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Cisco to hire 1,200 from top colleges

December 15, 2020 - 8:00am
New Delhi: Cisco is looking to hire 1,200 graduates from leading technology and management colleges this year – the same as last year. A majority, 95% of the college recruits are going to be from engineering colleges such as IITs and National Institutes of Technology, Anupam Trehan, director, people and communities at Cisco India & SAARC, told ET. Half the recruitments will be through the internship route and the remaining through on-campus recruitment drive that takes place in the final placement season, she said. Final placements are currently going on at IITs and NITs in virtual mode.
Categories: Business News

View: Govt's zero-debt offer for Air India can make it a very attractive proposition

December 15, 2020 - 1:59am
That the Tatas have shown interest in acquiring Air India on Monday is good news. The earlier bid invitations from suitors for the ageing bride drew a blank repeatedly. It is only befitting that the great airline, now decrepit, may go back into the hands of the business house that founded and nurtured it in its formative years.GoI can snatch any jewel from anyone and appropriate it, as it did when it nationalised Air India. But on the flip side, it cannot unilaterally hand Air India back to the Tatas — or anyone else — for a negotiated price. The Tatas have to participate in a bid to earn back what was taken away from them, ironic as it may be.If GoI acts with prudence and transparency, it can still unlock Air India’s true value and potential. The bidding must be through a global, open and transparent electronic tender, instead of sealed covers that are not transparent.The shortlisted bidders must first deposit the reserve price in an escrow account and the bid must close within 6-8 hours of commencing. The auction should be an open one, where each bidder can increase the bid price after viewing the offer prices of other bidders. That’s how the Tatas themselves won the Corus Steel bid in Britain. As Air India is not listed, this is the best way for price discovery. But to get the highest valuation, GoI should get the tender process analysed through globally respected consultants who have helped governments privatise national carriers such as British Airways, Lufthansa and Qantas, and hold pre-tender meetings with shortlisted bidders after receiving the final applications for expressions of interest (EoIs). This is key to realising maximum value.If GoI makes Air India a zero-debt company with only operational assets for sale, offers 100% equity that assures total management control and non-interference by politicians and bureaucrats, then the airline will be an attractive proposition for receiving more applications to increase competitiveness in the bidding, with a minimum reserve price. The zero-debt offer is important because the asset value of many high-value purchases and leases of aircraft are suspect, and have to be renegotiated with the lessors who have leased the aircraft, with many purchases having to be converted to sale and lease back.GoI can’t deny this, as it has itself ordered Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiries on many aircraft deals and actions of former senior Air India officials, and concerned aviation ministers of the time, not to mention serving notices on sellers and lessors of aircraft. So, a condition of taking over the extant high debts of aircraft may not fly with bidders. While debts are determinate, asset values are indeterminate.A global network to key destinations, slots and space in prized international airports, a massive national network, with hangars and engineering backbone and infrastructure, trained engineers and flight crew, benefits of bilateral rights and assurance of continued protection of those rights, aircraft orders in place with delivery timelines, a topline of Rs 26,000 crore — which can be doubled with better management in a couple of years — and an inexhaustible customer base with rising income, can get Air India a valuation of around Rs 50,000 crore, the current debt levels of the national carrier. You only have to look at the market capitalisation of IndiGo, pegged at about Rs 43,000 crore, which has almost zero assets.With Ratan Tata back at the helm of the group — and a keen aviator to boot — the stars may well be aligned to bring Air India back into the family. That should be good for Air India’s employees and consumers. And GoI can also make amends and redeem itself.(The writer was founder, Air Deccan)
Categories: Business News

Uday Kotak reappointed KMB MD & CEO

December 14, 2020 - 10:59pm
MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India has approved the reappointment of Uday Kotak as the managing director and chief executive officer of Kotak Mahindra Bank, the lender said in an exchange filing on Monday. Kotak who has already served as the chief of the bank for over 17 years will continue at the position of MD & CEO for another three years.Speculation was rife about Kotak’s reappointment after RBI released a discussion paper in June this year on governance at commercial banks. The paper had proposed capping the tenure of bank CEOs who are promoters or large shareholders at 10 years. Since then several brokerage houses had anticipated a leadership change at Kotak Mahindra Bank.The regulator also granted approval for reappointing Prakash Apte as Part –time Chairman and Dipak Gupta as joint managing director for a period of three years with effect from January 2021.The board of directors and shareholders of the bank had approved these re-appointments, at their respective meetings held on 13th May 2020 and 18th August 2020.
Categories: Business News

Mall operators hope to end a tough year on a high, but worry about another Covid wave

