Reliance Industries subsidiary raises $ 1 billion in 10-year bonds


A subsidiary of oil, gas and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has raised $ 1 billion through 10-year dollar denominated debt, the largest sale of bonds overseas from an Indian company in nine months.

Reliance Holding USA Inc. sold the 5.4 per cent guaranteed senior notes due 2022 priced at 345 basis points over the 10-year US Treasury note, at a price of 99.481% to yield 5.468%.
The notes will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed by RIL, a press release from the company said.
The transaction priced through RIL’s secondary curve and was nearly 8 times over-subscribed with an orderbook aggregating US$ 7.8 billion. 

Actor Amitabh Bachchan to undergo surgery on Saturday after complaint of abdominal pain

File photo of Amitabh Bachchan
File photo of Amitabh Bachchan
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan will undergo a surgery on Saturday morning after suffering from pain in the abdomen for the past few days.
Bachchan, 69, disclosed this on his blog, saying that he had undergone some medical procedures today.
"The surgery they say is not too complicated, but then all doctors say the same as you end up on the operating table, and before long the details and the subsequent anxieties begin to rise," he said.
"There has been a dosage of injections intravenous that began today and shall continue for a few days .. a pain in the abdomen has to be investigated tomorrow under a CT Scan and then and only then shall the ok for the surgery be given … so the next few weeks shall be full of nothing else but the hospital and medical bulletins .. boring it may be but it shall be as informative as possible..," he said.
Bachchan had suffered a near fatal intestinal injury while shooting for a fight scene for the 1982 film, Coolie. He had to be hospitalised for many months as hundreds of fans camped outside the hospital and thousands more prayed for him around the country. In 2005, he underwent bowel surgery.

Analjit Singh appointed non-executive Chairman of Vodafone India

Analjit Singh
Analjit Singh
Mobile telecom services provider Vodafone announced today that leading industrialist Analjit Singh had been appointed as the non-executive Chairman of Vodafone India.
Analjit Singh is the founder and Chairman of Max India Limited as well as its subsidiaries such as Max New York Life Insurance Company Limited, Max Healthcare Institute Limited and Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Limited.
Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive of Vodafone Group, said “Analjit has been a longstanding,
reliable and trustworthy partner in India.”
Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone’s Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region, said: “I am delighted to announce Analjit’s appointment as Chairman of Vodafone’s operations in India. Analjit brings a wealth of business experience and is one of India’s leading entrepreneurs. He knows our business well, having been the Founder and Chairman of Max Telecom, the business which has grown to become Vodafone India with nearly 150 million customers.”
Analjit Singh said he considered it was a great honour to become Chairman of Vodafone India, a company he has been involved with since its inception.
"The business has performed strongly in the market under Vodafone’s stewardship and I look forward to working with Vodafone India CEO Marten Pieters and his team as the company continues to compete strongly in the fast-growing mobile market.’’
The appointment is effective from 16 February 2012, following formal approval from the
Board of Vodafone India, a press release from the company added.
Analjit Singh is the former non-executive Chairman of Indus Towers, India’s leading shared
telecom infrastructure services company. He is a Director on the board of several leading Indian companies such as Tata Global Beverages, Hero MotoCorp and Dabur. 
He has recently been honoured by the Government with the Padma Bhushan. He is also a member of the Indo-US CEOs Forum.
Analjit Singh is currently an Executive Board Member of the Board of Governors, Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, where he is jointly funding a new campus at Mohali, Punjab and actively facilitating it as the Chairman, Mohali Campus Advisory Board, ISB. He has recently taken on the role of the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. In addition, he is the Chairman, Board of Governors, The Doon School, Dehradun.
Analjit Singh is an alumnus of Doon School, Dehradun; Shriram College of Commerce, University of Delhi; School of Management and the Graduate School of Management, Boston University, Boston, United States.
Vodafone India commenced operations in 1994 when its predecessor Hutchison Telecom acquired the cellular license for Mumbai. The company now has operations across the country with over 147 million customers. 

Sahara, Turner in JV to enter Indian construction, infrastructure sector

Sahara Prime City Ltd, the real estate arm of the Sahara India Group, today said it had formed a joint venture (JV) with Turner Construction Company, a major building construction contractor in the United States, and Acropolis Capital Group, a special situation investment and development firm, to serve the construction and development market in India. 
The company, Sahara Turner Construction Limited, was launched today by Sahara Group chairman Subrata Roy, Nicholas E. Billotti, President and C.E.O., Turner Construction International and Annat Jain, Managing Partner, Acropolis Capital Group.
A press release from the company said Sahara Turner Construction Limited, which will provide integrated construction services in India, will lead the construction of the chain of Sahara City Homes integrated townships and other projects of the Sahara group.

L&T bags orders worth Rs 1880 crore in Q4

Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had bagged new orders valued at over Rs 1880 crore across various business segments during the fourth quarter of financial year of 2012.
In the infrastructure segment, the company has secured orders aggregating to Rs 1048 core from various clients, a press release from L&T said.
These included an order from the West Bengal Government's State Highway Circle-I, for the  construction of  four lane elevated corridor along Kazi Nazrul Islam Sarani (VIP road) from Kestopur to Zora Mandir in the district of north 24 Parganas under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) of the Union Government.

Piramal Healthcare to acquire further 5.5% stake in Vodafone India


Vodafone Group and Piramal Healthcare today announced that Piramal had agreed to purchase 5.5 per cent of the issued equity share capital of telecom services provider Vodafone India Limited (VIL) from ETHL Communications Holdings Limited for a cash consideration of approximately Rs 30.07 billion (£385 million).

