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Ramesh Ramanathan elected chairman of All India Resort Development Association

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Mr Ramesh Ramanathan, Managing Director, Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) Limited, has been elected as chairman of All India Resort Development Association (AIRDA) at its recently held annual general meeting.
 
AIRDA is an independent, non-profit advisory body set up by the vacation ownership industry. It functions as a self-regulatory body and provides guidance to all stakeholders. This includes customer guidance and protection. AIRDA also guides new entrants to the industry and existing players. 
 
"AIRDA’s mission is to provide a platform for the industry to work together and address opportunities for growth," a press release from the association said.
 
Mr Ramanathan is a founder member of AIRDA. Acknowledged as a pioneer in the vacation ownership industry in India, his foray into the industry began in 1991 when he led the Marketing, Sales and Customer Relations functions at Sterling. Under his leadership, Sterling pioneered the “right to use” Vacation Ownership model and grew to be a leader in the industry.
 
In 1996, he joined the Mahindra Group to found Club Mahindra. He is credited with the successful establishment of the Club Mahindra brand and in leading Mahindra Holidays and Resorts into becoming one of the top holiday companies in the world. 
 
In July 2011, he returned at the helm of Sterling as Managing Director.
 
“The travel and tourism industry in India is poised for exponential growth. As Indian families adopt holidays as integral to their lifestyle in increasing numbers, Vacation Ownership membership will come to be seen as highly attractive given the concept’s economic and emotional benefits. I look forward to working with AIRDA in providing guidance to the Vacation Ownership industry so that it realizes its full potential. I am also confident that the Vacation Ownership industry can play an integral role in developing destinations, thereby adding impetus to the Incredible India story," Mr Ramanathan said.
 
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Isha Ambani, Akash Ambani appointed Directors of Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance Retail

Isha and Akash Ambani
Isha and Akash Ambani
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani's daughter Isha Ambani and son Akash Ambani were today appointed as Directors on the Boards of Reliance Jio Infocomm and Reliance Retail, both subsidiaries of RIL.
 
Isha and Akash,  23, are twins. They have a younger brother. This is the first time that any of them has been appointed on the board of any company in the Reliance Group.
 
Isha Ambani has graduated from Yale University with double majors in Psychology and South Asian Studies. She was a business analyst at McKinsey & company's New York office. 
 
Akash Ambani has graduated from Brown University with major in Economics. He is closely involved in the development of products and digital services applications in Reliance Jio. 
 
At its meeting held today, the Board of Reliance Retail also appointed Mr Adil Zainulbhai, an independent director of RIL, on its Board. Mr Dipak Jain is already an independent director on the Board of Reliance Retail. 
 
Mr Zainulbhai and Mr Jain are independent directors on the Board of Reliance Jio Infocomm. 
 
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Actor Amitabh Bachchan turns 72, spends day with family

 
Amitabh Bachchan thanksfans for their wishes on his birthday
Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan turned 72 today and spent the day with his family, saying that the best gift to him would be whatever his little grand-daughter Aaradhya chose to present him on the occasion.
 
"She is still sleeping. I am waiting to find out what gift she will give me," he told journalists this morning.
 
Aaradhya is the daughter of Mr Bachchan's son Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, both well-known actors in their own right.
 
Mr Bachchan said nothing special had been planned for the day, and he only wished to spend it with his family.
 
He said the women in the family -- his wife and actor Jaya Bachchan, daughter Shweta Nanda and daughter-in-law Aishwarya -- were observing a fast for the day on the occasion of Karva Chauth, when women pray for their husbands.
 
He said he would join them in celebrations after they break their fasts in the evening, after sighting the moon.
 
Mr Bachchan also used the opportunity to thank the thousands of his fans who greeted him on his birthday and said he could repay their love and affection only by entertaining them with his work.
 
"The hour has passed and the greetings have poured in and the family has been with me and that is the greatest gift, if gifts were to be any judge of affection," he wrote on his blog.
 
"But it is not a day to contemplate .. it is a time to deliver thanks and gratefulness to all those that have been responsible for my 72 in completion and my 73 to begin .. 
 
"There is a numbness in all that we do now .. as opposed to the gaiety and laughter and excitement of the earlier years .. I have always wondered why .. but it there and it shall remain I presume for the days left in my life .." he added.
 
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India’s forex reserves dip by $ 2.754 billion to $ 311.427 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves dropped sharply by $ 2.754 billion to $ 311.427 billion, a five-month low, in the week ended October 3, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said.
 
This was the fifth straight week that the forex reserves have fallen. They had dipped by $ 1.415 billion to $ 314.181 billion in the previous week. In the last five weeks, the reserves have gone down by about $ 7.2 billion, partly due to the appreciation of the dollar against major currencies.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here yesterday, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, fell by $ 1.804 billion to $ 285.588 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves fell by $ 919.7 million to $ 20.013 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) fell by $ 22.8 million to $ 4.284 billion during the week.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) declined by $ 8.2 million to $ 1.541 billion during the period, the bulletin added.
 
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Ishant to replace injured Mohit for rest of ODI series against West Indies

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma
Lanky pace bowler Ishant Sharma will replace the injured pacer Mohit Sharma in the Indian squad for the rest of the one-day international (ODI) series against the touring West Indies.
 
"Mohit Sharma has aggravated his bilateral shin pain, and has therefore been ruled out of the ongoing Micromax Cup, India vs West Indies ODI series, 2014," a press release from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said.
 