December 14, 2020 - 10:59pm
New Delhi: Mall operators expect to end a difficult year on a high after the rollout of Christmas and New Year offers by the retailers but remain wary that another wave of Covid-19 infections could derail the better-than-expected recovery of business at malls. “We are on the recovery path and New Year is a big attraction for malls. We just hope that there won’t be another wave of Covid-19 cases,” said Ashok Tyagi, whole time director, DLF that operates over half a dozen malls in the National Capital Region (NCR). A CBRE Asia Pacific Research flash survey of 205 retail clients highlighted that another wave of infection is a major concern for 72 per cent of retailers. Other concerns were loss of sales, slow pace of sales recovery and supply chain disruption, the survey highlighted. According to DLF, the retail segment is witnessing gradual recovery with the luxury segment exhibiting better trends. “With all our retail properties now open, and restrictions lifted for multiplexes and entertainment zones, we expect an increase in footfall leading to recovery. Current footfalls are at 35 per cent to 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels,” said Tyagi. Malls have reported that average spend per footfall has been higher than expected.“Diwali has always been the month for high-spending across the capital. Footfalls actually started to increase just before Dussehra, and the dwell time and overall consumption witnessed a steady rise and spike during this Diwali. Electronics, winter fashion, ethnic-wear, jewellery and home decor saw the maximum rise in demand and led to overall consumption this season,” said Ravinder Choudhary, assistant vice president, Vegas mall.Malls operators expect full recovery by March, 2021 saying sales so far has been encouraging. “We have witnessed weekend footfalls exceeding pre-Covid weekdays footfalls this time of the year. Categories which usually receive an encouraging response during festive season continued to perform with the same fervour this year as well. We also saw the average customer spends and dwell time jump by 60-70 per cent on a month-on-month basis,” said Anuj Arora, general manager, Oberoi Mall.What was heartening for mall operators was that they recorded serious buyers instead of regular visitors this season.“We have also witnessed higher revenue conversion across product categories. We are happy to see this hike in footfalls and demand for Diwali which is also very promising for the brand sentiment in the shopping centre,” said Yogeshwar Sharma, executive director and CEO at Select CITYWALK.
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Card companies and banks gear up to take advantage of sanctions on market leader HDFC Bank

December 14, 2020 - 10:59pm
Mumbai: Indian banks selling credit cards are seeking to gain at the expense of HDFC Bank. Most top card companies and banks are busy chalking out strategies to build market share as the incumbent leader, HDFC Bank, faces temporary regulatory curbs on the expansion of its digital offerings, which would include the cards business.HDFC Bank sells at least 2 lakh credit cards every month and has a market share of 26 per cent, followed by SBI cards with a 19 per cent share. ICICI Bank has a 16 per cent share, followed by Axis Bank at 12 per cent. Central bank data showed that at the end of September, HDFC Bank had 14.9 million active credit cards, compared with 14.2 million at the end of February. SBI Cards had 11 million cards at the end of September against 10.4 million at the end of February. Private lender ICICI Bank had 9.2 million outstanding credit cards at the end of second quarter versus 8.9 million in February.“A lot of HDFC Bank customers will be having their savings account with the same bank but some of the customers will move out somewhere,” said Sanjeev Moghe, Head - Cards & Payments, Axis Bank. “They could be on Flipkart or Google; so we are looking at ramping up our web-linked channels. We have to keep in mind that this is a temporary thing and we don’t know how long this will last and we can’t build long-term strategies based on this one episode.” Doing the Hard YardsCard companies are harnessing every possible resource to fuel faster expansion: They include ramping up e-commerce tie-ups, new credit card launches, making referrals more aggressive from credit card aggregators and rolling back conservative plans drawn at the height of the pandemic.Axis Bank recently launched a credit card in partnership with Google Pay and it has a similar tie-up with Flipkart, which was launched last year. ICICI Bank too has one of the fastest growing credit cards through its tie-up with Amazon and could ramp this up further in light of these developments.SBI Cards, the second-largest player in this segment, is expected to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of this temporary ban on HDFC Bank. Its stock has gained about 2 per cent since the ban was imposed about a week ago.“HDFC Bank has been one of most aggressive banks on e-commerce sites. Tapping into that base will help us gain some market share,” said an executive at a major card company. “Also, we are aiming to gain their customers through referrals from credit card aggregators and new launches.”For credit cards, the ‘push’ factor results in more than 70 per cent of the sales where banks over the recent years have been aggressively sourcing carded customers through e-commerce channels, based on identified parameters such as CIBIL score, etc.Only a Temporary Setback“Now with HDFC Bank out of the market, the incremental sales of such cards would itself be impacted,” said Anil Gupta, the head of financial services rating, ICRA. “In my opinion, rival banks can increase their share as the overall sales would dip, but I don’t foresee a scenario where incremental new card sales would be too high to disrupt the market.”Current credit card partners of HDFC Bank, however, believe that rival banks will be unable to grab market share away from the country’s most valuable lender due to its aggressive and adept cross-selling strategy on loans and credit cards to captive customers.“This is a strategy that has helped them maintain a leadership position in this space with a clean book,” said the CEO of a payment aggregation company requesting anonymity, as HDFC Bank is a partner business. “Banks vying for a share from HDFC Bank would have a limited window of opportunity as the new card customers are less than 20 per cent of their overall onboarding.” Nearly 80 per cent of the 2 lakh monthly cards HDFC Bank sells are through leads generated from savings- or current account-holders with itself.Analysts also say that while the RBI ban could affect profitability, the existing card book will drive growth.“Although the credit card business has a higher ROA of 4 per cent in our view compared to 1.8-2.0 per cent overall ROA and possibly contributes 10-15 per cent of overall profits, the impact on profitability will only be limited to lack of ability to issue new credit cards,” said Suresh Ganapathy, associate director, Macquarie Capital. “The existing credit card book will continue to drive good profits.”79566587795500167955103079543265
Categories: Business News

