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Empty local train dashes into buffer at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai

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An empty local train dashed into the buffer of platform number 5 at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in Mumbai in the early hours of today, briefly causing delays in suburban train services.
 
A Central Railway press release said the mishap occurred at 0225 hours when the electric multiple unit (EMU) train was being placed at the platform after the mandatory checking.
 
Railway officials and staff rushed to the scene to attend to the problem and made the platform ready  for traffic from 0655 hours.
 
No one was injured in the incident, the release said.
 
Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the incident, it added.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 1960 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs. 1960 crore across its various businesses.
 
These included orders worth Rs. 1053 crore secured by its Water & Effluent Treatment Business from the Water Resource Department of the Government of Odisha for the engineering, procurement and construction of 34 lift irrigation schemes in various districts of the state, irrigating 48600 hectares of cultivable lands.
 
The major scope of the work involves construction of 34 intake wells and delivery chambers, supply and laying of 400 km of ductile iron pipelines with diameters ranging from 300 mm to 1200 mm, 400 km of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) pipelines with diameters ranging from 200 to 280 mm and 34 km of mild steel pipelines with diameters ranging from 700 to 1200 mm.
 
The scope also involves supply and installation of 96 vertical turbine pumps of capacities ranging from 80 to 470 kW and other associated works. The project is scheduled to be completed in 30 months.
 
The company said its Heavy Civil Infrastructure Business had secured orders worth Rs. 889 crore.
 
An order has been received from Chennai Metro Rail Corporation Limited for the construction of Chennai Metro line Package 03 Underground – Balance works. The scope involves engineering, procurement and construction of 4 stations at AG-DMS, Teynampet, Nandanam, Saidapet and Saidapet ramp portion with associated tunnel works. Other works include mechanical, electrical, plumbing and architectural works at these stations. The project is scheduled to be completed in 20 months.
 
L&T Geostructure-Bauer Joint Venture has secured an order worth Rs. 422 crore for the construction of a cut-off wall in the Indira Sagar dam project at Polavaram, Andhra Pradesh, a first-of-its-kind project in India. L&T Geostructure’s share in the JV is 50%.
 
The scope includes the construction of a 1500 metre long and 1.5 metre wide plastic concrete diaphragm cut-off wall, with depths varying from 40 to 120 metres.
 
The business also secured orders in Tuticorin and Chennai for piling and diaphragm wall works.
 
Additional orders have also been received from other businesses, the release added.
 
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Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for cotton cultivators soon, says Textiles Minister

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With the world cotton consumption slowing down and the demand for higher Minimum Support Price (MSP) for cotton emanating from some states, the Centre is planning to introduce the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for cotton farmers as well, Union Minister for Textiles Santosh Kumar Gangwar said here today.
 
Inaugurating the 74th Plenary of the International Cotton Advisory Committee, Mr Gangwar said the Centre had kept cotton growers' interests in mind while increasing the MSP for long staple cotton to Rs 4,100 for the 2015-16 marketing season.
 
A pilot project under the Direct Payment Deficiency System (DPDS) for paying MSP guarantee for the cotton farmers has been initiated at Hinganghat taluka of Maharashtra.
 
Under this system, the farmers will directly get the amount which is the difference between the  MSP and the market price, should the market price fall below the MSP. For availing of the benefit, farmers would have to present proof of cotton sold at Agriculture Produce Market Committee yards, plus other papers such as ownership document, yield estimation and other details.
 
If the pilot is successful, the DPDS would be rolled out in all cotton growing regions. Textiles Secretary S K Panda said the new move would benefit farmers substantially.
 
The cotton procurement through the traditional route of Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) or state federations has been subdued this season and is expected to be lower than last year due to firm prices, which are ruling above MSP.
 
In the 2014-15 marketing season that ended in October 2015, CCI had procured a record 8.6 million bales of cotton across the country.
 
However, the International Cotton Advisory Committee has revised downward world cotton consumption, following a steep slow down in China, which is the largest consumer of cotton.
 
Cotton consumption in China is expected to be 7.33 million tonnes against 7.52 million tonnes last year. The cotton consumption in India is expected to go up by a modest 3% from 5.4 million tonnes last year to 5.49 million tonnes this year. 
 
The Textiles Ministry has estimated cotton output in India to decline this year to 36.5 million bales, as compared to 38 million bales last year. This is due to a fall in sowing area to 11.76 million hectares (ha), from 13.08 million ha last year.
 
The yield, however, is actually estimated to rise significantly this year, to 527.49 kg per ha from 493.77 kg last year, on sowing of higher yielding seed.
 
The Plenary Meeting of ICAC, being held in India after a gap of 11 years, provides a forum for discussion of international issues of importance to the world cotton industry, and provide opportunities for industry and government leaders to consult on matters of mutual concern.
 
Around 500 delegates from 36 countries are participating in the plenary which will conclude on December 11.
 
