Business & Economy News
_ IT services provider, L&T InfoTech (CEO, Sudip Banerjee ) announced a
strategic partnership with Savvion to provide Business Process Management
(BPM) solutions. Savvion is a leading business process management company.
The BPM marketsize figure is estimated to reach $2.6 billion globally by 2011.
_ Facebook, the world's largest online social networking site, recently
announced that in order to encourage members to share more information on the
internet, it has upgraded its privacy settings, making several categories of
information of its users visible by default to everyone. This has made many of the
sites 350 million users see red and the way these changes have been
implemented has created a sense that we're being forced to share more than we
_ To maximize its profitability and make its micro-blogging service
searchable Twitter had signed a 15-million-dollar data-mining deal with Google
and a 10-million-dollar agreement with Microsoft (Bing).
_ Microsoft India has roped in Meetul Patel, vicepresident & India head of
transformational consulting practice at Capgemini to drive its consulting business.
Mr Patel is expected to join the software major in mid-January.
_ Intel, the Chipmaker juggernaut, has announced that it has developed a
new Atom microprocessor that is capable of shrinking Netbooks' size by more
than half. Netbook is the ultra-small and ultra-light version of computer laptop.
The new Intel Atom chips are expected to consume 20% lower power and will be
almost 60% smaller in package size, which might mean an additional hour of
battery life for newer netbooks.
_ The Aditya Birla Group and SBI Card have merged into partnership to offer
co-branded credit cards to all customers of the Aditya Birla Group companies. The
Aditya Birla Group-SBI co-branded credit cards will be available to over 28-million
customers of Aditya Birla Group companies--Aditya Birla Retail, Aditya Birla
Financial Services Group (which includes Birla Sun Life Insurance and Birla Sun
Life Mutual Funds), IDEA and Madura Garments.
_ ICICI Prudential Life Insurance has launched a ULIP (Unit Linked Insurance
Plans) plan called ICICI Pru LifeTime Maxima, which follows two different portfolio
strategies — fixed and trigger portfolio. The first strategy provides an option for
you to choose from any of the seven funds — Opportunities Fund, Blue-chip
Fund, Multi-Cap Growth Fund, Multi-Cap Balanced Fund, Income Fund, Money
Market Fund and Return Guarantee Fund.
_ The life insurance industry clocked a growth of 21 per cent in total
premium collection at Rs 1, 20,503 crore in the first seven-months of the
current fiscal as compared to Rs 99,310 crore in the year-ago period.
_ Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd and France's Societe Generale have
agreed to end their life insurance joint venture in India.
_ Car major Maruti Suzuki will launch a new family car 'Eeco' with a 1,200cc
petrol engine in the under-Rs 4 lakh segment, at Auto Expo in Delhi in Jan 2010.
The car is under C segment and will come with a three-row and two-row seating
arrangements with seating capacities of five and seven passengers respectively.
_ Infosys Chief Mentor and Founder N R Narayana Murthy had formed a Rs
600-crore venture capital fund Catamaran Investment Pvt Ltd, to help incubate
start-ups in the country. Murthy has put in Rs 174.30 crore in the venture capital
fund by off-loading his 0.13 per cent stake in Infosys while his wife Sudha Murthy
had sold two million shares of her total Infosys holding to rise around Rs 430
_ Farm equipment and utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra today said
its joint venture with China's Yueda Group will invest around USD 40 million (Rs
188 crore) in China to set up a new R&D centre, engine plant and in modernizing
its tractor unit at Yancheng. The JV--Mahindra Yueda (Yanchang) Tractor
Company (MYYTCL)--was set up in 2008 after Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M)
acquired a majority stake in Yueda Group subsidiary, Yancheng Tractors. M&M
currently holds 51 per cent stake in the JV.
_ Electric car-maker, Reva of India has announced that it is going to launch
two models NXR from the family car platform in the second quarter of next year
while a next-generation car NXG will be rolled out in 2011. Reva has recently
entered into an agreement with General Motors India for launching the electric
version of the compact car, Spark.
_ India's largest tyremaker MRF, the Chennai-headquartered tyre group.
Reported a net profit of Rs 253.03 crore for the year ended September 30, 2009,
up by 75% from Rs 144.56 crore the previous year. Softening raw material prices
contributed to "the satisfactory results" with the company's turnover standing at
Rs 5663.80 crore (Rs 5042.34 crore).
_ Indian power equipment maker, Bharat Heavy Electricals, said on Monday
it has got an order worth Rs 6.4 billion ($135 million) for a 270 megawatt power
project in the eastern state of Jharkhand. Bharat Heavy will design, engineer,
manufacture, supply, erect and commission the steam turbine, generator and
boiler for the power plant.