Don't expect much from gold in the near term; here's why

December 14, 2020 - 10:59pm
Kolkata: The ongoing stock market rally has taken the sheen off gold. Investors are moving away from the precious metal and parking money in the equity market as the Sensex has crossed the 46,000 mark, said bullion dealers and analysts.They said if gold prices fall to Rs 45,000-47,000 per 10 gm from about Rs 49,000 at present, then investors may again take a position in gold as the precious metal is expected to appreciate in the long term.“The investor demand for bullion has dropped following the stock market rally. They are not keen to check out gold at this point in time,” Mukesh Kothari, director, RiddiSiddhi Bullions, told ET.The development comes even as gold has given 30% returns this year. Purchases of gold coins and bars had increased 52% year-on-year in the July-September quarter amid the Covid-19 pandemic and growing economic uncertainty.Total investment demand for gold coins and bars for the quarter was 33.8 tonnes, up from 22.3 tonnes a year ago, according to the World Gold Council data.However, the precious metal may not draw the attention of the investors in the near term as the equity market is likely to be buoyant in 2021, said analysts.“A complete opening up of economic activities post Covid-19 vaccination and positive outcome of a strong economic push by the government under Aatmanirbhar Bharat are likely to aid economic momentum in 2021,” said Binod Modi, head (strategy) at Reliance Securities. “Further, a depressed real interest scenario and strong global liquidity should continue to lend support to equities. However, rich valuations of the market may not result in a broad-based rally and companies with strong corporate governance and strong earnings visibility should continue to attract investors’ interest in 2021.”Gold prices traded down on COMEX on Monday, with spot gold prices falling to $1,830 per troy ounce from $1836 on Friday. The December futures contract on MCX was trading 0.80% down at Rs 48,930 per 10 grams in line with global prices.Selling pressure was witnessed on news of vaccine roll-outs and approval of emergency use of the vaccine in the US. The restart of Brexit negotiations also kept the pressure on gold prices.Sriram Iyer, senior research analyst at Reliance Securities, said: “Looking ahead, over the next three-four weeks, Brexit negotiations and the policy decisions alongside updated economic projections from the Federal Open Market Committee could drive the US dollar. A positive outcome on the Brexit negotiations is likely to weigh on the USD and lift gold and vice versa.” Iyer further said, “In the long run, we see loose monetary policy from the global central banks to support the economy damaged by Covid and will continue to keep investors interested in gold, which will be used as a hedge against inflation. Any fall in prices should be looked at as an opportunity to buy.”In the medium term, he said, gold prices would trade around $1,770-$1,880 per troy ounce while in the domestic market the price range could be between Rs 45,700 and Rs 51,000 per 10 gm.
Categories: Business News

November retail inflation comes in at 6.93%

December 14, 2020 - 7:58pm
Retail Inflation has eased marginally to 6.93% in November due to considerable easing in vegetable prices. Retail inflation had remained above 7 per cent for two month in a row. It had surged to six-and-half year high of 7.61 per cent in October, 2020. RBI Governor on central bank and inflationIn an interview, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das told ET that at least for now, inflationary pressures are not going to weigh on the central bank’s policy formulation as they are more due to supply-side factors and not because of low interest rates or surplus liquidity.RBI on InflationAt its December 2-4 meeting, the Reserve Bank of India kept its key repo rate at 4.0% and the Monetary Policy Committee retained its accommodative stance while ensuring ample liquidity, playing a delicate balancing act of curbing high inflation and bolstering a nascent economic recovery. The central bank also said inflation would remain elevated.November WPIThe wholesale price index-based inflation rate rose to a nine-month high of 1.55 per cent in November even as the rate of food price rise narrowed substantially to 3.94 per cent from 6.37 per cent in October. November was the fourth month in a row with WPI inflation. Before that there was deflation for months at a stretch.
Categories: Business News

Marico to give 'pure honey certificates'

