Sunday, May 2, 2010


Business GK

The Piaggio Group


Founded in 1884, Piaggio's product range includes scooters, mopeds and motorcycles from 50 to 1,200cc

under the Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Derbi and Scarabeo brands. Piaggio also operates

in the 3-and 4-wheeled light transport sector with the Ape, Porter and Quargo.

Fiat's Giovanni Alberto Agnelli was elected President of Piaggio.

In 1994, Sfera, the first scooter with plastic bodywork was produced by


In 1994 a milestone was reached with the launch of maxiscooter Hexagon.

Piaggio models include Liberty, NRG, Fly and Zip.

Vespa models include Granturismo and GTS.

Gilera models include Runner and Nexus.

Aprilia models include SR, Sportcity, Leonardo and Atlantic scooters &

Scarabeo, Tuono, Caponord and Pegaso bikes.

Moto Guzzi, founded in Mandello del Lario 1921, is famous for models like Norge, California Vintage,

California Touring, Breva, Griso, Nevada Classics and Corsa.

Derbi's current range is composed of the Mulhacén and the Senda, Atlantis, GPR, GP1 and Boulevard



Founded by Rinaldo Piaggio in 1884, Piaggio initially produced locomotives and railway carriages.

During World War I the company focused on producing airplanes.

During World War II the company produced bomber aircraft, but Piaggio emerged from the conflict with its

Pontedera plant completely demolished by bombing.

Enrico Piaggio, the son of Piaggio's founder Rinaldo Piaggio, decided to leave the aeronautical field in order

to address Italy's urgent need for a modern and affordable mode of transportation. The idea was to design

an inexpensive vehicle for the masses.

Aeronautical engineer Corradino D'Ascanio, responsible for the design and construction of the first

modern helicopter by Agusta, was given the job of designing a simple, robust and affordable vehicle by

Enrico Piaggio.

Consequently, in 1946 Piaggio launched the Vespa (Italian for "wasp") scooter, and within 10 years over a

million units had been produced.

With strong cash flow emanating from the success of the Vespa, Piaggio developed other products,

including the 1957 Vespa 400, the only passenger car ever produced by the company.



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In 1959, Piaggio came under the control of the Agnelli family, the owners of car maker Fiat SpA.

Resultantly, as the wider ownership of Fiat in Italian industry, in the 1964 the two divisions (aeronautical and

motorcycle) split to become two independent companies; the aeronautical division was named IAM Rinaldo


Today the airplane-company Piaggio Aero is controlled by the family of Piero Ferrari, who also still holds

10% of the famous car maker Ferrari.

Group companies

Moto Guzzi

Established in 1921 in Mandello del Lario, Italy, Moto Guzzi has led Italy's

motorcycling manufacture, enjoyed prominence in world-wide motorcycle

racing, and led the industry in ground-breaking innovation — for the greater

part of its history.

Moto Guzzi was conceived by Carlo Guzzi, Giovanni Ravelli and Giorgi Parodi, two aircraft pilots and

their mechanic serving in the Corpo Aeronautico Militare (the Italian Air Corp, CAM) during World War I.

The three were assigned to the Miraglia Squadron based outside Venice.

The trio envisioned creating a motorcycle company after the war. Guzzi would engineer the motor bikes,

Parodi (scion of wealthy Genovese ship-owners) would finance the venture, and Ravelli (already a famous

pilot and motocycle racer) would promote the bikes with his racing prowess.

Guzzi and Parodi formed Moto Guzzi in 1921. Ravelli, ironically, had died just days after the war's end in an

aircraft crash – and is commemorated by the eagle's wings that form the Moto Guzzi logo.


Derbi's origins began with a little bicycle workshop in the village of Mollet near Barcelona, founded in 1922

by Simón Rabasa Singla.

In 1944, Singla formed a limited liability company named Bicicletas Rabas with the

aim of moving into manufacturing bicycles.