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India's forex reserves fall by $ 750.2 million to $ 351.615 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 750.2 million to $ 351.615 billion during the week ended November 27, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had fallen by $ 149.7 million to $ 352.366 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex  reserves, had gone done by $ 726.2 million to $ 327.669 billion in 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 $ 18.692 billion while its special drawing rights (SDR) decreased by $ 18.2 million to $ 3.968 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 5.8 million to $ 1.2865 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Insurance major Axa increases stake in JVs with Bharti to 49%

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Insurance major Axa and Bharti Enterprises today announced that the former had increased its stake from 26% to 49% in its life and general insurance joint ventures in India -- Bharti Axa Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and Bharti Axa General Insurance Co. Ltd.
 
"This operation further strengthens the existing partnership between Bharti and AXA in India, and demonstrates the agility and commitment of both parties in further expanding their operations in the country," a press release from the two companies said.
 
The release said that, in fiscal year 2014-2015, Bharti Axa Life recorded Rs. 4.7 billion (or Euro 70 million) of new business collected premiums, achieving a yearly growth of 28% on average over the past three years.
 
In the same fiscal year, Bharti Axa GI recorded Rs. 14.6 billion (or Euro 214 million) of gross direct premiums, achieving a growth of 18% on average over the past three years.
 
"This transaction confirms Axa's long-term commitment towards the Indian insurance market and is another step in our development in Asia. India is one of the most dynamic insurance markets in the world and we remain fully confident in the capacity of our joint-ventures to continue building upon and developing our operations as an innovative and customer-focused insurer to offer services and products of high quality to our customers. Our long-standing partnership with Bharti, a leading Indian conglomerate, positions us ideally to succeed in this highly promising market," said Jean-Louis Laurent Josi, CEO of Axa Asia.
 
“This is a significant milestone in the journey of the Bharti-Axa joint ventures, and underlines the partnership’s long-term commitment to the Indian market. We remain committed to servicing our customers through innovative and quality product solutions," added Rahul Bhatnagar, Managing Director & CFO, Bharti Enterprises.
 
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Yes Bank signs loan agreements totalling $ 265 million with OPIC, Wells Fargo

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India's Yes Bank today said it had signed an agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States government's development finance institution, for debt financing of $ 245 million to increase lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India.
 
A press release from the private sector bank said US-based lender Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. would act as sponsor and co-lender to the project, providing a loan of  $20 million, bringing the total facility amount to  $265 million.
 
Specifically, half of the financing will be used to support either micro-SMEs or SMEs in underserved rural and urban markets, the release said.
 
Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO, signed the loan agreement underscoring OPIC’s commitment to growing the small and medium business sector in India. 
 
"Loan guarantee support from OPIC allows Yes Bank, an experienced local lender with a broad network in India, to more confidently extend their financing to MSMEs," the release said.
 
“MSMEs are the growth engines and employment generators of our economy, and access to banking credit is one of the key enablers. This significant co-financing agreement of Yes Bank with OPIC and Wells Fargo will help further accentuate Yes Bank's ability to address the unique needs of SME and MSME sectors. It is also extremely encouraging that world’s leading development finance institutions have reiterated their faith in Yes Bank's business and financial model and have in fact further enhanced the loan amounts post due diligence,” said Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, Yes Bank.
 
“I’m proud to finalize a commitment first initiated on the occasion of (US) President (Barack) Obama’s visit to India earlier this year. OPIC’s  exciting partnership with Yes Bank, a proven Indian lending 
institution, and Wells Fargo will spark inclusive economic growth in India,” said Littlefield.
 
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"By choosing the portfolio growth strategy of a large number of impactful loans to micro and small businesses, Yes shows their commitment for broad-based business growth in India and to spreading OPIC’s development reach. I look forward to the lasting effects of our work in India," she said.
 
"Wells Fargo is pleased to sponsor this important facility on behalf of Yes Bank and work with OPIC as they continue to support Yes Bank’s lending to the small and micro businesses vital to economic growth in India,” said Richard Yorke, head of Wells Fargo’s International Group.
 
According to the release, the the World Bank estimates that viable and addressable demand for MSME lending in India debt surpasses supply by $48 billion, a shortfall that holds back the transformative effect a thriving entrepreneur class can have on a developing economy. This gap is particularly pronounced in India’s low income states, where approximately two-thirds of the MSME debt gap resides.
 
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RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 6.75%, CRR at 4.0%

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RBI logo
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today kept its policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 6.75 percent and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks at 4.0 percent of net demand and time liability (NDTL).
 
RBI Governor Raghuram G. Rajan said that the central bank 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 14-day term repos as well as longer term repos of up to 0.75 per cent of NDTL of the banking system through auctions.
 
In his Fifth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2015-16, he said the RBI would continue with daily variable rate repos and reverse repos to smooth liquidity.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF will remain unchanged at 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 7.75 per cent, he said.
 
The central bank had on September 29 reduced the repo rate by 50 basis points (bps) from 7.25 percent to 6.75 percent.
 