December 14, 2020 - 7:58pm
New Delhi: Consumer goods maker Marico has started a consumer communication exercise encouraging consumers to “receive their own” Saffola honey certificate for every bottle they buy, the company announced on Monday. The company said the certificate is an assurance that the brand “goes through 60+ quality checks”.“Saffola Honey is manufactured at a USFDA registered plant and compliant with parameters mandated by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India),” it said in a statement.The packaged honey category has been in the midst of controversy in recent weeks, after research and advocacy organisation Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said in a report that the honey sold by ten brands including Dabur, Patanjali, Zandu, Hitkari and Apis Himalaya are adulterated with sugar syrup. The companies have denied CSE’s findings, saying that their brands conform to standards set by the food regulator. The CSE report cleared Saffola, Markfed Sohna and Nature’s Nectar.Marico chief operating officer Sanjay Mishra said in the statement: “Every batch of Saffola honey is independently tested using NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) technology.” The company launched honey in June this year, amid the pandemic which fuelled category sales to high double digits.The foods regulator has said it is closely examining the findings submitted by CSE and considering evolving guidelines for the category.
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Jio tells TRAI it's losing users due to 'rumors' spread by Airtel, Vi that it will gain from Farm Bills

December 14, 2020 - 7:58pm
Reliance Jio has asked the telecom regulator to take strict action against Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel for resorting to "unethical" ways, spreading "frivolous rumors" that Jio will gain from the Farm Bills. In a stern letter to the telecom regulator, Jio blamed its rivals for this vicious campaign stating that " large number of port out requests, wherein the customers are citing this as the sole reason for porting out of Jio without having any complaints or other issues related to Jio services", said the Mulesh Ambani led telco in its letter dated December 11. "This is further to our aforementioned letter dated 28 September 2020 highlighting the unethical and anti competitive MNP campaign, being run by Airtel and Vi to capitalize on the ongoing farmers protests in the northern parts of the country," said Jio which had in September also raised the issue of transparency in tariff plans of its competitors. Retailers in Faridabad , Bahadurgarh, Chandigarh, Firozpur and other parts of NCR and Punjab have seen an increase in customers porting out of Reliance Jio and joining either Vodafone Idea or Bharti Airtel. Retailers have told ET that these areas are seeing farmers coming in droves and asking for a new SIM or filling up port out requests . "These companies continue to remain directly indirectly involved in supporting and furthering the ensued notions, and false frivolous rumors of Reliance being an undue beneficiary of the farm bills for unethical pecuniary benefits in the form of induced porting of RJIL customers," said the telco in its scathing letter. This comes on the back of 50,000 plus farmers calling for a national boycott of Reliance products, including Jio Sim cards and phones. In a three player telecom market which is battling out intense competition, any opportunity to net customers will be acted upon. "We submit that Airtel and Vi remain unabated in pursuit, this vicious and divisive campaign through its employees, agents and retailers. They are inciting the public by making preposterous claims that migrating Jio mobile numbers to their network would be an act to support farmers protests," said Jio in its letter to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) secretary SK Gupta. The telco which is the largest in India has asked the regulator to take strict action against its rivals. As of the September-end results Jio has 406 million customers, Airtel has 294 million and Vi has 272 million subscribers The leader in the customer market share has a target of reaching 500 million subscribers. An analyst ET spoke to did not want to be named but said that even if temporary, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi are high ARPU regions and telcos do not want to lose customers in that segment. Average revenue per user (ARPU) is a key industry metric. Vi’s ARPU of Rs 119 at the end of the September quarter still lags that of Bharti Airtel (Rs 162) and Jio (Rs 145).
Categories: Business News