"The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named Ishant Sharma as his replacement in the Indian squad," it said.
 
Though a regular in the Test team, Ishant, 26, last played an ODI in January against New Zealand.
 
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Hero Indian Super League signs up six brands as sponsor partners

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Hero Indian Super League (ISL) today announced that it had signed up six iconic brands from diverse industry verticals as sponsors and partners for the tournament.
 
The league is set to kick off on Sunday, October 12, at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata. 
 
The opening ceremony of the league will be telecast starting 6:00 pm on eight channels of the Star network and also be aired on www.starsports.com, whereas, the on-ground stadium entertainment will start 5:20 pm onwards.
 
Joining Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the ISL title sponsor, is car maker Maruti Suzuki which has signed up as the Associate Sponsor. 
 
FMCG brands PepsiCo India and Amul have signed up as official partners, as have the Muthoot Group, Puma and Dr Reddy’s Nise Gel.
 
Mr. Sanjay Gupta, COO, Star India, said, “We are a few days  away from the kick off of the Hero Indian Super League and it has gained excellent traction as is evident in the number of sponsors lined up to support the league. The response from sponsors has been overwhelming and the league has attracted a wide range of marketers from a variety of industries."
 
"We welcome these brands on board to support the Hero Indian Super League – a league that is bound to change the development trajectory of Indian football. Football is an aspirational sport with mass appeal and a deep youth connect. This is a historic opportunity for brands to be part of the birth of a footballing nation," he said.
 
ISL is co-promoted by IMG-Reliance (the joint venture between IMG and Reliance Industries) and Star India along with the support of All India Football Federation (AIFF).
 
Leading industrialists and celebrities from sports as well as the Indian film industry have invested in owning the eight city franchises of the ISL.
 
The opening ceremony of the tournament on Sunday will feature performances by actress Priyanka Chopra, percussionist Anandan Sivamani and Salim Merchant of the popular music director duo of Salim and Suleiman Merchant.
 
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L&T Technology Services plans to acquire Dell's Engineering Services business

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L&T Technology Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of the $14.3 billion  Larsen & Toubro (L&T) group today announced its intent to acquire the assets of U.S.-based Dell Product and Process Innovation Services (formerly eServ), the Engineering Services division of Dell.
 
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the proposed transaction and the company is awaiting US regulatory approvals which are expected shortly, a press release from the company said.
 
"The proposed transaction will significantly drive forward L&T Technology Services’ position as a premier Engineering Services provider by adding local delivery centers in North America. Dell Engineering Services also has delivery centers in Hyderabad and Bangalore in India,. This enhances L&T Technology Services’ ability to offer differentiated technology solutions and full program management services by leveraging global-local talent base at any point in the product development cycle," the release said.
 
Headquartered in Peoria, Illinois, Dell Engineering Services has over 15 years of extensive experience in Mechanical Design & Analysis, Embedded Engineering, Applied Engineering, and Manufacturing Consulting across multiple industries and has long term relationships with marquee clients in North America, especially in the transportation industry.
 
"This proposed acquisition enables L&T Technology Services to consolidate its position as preferred vendor in the $4 billion Transportation ER&D market. The acquired assets will enable L&T Technology Services to leverage the customer base and complementary capabilities of Dell Engineering Services along with L&T Technology Services’ broader portfolio of Embedded and PLM offerings, supported by a global sales force. The closure of transaction is expected around this quarter, subject to certain regulatory approvals," the release said.
 
Dr. Keshab Panda, Chief Executive of L&T Technology Services said, “Product engineering is undergoing structural shifts with evolving technologies, shorter development cycles, regulatory demands, and a shortage of skilled talent. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to have a strong local presence in North America where a majority of our clients are based. That along with Dell Engineering Services’ strong expertise in Embedded, and Mechanical Design & Analysis and a history of successful relationships in North America will help us ride the next level of growth."
 
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Gulf Petrochem makes open offer to shareholders of Sah Petroleums at Rs 15.70/share

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Gulf Petrochem Group, a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based leading player in the oil space, today said it had made an open offer to acquire upto 26 per cent of Sah Petroleums Ltd., a manufacturer of industrial and automotive oil lubricants in India, from its public shareholders.
 
The offer has been made by Gulf Petrochem’s subsidiaries Gulf Petrochem Energy Private Ltd and Gulf Petrochem Pte Ltd to acquire upto 13,255,940 equity shares, representing 26% of Sah Petroleums Limited’s share capital, at a price of Rs 15.70 per share.
 
A press release from the company said the offer would open on October 10 and is scheduled to close on October 28.
 
Gulf Petrochem Energy Private Ltd and Gulf Petrochem Pte Ltd acquired 72.23% in Sah Petroleums on July 31st, 2014 pursuant to a share purchase agreement. The open offer is being made in accordance with the provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011.
 
“The timing of this deal is perfect as India gears up for its ‘Make in India’ campaign and the government keen to shape business friendly policies, especially in the oil sector, which is set to open anytime now. This acquisition fits our strategy to make Gulf Petrochem Group a global conglomerate operating in oil space and have an integrated portfolio and also extend its capabilities to manufacture, supply and globally distribute a wider variety of products, from base oils to finished lubricants.” said Mr. Sudhir Goyel, Managing Director, Gulf Petrochem Group.
 