Dr. Rajan said the RBI had, in its bi-monthly monetary policy statement of September, assessed that the inflation target for January 2016 at 6 per cent was within reach. Accordingly, it had front-loaded its policy action in response to weak domestic and global demand that were holding back investment, while noting that structural reforms and productivity improvements would continue to provide the main impetus for sustainable growth.
 
"Since then, inflation has turned up as anticipated, and is expected to rise further until December before plateauing. Although the seasonal moderation in prices of vegetables and fruits is expected to provide some respite, the El Nino induced shortening of winter may limit this effect. The early indications of rabi sowing together with low reservoir levels suggest that astute supply management by the central government, including close coordination with State governments, is necessary to minimize any shortfall in the rabi crop. 
 
"While oil prices, barring geopolitical shocks, are expected to remain benign for a few quarters more, the uptick of CPI inflation excluding food and fuel for two months in succession warrants vigilance. Taking all this into consideration, inflation is expected to broadly follow the path set out in the September review with risks slightly to the downside," he said.
 
The RBI said the outlook for agriculture was subdued, in view of both rabi and kharif prospects being hit by monsoon vagaries. While there are areas of robust growth in manufacturing such as capital goods and passenger cars, weak rural and external demand holds back stronger overall growth, it said.
 
Similarly, while prospects for a revival in service sector activity have been boosted by optimism on new business, pockets of lacklustre activity such as construction weigh on the overall outlook. The step-up in public capital spending and the easing stance of monetary policy provide the enabling environment for a revival in private investment demand, supported by easing input prices and improving conditions for doing business, it said.
 
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Accordingly, the RBI kept its growth projection for 2015-16 unchanged at 7.4 per cent with a mild downside bias.
 
The RBI said it would follow developments on commodity prices, especially food and oil, even while tracking inflationary expectations and external developments. 
 
"The implementation of the Pay Commission proposals, and its effect on wages and rents, will also be a factor in the Reserve Bank’s future deliberations, though its direct effect on aggregate demand is likely to be offset by appropriate budgetary tightening as the Government stays on the fiscal consolidation path.
 
"In the meantime, since the rate reduction cycle that commenced in January, less than half of the cumulative policy repo rate reduction of 125 bps has been transmitted by banks. The median base lending rate has declined only by 60 bps. 
 
"The Reserve Bank will shortly finalise the methodology for determining the base rate based on the marginal cost of funds, which all banks will move to. The Government is examining linking small savings interest rates to market interest rates. These moves should further help transmission of policy rates into lending rates. In addition, the on-going clean-up of bank balance sheets will help create room for fresh lending," Dr. Rajan said.
 
"The Reserve Bank will use the space for further accommodation, when available, while keeping the economy anchored to the projected disinflation path that should take inflation down to 5 per cent by March 2017," he added.
 
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Anil Kumble bids goodbye to Mumbai Indians

Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble
Former India skipper Anil Kumble has decided to step down as the chief mentor of Mumbai Indians (MI), the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisee, with which he has been associated since January 2013.
 
"He has decided to pursue other opportunities in sports and cricket," a press release from Mumbai Indians said.
 
"Mumbai Indians is grateful to Anil Kumble, India’s highest wicket taker in both Tests and one days for his contribution in strengthening the Mumbai Indians franchisee. In his first year as the Mentor, Mumbai Indians won the IPL and the Champions League in 2013. Mumbai Indians won the IPL once again in 2015," it said.
 
Kumble said, "I sign off with the obvious satisfaction of moulding a set of brilliant individuals to a high performing unit. Over the three years, MI met unprecedented success winning the IPL twice and the Champions League once, winning both trophies in the same year (2013) being our crowning glory.
 
"As I move on to pursue other interests around cricket, I shall be amiss if I do not express my deep sense of appreciation to the Ambani family, particularly Ms. Nita Ambani, Akash Ambani and Nikhil Meswani for their unstinted support and empowerment.
 
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"The players and my support team (coaching and non- coaching staff) have been an admirable bunch and were a joy to work with. Finally, I thank the MI fans for their constant support. I wish the Mumbai Indians farewell convinced that I remain a member of the Ambani family."
 
Akash Ambani said Kumble was a legend and expressed his gratitude for all that he had done for the team.
 
"I have personally learnt a great deal from him and will continue to seek his wise counsel and guidance. We take this opportunity to wish Mr. Anil Kumble all the very best in all our endeavours," he added.
 
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India's forex reserves dip by $ 149.7 million to $ 352.365 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves fell by $ 149.7 million to $ 352.366 billion during the week ended November 20, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had risen by $ 780.9 million to $ 352.515 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex  reserves, had gone done by $ 133.5 million to $ 328.395 billion in 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 $ 18.692 billion while its special drawing rights (SDR) decreased by $ 12.2 million to $ 3.986 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 4 million to $ 1.292 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Dabhol power plant recommences power generation

The Dabhol power plant, owned by Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Limited (RGPPL), restarted electricity generation yesterday morning after having been shut for nearly two years due to shortage of domestic gas.