Mutual funds or stocks? Why comparing MF returns with benchmarks is meaningless

December 14, 2020 - 7:58pm
Stocks or mutual funds? It is a question that is often said to have no clear answer, but that’s actually not true. Even though I myself have been guilty of saying this, probably in these very pages, it does have a clear answer. The problem actually is that it has no clear universal answer, one that applies to every single saver. The true answer is clear, but it’s your personal answer and you have to figure it out yourself.Some people are best suited to be mutual fund investors while others are best suited to stocks. Still others can successfully transition from funds to stocks. Even for stock investors it makes sense to use mutual funds for tax savings and for the fixed-income part of their investments. In any case, it’s a question where the answer is not about the question as much as it is about you. One is to choose stocks for yourself and buy and sell them yourself. And the other to invest through equity funds. The final goal is the same, to benefit from the superior returns that equity investing offers. However, in terms of what you do, the two routes are completely different.The central point is unarguable: unless you are an expert investor, or are able to put in the (considerable) time and effort to become an expert, it does not make sense to invest in equities directly. Therefore, for every beginner—without exception— the choice is quite straightforward: you must invest through mutual funds. I’m not suggesting even for a moment that an individual can’t be successful in investing directly in stocks. There are many investors who invest themselves with superior results, and Value Research itself has a premium Stock Advisor service that helps people do that. However, for a beginner, the odds are not favourable. An even bigger problem is that even those few would have probably started tasting success after many failures, and each of these failures would have landed them with some losses. For most of us, whose goal is to simply get higher returns for our savings, this business of learning through losses turns out to be a dealbreaker.Equity-based mutual funds solve all these problems quite simply. There are many advantages to investing in equity through mutual funds. A major one is disciplined diversification. Fund managers operate within an institutional framework which enforces certain ground rules of investing. For instance, these could be a set of rules defining the investments such as there must be at least 15 or 20 stocks with no less than X% of the total portfolio. The stocks must be spread over at least five sectors with no sector being less than Y%. At least Z% must be held only in large companies because they tend to be more stable in bad times. Together such rules define a framework which ensures that the portfolio stays diversified and safe from shocks that may strike individual stocks, sectors or types of stocks. Individuals who manage their own stock investing would rarely have the knowledge or the discipline to do all this.Being able to start investing in small and flexible chunks is another big advantage. If you try to build a diversified portfolio with stocks by buying them directly, you’ll need a relatively large sum of money—at least a few lakhs to begin with. In mutual funds, you can start off by owning the same with a few thousand rupees. You can invest regularly and automatically with a fixed amount every month, and you can actually save tax under Section 80C by investing up to Rs 1.5 lakh a year in designated equity mutual funds.Tax efficiency is another reason. All equity portfolios need some buying or selling as individual stocks become more or less desirable. If you are trading stocks yourself then these transactions will mean a tax liability. However, in an equity mutual fund, this trading is done by the fund manager inside the fund. You don’t have a tax liability because you haven’t made transactions yourselves. There’s a further multiplier to the tax saved because the money stays available as an investment and thus gains even more. For long term investments that compound over years, this can make a huge difference. Sometimes, in the media, the stocks-vs-funds question is framed as one of a comparison of return, generally by comparing average mutual fund returns with benchmarks. This is a meaningless comparison. Benchmark and average returns are just the soil—what grows in it depends on the gardener.(The writer is CEO, Value Research)
Categories: Business News

No retrograde steps against agri: Rajnath

December 14, 2020 - 4:57pm
NEW DELHI: As farmers intensified their protests against the newly enacted farm laws, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday asserted that agriculture was a "mother sector" and there was no question of taking any "retrograde steps" against it ever. In an address at the annual general meeting of industry chamber FICCI, Singh also said the recent reforms in the sector have been undertaken with the best interests of farmers in mind and that the government is always "open to discussion and dialogue". "There is no question of taking retrograde steps against our agricultural sector ever. The recent reforms have been undertaken with the best interests of India's farmers in mind," he said "We are, however, always willing to listen to our farmer brothers, alley their misgivings and provide them with assurances we can provide. Our Government is always open to discussion and dialogue," Singh said. The defence minister said agriculture has been one sector which has been able to avoid the adverse effects of the pandemic and, in fact, come out the best. "Our produce and procurement have been plentiful and our warehouses are full," he said. Thousands of farmers have been protesting for more than two weeks on the borders of Delhi, demanding withdrawal of three new farm laws. Talking about the impact of coronavirus pandemic and strength of the country's economy, the defence minister said India received the highest ever total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) USD 35.73 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal which is 13 per cent higher compared to same period last fiscal. "It is the strength of our economy...that India, in April-August 2020, received the highest ever total FDI. The total FDI inflow into India in the first five months was USD 35.73 billion, 13 per cent higher than that in the same period last fiscal," he said.
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Shipyards delivers first vessel to Wijnne & Barends amid COVID-19 pandemic

December 14, 2020 - 4:57pm
Mumbai: Chowgule Group-owned Shipyards on Monday said it has delivered a general cargo vessel to a Dutch client, making it the first company to export ship since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country. The vessel, which is 98.2 metre in length overall, 13.4 metre in breadth moulded, 7.8 metre in depth and has a draft of 5.6 metre, sailed on Monday from Goa on her maiden voyage, the ship maker said in a release. This is the third from a series of six vessels ordered by the Netherlands-based Wijnne & Barends, and the shipyard is proud to build Ice Class Swedish Finnish 1A quality vessels for the world market, first of its kind from India, it added. The company said it has exported 29 vessels from India so far. "We are proud to be the first in India to achieve this feat since the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team worked relentlessly towards building the vessel before the set timeline and ensured that its delivery is not affected despite the pandemic," said Arjun Chowgule, Executive Director, Chowgule & Company Pvt Ltd. In the absence of OEM service engineers due to COVID-19 restrictions, the company's team performed the tasks of commissioning equipment themselves, supported remotely by original equipment manufacturers, he said. "This achievement reiterates our focus on being a serious player in the international shipbuilding market. We will continue to work on delivering such world-class vessels in the future too, in line with our Prime Minister's vision of an 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'," Chowgule added. The company has two shipbuilding facilities at Loutulim and Rassaim, and a large storing space at Verna in Goa. These facilities produced over 177 different vessels over decades. Chowgule and Company entered the export market in 2005, and currently has 29 of its (multi-purpose) MPP cargo carrier vessels sailing with European clients on international voyages, it said in the release. It also recently announced its partnership with Denmark's Tuco Marine Group for manufacturing advanced patrol boats in India.
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Flipkart launches Nokia laptops in India to tap into rising demand amid WFH