This would take Piramal's total shareholding in VIL to approximately 11 per cent, a press release from the two companies said.
The release said the transaction followed the settlement between Vodafone and Essar over the sale of Essar’s approximately 33 per cent stake in VIL, announced  in July 2011, and the purchase by Piramal of approximately 5.5 per cent of the issued share capital of VIL from Essar in August 2011. 
"This completes the exit of the Essar group as a shareholder in VIL," the release said.
The transaction contemplates various exit mechanisms for Piramal, including both participation in a potential initial public offering of VIL and a sale of its stake to Vodafone, the release added.

Sahara withdraws Indian cricket sponsorship, Pune Warriors ownership

Hours before the players' auction for the fifth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was due to begin, the Sahara India group announced on Saturday that it was withdrawing from its sponsorship of Indian cricket as well as its ownership of the Pune Warriors IPL franchise.
File photo of Sahara India chairman Subrata Roy
File photo of Sahara India chairman Subrata Roy

Hours before the players' auction for the fifth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was due to begin, the Sahara India group announced today that it was withdrawing from its sponsorship of Indian cricket as well as its ownership of the Pune Warriors IPL franchise.

The reason for the parting was major differences, in general, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which Sahara said did not believe in "genuine give and take", and, in particular, over a replacement for Yuvraj Singh, who is undergoing treatment for critical illness overseas.
The BCCI, however, went ahead with the auctions of the players.
Sahara said in a statement that, on the basis of the fact that it had only one India marquee player, it had requested the BCCI that it should be allowed add the price of Yuvraj Singh to its purse during today's auction because it had later taken Saurav Ganguly at $ 0.4 million.
"Again, we have been denied on the basis of the rule book. Yet again, a case of being denied natural justice. We think this peculiar situation of Yuvraj Singh is silent in the rule book because it probably talks only about players who are temporarily injured. 
File photo of Yuvraj Singh EPA /UNI PHOTO
File photo of Yuvraj Singh EPA /UNI PHOTO
"Incidentally, once during the Champion’s League tournament, one of the Indian IPL teams had a lot of injured players so they were rightly, out of natural justice, allowed to break the rules and take one extra foreign player. We appreciated this natural justice," the statement said, referring to the BCCI decision last year to allow the Mumbai Indians to field an extra foreign player because several of its players were down with injuries.
"Yuvraj Singh, who is truly like one of our family members, is, quite unfortunately, passing through a bad phase health wise, undergoing treatment for critical illness, overseas. Out of enthusiasm, he may like to come out on the ground after a few months. But any well-wisher who truly loves him, would never desire that he be allowed to play for the oncoming months. Our duty is to take care of him, so Sahara has decided to pay him his full fee this year with condition as a Guardian that his priority should be health care and he should not play till he has fully recovered," the statement said.
Tracing its long association with Indian cricket, Sahara said the relationship was "primarily emotional".
"...and all along, the journey was indeed, a privileged one for the entire Sahara India Pariwar. In 2001, cricket was not as rich but had become a religion in our country. We had requested the then BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmia to go for an open auction, for the Indian team’s sponsorship inviting only interested Indian corporates, since it was not right that it should go to some MNC. But for obvious, unavoidable reasons, BCCI did not accept that.
"After 3 months, one fine morning, our Chairman was told that the sponsorship had gone to an MNC. Immediately, our Chairman called Dalmiaji and expressed his desire to take up the sponsorship. He responded quite positively and requested for a 10% increase in the price, which our Chairman immediately accepted.
"Now after an 11-year journey as sponsors, we can say with surety that cricket has become very rich. Many rich people are there to support cricket with a strong will to do so. So, with absolute peace of mind we can exit from cricket under BCCI and are now exiting with a heavy heart. It was an emotional decision for us to start this sponsorship but our emotions were never appreciated and many genuine situations, were not given due consideration at all.
"Our first entry into IPL was thwarted in 2008 when we were disqualified, owing to a small technicality on the whims and fancies of BCCI. Yet our bid was not opened. Last year, Sahara entered the IPL on the basis of information in the media and everywhere else that 94 matches will be played among 10 teams. The bid price was accordingly calculated, but only 74 matches were played. We are still pursuing continuously with the BCCI to refund the extra bid money proportionately. It has been denied on the basis of strict rules.
"In the interest of the tournament, we repeatedly tried our best to pursue the BCCI for open auction of all players so that we achieve level playing field and all teams are equally balanced from the quality players’ point of view. Again, as per BCCI’s strict rules it was denied and again, we were deprived of natural justice. 12 of the best players were retained by the existing teams then.
"The two new teams then requested for allowing us at least one extra foreign player but that too was denied, quoting rules.
"Once during a World Cup tournament, Sahara’s name was not allowed because there was a clash of our airline with a South African airline. In two major tournaments, the team had to play without the ‘SAHARA’ logo.  It was ICC’s decision so we could realize that it was for no fault of BCCI and we also did not want the players to suffer. As per the rules, we were not supposed to pay sponsorship money for those matches but we still paid the players' share of the amount in entirety. Sadly, we never found BCCI believing in genuine give and take," the statement said.
The statement said Sahara felt that such "one-sided emotional relationship" could not be dragged any further.
File photo of the Indian cricket team celebrating  the ICC World Cup 2011 after beating Sri Lanka in the final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 2, 2011. EPA/UNI PHOTO
File photo of the Indian cricket team celebrating the ICC World Cup 2011 after beating Sri Lanka in the final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 2, 2011. EPA/UNI PHOTO
"We are withdrawing from all cricket under BCCI. However, we don’t want to give any problem to the BCCI and we also feel that the players should not suffer. BCCI will definitely take 2-4 months to get a new sponsor and we will continue paying the sponsorship money till then. All other IPL team players, coaches and other such associates will definitely get their due this year, in case they do not get a chance to play," it said.
"For this, our humble request once again to the BCCI is that through the right process and with strict rules/regulations, they should pass on our team to some other interested party immediately. We expect at least this much of our humble request will kindly be accepted after 12 years of our productive relations hip with the BCCI," the statement said.
The Group said it had decided that the money allocated by it for cricket would now be diverted to social work.
"We are declaring to put immediately Rs. 500 crore in Sahara Welfare Foundation, which will be run with the association of eminent persons of our country. For the programme as mentioned below, Sahara declares to put around Rs. 500 crore more in the next 1-2 years as per the need of all the programmes.
"We are working on various programmes including financial implications etc since we have taken this decision after continuous persuasion with the BCCI failed, meaning on the 2nd of February, 2012. But we waited upto the auction day ie today, 4th of February that our request to BCCI would be accepted. But again, there was no natural justice," it said.
The statement said Sahara would develop 20 rural/semi-urban Sports Protional Centres, including cricket centres. Each such centre will have 7 to 10 acres of land, with hostels having 50-100 rooms. The centres will cater to different disciplines, including hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, wrestling, boxing and so on.
It said one international standard sports academy would be developed in India, where the best students from the centres would come. 
The company also said it would set up a support fund for retired sportspersons who are facing financial difficulties.
It said it would consider increasing its sponsorship amount for other disciplines and also support various other social programmes.