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The Dabhol power plant, owned by Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Limited (RGPPL), restarted electricity generation yesterday morning after having been shut for nearly two years due to shortage of domestic gas. 
 
The plant is producing 290 MW power initially which will be sold to the Indian Railways, an official press release said.
 
"The electricity generation will be further scaled up in the coming months. This achievement was made possible with the concerted efforts of several stakeholders: Central Government, which allocated gas under the new pooling mechanism for gas-based power plants, Maharashtra State Government, NTPC, GAIL, MERC and Indian Railways," it said.
 
RGPPL, promoted by NTPC Limited and GAIL (India) Limited, was set up to takeover and revive the assets of Dabhol Power Company Project. The company has a 1967 MW capacity power plant located at Anjanwel in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, nearly 330 km from Mumbai. 
 
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L&T Construction wins power T&D orders valued at Rs 1038 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said the Power Transmission & Distribution Business of its Construction Division had won orders worth Rs. 1038 crore in the international and domestic markets in November 2015.
 
A press release from the company said its subdidiary Larsen & Toubro Saudi Arabia LLC had bagged an order valued at Saudi Riyals (SAR) 405.75 million ($ 108.2 million) for the construction of five 132 kV Substations at Hail area from the National Grid, Saudi Arabia, a subsidiary of Saudi Electricity Company.
 
The scope involves detailed designing, engineering, testing and commissioning of the 132 kV gas insulated switchgear, 132/13.8 kV, 50/67 MVA power transformers, 132/33 kV, 80/100 MVA power transformers, 13.8 kV switchgears, 33 kV switchgear, control & protection system, substation automation system, HVAC, Novec firefighting system with associated auxiliary systems and civil works.
 
The release said the projects are in the central province of Saudi Arabia and are scheduled to be completed in 24 months. 
 
In the domestic market, the business has bagged an order from the Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL). Forming a part of the power system improvement project in the state capital, the order is for engineering, supply, erection and commissioning of several KMs of underground EHV & HV cable networks, compact substations and other distribution elements in the state capital, Bhubaneswar.
 
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14th Mumbai International Film Festival to be held from Jan 28-Feb 3

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The 14th edition of the Mumbai International Festival for Documentary, Short and Animation Films (MIFF) will be held from January 28 to February 3, 2016.
 
The screenings will be held at the Films Division theatres, Russian Culture Centre and Sophia College theatres at Pedder Road, Mumbai. 
 
The inauguration and closing functions will be held at the Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi at 5.00 pm on January 28 and February 3, respectively.
 
Well-known actor Jackie Shroff will support the event as its brand ambassador -- the first time the 25-year-history of the festival that an artiste from the mainstream of the film industry is playing that role.
 
MIFF is organized by Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and is supported by the Government of Maharashtra. 
 
Shroff told journalists on the sidelines of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2015) here that it was an honour to work as a brand ambassador for MIFF and that he had accepted the role because of his love for short films.
 
Films Division Director General Mukesh Sharma said the actor believed documentaries could be catalysts for social change and was planning to make short films to spread awareness about dreaded diseases and on social issues.
 
MIFF, the oldest and largest festival for non-feature films in South Asia, attracts filmmakes and cineastes from all over the world.
 
This year's edition of the festival will honour a veteran personality from the Indian documentary fraternity with the esteemed V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award that carries a cash component of Rs. 5 lakh, a trophy and citation, Mr. Sharma added.
 
Screenings of the competition films will also be held in cities like New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Lucknow, Nagpur and Thrissur.
 
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Nippon Life increases stake in Reliance Life to 49 % at Rs 2,265 crore

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Nippon Life Insurance (NLI), a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest life insurers in the world, today signed definitive agreements to increase its stake in Reliance Life Insurance (RLIC), a part of Reliance Capital Ltd.,from the existing 26 per cent to 49 per cent by investing an aggregate value of Rs. 2265 crore ($ 348 million).
 
In line with the new shareholding structure, the name of the company will also be changed to Reliance Nippon Life Insurance Company Limited, the release said.
 
The transaction is expected to be completed within the current financial year, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals, a press release from Reliance Capital said.
 
“We are delighted that the outstanding relationship between our two companies has now grown into an equal partnership, with NLI increasing their stake – first, in our asset management business, and now, in our Life Insurance business - to 49 per cent," said Mr. Anil D. Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Group. 
 
"Life Insurance is one of Reliance Capital’s major businesses, and we believe Nippon Life’s experience of over 125 years will accelerate our growth in this space,” he said.
 
“Ever since our initial investment in 2011, we have developed a mutual understanding and built more than just a financial partnership but an interactive relationship based on solid trust. This additional investment represents not only the past efforts and initiatives, but also the good relationship between both companies going forward, and we are pleased to be able to further strengthen this partnership in various fields. We believe our past and future ties will become a great role model for India - Japan business partnerships,” said Mr. Yoshinobu Tsutsui, President. Nippon Life Insurance.
 
A press release from Reliance Capital said the Boards of Directors of both the companies - Nippon Life Insurance and Reliance Capital - had approved the increase in stake by the Japanese partner, subject to regulatory approvals. 
 