December 14, 2020 - 4:57pm
New Delhi: Flipkart will bring Nokia-branded laptops to the Indian market, priced at Rs 59,990, to tap into the growing demand driven by trends like work/study from home. Walmart-owned Flipkart has announced the launch of the Nokia PureBook X14 laptop, marking the brand's entry into the laptop segment in India that is dominated by giants like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Asus. With online education and 'work from home' becoming a norm, the demand for laptops has grown significantly. Flipkart said analysis of millions of customer reviews and a study of the laptop market have revealed a high demand for attributes such as premium picture quality, multi-functionality, ultra-lightweight, and sleek design. Guided by these insights, Flipkart, along with Nokia, is looking to address the requirements of contemporary laptop users, who often juggle between work and home, it added. This launch is part of Flipkart's licensee partnership with Nokia. As part of the deal, Flipkart will develop, facilitate the manufacturing and distribution of Nokia products -- Nokia Smart TVs, Nokia Media Streamers and the recently launched Nokia laptops. "Launching the Nokia brand into this new product category is testament to our successful collaboration with Flipkart. We are excited to offer consumers in India a Nokia branded laptop which brings innovation to address a gap in the market, as well as the style, performance and reliability that the Nokia brand is known for," Vipul Mehrotra, Vice President - Nokia Brand Partnerships, said. The Nokia PureBook X14 comes in a 1.1 kg ultralight and 16.8 mm sleek form-factor, and features a 14-inch full HD screen. Powered by Dolby Vision and Intel i5 10th Gen quad-core processor, the laptop is priced at Rs 59,990 at the launch and will be available to pre-order from December 18. "As consumers continue to stay indoors and design their work from home lifestyles, their needs when it comes to high-end value electronics have taken centre focus...We are pleased to deepen our collaboration with Nokia in our shared goal of providing for the needs of Indian consumers," Dev Iyer, Vice President - Private Brands at Flipkart, said. According to research firm IDC, the India PC market, inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, grew 9.2 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) in July-September 2020 quarter with 3.4 million units shipped as the demand for e-learning and remote working remained strong. This resulted in the third quarter of 2020 being the biggest quarter in the last seven years in India for the PC segment. The consumer segment recorded its biggest quarter ever with 2 million shipments, growing 41.7 per cent y-o-y. New entrants like Xiaomi and Avita were able to leverage this opportunity, but remained outside of the top five companies in the consumer segment, IDC had noted. HP led the overall tally (consumer and enterprise segments) with 28.2 per cent market share in September 2020 quarter, followed by Lenovo (21.7 per cent), Dell Technologies (21.3 per cent), Acer (9.5 per cent) and Asus (7.5 per cent).
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Nifty likely to touch 15,000 by December 2021, says JP Morgan

December 14, 2020 - 4:57pm
Mumbai: Indian markets have rallied 80% from March lows and gained 11% so far in 2020 but foreign brokerage JP Morgan sees more room for upside in Indian equities. The brokerage expects the Nifty to cross 15,000 by December 2021.However, the brokerage believes that it is possible only if the current extended price-to-earnings multiples sustain.JP Morgan said the Indian economy does not appear strong enough to drive upgrades on already lofty earnings forecasts."The Indian economy has recovered rapidly so far, but consumer confidence and incomes/wages remain poor. Monetary policy is already as accommodative as it likely will be; a large fiscal impulse seems doubtful," said JP Morgan. "Headline GDP numbers will look strong on a low base, but activity may not be strong enough to drive broad earnings upgrades," said JP Morgan.The brokerage said the uncertainty of the US Presidential election seems over, vaccine approvals are imminent and central banks are executing 'QE squared'."This narrative is currently self reinforcing – Indian equities are being dragged up by the global tide. On a 2-year forward basis, MSCI India is 2.6 std. deviations higher than average P/E (close to 15 year highs), but is at an average P/E premium to EM," said JP Morgan.
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Three investors show interest in Air India