Sah Petroleums specializes in industrial lubricants, automotive lubricants, process oils, transformer oils, greases and other specialties under the brand name IPOL in India and overseas.
 
"The acquisition will further bolster Gulf Petrochem Group’s offerings which are currently divided into six divisions, i.e. refining, storage terminals, trading & bunkering, bitumen and grease manufacturing and shipping and logistics," the release added.
 
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English Vinglish to release in Romania on October 24

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Close on the heels of the success of actress Sridevi's comeback film English Vinglish in Japan, where the film garnered box office collections of a whopping $ 1.4 million plus, Eros International is all set to release the blockbuster in Romania this month on October 24 across 15 screens.
 
A press release from Eros said the film had performed exceptionally well in other new markets like South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany and Taiwan, too, and the team is confident of its continued appreciation in new territories.
 
English Vinglish, directed by Gauri Shinde released in October 2012 and has since fascinated audiences worldwide with its universal subject of people living abroad in an English-speaking world trying hard to learn English to be accepted by their society.
 
Cocktail and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara are some of the other releases by Eros which have enjoyed success in Romania, the release added.
 
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Goods train derails between Chiplun, Kamathe on Konkan Railway

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Rail traffic on the Konkan Railway was disrupted today afer a goods train deailed between Chiplun and Kamathe this morning.
 
A press release from the Central Railway said that, as a consequence, several trains had been cancelled, short terminated or diverted and passengers were being transhipped.
 
Following are the details of the affected trains:
 
TRAINS CANCELLED ON 07.10.2014
 
1 10104 Madgaon - Mumbai Mandvi Express.
2 12052 Madgaon - Dadar Janashatabdi Express.
3. 50106 Sawantwadi - Diva Passenger. 
4. 50104 Ratnagiri - Dadar Passenger. 
5. 50103 Dadar - Ratnagiri Passenger. 
 
TRAINS SHORT TERMINATED ON 07.10.2014
 
1. 10103 Mumbai - Madgaon Mandvi Express at Panvel. 
2.  12051 Dadar-Madgaon Janshatabdi Express at Roha. 
3. 50105 Diva-Sawantwadi Road Passenger at Pen.
 
The passengers of the above short terminated trains to be accommodated in Train No. 12618 Nizamuddin - Ernakulam Mangala Express & 12288 Dehradun - Kochuveli Superfast Express. 
 
TRAINS DIVERTED ON 07.10.2014 VIA PANVEL-KARJAT-PUNE-MIRAJ-LONDA
 
1. 16345 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Thiruvanthapuram Netravati Express
2. 12619 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Mangalore Matsyagandha Express
3. 22113 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Ernakulam Duronto Express. 
 
TRAINS DIVERTED ON 07.10.2014 VIA LONDA-MIRAJ-PUNE-KARJAT-PANVEL 
 
1. 16346 Thiruvanathapuram - Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Netravati Express.
2.  19577 Tirunelveli - Hapa Express.
3. 16334 Thiruvanathapuram - Veraval Express. 
 
TRANSHIPMENT OF PASSENGERS ON KONKAN RAILWAY
 
1. 12617 Ernakulam - Hazrat Nizamuddin Mangala Express left on 06.10.2014 with 12618 Hazrat Nizamuddin - Ernakulam Mangala Express left on 06.10.2014.
2. 12217 Kochuveli - Chandigarh Kerala Sampark Kranti Express left on 06.10.2014 with 12288 Dehradun - Kochuveli Express left on 06.10.2014.
3. 12450 Chandigarh - Madgaon Goa Sampark Kranti Express left on 06.10.2014 with 12449 Madgaon - Chandigarh Goa Sampark Kranti Express of 07.10.2014.
 
The release requested passengers to check the status of the trains on this route on telephone number 139 or on this website.
 
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L&T Construction wins order for Rs 1630 crore expressway project in UP

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had won an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) order worth Rs 1630 crore from the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority.
 
The greenfield order is for the construction of a six-lane access controlled expressway from Neval in Unnao district to state capital Lucknow, a press release from the company said.
 
According to it, L&T’s scope includes design, engineering and construction of the 63km-long expressway, including the construction of service roads. 
 
The contract also includes major structures like 18 VUPs (Vehicular Under Passes), 4 major bridges, 10 minor bridges, 26 pedestrian underpasses, one trumpet interchange and associated works. 
 
The project is scheduled to be completed within 36 months, the release said.
 
"This project is likely to spur economic development along the route with trade, agricultural and economic corridors proposed at different places. In addition it will reduce travel time between Lucknow and the National Capital Region (NCR) via the functional Agra-Greater Noida Yamuna Expressway," the release added.
 
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Nita Ambani unveils trophy of Hero Indian Super League

Football Sports Development chairperson Nita Ambani unveiling the trophy of the Hero Indian Super League in Mumbai on October 5, 2014.
Football Sports Development chairperson Nita Ambani unveiling the trophy of the Hero Indian Super League in Mumbai on October 5, 2014.
Football Sports Development founder and chairperson Nita Ambani unveiled the glittering trophy of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), the first-of-its-kind franchise-based football league in the country, at a function attended by several world football legends and the icon players of the eight teams in the tournament.
 