_ The influential All Assam Students' Union (AASU) launched a 96-hour oil
blockade on Dec 21 to protest an alleged move by Oil and Natural Gas
Corporation (ONGC) to sell of its oilfields to private firms. The ONGC last week
announced a Rs 24 billion investment plan for upgrading facilities and equipment
to boost crude oil production in Assam. Hyderabad-based Sairama Engineering
Enterprises, Megha Engineering, in consortium with Russian company Volgo
bagged the contract for the Assam Renewal Project. The AASU and other
pressure groups allege the ONGC was planning selling off its assets by awarding
contracts to private firms.
_ State-run gas utility GAIL India Ltd on Monday declared a 20 per cent (Rs
2 per share) interim dividend for the current fiscal. GAIL has a consistent trackrecord
of dividend payment. The company has disbursed dividend of Rs 7119.55
crore (up to FY 2008-09) to the shareholders, including Government of India.
GAIL had last year issued one bonus share for two equity shares held.
_ Aegis Logistics has acquired Shell Gas (LPG) India marking its entry in the
_ Nalco, the country's second largest aluminium producer, has agreed to
invest about Rs 1,000-crore in future projects of state-run Nuclear Power Corp.
The National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco) and Nuclear Power Corporation of
India Limited (NPCIL) had last month signed an agreement to collaborate with
each other for setting up nuclear power plants in the country.
_ Tata Steel is committed to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from
2.2 to 1.8 tones for every tone of steel produced by 2012, in a bid to contribute
to climate change initiatives. The company's initiative is part of a industry move
spearheaded by World Steel Association (WSA). To achieve this objective, the
global steel industry has taken up a dedicated project Ultra light Carbon Dioxide
(Ulcos). It aims to lessen emissions, capture and store it and finally to pump it in
natural gas fields a later stage.
_ Small mobile phone manufacturers are embracing the big-budget world of
cricket advertising as they look to give their obscure regional brands maximum
hype in the shortest span of time. Brands like Lemon Mobile, Airphone, Lava
Mobiles, Onida Mobiles and Karbonn Mobiles, launched in the last 15 months or
so, have lined up budgets of Rs 50-100 crore to spend on cricket-related
advertisement campaigns on television.
The first four brands advertised heavily during the recent India-Sri Lanka T-20
matches while Karbonn Mobile has bagged the title sponsorship for the ongoing
one-day international series between the two sides. Pitted against bigger,
established players like Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson in the 130-million
annual Indian handset market, small companies are targeting consumers with
feature-loaded handsets of Rs 1,800-6,000.
_ Energy efficiency and carbon credits are poised to transcend discussion
tables and become part of Indian corporate life, with an exclusive MBA
programme poised to get energy consciousness part of the national business and
social psyche. Chennai-based Great Lakes Institute of Management, in
association with the University of Houston, is planning to roll out what it claims
will be the first MBA programme exclusively focusing on energy research and
_ Welcome to a new cafe culture. India's cult cafe outlets are brewing a
heady mix of beverages, a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic blended hot
and cold coffees, coffee beer, and coffee based rum, whisky, vodka, gin, brandy
Cafe Coffee Day, India's largest cafe chain, is brewing what it calls a High Spirits
menu at its research and development centre in Chikmaglur. Its coffee
beer has the same colour, froth, texture, fizz and taste of regular beer. The only
difference is that the beverage is non-alcoholic and leaves a coffee aftertaste in
your mouth. Cafe Coffee Day is also developing a slew of other coffee-based
spirits, and is planning new product offerings around these non-alcoholic
Industry observers say that such innovations by cafe chains are primarily done to
break the monotony of their product offerings, bring in newer customers, move
towards international practices, and redefine the cafe culture.
Coffee World, run by Global Franchise Architects, had last year introduced an
item called coffee beer on a trial basis, which was a mix of coffee and lemonade.
_ Canadian director James Cameron's newest film "Avatar" filled the cinema
cash registers this weekend and soared to No. 1 with $73 million domestically
and $159.2 million overseas, for a $232.2 million worldwide total. Disney's
animated film "The Princess and the Frog" dropped to second place from first
place last week, with $12.2 million, followed by: "The Blind Side" ($10 million);
"Did You Hear About the Morgans?" ($7 million); "The Twilight Saga: New Moon",
($4.3 million); the Nelson Mandela biopic, "Invictus", ($4.2 million); "A Christmas
Carol" (2009) ($3.4 million); "Up in the Air" with George Clooney ($3.1 million);
"Brothers" ($2.6 million); and "Old Dogs" ($2.3 million).
_ Batelco funded S Tel that launched its mobile operations in India at Shimla
in Himachal Pradesh has now entered in Orissa. In the next few months the
company plans to expand its operations in half a dozen category C circles of the
country. The company has ISP license for many states including Orissa, Bihar,
Jharkhand, Assam, North East, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
S Tel is joint venture of Siva Group (formerly Sterling Infotech Group) and BMIC
Limited, a subsidiary of Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco).
_ Apparel Export Promotion Council: AEPC
_ Indian agriculture industry faces with an annual loss of Rs 76,500 crore in
_ In 2009, China became the world's biggest exporter and, with $2.3 trillion
in foreign exchange reserves, it is one of the United States' biggest creditors.