According to it, the transaction pegs Reliance Life Insurance’s valuation at approximately Rs 10,000 crore ($ 1.5 billion), amongst the highest valuations for any life insurance company in the country. 
 
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NLI’s investment also represents an implied embedded value (EV) multiple of over three times for Reliance Life Insurance, the highest for any private insurer in India till date.
 
NLI would have invested an aggregate of Rs 5,327 crore ($ 819 million) for acquiring 49 per cent take in Reliance Life Insurance with this transaction. NLI has also committed an investment of Rs 3,303 crore (US$ 508 million) for acquiring 49 per cent stake in Reliance Capital Asset Management, thereby taking its total investment to Rs. 8,630 crore ($ 1.3 billion), the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in the financial services sector.
 
Reliance Life Insurance recorded new business premium of Rs. Rs. 601 crore ($ 92 million), renewal premium of Rs. 673 crore ($ 104 million), total premium (net of reinsurance) of Rs. 1,263 crore ($ 194 million) and total funds under management of Rs 15,524 crore ($ 2.4 billion) for the quarter ended September 30, 2015. 
 
NLI is an over 125 years old insurer that manages over $ 520 billion (Rs 33.8 lakh crore) in assets -- amongst the largest total assets in the world for any life insurer. 
 
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India's forex reserves rise by $ 780.9 million to $ 352.515 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 780.9 million to $ 352.515 billion during the week ended November 13, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had dipped by $ 1.902 billion to $ 351.734 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 793.5 million to $ 328.529 billion in 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 $ 18.692 billion while its special drawing rights (SDR) decreased by $ 9.5 million to $ 3.998 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 3.1 million to $ 1.296 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Zarin Daruwala appointed CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, India

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Standard Chartered today announced the appointment of Ms. Zarin Daruwala as CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, India, following the appointment of Mr. Sunil Kaushal as Regional CEO for Africa and the Middle East. 
 
Ms. Daruwala is currently President of the Wholesale Banking Group at ICICI Bank, and has 25 years of experience in the industry.
 
She has led teams in corporate banking, project finance, structured finance, financial institutions, government and public sector banking, as well as building out ICICI’s rural and agri-finance offering, a press release from Standard Chartered said.
 
Ms. Daruwala is a chartered accountant and company secretary, and was one of the top rankers in both ICSI and ICAI courses.  
 
Mr. Ajay Kanwal, Regional CEO, ASEAN & South Asia said: “I am delighted Zarin Daruwala is joining Standard Chartered.  With outstanding experience and relationships from more than 25 years in the industry, and her proven ability to deliver superior financial performance, Zarin is perfectly placed to seize the huge opportunities we see in India.  I’m confident Zarin will build on our more than 150 years of history and our leading position as India’s largest foreign bank.”
 
Ms. Daruwala will be based in Mumbai and report to Mr. Kanwal, the release said.
 
Mr. Anurag Adlakha will continue as Acting CEO, India, alongside his existing responsibilities as CFO, India, until Ms. Daruwala takes up her appointment, it added.
 
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RInfra proposes to sell 49% stake in Mumbai power business to PSP Investments

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Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. (RInfra), a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), has said that it proposes to sell 49% equity stake in its power generation, transmission and distribution business in Mumbai and adjoining areas to the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), one of the largest pension fund managers in Canada.
 
The company said in a press release here yesterday that it had signed a non-binding term sheeet in this regard with PSP Investments, which has C$112.0 billion of net assets under management as of
March 31, 2015.
 
"The specified business is to be carved out on a going concern basis into a separate SPV, in which RInfra will own the controlling 51% stake, and PSP Investments will own 49%," the release said.
 
Reliance Infrastructure’s Mumbai Power business (known as Reliance Energy) distributes power to nearly 3 million residential, industrial and commercial consumers in the suburbs of Mumbai, covering an area of 400 sq km, and catering to a peak demand of over 1,800 MW, with revenues of Rs. 7,700 crore in FY 2014-15.
 
"The parties have entered into an exclusivity agreement valid till March 31, 2016. The proposed transaction is subject to due diligence, definitive documentation, applicable regulatory and other approvals and certain other conditions. Accordingly, there can be no certainty that a transaction will result.
 
"Further announcements will be made at an appropriate stage," the release added.
 
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Reliance appoints Sundar Raman as CEO-Sports

Sunder Raman
Sunder Raman
Sundar Raman, who was the Chief Operating Officer of the Indian Premier League (IPL), has been named by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) as its CEO-Sports.
 
"He will be responsible for consolidation and integration of RIL's sports portfolio including its Foundation activities in Sports," a press release from the company said.
 
"In addition to the existing sports properties of RIL, Sundar will be driving newer avenues of growth in this area and also at integration with our digital services of Jio. Sundar brings with him a rich and unique experience of over two decades in understanding consumer insights and as a pioneer in the growth of sporting properties in India," it said.
 