Those present on the occasion included Fredrik Ljungberg (Mumbai City FC), Alessandro Del Piero (Delhi Dynamos FC), Joan Capdevila (NorthEast United FC), David Trezeguet (FC Pune City), Robert Pirès  (FC Goa), Mikaël Silvestre (Chennaiyin FC), Luis Garcia (Atlético de Kolkata) and David James (Kerala Blasters FC), coming together for the first time on one stage in India.
 
“It’s a momentous day for all of us today as I stand along with the world’s footballing legends to unveil the pride of Indian Super League. As these role models have inspired hundreds of thousands of players worldwide, I am sure the ISL trophy will also stand as a symbol of aspiration for many youngsters in an emergent India," Ms Ambani said.
 
“The Indian Super League trophy is detailed to perfection by Indian artisans who were trained in London, thus exemplifying the genius of Indian artistry and world-class craftsmanship. Its ‘made in India’ design embodies our love and passion for this beautiful game and it equally represents our ‘made for world’ aspirations," she said.
 
Mr. Sanjay Gupta, COO, Star India, said, “The Hero Indian Super League is a marquee football tournament wherein accomplished footballers, who have excelled on the international stage along with best-of-the-best of Indian football, will get to compete for the ultimate honour and it is only befitting that they compete for one of the most exquisite trophies ever crafted. With Hero Indian Super League well placed to fuel the birth of a footballing nation, I am confident that this will become one of the most coveted trophies in Indian football in the years ahead.”
 
Designed by Frazer And Haws, the trophy stands 26 inches tall. The logo on the top band has the ISL colours assigned to it and the handles are ornately carved and embellished with 24k gold gilt to imbue a sense of pride when held up, an ISL press release added.
 
Backed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the ISL will feature eight new clubs and aims to promote the game of football across India, in the newer markets and foster young local talent to take up the sport professionally.
 
Each team at the Hero ISL will have a minimum squad strength of 22 players, including 1 marquee player, 7 internationals and 14 Indian talent. Additionally, a team can increase its squad by 5 more players of its choice, outside of the central player pool draft.
 
The eight clubs participating in the Hero ISL are Atletico de Kolkata, Delhi Dynamos FC, NorthEast United FC, Kerala Blasters FC, Team Goa, Team Pune, Team Mumbai and Team Bangalore.
 
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India’s forex reserves dip by $1.415 billion to $ 314.181 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 1.415 billion to $ 314.181 billion in the week ended September 26, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here today, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, fell by $ 1.391 billion to $ 287.392 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 20.933 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) fell by $ 17.4 million to $ 4.307  billion during the week.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) declined by $ 6.2 million to $ 1.549 billion during the period, the bulletin added.
 
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Jet Airways, Etihad offer special fares on their domestic, international networks

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Private sector carrier Jet Airways and the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, its strategic partner, have announced special fares in economy and premiere classes across their domestic and international network ahead of the festive season.
 
The five-day special fare offer will be available for sale from today till October 6 with travel validity from November 5, 2014 onwards on domestic and on international routes as well as on codeshare flights operated with Etihad Airways to destinations beyond Abu Dhabi.
 
"Guests can take advantage of attractive discounts of between 25 and 50 per cent on base fares and fuel surcharge, over the lowest available fares in Economy Class, across all destinations on the airline’s domestic network," a press release from Jet Airways said.
 
"Premiere and Economy guests travelling on international routes on airlines’ networks will enjoy discounts from 25 to50 per cent on base fares on the lowest Premiere and Economy fares available for travel," it said.
 
The offer is valid for travel on direct flights on the airline's domestic and international networks, and also on several flights operated in conjunction with Etihad Airways.
 
Gaurang Shetty, Senior Vice President - Commercial, Jet Airways, said: "Our special festive seasons fares will offer guests the chance to experience our airlines' exceptional services, unmatched global network, flexible schedules and enhanced connectivity. I am confident that this promotion will be popular with our guests while they celebrate the festive season with family and friends."
 
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Dena Bank hikes interest rates on FCNR (B), RFC term deposits from Oct 1

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The public sector Dena Bank has announced higher rates of interest on Foreign Currency Non-Repatriable (FCNR) (B) and Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) term deposits with effect from October 1.
 
A press release from the bank said that for FCNR (B) deposits of 3 years to less than 4 years, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rate is 4.29% as compared to 4.14% earlier.
 
For FCNR (B) deposits of 4 years to less than 5 years, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rate is 4.69% as compared to the previous rate of 4.50%.
 
For FCNR (B) deposits of 5 years only, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rates are 4.96% as compared to 4.77% earlier, the release said.
 
For FCNR (B) deposits of 2 years to less than 3 years, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rates are 2.82% as compared to 2.71% previously.
 
For FCNR (B) deposits of 1 year to less than 2 years, in US Dollar terms, the revised interest rates are 2.38% as compared to 2.34% earlier, the release added.
 
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Harish Manwani to retire as Unilever COO on December 31

Harish Manwani
Harish Manwani
Harish Manwani, currently Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Unilever, the world's second largest consumer goods company, will retire on December 31, 2014, after more than 38 years of service, a statement from the company said today.
 
Manwani will, however, continue in his capacity as the Non-Executive Chairman of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the Indian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch company.
 
Manwani, 62, joined Hindustan Unilever as a Management Trainee in 1976 and joined the HUL Board of Directors in 1995 as a Director responsible for the Personal Products business. 
 