In 1950, the company changed its name to the Nacional Motor SA and unveiled its first motorcycle, the Derbi


The name Derbi is an acknowledgement of the company's history and is an acronym for DERivados de

BIcicletas (derivatives of bicycles).


Aprilia is an Italian motorcycle company, one of the seven marques owned by Piaggio, the world's fourth

largest motorcycle manufacturer. Aprilia started as a scooter manufacturer, but has

more recently come to be known for its race-winning sportbikes–V-twin Superbike,

the RSV Mille.

Aprilia has introduced a number of technological innovations–the first catalytic

converter for scooters and the first water cooling system for 125cc bikes. It has introduced completely

new segments, like Scarabeo.



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Gilera is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer founded in Arcore in 1909 by Giuseppe Gilera. In

1969 the company was purchased by the Piaggio & Co. SpA.

In 1935 Gilera acquired rights to the Rondine four-cylinder engine. From the mid-thirties Gilera

developed a range of four-stroke engine machines. The most famous of which was the 1939


Piaggio's commercial vehicles: Ape, Porter, Quargo, Trackmaster.

Business Trivia

Multipurpose vehicle (MPV) from Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has the project name Ingenio.

Samsung camera phonesInnov8, TouchWiz, Soul and Omnia.

Bindaaz is the dark chocolate brand from Amul.

'Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur' is a recent book by Richard Branson.

S&P CNX Nifty is a well diversified 50 stock index owned and managed by India Index Services and

Products Ltd. (IISL), which is a joint venture between NSE and CRISIL.

PepsiCo launched lemon-and-lime soft drink Sierra Mist in the US in 2000 as a rival to Coca-Cola's Sprite.

Renzo Rosso is the founder of the Diesel clothing company. In 1978, Rosso formed the Genius Group,

which created many successful brands still widely known today, such as Katherine Hamnett, Goldie,

Martin Guy, Ten Big Boys and Diesel.

Founded in 1895 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, OshKosh B'Gosh, Inc. has grown from a small-town

manufacturer of adult workwear into a global marketer of children's clothing and accessories.

It wasn't until Miles Kimball, a local mail order firm, featured a pair of children's bib overalls in its national

catalog that sales of the item took off. In 2005 OshKosh B'Gosh joined the Carter's family of brands.

IBM's new Internet-based collaboration and social networking service called Bluehouse

Bill Me Later in the Amazon-funded online payments business acquired by eBay.

Tata Consultancy Services was established in the year 1968. It began as the 'Tata Computer Centre', a

division of the Tata Group, whose main business was to provide computer services to other group


Mail Goggles is Google's new feature, as CNET describes, "designed to prevent you from sending stupid

e-mails in the small hours, when you're most likely to be inebriated and at risk of making a complete idiot of




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In 1914, Kellogg Company created Waxtite wrappers, a new concept in packaging technology.

Will Keith (W.K.) Kellogg along with his brother, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, was the co-inventor of flaked


To help consumers distinguish Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal from the products of other cereal companies,

W.K. put his signature on each package, saying that these Corn

Flakes are the "The Original."

Kellogg Company owns brands such as Kellogg's, Keebler, Pop-

Tarts, Eggo, Cheez-It, Nutri-Grain, Special K, Rice Krispies, Murray,

Austin, Morningstar Farms, Famous Amos, Carr's, Plantation and

Ready Crust

Kellogg also held a children's art contest, selecting the best entries

for use in Kellogg advertisements. The first Kellogg premium, the

"Funny Jungleland Moving Picture Book," was distributed to

consumers in 1910.

Kellogg also brought new partnerships by sponsoring "The Singing Lady - Irene Wicker," the nation's first

radio network program for children, and the "Howie Wing" radio show, based on the adventures of a young

aviator in 1930s.