Citi India launches Alumni Network to help former employees reconnect


Citi India today announced the launch of the Citi Alumni Network, a specially designed, global electronic platform for former Citi India employees to reconnect with Citi and with each other. 

The network was launched by Victor Menezes, former Vice Chairman of Citigroup and the current Chairman of the Citi India Advisory Board.
A press release from Citi India said the network would not only allow past colleagues to stay in touch with their contemporaries and with Citi, but would also allow them to share their experiences and memoirs on the network.  

Rediff appoints M Madhavan Nambiar to its Board of Directors

M Madhavan Nambiar
M Madhavan Nambiar India Limited (Nasdaq: REDF), a leading online providers of news, information, communication, entertainment and shopping services for Indians, announced the appointment of former bureaucrat M. Madhavan Nambiar as an Independent Director to its Board. 
Nambiar has also been appointed as a member of the company's Audit Committee, a press release from Rediff said here today.
Nambiar spent over 36 years in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), with many of those years focused on Information Technology. Nambiar most recently served as Secretary to the Government of India, first in the Ministry of Information Technology and then in the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Rediff Chairman Ajit Balakrishnan said, "I am delighted to welcome Madhavan to the Board. He joins us with extensive experience and strong strategic skills generated from his career in the Indian Administrative Service. His expertise will be of great benefit to the Board." 
Nambiar is a Fellow at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, an Associate Professor at Columbia University, and a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola College, Madras University and Master of Business Administration from Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University. 

Blue Star Infotech Ltd. appoints Douglas Gray as Chief Solutions Officer


IT solutions provider Blue Star Infotech Ltd. (BSIL) today said it had appointed Douglas Gray as Chief Solutions Officer. 

A press release from the company said Gray would be responsible for customer solutions strategy, supporting technology partner programmes, and leading strategic planning and execution in new disciplines, including Analytics, Mobile Applications, and Cloud Computing.
He will serve as the executive liaison between customers, sales & marketing, technology partners and global solutions delivery teams, it said.
Prior to joining BSIL, Gray has worked for a range of IT and software companies, including American Airlines Decision Technologies (now Sabre Airline Solutions), Network Associates (now McAfee), BMC Software, and, and with clients across industries to leverage IT and Analytics to significantly enhance the economic performance of their firms and tangibly improve their competitive market position. 

London Talents to stage educational theatre shows at schools in Mumbai, Delhi

London Talents, a United Kingdom-based organisation that stages educational theatre performances for children and their parents, will hold shows in the next few weeks at selected schools in Mumbai and Delhi as well as selected venues in Mumbai that will also be open to the public.
The group's multisensory shows are performed by adult specialist actors and are conceptually researched with educationalists, percussionists, performers, focus groups of children and with the latest knowledge of neuroscientists' work in child development, a press release from London Talents said.
"These shows use theatre techniques such as puppetry, emoting through material, movement, vocal rhythm, music, dance and play to look at concepts from a child's perspective and explain the logical outcome from very much a child's perspective," it said.
"Examples of the concepts we work with are sharing, caring, empathising, good eating habits to name a few! London Talents cover a range of concepts and themes that are universal and close to the hea! rt of every parent and child," it said.
"Very often as parents and care takers of young children we find ourselves instructing our children… 'No, no. no…its wrong…you must share!', but how often do we pause and show them that by sharing and caring we can build beautiful things in life together and that we can explore humanitarian feelings and empathise with others through play? The show 'From Here to There' explores the above," it said.
The release said the show encourages 'shared play' and explores humanitarian feelings through play! 
"A show that's all about bridges! Musical bridges and magic bridges, bridges that tell stories of hungry trolls and greedy goats. Bridges where people can meet and make a friend! We take children through a world of the imagination where two quite independent individuals discover ways to share, play together and reach each other. A show truly fun and educational for children & their parents!" it said.
Following the main performance by the specialised actors, there would be workshops with the actors and musicians and free play sessions for the children to help them explore concepts from the show.
There will also be a session for parents with the group's education consultant and a parental awareness guide, which addresses day-to-day situations with children and equips parents with hands-on techniques using drama in education.
The performances will be followed by optional show-related games, worksheets & reading corner. 