"Under his able leadership the Personal Products business grew from a nascent business to one of the key growth engines of the company. Subsequently he enjoyed success in many roles, covering both Categories and Markets, and across many parts of the world. This included stints as SVP Global Hair Care & Oral Care; President, Home & Personal Care first of Latin America and later of North America," the statement said.
 
In 2005, he was appointed to the Unilever Executive as President, Asia, Africa, Middle East and the role later expanded to include Central and Eastern Europe. He also became the first Non-Executive Chairman of Hindustan Unilever and has overseen a period of sustained growth with the business more than doubling its size and reinforcing itself as one of India’s most admired companies.
 
As Chief Operating Officer of Unilever, Manwani's key achievement has been his leadership of the Global Markets where he established and aligned the market clusters across the world behind a clear agenda, creating a better and more integrated go-to-market organisation. It has also allowed the business to be managed more dynamically, resource allocation to be done more efficiently across markets and best practices to be transferred more seamlessly. 
 
"This has allowed Unilever to become increasingly more competitive in a tougher business environment," the statement said.
 
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Unilever CEO Paul Polman said, "Harish is an inspirational leader and leaves a remarkable legacy. He has been at my side in helping to drive the turnaround of Unilever, making this once again one of the most admired companies in the world. Over the last three years, especially as Chief Operating Officer, Harish has been instrumental in the transformation of the company. Under his leadership we have seen a step-change in our go-to-market organisation and there has been a relentless focus on flawless execution globally.  He has role-modelled the 4G sustainable growth model – Competitive, Consistent, Profitable and Responsible – which has become such a strong focal point for the Markets."
 
Paul added, "I would like to thank Harish once more for his enormous contribution.  He is both a friend and a much admired and respected business leader. In everything he has done, Harish has lived the values that make Unilever such a great company. Through his passion, commitment and endless energy, he leaves a lasting impact on the business he has served with such distinction. I will personally miss his friendship and wise counsel." 
 
Manwani said, "I am deeply grateful to all those colleagues who have helped to make the last 38 years at HUL and Unilever so memorable and fulfilling. It has been a privilege to serve such a great company. Today, Unilever is in a strong position with a clear strategy and capabilities to drive long-term responsible growth. This makes it a good time for me to make this personal transition. I look forward to working with Paul and the leadership team over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition and to further build our growth agenda."
 
Manwani was named Asian Business Leader of the Year in the prestigious CNBC Asian Leadership awards in 2008. Last year, the Singapore Government conferred the distinguished Public Service Award on him for his outstanding contribution to Singapore and building Unilever’s global presence there. 
 
Manwani is also a member of the Board of Directors of Whirlpool Corporation, Pearson and Qualcomm Incorporated. He also serves on the Board of the Indian School of Business and the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Singapore.
 
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RBI keeps policy repo rate unchanged at 8%, CRR at 4%

RBI keeps interest rates unchanged
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today kept the kep policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 8 per cent and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks at 4 per cent of net demand and time liabilities.
 
In its Fourth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2014-15, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said that, on the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macro-economic situation, it had been decided to reduce the liquidity provided under the export credit refinance (ECR) facility from 32 per cent of eligible export credit outstanding to 15 per cent with effect from October 10, 2014.
 
He said the RBI would continue to provide liquidity under overnight repos at 0.25 per cent of bank-wise NDTL at the LAF repo rate and liquidity under 7-day and 14-day term repos of up to 0.75 per cent of NDTL of the banking system through auctions.
 
It will also continue with daily one-day term repos and reverse repos to smooth liquidity, he said.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 7 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 9 per cent.
 
The RBI said that, since June, headline inflation had ebbed to levels which are consistent with the desired near-term glide path of disinflation -- 8 per cent by January 2015. 
 
"The most heartening feature has been the steady decline in inflation excluding food and fuel, by a cumulative 111 basis points since January 2014, to a new low. With international crude prices softening and relative stability in the foreign exchange market, some upside risks to inflation are receding. Yet, there are risks from food price shocks as the full effects of the monsoon’s passage unfold, and from geo-political developments that could materialise rapidly," it said.
 
According to it, for the near-term objective, therefore, the risks around the baseline path of inflation are broadly balanced, though with a slant to the downside. 
 
"However, the undershooting of the objective may be temporary because of base effects. Turning to the medium-term objective (6 per cent by January 2016) the balance of risks is still to the upside, though somewhat lower than in the last policy statement. This continues to warrant policy preparedness to contain pressures if the risks materialise. Therefore, the future policy stance will be influenced by the Reserve Bank’s projections of inflation relative to the medium term objective (6 per cent by January 2016), while being contingent on incoming data," it said.
 
The statement said the momentum of activity in all sectors of the economy was yet to stabilize. 
 
"Agriculture should shed the effects of recent shocks and pick up in Q4 of 2014-15. Industrial activity will await improvement in the business environment and the resumption of consumption and investment demand before gaining sustained speed. Post-monsoon revival in construction activity and the likely strengthening of momentum in business and financial services should sustain the recent signs of expansion in the services sector.  The key to a turnaround in the growth path of the economy in the second half of the year is a revival in investment activity – in greenfield as well as brownfield stalled projects – supported by fiscal consolidation, stronger export performance and sustained disinflation. With expectations of these conditions remaining broadly unchanged, the projection of growth for 2014-15 is retained at 5.5 per cent within a range of 5 to 6 per cent around this central estimate. The quarterly growth path may slow mildly in Q2 and Q3 before recovering in Q4," it said.
 