Over the course of last few years, RIL has invested in a variety of sports properties and is now positioned as one of India’s leading sports businesses.  RIL is involved in multiple sports (cricket, football, basketball, tennis, golf) either on its own or through its joint ventures. In addition, the Reliance Foundation has several initiatives such as basketball and Young Champs.
 
Sundar said "I am delighted at the opportunity to join Reliance. Reliance existing sports properties coupled with its Jio digital services provides newer areas of growth. RIL has a huge aspiration in the sports area. The opportunity to be engaged in integrating the entire sports portfolio and make sports also an integral and important element in RIL’s growth will be an exciting journey.”
 
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India's forex reserves dip by $ 1.902 billion to $ 351.734 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 1.902 billion to $ 351.734 billion during the week eded November 6, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had gone up by $ 2.09 billion to $ 353.637 billion in the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that  foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone down by $ 2.406 billion in 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 had gone up by $ 540 million to $ 18.691 billion while its special drawing rights (SDR) decreased by $ 27.5 million to $ 4.008 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 8.9 million to $ 1.299 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Shashank Manohar set to replace N. Srinivasan as ICC Chairman

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today decided that its new president Shashank Manohar would be its representative at the International Cricket Council (ICC), replacing controversial former BCCI chief N. Srinivasan, who is the current chairman of ICC.
 
The decision means that Mr. Manohar would replace Mr. Srinivasan for the remainder of the latter's term as ICC Chairman.
 
At its annual general meeting (AGM) here, the BCCI also decided that, in Mr. Manohar's absence, Mr. Sharad Pawar, also a former BCCI president and former ICC chief, would represent BCCI as an alternate in the ICC.
 
"The house placed on record contributions of Mr. N Srinivasan during his tenure at ICC Chairman," a press release from the BCCI said.
 
The meeting also aproved the BCCI rules on conflict of interest and decided that all complaints in this regard would be referred to an ombudsman, an independent authority appointed by the general body of the board.
 
Amendments proposed to the rules and regulations of the BCCI were approved unanimously, the release said.
 
The meeting approved six venues for hosting Test matches: Maharashtra Cricket Association’s International Stadium at Pune;  Saurashtra Cricket Association’s Stadium at Rajkot; Andhra Cricket Association’s Stadium at Visakhapatnam; Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association’s Stadium at Dharamsala; Madhya Pradesh Cricklet Association’s Holkar Stadium at Indore; and Jharkhand State Cricket Association’s Stadium at Ranchi.
 
The Senior Selection Committee (Men) was recast, with Sandeep Patil continuing as chairman. The other members are Vikram Rathour, Saba Karim, MSK Prasad and Gagan Khoda.
 
Venkatesh Prasad will be the chairman of the Junior Selection Committee – Junior Men. The other members are Rakesh Parikh, Gyanendra Pandey, Aman Kumar and Aroop Bhattacharya.
 
The Women's Selection Committee will be headed by Shanta Rangaswamy and have Anjali Pendharkar, Sunita Sharma, Hemlata Kale and Lopamudra B. as its members.
 
Rajeev Shukla will continue as chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council for 2015-16. The other members of the council are Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Shirke, M P Pandove and Sourav Ganguly.
 
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Mr. Manohar will head the Disciplinary Committee of the Board for 2015-16. Its other members are Scindia and Niranjan Shah.
 
The Affiliation Committee will consist of BCCI Honorary Secretary Anurag Thakur, Prakash Dixit and Anshuman Gaekwad.
 
P S Raman will be the chairman of the Legal Committee, with DVSS Somayajulu and Abhay Apte as its members.
 
·The following are the chairmen of various committees: 
 
1.Technical Committee – Sourav Ganguly
2.National Cricket Academy Board – Niranjan Shah
3.Marketing Committee – Chetan Desai
4.IT & Data Management Committee – Jay Shah
5.Finance Committee -- Jyotiraditya Scindia
6.Tour Programme and Fixtures Committee – G Gangaraju
7.TV Production Committee – Aashirbad Behera
8.New Area Development Committee – Avishek Dalmiya
9.Senior Tournament Committee – Gautam Roy
10.Junior Cricket Committee – TC Mathew
11.Umpires Committee – CK Khanna
12.Vizzy Trophy – ML Nehru
13.Infrastructure Subsidy Committee – Prakash Dixit
14.Women’s Committee – Kapil Malhotra.
 
The release said the meeting decided that the general body of the BCCI would meeet every quarter and that professional appointments would be made to strengthen its governance, based on the report to be submitted by Deloitte.
 
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Essar Steel to induct strategic/financial partner

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Steel producer Essar Steel today said it had appointed ICICI Securities and SBI Capital Markets as advisers to help identify and induct strategic/financial investors in the company.
 
This decision is in addition to previously announced plans to monetise certain non-core assets to raise equity and infuse additional funds for ramping up operations to full capacity, a press release from the company said.
 