Tyeb Mehta's untitled work fetches Rs 2.28 crore in Osian's auction

Tyeb Mehta , Untitled- Oil on Canvas, 1966
Tyeb Mehta , Untitled- Oil on Canvas, 1966
An untitled 1966 work by the late Tyeb Mehta got the highest bid of Rs 2.28 crore at the second of four auctions in Osian's Creative India Series which concluded on the night of January 27.
This was followed by a bid of Rs 1.44 crore received for a 1969 untitled work by painter Ramkumar.
Two rare miniatures – Folio leaf from a Harivamsha Khil Series (Kangra School) and Folio leaf from a Mahabharata Series (Kangra or Guler School) fetched Rs 52.80 lakhs each.
The auction featured important and rare Pahari School Miniatures (Kangra, Guler and Mandi Schools) along with modern and contemporary Indian art by eminent artists such as Sailoz Mookherjea, Satish Gujral, Ramkumar, Manjit Bawa, Biren De, Tyeb Mehta, J. Swaminathan, Vivan Sundaram, G.R. Santosh, Shanti Dave, V.S. Gaitonde, Rameshwar Broota, Sohan Qadri, R. Kaleka, Anjolie Ela Menon, Aparna Caur, V.T. Broota and Subodh Gupta, among others.
In all, the auction, fetched Rs 14.14 crores, a press release from Osian's said. It said that, of the  123 lots put up for auction, 82 (65.6 per cent) were sold at the auction with a total sales of Rs 14.14 crore ($ 2,719,269) with an Average Lot Price of Rs 1,724,415 ($ 33,162).
Total lots sold (17 out of 20) in the Antiquities Section of Pahari Miniatures were 85% valued at Rs  18,550,000 ($ 356,730) with an Average Lot Price of Rs 1,030,556 ($ 19,818). Total lots sold (65 out of 103) in the Modern & Contemporary Art Section were 62% valued at Rs 122,852,200 ($ 2,362,542) with an Average Lot Price of Rs 1,919,566 ($ 36,915).
Ramkumar- Untitled, Oil on canvas 1969
Ramkumar- Untitled, Oil on canvas 1969
According to the release, this second auction in the series manifested an improvement in terms of revenue on the ‘Bengal’ Auction (as was expected) which realized sales of Rs 7.95 crores. 
Neville Tuli, Founder & Chairman of Osian’s said, “These last two auctions in the Creative India Series are a clear pointer to the ongoing consolidation of Osian’s and the art market after two very difficult years. With lessons imbibed from the past, the progress of Osian’s after consolidation will reveal many new institutional changes and innovations in the coming months. These processes will naturally contribute towards the stabilization and continued growth of the Indian art market and its infrastructure. 
"The results of the antiquities sales at this auction were especially encouraging and underscore the huge potential for the Indian antiquities domestic market. Hopefully the government will facilitate this growth wherever possible.”
The next two auctions in the series will be held in in Mumbai on March 23 focusing on art from Bombay and Baroda and thereafter in New Delhi on May 28 featuring the Cholamandal School & the Art of South India.

Québec Minister Yves Bolduc in India at the head of a large delegation


Québec Minister of Health and Social Services Yves Bolduc is currently in India, on a visit to Mumbai and Delhi that began on January 26 at the head of a 40-member delegation from the provinces's business, research and health sectors to encourage partnerships with this country.
The primary sectors targeted in the mission’s science and technology business component are life sciences, aeronautics and information and communication technology (ICT). The mission also includes a health component aimed at establishing ongoing collaboration with India in the area of public health, a press release from the Canadian High Commission here said.
On his arrival in Mumbai, Bolduc attended India’s Republic Day celebrations as the guest of honour of Maharashtra Minister of Public Health and Family Welfare Suresh Shetty. In Mumbai, Minister Bolduc also spoke at a luncheon-conference organized in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), where he presented the $ 80 billion Plan Nord. 

3i India Fund invests $ 61m in Supreme Infrastructure's BOT Road Projects


3i India Infrastructure Fund, an investment fund established by international investor 3i Group plc, has entered into an agreement for an investment of around $ 61 million for a minority stake in a portfolio of road BOT companies of construction major Supreme Infrastructure India Limited (SIIL).

SIIL is a construction and infrastructure company in India, focused on roads, bridges, power, water, railways and civil construction and infrastructure, among other activities, with its primary focus in the roads and highway sector along with other verticals of infrastructure.
Since it was set up in 1983, SIlL has established a strong track record in this sector, having built over 400km of highways, and with an order book currently standing at Rs. 5,700 crores of which unexecuted order book is Rs 3,750 crores .
SIIL was founded by Bhawani Shankar Sharma and is currently managed by his sons Vikram Sharma (Managing Director) and Vikas Sharma (Whole Time Director).