December 14, 2020 - 1:55pm
Air India, for now, has received interest from three investors that include interest from employees of Air India. End-of-day today is the last day for submission of interest for Air India.While the Tata Group has shown interest in buying the national carrier, over 200 employees of Air India have also shown interest along with an unknown investor. Interups Inc, a US-based firm that specialises in turning around assets, is the third company to have shown interest.Post the submission of bids from employees’ side, Meenakshi Malik, director-commercial at Air India told ET that their bid is along with an investor, who would like to stay anonymous today.“We are not revealing the name of the investor yet. We have just submitted our bids for Air India,” Malik told ET.Interups Chairman Laxmi Prasad confirmed to ET that they will submit their EoI today adding that willing employees will be offered 51% in the airline.“Willing and continuing employees will be offered 51% in the consortium that acquires the airline. No capital investment is required,” Prasad told ET.“We are proposing Air India Limited to continue as is with employees to own 51% and Interups NRI group to own 49%, capital completely invested by the NRIs. Nothing could be a better deal than this in our terms,” he further said.With this, Air India has already received interest from three set of investors – the Tata Group being the most preferable among them.The government, after it failed to find any takers for 76% stake in Air India in 2018, and then kept extending the due date for the current 100% stake in the national carrier due to COVID seems to have received more than expected interest.The government has called interested parties to bid for 100% in Air India and its low-cost international subsidiary Air India Express and 50% stake in AISATS – a ground handling company.
Categories: Business News

Welspun One gives on lease 9 lakh sq ft warehousing space in MMR to FM Logistics India

December 14, 2020 - 1:55pm
New Delhi: Welspun One Logistics Parks will provide on lease around 9 lakh sq ft warehousing space to FM Logistics India in its flagship project at Bhiwandi in Maharashtra. Third party logistic (3PL) service provider FM Logistic India has entered into a contract with Welspun One Logistics Parks to lease warehousing space at Bhiwandi. As per the agreement, Welspun One will lease out about 9 lakh sq ft of warehousing space to FM Logistic India at its Bhiwandi facility for a tenure of five years. The company is investing Rs 900 crore to develop its 110-acre industrial park project at Bhiwandi in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The project has a potential leasable area of 3.2 million sq ft. Welspun One Logistics Parks is in advanced discussions to lease another 1.5 million sq ft with other e-commerce and 3PL companies. "We are committed to solving the location needs of our clients with solutions that are driven to achieve the highest levels of compliance, safety, operational efficiency and innovation," said Anshul Singhal, Managing Director, Welspun One Logistics Parks. Despite the ongoing pandemic and the resultant lockdown, FM Logistic India added 10 lakh sq ft of warehousing space under its operations this year. Alexandre Amine Soufiani, MD of FM Logistic India, said: "We are committed to providing our customers with the best-in-class warehousing infrastructure. Our association with Welspun One Logistics Parks will help us further enhance our service offering to our valued customers." With this new leased space, FM Logistic India will have a total of 7 million sq ft of warehousing space across India. In December 2019, Welspun group promoters acquired a majority stake in One Industrial Space that was founded last year by Anshul Singhal. One Industrial Space was rebranded as Welspun One Logistics Parks. In June, Singhal had told in an interview that the company was looking for land parcels across major cities to expand business as it sees demand for warehousing and industrial space rising in post-COVID era.
Categories: Business News

US watchdog re-certifies Jockey's India partner Page Industries' unit as socially compliant

December 14, 2020 - 1:55pm
New Delhi: Page Industries, the exclusive licensee of Jockey International in India, on Monday said the US apparel industry watchdog has re-certified its facility to be "socially compliant" months after allegations of human rights violations at the factory. The US-based Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), which had launched this probe into one of the production facilities of the Bengaluru-based Page Industries, said human right violations allegations were substantiated by the findings of the audit. "Located at Bommasandra, Bangalore in India, unit-3 was audited by WRAP as per its standard procedures in October 2020. WRAP has re-certified the facility to be socially compliant," Page Industries said in a regulatory filing. Vedji Ticku, Executive Director and CEO, Page Industries Ltd (Jockey India) said WRAP was fully satisfied after an independent audit of the company's unit-3 manufacturing facility at Bangalore. Jockey International and all its subsidiaries exclusively use WRAP certified or equivalent factories and requires all licensed partners to comply with Jockey standards and maintain WRAP certification. Earlier this year, Norway's USD 1-trillion wealth fund, Norges Bank Investment Management, had excluded Page Industries from its portfolio for alleged human rights violations. Post which, WARP began its audit of Page Industries' facility. "Page Industries' track record and long-standing partnership with Jockey did not match with the allegations published in the report by the Council on Ethics for the Norges Bank pertaining to Page Industries Ltd , unit-3. "In keeping with its standard procedures, WRAP recently conducted an audit of unit-3, as part of the WRAP re-certification process for that facility... Page worked transparently with WRAP to conduct the audit and maintain certification for unit-3," Mark Fedyk, President and COO, Jockey International, Inc said. Page Industries is also the exclusive licensee of Speedo International for the manufacturing, marketing and distribution in India. It was set up in 1994 with the key objective of bringing brand Jockey to India. Its promoter Genomal family has been associated with Jockey International for 50 years. It became a public company in March 2007 and is listed on leading bourses such as BSE and NSE. According to a regulatory filing, Page Industries had reported a revenue of Rs 2,945.42 crore and a net profit of Rs 343.22 crore for FY 2019-20. WRAP is a non-profit organisation focused on the sewn products sector and it certifies socially responsible facilities.
Categories: Business News