"With liquidity conditions easing, the recourse to ECR has fallen off substantially to about 10 per cent of the outstanding export credit eligible for refinance. Accordingly, in pursuance of the Dr. Urjit R. Patel Committee’s recommendation to move away from sector-specific refinance, the access to the ECR is being brought down to 15 per cent of the eligible export credit, thus continuing to give banks room for manoeuvre. This will be in effect from October 10, 2014," it said.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 1423 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction division had won new orders worth Rs 1423 crore across various business segments in September this year.
 
These include a Rs 631 crore order bagged by its Heavy Civil Infrastructure Business from the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation Limited for the construction of the Lucknow Metro. 
 
L&T’s scope includes construction of the priority section in the North South Corridor - 8.5km elevated viaducts and 8 elevated stations. The project was won against stiff competition and is scheduled to be completed in 24 months, a press release from the company said.
 
Lucknow would be the eighth city in India in which L&T will execute a mass rail transit system after Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochi metros and the Mumbai monorail. 
 
"The order reaffirms L&T’s leadership position in augmenting capabilities for metro and monorail transit systems," the release said.
 
The company said its Power Transmission & Distribution business had won three major orders including additional orders from on-going jobs worth Rs 792 crore.
 
A turnkey order has been received from the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) for the supply, erection, testing and commissioning of a 765 kV S/C transmission line from Lalitpur to Agra (Part – III) in Uttar Pradesh. The contract is for the supply of 765 kV EHV towers, insulator hardware materials and other transmission accessories. The order will be completed in 20 months.
 
Another order has been bagged from the Himachal Pradesh Transmission Corporation Limited for the design, engineering, supply and construction of a 400/220/33kV Gas Insulated Switchgear substation at Lahal in Chamba district. The contract involves commissioning of 400 kV & 220kV GIS switchgear, 220/400kV autotransformers, control relay panels, substation control system, fibre optic terminal equipment, auxiliary power system, construction of GIS and construction of the control room along with other associated civil works.
 
The business also received an order from the North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited for the supply, erection, testing and commissioning of 33/11kV power distribution network. The work, funded by the Rural Electricity Corporation Limited, is for augmenting rural electricity infrastructure and household electrification under the 12th Plan of RGGVY scheme for prospective consumers in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, the release added.
 
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64% of netizens have "Fear of Missing Out" when without internet access: report

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Internet use and dependence have risen to a point where the "Fear of Missing Out" or FOMO, often associated with modern technologies and social networking services, has become a global phenomenon.
 
According to a study conducted by Tata Communications, 64 per cent of netizens experience FOMO when they are without internet access.
 
The survey report titled, "Connected World II", reveals responses of more than 9,400 people across six countries: France, Germany, India, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom, and offers insights into people’s behavioural associations, technical understanding and emotional connections to the Internet.
 
The report said that more than 2.5 billion people are connected to the Internet today, that’s a third of the world’s population. By 2020, the number of connected devices is expected to rise to 26 billion]. 
 
A press release from Tata Communication said that some of the key findings include:
 
Emotional connections & preferences 
  • 64% of respondents admit to ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO) when not connected to the Internet, with Asian respondents leading in displaying negative emotions at 80%.
  • Global users are willing to renounce different activities for an internet connection, but alcohol (28%) seems to be the top trade-off closely followed by television (26%).
Behaviour patterns & insights
  • The study shows that nearly a third of the world’s internet users spend six hours or more per day actively using the Internet
  • Regional differences point to a more active internet population in Asia, where 46% of Indian and 43% of Singaporean respondents spend more than six hours per day on the Internet - significantly more than the global average of 29%. Asian respondents also appear the most internet dependent with only 48% of Singaporeans and 44% of Indians capable of lasting up to 12 hours without internet access. Their European and U.S. counterparts can go much longer without getting online, with 86% of Germans, 77% of French, 75%  of U.S. and 70% of UK respondents managing up to 12 hours without internet access.
Technical knowledge & expectations 
  • When it comes to knowing how the Internet actually works, only half of the survey respondents accurately identified network connected data centres as the place where the Internet resides, while 82% do not know that the fastest mode of internet delivery to their devices is sub-sea cables.
  • 64% of global respondents incorrectly believe that the Internet is infinite, and 70% believe that everyone owns the Internet with only 16% actually indicating knowledge about geo-control.
  • Emerging markets and the developed economies are distinctly different in their vision of the most inspirational opportunity for change in the next three to five years that the Internet can enable. Respondents from Asian countries (Singapore 32% and India 27%) picked smart cities as the most inspirational opportunity, whereas respondents from the U.S. (29%), UK (35%), France (25%) and Germany (45%) view light speed connectivity as the most inspirational.
The release said that, while the average global respondent revealed he could only survive a maximum of 8.9 hours without the Internet on a daily basis, 25% of total respondents are unable to make an educated guess about where the Internet resides and 67% of respondents believe that the Internet and WWW are one and the same thing – indicating an opportunity for education on the understanding and knowledge about the Internet.
 
According to Andrew Blum, author of ‘Tubes: A Journey to the Centre of the Internet’, “There’s a tangible, physical reality to the Internet. Undersea cables are the ultimate totems of our physical connections. If the Internet is a global phenomenon, it’s because there are tubes underneath the ocean. They are the fundamental medium of the global village.” 
 