Tata, Starbucks form joint venture to open cafes across India

Tata Global Beverages Limited and Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) today announced a joint venture that will own and operate Starbucks cafes across India.

The 50/50 joint venture between the second largest branded tea company in the world and the iconic international coffee brand will be named Tata Starbucks Ltd.
The cafes, which will be branded as Starbucks Coffee "A Tata Alliance", will be developed in cities across the country, beginning with stores in Delhi and Mumbai this year.
A press release from the two companies said that, in a separate sourcing and roasting agreement between Starbucks Coffee Company and Tata Coffee Limited, Tata Coffee Limited will roast coffee to supply Tata Starbucks Limited, and to export to Starbucks Coffee Company.
"This agreement paves the way for consumers in India to enjoy the premium Starbucks experience, while further discovering the unique taste of high-quality Indian arabica coffee worldwide," the release said.
"Tata Starbucks Limited brings together two companies with a rich heritage in and passion for coffee, tea and innovative beverages. Together, the JV will enable an expanded range of beverage offerings for Indian consumers. As an example, the companies have agreed to jointly leverage assets and innovation to offer a premium tea product branded, Tata Tazo," it said.
“The joint venture with Starbucks is in line with Tata Global Beverages’ strategy of growing through inorganic growth focusing on strategic alliances in addition to organic growth,” stated R K Krishnakumar, Vice Chairman, Tata Global Beverages.
“It opens up exciting business opportunities and new formats for Tata Global Beverages. Starbucks brings unique retail expertise as well as a shared sense of business values. We are excited about the opportunities the alliance presents to innovate in the retail space and bring new beverage experiences to more consumers in India, leveraging the global in-home expertise of Tata Global Beverages and the global out-of-home expertise of Starbucks," he added.
“We’re very pleased to have found the best partner for Starbucks in Tata – a company that shares so many of the same values for conducting business in a way that earns the trust and respect of our customers and partners (employees),” said John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. “We look forward to bringing the Starbucks Experience to customers in India by offering high quality arabica coffee, handcrafted beverages, locally relevant food, and legendary service. ”
The joint venture will operate cafés under the Quick Service Restaurant category. Also, Starbucks and Tata Coffee Limited will work toward developing and improving the profile of Indian-grown arabica coffees around the world by elevating the stature of Indian coffee through joint marketing efforts, as well as improving the quality of coffee through sustainable practices and advanced agronomy solutions.
According to the release, Starbucks and Tata share common values of responsible business ethics and a commitment to community.
Tata Coffee Limited has been working to improve the lives of coffee growing communities in the state of Karnataka. Through an initial financial commitment, Starbucks will work with Tata to support "Swastha", a school for children with special needs (in partnership with the Coorg Foundation) and aim to increase its capacity and outreach into the rural communities in the coffee growing region of Karnataka.
Tata Coffee Limited and Starbucks also plan to work together on initiatives including the promotion of responsible agronomy practices and the provision of training for local farmers, technicians and agronomists to improve their coffee-growing and milling skills, along with exploring community projects which could positively impact the communities in the coffee growing regions where Tata is active, the release said.
Starbucks, with more than 17,000 stores around the globe, is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world.
Tata Global Beverages is a part of the Tata Group and employs around 3000 people worldwide.

Mandhana in pact with Splash, Iconic to launch Salman Khan's Being Human in Middle East

Mandhana Industries Limited, the exclusive global licensee for the Salman Khan-owned apparel brand Being Human, has entered into a commercial pact with the Dubai-based retail giants Landmark group to retail Being Human clothing products in its multi-branded outlets, Splash and Iconic, the lifestyle destination, in the Middle East.
The countries covered by the pact include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon and Qatar.  
The clothing line will be available in these stores from mid -April onwards, immediately after the launch of the brand in India.

RBI leaves key interest rates unchanged, cuts CRR by 50 bps to 5.5%

The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday left the key policy repo rate unchanged at 8.5% and the reverse repo rate at 7.5% but reduced the cash reserve ratio of scheduled banks by 50 basis points from 6% to 5.5% from January 28 in a bid to ease liquidity conditions.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today left the key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 8.5 per cent and the reverse repo rate at 7.5 per cent but reduced the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks by 50 basis points from 6 per cent to 5.5 per cent from January 28 in a bid to ease liquidity conditions.