Vaccine deals: India, Oxford-AstraZeneca numbers dip, but still on top; Pfizer gains most

December 14, 2020 - 10:54am
BENGALURU: Overall global orders to secure vaccines shrunk 19.2 million doses to touch 7.1 billion as of December 11, compared to 7.12 billion as of November 30. India, which had deals for 1.6 billion doses by the end of last month has 1.5 billion as per data from Duke University’s Launch & Scale Speedometer, which is tracking global vaccine deals daily.Analysis of contracts countries are signing with vaccine makers for advance booking of candidates shows that the deals are still fluid, changing in a matter of days with some companies gaining and some losing orders given that most candidates are still in trial stage.Among vaccine makers, orders with Oxford-AstraZeneca shrunk more than 30 million doses to touch 2.47 billion, compared to 2.5 billion as of November 30, while Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only to be administered to people so far, saw additional orders for 73.2 million to touch 719 million as of December 11. Moderna saw fresh deals for 29 million doses. 79710597However, both Oxford and India are on top of the table. While Oxford still has orders for the most number of doses, India, as an individual country has contracts for the most with only the EU region, with 85 million more doses, ahead.Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, the maker of Sputnik-V, lost orders for 153 million doses — including 100 million doses from India. In India, Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s lab is conducting local trials of Sputnik-V.Deals oscillatingTOI has been tracking the Launch & Scale Speedometer, which so far has the most comprehensive data on global deals with regular updates. Data showed that compared to November 30, the overall vaccines doses for which contracts existed jumped by 171 million as of December 4, before dipping to the current level.On December 4, Oxford-Astrazeneca still had contracts for their 2.5 billion doses, while India was to still secure 1.6 billion. Pfizer had seen a slight jump from 646 million on November 30 to 656 million doses before crossing the 700 million mark as per the December 11 analysis. And Gamaleya’s order had actually increased slightly from the 300 million it had by the end of last month.Not to affect IndiaWhile no immediate reasons for the Sputnik V deal going off the table were available, experts TOI spoke with said that the dip in numbers won’t affect India’s vaccination plans. “At this moment, plans indicate that we would need about 600 million doses for the first few phases (two doses each) and there are more vaccine candidates entering trials,” one expert advising the government said. India’s health secretary Rajesh Bhushan had indicated at a press conference last week that the country plans to inoculate about 30 crore people in the first three rounds — 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers and about 27 crore people with comorbidities aged above 50 years.On December 1, Dr Reddy’s lab had said that it had got clearance for phase 2/3 clinical trials, and experts indicated that procurement of this candidate may happen in the future.
Categories: Business News

Tata Sons set to file expression of interest for Air India today

December 14, 2020 - 10:54am
Mumbai: Tata Sons is set to submit an expression of interest (EoI) by Monday deadline to acquire national carrier Air India, after having conducted due diligence, said people aware of the development. After EoI submission, suitors will have access to a virtual data room and all Air India records. Those that qualify will be invited to start making final binding bids from December 28, as the government seeks to get the privatisation programme airborne after failing to sell a majority stake in the loss-making carrier two years ago.“Some final things are being ironed out before the bid is made,” said one of the persons. “This will be a first step to show our intent. Modalities are yet to be worked out.”Tata Sons declined to comment, as did Singapore Airlines (SIA), its partner in carrier Vistara. 79713716SIA Likely to AgreeThe Indian conglomerate has been seeking to persuade its partner to waive a non-compete clause in their JV agreement and partner it in the proposed bid for Air India. Other corporates may also participate, reports said. However, people close to the Adani Group, Vedanta and the Hindujas said they won’t be bidding. At least one domestic airline was interested in bidding but decided not to, after its cash position worsened during the pandemic, said people in the know.The government is said to have assured the Tatas that bureaucratic hurdles will be eased for any takeover.Tata Sons aims to make its final bid through Vistara, consolidating its airline businesses under a single entity, said top executives close to the development. While it’s likely that SIA will give consent, the Tata group may also be prepared to take the tough decision to exit the JV, they said.“Our group chairman has clearly stated that the airline businesses have to be consolidated and there cannot be multiple airlines,” said one of the persons cited above. “Air India being a full-service carrier, it is only sensible that the business come under Vistara, which is a full-service carrier too. We are hopeful that our partner will be willing to participate in future plans that include Air India.” The Tata group is a partner in AirAsia India with AirAsia Bhd of Malaysia, apart from Vistara.The agreement with SIA stipulates that Vistara has exclusive rights to undertake “full-service carrier” services within the overall Tata aviation offering.
Categories: Business News

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