirks are in line with the central theme.
Prakash Raj is hugely impressive despite his trivial role. Whoever feels hes the same baddie in film after film doesnt know enough about the craft of acting. Just notice how he breathes the character, subtly localising it with a distinct baritone. This way, he doesnt have to adopt the phoney Bihari accent that so-called accomplished artistes like Nana Patekar, Mohan Joshi and Shivaji Satam mechanically swear by in films with North-Indian milieus. Actors like Prakash Raj deserve many more and far better roles. Hope Bollywood will wake up to this reality some day for its own good.
Most disappointing about this film is the music score. If Sajid-Wajid mesmerised us in Dabangg I, they leave us paralysed us here. Not a single number stays with you the way it did before. Of the whole lot, "Naina Dagabaaz" is the best. If ones glued to the "Fevicol Se" track, thats courtesy Kareena Kapoors magic as also the miracle adhesive with its "majboot jod".
Salman Khan is of course likeable as ever. At 45 +, he exudes unbelievable charm that will put any young star to same (and we dont have many). Sadly, the fabulous actor in him pales into insignificance before the luminous star: partly by choice, partly by circumstances. But he doesnt seem too bothered Like his illustrious father doesnt need a Javed Akhtar to vouch for his awesome talent, Salman doesnt need a Farhan either! Call him pedestrian if you like but he remains a master equestrian.
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5 Weekly positional calls
The New Year has brought good tidings for equity markets world over and India is no exception. Though Friday was subdued, the week managed to clock gains of ~1.7% for the main indices.
It was indeed high drama and a last minute scramble in US as Obama and team got into action to avoid the fiscal cliff crisis. A likely recession scenario was averted after the House of Representatives approved a Senate bill that raised tax for the rich and delayed spending cuts, triggering a rally across global indices.
For India, the coming week will usher in corporate results including companies like Infosys, which may continue to remain lackluster. The corporate commentary will be examined to gauge the mood at India Inc.
IIP and inflation could have a bearing on the RBIs policy meeting later in the month. The coming week, will be more stock-specific with indices in a narrow range.
The India Infoline Weekly Wrap keeps you abreast of the markets and arms you for the markets in the coming week. To access the India Infoline Weekly Wrap, just Click Here
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Mangeshkar launches her Humsafar calendar!
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