The reverse repo rate under the LAF is determined with a spread of 100 basis points below the the repo rate.
Announcing the Third Quarter Review of Monetary Policy 2011-12, RBI Governor D Subbarao told mediapersons that, as a result of the reduction in the CRR, around Rs 320 billion of primary liquidity would be injected into the banking system.
The Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate, determined with a spread of 100 basis points above the repo rate, stands at 9.5 per cent. The Bank Rate has been retained at 6 per cent.
Subbarao said the policy actions and the guidance given in his statement were expected to ease liquidity conditions, mitigate downside risks to growth and continue to anchor medium-term inflation expectations on the basis of a credible commitment to low and stable inflation.
He said that, in reducing the CRR, the Reserve Bank had attempted to address the structural pressures on liquidity in a way that is not inconsistent with the prevailing monetary stance.
"In the two previous guidances, it was indicated that the cycle of rate increases had peaked and further actions were likely to reverse the cycle. Based on the current inflation trajectory, including consideration of suppressed inflation, it is premature to begin reducing the policy rate. The reduction in the policy rate will be conditioned by signs of sustainable moderation in inflation. However, the persistence of tight liquidity conditions could disrupt credit flow and further exacerbate growth risks. In this context, the CRR is the most effective instrument for permanent liquidity injections over a sustained period of time. The reduction can also be viewed as a reinforcement of the guidance that future rate actions will be towards lowering them," he said.
He emphasised that the timing and magnitude of future rate actions was contingent on a number of factors. 
"Policy and administrative actions, which induce investment that will help alleviate supply constraints in food and infrastructure, are critical. Initiatives to narrow skill mismatches in labour markets will help ease the pressure on wages. The anticipated fiscal slippage, which is caused largely by high levels of consumption spending by the government, poses a significant threat to both inflation management and, more broadly, to macroeconomic stability," he said.
"Strong signs of fiscal consolidation, which will shift the balance of aggregate demand from public to private and from consumption to capital formation, are critical to create the space for lowering the policy rate without the imminent risk of resurgent inflation. In the absence of credible fiscal consolidation, the Reserve Bank will be constrained from lowering the policy rate in response to decelerating private consumption and investment spending. The forthcoming Union Budget must exploit the opportunity to begin this process in a credible and sustainable way," he said.
The review said that, since the Second Quarter Review (SQR) of Monetary Policy in October 2011, there had been significant changes in the global scenario. On the one hand, concerns over the sustainability of sovereign debt problem in the euro area have intensified. On the other, there are modest signs of improvement in the United States. In the emerging and developing economies (EDEs), growth has been moderating, reflecting the sluggishness in the advanced economies and the impact of earlier monetary tightening. Overall, notwithstanding the signs of recovery in the US, global growth prospects have weakened since the SQR, it said.
The RBI said that growth in India had also moderated. In particular, investment activity has decelerated sharply, reflecting heightened global uncertainty and domestic fiscal, monetary, political and administrative conditions, it said.
It pointed out that inflation was beginning to moderate as projected, despite the significant depreciation of the rupee. 
"In particular, the higher than expected deceleration in food inflation has provided some relief, even though this was caused largely by a seasonal decline in vegetable prices. Consistent with the Reserve Bank’s earlier projections, inflation is likely to decelerate further to 7 per cent by March 2012," it said.
The review, however, felt that non-food manufactured products inflation continued to remain high and well above the comfort zone. 
"While indicators of pricing power suggest that the moderating trend will continue, upside risks remain significant. The momentum indicator of non-food manufactured products inflation is yet to show a discernible downward trend. Accordingly, while the Reserve Bank’s policy stance has to become more sensitive to growth risks, it also needs to guard against persistent inflation risks," it said.
"This policy review is set in the context of a highly uncertain global environment and a delicately poised domestic balance between growth and inflation," it said.
Subbarao said domestic GDP growth moderated from 7.7 per cent in Q1 (April-June) to 6.9 per cent in Q2 (July-September) of 2011-12. This was mainly due to deceleration in industrial growth from 6.7 per cent to 2.8 per cent. However, the services sector held up relatively well. Consequently, GDP growth during H1 (April-September) of  2011-12  slowed to 7.3 per cent from 8.6 per cent in H1 of last year.
He said that, on the demand side, the contraction in fixed capital formation in Q2 was the main factor behind the slowdown in growth. The real gross fixed capital fo

ATS claims breakthrough in 13/7 Mumbal blasts case with two arrests

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad on Monday claimed it had achieved a major breakthrough in its investigations into the July 13, 2011 triple blasts in the city with the arrest of two of the main suspects - Naqi Ahmed and Nadeem Akhtar.
File photo of police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 27 lives and injured more than 130 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
File photo of police at Opera House, one of the three places where serial bomb blasts claimed at least 27 lives and injured more than 130 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) today claimed it had achieved a major breakthrough in its investigations into the July 13, 2011 triple blasts in the city with the arrest of two of the main suspects - Naqi Ahmed and Nadeem Akhtar.
ATS Chief Rakesh Maria told a news conference here that the police had also been able to uncover the financial trail and establish that Yasin Bhatkal, a top operative of the Indian Mujahideen, was the alleged mastermind behind the blasts, which had left 27 people killed and more than 130 others injured.
Police are on the lookout for Bhatkal and the three people who actually planted the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used in the blasts at Zhaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar in the city.
Maria said Naqi (22) and Nadeem (23) had been arrested on January 15 from Darbhanga district of Bihar. He said the two had stolen two scooters in which the explosives were planted at Zhaveri Bazaar and Opera House, two of the places where the blasts took place.
Both Naqi and Nadeem belonged to Darbhanga but had moved to Mumbai in September or October 2010.
He said Bhatkal had called Nadeem to Delhi, where he handed over to him Rs 1.5 lakhs and a cloth packet containing explosives to be handed over to the other accused, Naqee.
Maria said Naqi also helped Bhatkal choose a room to stay in Byculla in Mumbai and paid the advance for the accommodation. He said Naqi knew Bhatkal since 2008. According to him, Bhatkal used to visit Darbhanga to set up a terrorist module by indoctrinating youth in that area.
A view of the damaged private car which was parked at a road side at Kabutarkhana at Dadar, one of three places where bomb blasts claimed at least 27 lives and injured more than 130 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A view of the damaged private car which was parked at a road side at Kabutarkhana at Dadar, one of three places where bomb blasts claimed at least 27 lives and injured more than 130 people in Mumbai on July 13, 2011. UNI PHOTO
The ATS chief released to the media pictures of the trio. He said Bhatkal had left Mumbai on July 13 itself and never come back.
Maria said Naqi and Nadeem were also involved in the SIM card case, and were among the eight people arrested in that connection. Further, they helped Bhatkal in making a reccee of the blast sites, he said.
He said the police were on the lookout for three more accused in the blasts case, but declined to give out any further details as investigations were still in progress.
Maria said he had decided to hold the press conference, even while the investigations were still going on, in view of the speculation and rumour-mongering in the past few days which he felt was eroding the credibility of the police and had the potential of creating problems for the prosecution during the course of the trial in the case.
He said the investigations had been handed over to the ATS on July 18. He said ATS teams had, as part of their investigations, travelled to as many as 18 states of the country, many of them more than once. They had examined as many as 12373 witnesses and examined footage from more than 180 CCTV cameras at the three blast sites.
He said the ATS had obtained a lead in the last week of November and a team had left for Darbhanga in the first week of December.
Maria said the ATS had also recovered two more motorycles from Nadeem and Naqee, which they had stolen and planned to use in future terrorist attacks.
According to him, the financial trail showed that the terorrists had used at least Rs 10 lakhs for the blasts.