“The Internet has truly changed the way we function. As technologies evolve and adapt, there is a huge potential for the Internet to affect different aspects of life, economy and society. The use of these technologies will continue to expand in unexpected ways, and organisations will need to continuously explore, adapt and embrace new digital realities to thrive in,” says Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Marketing Officer and CEO of Tata Communications’ Nextgen Business. “A better understanding of the Internet is likely to improve the appreciation of the Internet and its capabilities leading to new and innovative ways to incorporate digital resources into daily activities.”
 
The survey results also found that 77% of respondents believe the most beneficial impact of the Internet is its ability to connect people globally with incredible speed. 
 
“This belief has been the guiding force of our business strategy in the past, and is the essence on which we have built our networks to support the present and the future. The fact that over 24% of the world’s internet routes use our network affords us a rare advantage and a perspective that helps connect with our customers globally across emerging markets and developed economies,” says Woods-Moss.
 
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"As more and more global consumers demand greater flexibility with regards to their digital footprint (connected devices, mobility, access to higher bandwidth speed and capacity), Tata Communications recognises the critical role that the Internet plays in facilitating and controlling seamless access between the IT user and service provider (internal or external). Private and business consumers are looking for that ‘just works’ internet experience that allows them to seamlessly switch their home technology to the work place and vice versa. Tata Communications is creating an open communications infrastructure ecosystem that makes the Internet Fit for Business, ensuring high quality and predictable internet that delivers a robust digital ecosystem that’s equipped for the future and that can cope with customers’ demands of intelligence, scalability and reliability," the release said.
 
"Tata Communications' global connectivity services are built on the world's largest and most advanced  global sub-sea cable network, which enables carriers and enterprises to connect almost anywhere in the world. The cable network boasts significant depth in the key emerging markets including Asia, Middle East and Africa. Over 24% of the world’s internet routes use Tata Communications’ network," it added.
 
A total of 9,417 respondents across six countries -- India, Singapore, UK, USA, Germany and France -- participated in the survey. Of them, 50% of them are women and 50% men. 33% of the respondents are from Asia (India and Singapore), 52% from Europe (UK, France and Germany) and 15% from North America with age ranges: 15-25=11%, 25-35=23%, 35-45=22%, 45-55=22%, 55-65=21%. The findings of this survey were then analysed as an aggregate of the responses and further based on age, gender and location to arrive at the insights.
 
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L&T wins orders valued at Rs 2030 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its Metallurgical and Material Handling (MMH) business had secured new orders worth Rs 2030 crore in the steel, port and bulk material handling sectors in the second quarter of FY 14-15.
 
A press release from L&T said the company's scope included construction and balance of plant of a coke oven battery as well as large capacity conveying system including yard machines at major ports.
 
The contract also includes a coal handling plant at the mine heads of the Northern coal fields and the Mahanadi coal fields.
 
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Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan resigns after NCP withdraws support

Prithviraj Chavan quits as Maharashtra CM
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan resigned from his position this evening, a day after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) withdrew support to the Congress-led government headed by him after breaking away from their 15-year-old alliance, barely three weeks ahead of the October 15 elections to the state legislative assembly.
 
Sources said Mr Chavan, 68, drove to Raj Bhavan this evening and submitted his resignation to Governor C Vidyasagar Rao.
 
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding immediate imposition of President's rule in the state, Mr Rao is learnt to be weighing the options before him. 
 
The Chavan government had been reduced to a minority in the 288-member assembly after the NCP withdrew its support to it.
 
The BJP had also broken off its 25-year-old alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra yesterday. The NCP announced its decision to part ways with the Congress about an hour later yesterday evening.
 
Both the alliances had crumbled after the failure of their seat-sharing talks between the partners. The differences were about the number of seats they would contest in the elections and also about the Chief Minister's position.
 
Soon after the NCP announced the end of the alliance, its senior leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar drove to Raj Bhavan and handed over a letter to the Governor informing him of their decision to withdraw support to the Democratic Front government.
 
Senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Eknath Khadse also met Mr Rao and urged him to recommend imposition of President's rule in the state.
 
Tomorrow is the last date for filing of nominations for the Assembly elections.
 
Mr Chavan, who was Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office during the tenure of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, succeeded Mr Ashok Chavan as Chief Minister of the state on November 11, 2010 after the latter resigned in the wake of the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam.
 
He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology & Sciences (BITS), Pilani, Rajasthan and a Master's degree in Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in the United States.
 
He worked in the US aerospace industry as a research engineer for four years and founded a company in India to develop defence electronic equipment and special purpose computers. He has a special interest in the field of Indian language computing. He has been a visiting professor at BITS, Pilani.
 
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Congress-NCP, BJP-Shiv Sena alliances in Maharashtra split ahead of Assembly poll

BJP- Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra over
Just three weeks ahead of the elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Assemby, the electoral battle was thrown wide open today after the two major political alliances -- the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena announced their decisions to separate from their partners due to intractable differences over sharing of seats.
 
Barely an hour after the BJP announced its decision to part ways with its partner of 25 years, the Shiv Sena, the NCP said that it had ended its 15-year-old alliance with the Congress, leading to the possibility of multi-cornered contests for most of the 288 seats in the assembly.
 
Both the BJP and the NCP said they were forced into taking the decision because their talks on seat-sharing with their partners were going nowhere and that there was hardly any time left for the September 27 deadline for filing nominations.
 