Admiral Richard E. Byrd's expedition to the South Pole was equipped with a two-year supply of Kellogg


In support of the American war effort during World War II, Kellogg provided packaged K-rations for the U.S.

armed forces

Kellogg engineering personnel used the company machine shop to manufacture parts for the "Manhattan"

atomic bomb project in 1945.

As a result of the company's many efforts during WWII, Kellogg was awarded the Army-Navy "E" flag for


Kellogg even went into outer space, as part of the Apollo 11 space crew's breakfast during their historic

mission to the moon in 1969.

Financial Times

The FT was launched as the London Financial Guide on January 9, 1888, by Horatio Bottomley,

renaming itself the Financial Times on February 13 of the same year.

It described itself as the friend of "The Honest Financier and the Respectable Broker".

In 1893, the FT turned light salmon—although later credited as a marketing masterstroke that made it

immediately distinguishable from its competitor, the similarly named Financial News (founded 1884) this

move was in truth inspired by economy—light salmon colored paper being cheaper than white paper.

Variety is a weekly entertainment trade newspaper founded in New York in 1905 by Sime Silverman.

BusinessWeek, a business magazine published by McGraw-Hill, was first published in 1929 (as The

Business Week) under the direction of Malcolm Muir.



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Barron's magazine is an American weekly newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company since 1921.

The magazine is named after Clarence W. Barron, one of the most influential figures in the history of Dow

Jones. Dow Jones also publishes The Wall Street Journal.

McGraw-Hill Companies

Founder James H. McGraw, a teacher in New York, purchased the American Journal of Railway

Appliances in 1888.

At the same time, co-founder John A. Hill was working as an editor at Locomotive Engineer.

In 1899, McGraw incorporated his publications under the heading of 'The McGraw Publishing Company'

In 1902, John Hill followed with 'The Hill Publishing Company.'

The book departments of the two publishing companies merged to form the McGraw-Hill Book Company in


Boeing Co makes the F-18 Super Hornets.

Prism Cement is a part of Rajan Raheja Group.

'iTalent' contest is organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry for showcasing the computing

talents of students in developing information technology related projects for the industry applications

ESPN STAR, owned jointly by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Walt Disney.

SAP AG was founded in Germany the year 1972 as Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung (System

Analysis and Program Development) by five former IBM engineers–Dietmar Hopp, Hans-Werner Hector,

Hasso Plattner, Klaus Tschira, and Claus Wellenreuther.

K N Guruswamy founded Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd and its publications–Deccan Herald, Prajavani,

Sudha and Mayura in 1948.

Welfare theory of economist John Rawls argues that the welfare of society only depends on the welfare of

the worst-off individual; society is better off if you improve the welfare of others.

Indian Immunological Ltd (IIL) is owned by the National Dairy Development Board

Saint-Gobain was created in 1665 as part of

the plan devised by Louis XIV and Colbert to

restore the French economy. The company

broke with the factory tradition by organizing

glass production on an industrial basis.

Thanks to the invention of glassware casting

(1688), Saint-Gobain established a near-monopoly in 17th-century Europe and ousted Venice, which was

then the leader in this sector



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Nissan's small car code is named XO2a and b.

Answering Machines

Valdemar Poulsen, the Danish telephone engineer and inventor, patented the world's first answering machine

which he called the telegraphone in 1898. It was an ingenious apparatus for recording telephone conversations.

It recorded, on a wire, the varying magnetic fields produced by a sound. The magnetized wire could then be used

to play back the sound.

Willy Müller invented the first automatic answering machine in 1935. This answering machine was a threefoot-

tall machine popular with Orthodox Jews who were forbidden to answer the phone on the Sabbath

Cross writing instruments was founded in 1846 by Alonzo Townsend Cross.

Cross DigitalWriter was an inkless 'pen' designed for writing on the screens of personal digital assistants

(PDAs), such as the PalmPilot. This was followed by CrossPad.

Nissan is testing a new electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries in a boxy small car that goes by the

name 'The Cube'.