Additional judges appointed to Bombay, Jharkhand High Courts

The President has appointed Manoj Shivlal Sanklecha, Ramesh Deokinandan Dhanuka, Sunil Prabhakarrao Deshmukh, Nitin Madhukar Jamdar and Sadhana Sanjay Jadhav as Additional Judges of the Bombay High Court.
An official press release said the appointments, in that order of seniority, would be for a period of two years with effect from the date they assume charge of their respective office.
The President has also appointed Aparesh Kumar Singh as an Additional Judge of the Jharkhand High Court for a period of two years with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.

RIL Board approves buyback of upto 12 crore shares at maximum price of Rs 870

Reliance logo
Reliance logo
The Board of Directors of energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today unanimously approved the buyback of upto 12 crore fully paid up equity shares of Rs.10 each.
This will be at a price not exceeding Rs. 870 per equity share, payable in cash, upto an aggregate amount not exceeding Rs.10,440 crore from the open market through Stock Exchange(s), a press release from the company said.
The maximum buyback price represents a nearly 10 % premium over the last closing price
of Rs.792.65 today.
The Mukesh Ambani-led RIL is India’s largest private sector company on all major
financial parameters with a turnover of Rs 2,58,651 crore ($ 58.0 billion), cash profit of
Rs 34,530 crore ($ 7.7 billion), net profit of Rs 20,286 crore ($ 4.5 billion) and net
worth of Rs 1,51,540 crore ($ 34.0 billion) as of March 31, 2011.
The announcement came on a day when Reliance also reported a 13.6 per cent decline in its net profit for the third quarter ending December 2011 to Rs 4440 crore from Rs 5136 crore in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. It was the lowest quarterly profit achieved by the company in two years
The company's turnover rose 40.2 per cent at Rs 87,480 crore in the third quarter from Rs 62399 crore in the same quarter of last year.
In the nine months to December 2011, RIL's turnover increased by 37.4 per cent to Rs 251,958 crore, exports were up 55.2 per cent to Rs 156,753 crore and net profit rose 6 per cent to Rs 15804 crore.
"The  global  nature of our businesses and weakness in economic conditions resulted in  reduced  earnings in the quarter, particularly in our refining and petrochemicals businesses," Ambani said.
"Notwithstanding these challenges, Reliance has delivered reasonably robust results with high operating leverage. Our focus remains on  enhancing shareholder value by leveraging an exceptionally strong balance sheet, operating top decile assets and investing prudently in future growth engines," he added.
RIL had cash and cash equivalents of Rs 74,539 crore. These were primarily in fixed 
deposits, certificate of deposits with banks, mutual funds and Government securities / bonds, a press release from the company added.

Central team says Mumbai cases are in XDR TB category and not TDR TB


A Central team that visited Mumbai to examine the drug resistant tuberculosis cases reported by the Hinduja Hospital has, in its report, said that they fell within the category of Extensively Drug Resistant TB (XDR TB), based on standard World Health Organisation (WHO) definitions, and not at all Totally Drug Resistance TB (TDR TB) cases.
The report, which was submitted to Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad, also made the point that TDRTB was a "non-standard term", not endorsed by the WHO.
It said Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) guidelines for quality diagnosis and management of XDR TB are to be applied in all such cases.
The team said diagnosis of XDR TB must be based on microbiological confirmation from accredited national reference laboratories: National Institute of Research in TB - Chennai, National TB Institute -   Bangalore and LRS Institute of TB and Respiratory Diseases- New Delhi.

Former BOB CMD A C Shah passes away in Mumbai

Former Bank of Baroda Chairman and Managing Director A C Shah passed away here today after a brief illness. He was 79.
Shah was at the time of his death the non-executive independent chairman of S Kumars Nationwide Limited (SKNL) and a director of Reid & Taylor India Limited.
An eminent economist and educationist, Shah had nearly 30 years of experience in banking. He had a doctorate in economics.
Other directorships held by him included Adani Enterprises Limited; Gujarat Petro Synthesis Limited; Benchmark Mutual Fund Trustee Company Limited; Goldcrest Finance (India)Limited; Brandhouse Retails Limited; Goenka Diamonds & Jewels Limited and Elecon Engineering Limited. He was also a trustee of Lilavati Kirtilal Mehta Medical Trust.
Group SKNL in a statement said, “A man of great stature, Dr. A. C. Shah was an inspiration and will be missed dearly by all of us.”