All four parties are now expected to look for allies among like-minded smaller parties in the state.
 
The four parties blamed their partners for taking an inflexible stand in the seat-sharing talks. The differences related to the number of seats that the parties wanted to contest and about the Chief Minister's post.
 
The NCP has also decided to withdraw from the Congress-led Prithviraj Chavan government in the state. A letter conveying its decision to withdraw its support to the government will be handed over to the Governor tomorrow, Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said.
 
The withdrawal of support would reduce the Chavan government to a minority, and that opened up the possibility of the imposition of President's Rule in the state before the elections.
 
NCP leader Praful Patel said the party was justified in its demand for 144 of the 288 Assembly constituencies, given its much better performance than the Congress in the state in the recent elections to the Lok Sabha.
 
Congress leaders said they tried their best to save the alliance but it appeared that the NCP was working to a script.
 
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Blaming the Shiv Sena's "inflexibility" for the break-up, State BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis told a press conference, "We have conveyed our decision to snap ties to Shiv Sena. The decision was taken with a heavy heart."
 
Political observers said that today's developments did not preclude any post-poll arrangements that the parties might work out.
 
"Our aim is to prevent the corrupt Congress-NCP government from coming to power. We will not criticize Shiv Sena during the campaign, we don't want any bitterness with our ally of 25 years," Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Eknath Khadse said.
 
"We reiterate that Shiv Sena is still our friend. We will not criticize Sena and our target will be the corrupt Congress-NCP combine," Fadnavis said.
 
This will be the first time in many years that the four main parties in the state will be without a major ally in the elections, which will give each one of them a chance to validate their claims about their strength and their areas of influence.
 
In the case of the BJP, its poor performance in the bye-elections held in different states since the Lok Sabha elections had vastly reduced its bargaining power with the Shiv Sena.
 
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Reliance Jio raises $ 750 million, 12-year loan backed by K-Exim

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Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), today said it had signed a $ 750 million loan backed by Korea Exim Bank yesterday.
 
The loan is guaranteed by RIL and will be primarily used to finance goods and services procured from Samsung Electronics for the infrastructure rollout of RJIL.
 
This is the first loan between Reliance Group and Korea Exim Bank and has a door to door tenor of 12 years including a two-year availability period and repayable over 10 years thereafter.
 
"This deal is notably Korea Exim Bank’s largest telecom infrastructure financing till date. It is also Korea Exim Bank’s largest deal in India," a press release from Reliance said.
 
Korea Exim Bank is funding $ 440 million of the loan as a direct funding and the balance $ 310 nillion is being funded under the K-Exim covered guarantee by eleven of Reliance’s relationship banks including The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Banco Santander, S.A., The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Commerzbank AG, ING Bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Mizuho Bank, Ltd, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and a new relationship NongHyup Bank.
 
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Jet Airways to launch new flights from Kerala, Mumbai to Gulf

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Private sector carrier Jet Airways today announced that it would introduce new flights from Kerala and Mumbai to the Gulf, including its first direct daily service from Kochi to Dubai effective November 5.
 
This new service from Kochi to Dubai will complement the currently operated daily direct flights from Kochi to Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Kuwait (via Abu Dhabi), Muscat and Sharjah, a press release from the airline said.
 
Jet Airways will also launch a second frequency between Mumbai and Doha effective November 5, as well as a new daily direct flight from Kohzikode and Thiruvananthapuram to Doha effective December 1.
 
"The addition of these new flights across the Gulf will further strengthen the airline's growing international network and significantly enhance flight connectivity in the region," the release said.
 
Kozhikode will be the second destination in Kerala after Kochi to have a daily service to Doha. Jet Airways currently operates a daily flight to Doha from Delhi, Kochi and Mumbai. 
 
Dubai is currently linked with four flights from Mumbai and two services from Delhi. Jet Airways will commence its fifth daily service between Mumbai and Dubai  by October 14.
 
"The introduction of these new flights to Doha and Dubai further strengthens the presence of Jet Airways in the Indo-Gulf sector, making it one of the region's leading carriers. These flights on these high demand routes will not only cater to the growing Indian expatriates but also boost tourism and trade between the these cities and will help in bringing in traffic to and from the Middle East. The airline will deploy its next - generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, offering twin class configuration of Premiere and Economy class," the release added.
 
Currently Jet Airways operates daily flights to Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Muscat and Sharjah from Kochi while Kuwait is connected via Abu Dhabi. Jet Airways currently operates a daily flight each from Delhi, Kochi, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and twice daily from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi.
 
The release said that, with these new flights, Jet Airways will achieve the milestone of becoming India’s first private airline to operate over 40 daily flights to multiple destinations in the Gulf. This includes daily departures to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Doha, Kuwait, Sharjah, Muscat, Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh, thus, making it the largest operator between India and the Gulf.
 
Gaurang Shetty, Senior Vice-President - Commercial, Jet Airways said, “Jet Airways is delighted to introduce additional frequencies to Doha and Dubai that will afford its guests the convenience of seamless travel. This is truly an indication of the strong demand on this sector."
 
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State Bank of India approves 10-for-one stock split

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The State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, today said its Central Board had approved a proposal to reduce the face value of its equity shares from Rs 10 per share to Rs 1 per share and to increase the number of issued shares in proportion thereof.
 
SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said, “The decision to split stock will enhance broader investor participation specifically retail participation and increase in demand will enhance P/E ratio."
 
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