Hewlett Packard owns the luxury PC brand Voodoo.

Dell has a new slogan 'Simplify IT'

Dom Perignon Champagne has 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir

It was in Live and Let Die (1973) that James Bond shifted his loyalty from Dom Perignon to Bollinger.

Originally created for Tsar Alexander II of Russia in 1876, Cristal is the only champagne that comes in a

clear glass bottle—apparently to cater to the whims of the tsar— wrapped in cellophane wrapper to

protect its contents from ultraviolet and fluorescent light.


P. Chidambaram: The reformer in hot seat

Pro-reformist face of the UPA govt takes charge of the home ministry at a

crucial time

P Chidambaram has been the pro-reformist face of the Union government for close to two decades now. He

along with PM Manmohan Singh have been credited with sticking to their pro-reform agenda even in the face of a

hostile left on whose whims depended the fate of the UPA government for most of the part of the current term of

the Parliament. But very few know that P Chidambaram, the US educated votary of free enterprise and unbridled

economic reforms used to be a hard-core leftist arguing in favor of the command economy in the late 1960s.



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Since then he has come a long way. A scion of a prominent industrialist family from Madras, Chidambaram

chose to stay away from the predictable path of joining the family business and went into politics. He joined the

Congress after it lost power in 1967 and remained with Indira Gandhi when the party split in 1969.

As a young lawyer he boasted an impressive array of clients, whenever he has been out of the government, he

has been consulted by top notch firms including the controversial US company Enron which ran into trouble in

India because of a power plant project. Chidambaram came to the attention of the youthful Prime Minister Rajiv

Gandhi in 1984 and since then has had a meteoric rise to the top. Chidambaram was first elected to the Lok

Sabha from the Sivaganga constituency of Tamil Nadu in general elections held in 1984. He was re-elected from

the same constituency in the general elections of 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2004.

He was inducted into the Union Council of Ministers in the socialist government headed by Prime Minister Rajiv

Gandhi in Sept 1985 as a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Commerce and then in the Ministry of Personnel. He

was elevated to the rank of Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in

January 1986. In October of the same year, he was appointed as Minister of State for Internal Security. He

continued to hold both offices until general elections were called in 1989. The Congress government was

defeated in the general elections of 1989.

When Chidambaram was first given a ministerial post, he was one among a relatively young, well educated class

of men brought into government by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in

May 1991 during an election campaign appearance in the state of Tamil Nadu; in the general elections the

following month a wave of sympathy for the assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, and a disunited opposition brought the

Congress party back to power.

Manmohan Singh, a socialist economist who had advised the Indian government on many socialist policies and

who was a former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India was made Finance Minister in the new government

headed by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, essentially the first bureaucrat on the job in post-independent India.

Manmohan Singh implemented Narasimha Rao's reforms just as he had implemented Indira Gandhi's socialist

policies and these reforms began taking India away from the erstwhile Soviet-style centralised planning, into a

liberalized, free market economy.

In June 1991, Chidambaram was inducted as a Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of

Commerce, a post he held till July, 1992. He was later re-appointed Minister of State (Independent Charge) in

the Ministry of Commerce in February 1995 and held the post until April 1996. He made some radical changes in

India's export-import (EXIM) policy, while at the Ministry of Commerce.

In 1996 Chidambaram quit the Congress party and joined a breakaway faction of the Tamil Nadu state unit of the

Congress party called the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC). In general elections held in 1996, TMC along with a

few national and regional level opposition parties formed a coalition government. The coalition government came

as a big break for Chidambaram, who was given the key cabinet portfolio of Finance; this put him in the limelight.

The coalition government was a short-lived one and fell in 1998.

In 1998 the BJP took the reins of government for the first time and it was not until May 2004 that Chidambaram

would be back in Government. Chidambaram became Minister of Finance again in the Congress party-

Communist Party United Progressive Alliance government on 24 May 2004.



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