Balkrishan Batra appointed as Deputy Managing Director of IDBI Bank

Balkrishan Batra, Executive Director, IDBI Bank, has been appointed as whole-time Director, designated as Deputy Managing Director, on the Board of Directors of IDBI Bank Ltd. by the Government.
Batra is currently looking after the Corporate Banking function comprising Infrastructure Corporate Group, Large Corporate Group, Project Appraisal Department, Debt Syndication, Structuring & Advisory Department and Support Services Corporate Banking dealing with analysis and formulation of corporate level policies and processes. 
In addition, he is also discharging responsibility as Chairman of Credit Committee and Systems & Procedures, Products & Staff Suggestions Committee as also Member of Investment Committee, Asset Liability Management Committee and several other committees.
Batra has served IDBI Bank in various positions from 1983 till date. He had earlier joined State Bank of India in 1978 as a Probationary Officer before leaving it in 1983.
Batra is a B.Com (Hons.) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi, C.A.I.I.B. from Indian Institute of Bankers, Mumbai, M.B.A. from Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi and C.F.A. from Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India, Hyderabad.

Pianist Terry Riley to perform in Mumbai on January 21

Terry Riley
Terry Riley
The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has organised a piano recital by the well-known pianist and composer Terry Riley at the Tata Theatre here on January 21.
Riley's career spans some 50 years since the time he was a Master of Music candidate at the University of California. Back then, he gave concerts with his colleagues, La Monte Young, David Del Tredici and Pauline Oliveros. Over the years, he has performed all over the world and also issued CDs of his piano music.
According to an NCPA press release, Riley has learnt Indian classical music from the great kirana master, Pran Nath, and accompanied him in many concerts till his demise in 1996. 
He is a prolific composer having written in virtually every form including solo piano, a chamber opera, a triple concerto for two guitars and violin, two violin concertos, a piano concerto, works for choir and orchestra besides 23 works for string quartet, which include a string quartet concerto and a piano quintet. 
His seminal work IN C changed the course of western classical music in 1964, and introduced the style that was to be named Minimalism. IN C is arguably the most performed and famous piece of the latter part of the 20th century.
Riley was named one of the 1,000 makers of the 20th century, by the The Times of London. 
The release said the event would include works spanning the past 34 years:
Baby’s Song (2001) was written for the play Josephine, the Mouse Singer by Michael McClure.
The Bull (2008) is an arrangement for piano of a work originally written for the massive organ at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Simply M... (2007) was written in memory of Margaret Lyon, who was the chairman of the Mills College, California) music department and who always encouraged Riley to compose.
Song from the Old Country (1979) is a work commissioned by the Kronos String Quartet.
I Like Your Eyes, Liberty (2003) is a piece in three sections played without pause and  rotating in rondo fashion.
Requiem for Wally (1989) was written in memory of Riley’s ragtime piano mentor, Wally Rose, one of the great masters of the ragtime style. This work combines elements of ‘Ragtime’ with sections built on the Raga Nat Bhairav. Much of the ragtime pattern in Requiem... is in 7/4 instead of the traditional 4/4 meter. 
Salome Dances for Peace (1985–87) is a cycle of five string quartets and was also commissioned by the Kronos quartet. Riley subsequently adapted the materials for solo piano.
The Shape of Flames (2008) was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a solo organ concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2008. Riley will play an adapted piano version at the NCPA.

Essar Shipping inducts first Mini Cape vessel into its operating fleet

MV Kamlesh
MV Kamlesh

Essar Shipping Limited (ESL) today said that it had inducted MV Kamlesh, its first Mini cape bulk carrier vessel, into its fleet as part of a $1 bllion capital expenditure programme to acquire 12 vessels and two jack-up rigs.

M V Kamlesh, built at STX Dalian Shipyard, is the first in a series of six vessels that ESL will induct in the next six months, a press release from the company, a part of the Essar Group, said.

After acquiring all the 12 vessels, the DWT will go up to 2.6 million tonnes from 1.71 million tonnes making Essar Shipping among the top two private sector shipping companies in India.

It is today one of the largest private sector shipping companies in India, owning the largest fleet of Capesize vessels.

According to the release, Kamlesh is a 253 metre long, 43 metre wide vessel with a cargo capacity of 105000 dwt.

The vessel is fully compliant with international maritime regulations in force as on date, the release said.

The six modern state-of-the-art vessels being built for Essar at STX Shipyard are specially designed shallow drafted vessels, that will provide substantially higher cargo carrying capacity focused on draft conditions of Indian ports.

“Essar Shipping is in the process of enhancing fleet capacity through induction of six MiniCape vessels and six Supramax dry bulk carriers. With the current tonnage of 1.71 million DWT (deadweight tonnes) with the addition of this vessel, Essar Shipping continues to serve its customers efficiently with

a fleet comprising of VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) tankers, Capesize vessels, Supramaxes, mini bulk carriers and other lighterage & transshipment assets," A. R. Ramakrishnan- Managing Director, Essar Shipping Limited said.

"The fleet capacity will rise significantly to 2.6 million DWT after completion of induction of all the 12 vessels. With its shallow draft and high cargo carrying capacity, ESL is confident that these uniquely designed MiniCapesize vessels will make trade to the Indian coast more economical and cost effective for clients in the power, steel and other core sectors," he added.


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