Essar Steel is one of the country's leading integrated steel producers with an annual pellet making capacity of 20 MTPA and steel making  capability of 10 MTPA. Its state-of-the-art facilities comprise iron ore beneficiation, pellet making, iron making, steel making, and downstream facilities, including a cold rolling mill, a galvanising  and pre-coated facility, a steel-processing facility, an extra-wide plate mill and  three pipe mills with coating facilities. 
 
The company is on course to becoming a zero-waste company, the release said.
 
"The global steel industry is facing major headwinds due to falling steel prices and increased exports from China. The effects of these are already being seen in North America, Canada and Europe. Major steel companies across the world are taking suitable steps to cut costs and raise money. India is no different and it is important that measures are taken now to maintain the long term health of the steel industry. 
 
"It is in this context that Essar Steel has taken a proactive decision to induct strategic/financial investors into the company," the release said.
 
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Piramal Enterprises acquires baby care brand Little’s

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Piramal Enterprises today announced that its Consumer Products Division had acquired the baby care brand Little's, which includes its entire product range across six categories.
 
Launched in India in 1980, Little’s is present across a wide range of products including baby feeding bottles, baby skin-care, baby grooming accessories, baby apparels and baby toys. 
 
The brand is currently available across 25,000 outlets in India and has been growing at a CAGR of 30% over the past few years, a press release from the company said.
 
The release quoted an independent research firm, Ken Research, as saying that the brand operates in the Rs 1000 crore non-food baby care category, which is growing at 13%.
 
Kedar Rajadnye, COO, Piramal Enterprises - Consumer Products Division said, “At Piramal Consumer Products, we started our journey in 2009 as an independent player and ranked 40th in the
OTC category in India. Over the last six years, the business has grown rapidly at 24% and is now ranked 7th amongst all OTC companies in India. We have built a portfolio of strong brands of which six are among the Top 100 OTC brands in India. Our brands like Saridon, i-Pill, Lacto Calamine, Polycrol, Tetmosol and Caladryl have a strong consumer franchise and all are either a no.1 or no.2 player in their respective categories.”
 
“In line with our strategy, we aim to be a Top 3 player in the OTC market by 2020 and we believe that Little’s will help us achieve this goal. Currently, we cater to the 5-10 age groups through the Jungle Magic brand. With this acquisition, we now have an offering for babies in the 0-4 age group. This allows us to partner with mothers and provide well-being solutions for their children right from their birth till they reach the age of 10 years," Rajadnye added.
 
The release said Little’s had the potential to become a power brand, given the Piramal sales and marketing strengths. The brand will leverage the distribution network of the Consumer Products Division, which currently covers towns that have a population in excess of 1 lakh in India, it said.
 
Darshan Deora, Managing Director - Little’s said “We are very pleased that Little’s brand is being acquired by Piramal Enterprises, which is one of the leading conglomerates in India. Little’s has grown considerably over the years and today it is one of the most promising brands in the baby-care segment. Piramal’s Consumer Products Division, which has one of the best  distribution networks in India, is the perfect partner to take Little’s to new heights. Piramal team has a proven track record with their other brands as well."
 
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India's forex reserves rise by $ 2.09 bilion to $ 353.637 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 2.09 billion to $ 353.637 billion in the week ended October 30, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had dipped by $ 1.98 billion to $ 351.547 billion in the previous week after rising for three consecutive weeks before that.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that  foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 2.103 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  $ 18.152 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) decreased by $ 10.2 million to $ 4.035 billion.
 
India's reserve position in the Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) went down by $ 3 million to $ 1.308 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs 2048 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs 2048 crore across various business verticals in October 2015.
 
These included orders worth Rs 758 crore won by is Power Transmission & Distribution business in both the international and domestic markets, a press release from the company said.
 
On the international front, Larsen & Toubro Saudi Arabia LLC, a fully owned subsidiary of L&T, has bagged an order against stiff competition from local players for the construction of four 132kV
substations in Riyadh from National Grid, Saudi Arabia, a subsidiary of Saudi Electricity Company, it said.
 
These projects are in the Central Province of Saudi Arabia and will be completed in 22 months, it said.
 
The release said that, in the domestic market, the business had bagged an order from Power Grid Corporation of India Limited
for engineering, procurement and construction of a 765kV GIS substation package at Aligarh under the Interregional System Strengthening Scheme.
 
The company said its Transportation Infrastructure business had  secured orders worth Rs 732 crore, including one from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the construction of a six-lane elevated corridor from Chandigadh to Kharar in Punjab.
 
The project is to be completed in 30 months and involves the construction of 10.185 km of four-lane dual carriage way along with three elevated corridors of a cumulative length of 3.37 km.
 
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The business has also bagged an order from the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation Limited for the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of receiving-cum-auxiliary main-cum-traction sub-stations including high voltage cabling from grid substation, 25Kv flexible/rigid OHE, sectioning post, 33Kv cable 
networks, ASS & SCADA System including catenary maintenance vehicle/rail cum road vehicle for Lucknow MRTS phase-I. 
 
The release said the Buildings & Factories business of L&T Construction had secured orders worth Rs 558 crore including add-ons. Among these is an order from a leading real estate developer for the construction of 13 residential
towers (Stilt + 14 Floors) in Chennai. 
 
Another order has been bagged from a reputed cement producer for setting up its cement plant in Rajasthan which is an expansion of its existing two lines which had also been executed by L&T, the release added.
 
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Pawan Hans helicopter crashes off Mumbai, debris found, two pilots missing

A part of the debris recovered by Indian Navy and Coast Guard search and rescue teams after a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed into the Arabian Sea, off Mumbai, in the evening of November 4, 2015
A part of the debris recovered by Indian Navy and Coast Guard search and rescue teams after a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed into the Arabian Sea, off Mumbai, in the evening of November 4, 2015
Search and rescue (SAR) teams from the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard have found some debris, including a door, of the Pawan Hans helicopter that crashed into the Arabian Sea last night while on a training mission.
 
The SAR teams have, however, not located the two pilots on board who have been reported missing, official sources said today. There were no passengers on board.
 
The search and rescue efforts have been hampered by poor visibility due to a haze this morning.
 
The 14-seater Dauphin helicopter, which is about 14 years old, had taken off from an installation of the public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) around 7.12 pm yesterday and lost contact with air traffic control about eight minutes later, the sources said.
 
The helicopter was a sortie for practising night landing on an oil rig when the mishap occurred, they said. The aircraft crashed near an ONGC platform named SLQ, they said.
 
Navy and Coast Guard ships in the vicinity launched a search and rescue mission soon after to locate the aircraft and its pilots and they had sighted a door of the helicopter last night.
 
More vessels were pressed into service to scour the area. The last known position of the helicopter was about 82 nautical miles west of the Mumbai coast, they said. Destroyer INS Mumbai was also despatched to the area.
 
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Wireless business of Sistema Shyam Teleservices demerged into Reliance Communications

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Telecom services provider Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) today said that it had signed definitive agreements with Sistema JSFC of Russia and CIS for the demerger of Sistema's Indian wireless business, carried on by Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL) under the MTS brand, into RCom.
 
A press release from RCom said the company would acquire about 9 million customers and approximately Rs. 1500 crore of annual revenues by virtue of the transaction.
 
In addition, RCom will acquire SSTL’s 800/850 MHz band spectrum, ideally suited for 4G LTE services, to complement its own nationwide footprint of minimum 5 MHz contiguous 800/850 MHz spectrum aggregating 148.75 MHz.
 
This will extend the validity of RCom’s spectrum in 800/850 MHz band in eight circles by a period of 12 years from 2021 till 2033 (Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, UP (West) and West Bengal).
 
As result of the demerger, SSTL will acquire and hold a 10% equity stake in RCom. In addition, RCom will assume the liability to pay the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) instalments for SSTL's spectrum, amounting to Rs. 392 crore per annum for the next 10 years.
 
Prior to closing of the transaction, SSTL intends to pay off its existing debt. An appropriate payment/earn-out mechanism has been agreed in relation to disputed spectrum contiguity charges claimed by DoT, the release said.
 
“We are delighted to welcome Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd. as a valued shareholder and partner in Reliance Communications Ltd. The combination of our wireless businesses, through the demerger of SSTL wireless business into RCom for stock consideration, will generate significant capex and opex synergies for mutual benefit," Mr Gurdeep Singh, President & Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Business, Reliance Communications, said.
 
"The Indian data market is witnessing explosive growth, and SSTL's proven strengths in that space will further enhance RCom's capabilities in delivering a superior experience to our valued customers. We are pleased that the addition of SSTL's valuable spectrum holdings in the 800 - 850 MHz band will strengthen RCom's spectrum portfolio, and extend our ability to provide world class 4G LTE services to our customers in eight important circles in the country till the year 2033," he added.
 
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Mr Mikhail Shamolin, President and CEO of Sistema, said, “The merger of SSTL and RCom's telecom businesses is a milestone event. Despite the numerous challenges the sector faced in recent years, the combination of two leading data service providers is a clear sign of progress for the Indian telecom industry. We are confident that SSTL’s entry into the equity capital of RCom as a strategic investor will strengthen the competitive position of the combined company and provide subscribers with superior experience by fast-tracking the growth of LTE technology in India."
 
"Moreover, we believe the completion of this transaction will serve as an example of growing business ties between Russia and India and encourage other investments between the two countries,” he added.
 
“We believe this transaction underscores SSTL’s track record in building the fastest-growing data services provider. This is an exciting new chapter for India’s telecom industry and we look forward to leveraging our companies’ combined experience for the development of LTE in India,” said Mr. Sergey Savchenko, CEO of SSTL.
 
The closing of the transaction, expected in the second quarter of 2016, is subject to customary conditions precedent, including inter alia applicable corporate, regulatory and other approvals, the release said.
 
Post-closing of the deal, minority investors of SSTL will be given an option to exchange their shares in SSTL with the pro-rata RCom shares held by SSTL.
 
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