IndUS Business Journal

Namal Nawana-led Alere loses $1 Billion of Value in 20 Minutes After Reports of New Federal Subpoena

Jul 27, 2016 0

BOSTON–The market value of Waltham, MA-based Alere, which is led by Sri Lankan-born Namal Nawana, fell by more than $1 billion in the last 20 minutes of trading on Wednesday after a report of a federal investigation into Medicare billing practices by the company, according to media reports.

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The Wall Street Journal and Boston Business Journal reported that the diagnostics firm, which is under agreement to be sold to Abbott Labs for $5.9 billion, received a subpoena from the criminal fraud unit of the Department of Justice. The article cites “people familiar with the matter.”

Namal Nawana

Namal Nawana

The report is the latest in a series of problems for Alere (NYSE: ALR) since its sale to Abbott was announced on Feb. 1, Boston Business Journal said. In March, the company disclosed that it had a subpoena from the Department of Justice regarding international sales of its blood coagulation test, called INRatio, and also said it wouldn’t file its annual report by a federal deadline. Alere has yet to file its financial statements, Boston Business Journal said.

Just last week, the company was hit with a class action lawsuit, again regarding the INRatio test, Boston Business Journal reported, adding that the company’s current valuation of $2.7 billion as of the close of markets on Wednesday, July 27,  indicate that most investors do not believe Abbott (NYSE: ABT) will go through with the acquisition.

Abbott already tried to back out of the deal earlier this year, but Alere refused the offer, and in April, comments by Abbott CEO Miles White on a conference call were interpreted as a sign that he’s still not happy about the merger agreement, according to Boston Business Journal.

Alere’s share price as of 4 p.m. Wednesday was $31.47, the lowest point in nearly three years, according to Boston Business Journal.

If the deal goes through, Nawana would receive about $11.1 million in one-time payouts after the Alere’s acquisition is completed by Abbott Laboratories. Nawana took over as CEO of the company when Alere founder and former CEO Ron Zwanzger resigned in 2014.

Nawana has been with the company since 2012, originally as chief operating officer.

Nawana was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Australia. He holds an Honors degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters of Medical Science degree from the University of Adelaide in Australia and an MBA from the Henley Business School in the United Kingdom.

Before joining Alere, Nawana held various global leadership roles during his 15-year tenure at Johnson & Johnson. He most recently served as Worldwide President of DePuy Synthes Spine, a Johnson & Johnson company. Prior to that role, Nawana held general management positions spanning the globe, including Area Vice President for Johnson & Johnson Medical in Australia and New Zealand and Chairman of the DePuy Asia Pacific Franchise Council.

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South Asia remains the second least peaceful region, Iceland most and Syria least peaceful nation

Jul 27, 2016 0

LONDON– South Asia remains the second least peaceful region in the world, according to the tenth edition of the Global Peace Index.  Iceland is the world’s most peaceful country, followed by Denmark and Austria.  Syria is least peaceful, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

South Asia MapGlobal inequality in peace has also widened in 2016 as least peaceful countries spiral into increased violence. The world became less peaceful in 2016, reinforcing an underlying decade-long deterioration in world peacefulness driven primarily by increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability.

Here are key highlights from the Global Peace Index:

  • The economic impact of violence on the global economy totalled $13.6 trillion or 13.3% of gross world product, equivalent to 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment.
  • The economic impact of violence was $137 trillion over the last decade – greater than global GDP in 2015.
  • Refugees and displaced persons have risen dramatically over the last decade, doubling to approximately 60 million people between 2007 and 2016, nearly 1% of the world’s population.
  • Iceland is the world’s most peaceful country, followed by Denmark and Austria.
  • Syria is least peaceful, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
  • Panama, Thailand and Sri Lanka showed greatest improvements in peace; Yemen, Ukraine and Turkey suffered the greatest deteriorations.
  • In Brazil, a 15% increase in political instability coupled with deteriorations in both the incarceration and police rates, presents a worrying trend just before the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The tenth edition of the Global Peace Index was published last month by international think- tank the Institute for Economics and Peace. The report finds that while 81 countries improved, the deterioration in another 79 outweighed these gains, meaning that peace declined at a faster rate than in the previous year. Despite this some of the most peaceful countries are now recording historically high levels of peace.

The score for the Middle East and Africa (MENA), the least peaceful region in the world in last year’s report, dropped further as regional conflicts intensified, dragging down global peacefulness. So intense is the current concentration of violence and conflict in MENA that, when considered separately, the rest of the world’s average peace levels improved. Three of the five biggest declines in peace occurred in the region including Yemen, Libya and Bahrain.

Steve Killelea

Steve Killelea

Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman of the IEP observed, “As internal conflicts in MENA become more entrenched, external parties are increasingly becoming more involved and the potential for indirect or ‘war by proxy’ between nation states is rising. This was already evident in Syria with the conflict between the Assad regime and multiple non-state actors, and is now spilling into countries such as Yemen. There is a broader proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and more recently both US and Russia have increased their level of involvement.”

The global deterioration in peace in 2015 was driven by increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability. While the majority of terrorist activity is highly concentrated in five countries – Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan – the breadth of terrorism is spreading, with only 23% of countries in the Index not experiencing a terrorist incident. Europe, which was once again the most peaceful region in the world, saw its average score deteriorate in this year’s report in the wake of terrorism incidents in Paris and Brussels, with deaths from terrorism in Europe having more than doubled over the last five years.

The number of refugees and displaced persons has risen dramatically over the last decade, doubling to approximately 60 million people between 2007 and 2016, nearly 1% of the world’s population. There are now nine countries with more than 10% of their population displaced in some form; 20% of Somalia and South Sudan’s population respectively, and over 60% of Syria’s.

While the global economic impact of violence dropped by 2% when compared to last year’s report, it was still a staggering $13.6 trillion in 2015, equivalent to 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment. This represents 13.3% of world GDP, or $1,876 per person. In the last ten years the economic impact of violence was $137 trillion; greater than global GDP in 2015.

Steve Killelea remarked, “The increasing internationalisation of internal conflicts has coincided with UN peacekeeping funding reaching record highs in 2016: it was the largest improved indicator in this year’s report with more deployed peacekeepers and more countries being up-to-date with their UN peacekeeping dues. However, peacebuilding and peacekeeping spending remains proportionately small compared to the economic impact of violence, representing just 2% of global losses from armed conflict.

“Addressing the global disparity in peace and achieving an overall 10% decrease in the economic impact of violence would produce a peace dividend of $1.36 trillion. This is approximately equivalent to the size of world food exports.”

The report also provides an audit of the available data to measure Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals – the UN member states formal recognition of the critical nature of peacefulness in advancing global development. It finds that, while there is some existing data to track progress and therefore hold member states accountable to meeting their targets, serious investment will need to be made to measure the goals.

The report concludes with new research into resilience and what the IEP identifies as ‘Positive Peace’; the attitudes, institutions and structures which sustain peace. It finds that, over the course of the decade, 13 times more lives were lost in natural disasters in low Positive Peace countries than in countries which are high in Positive Peace.

REGIONAL RANKING and HIGHLIGHTS

Europe was once again ranked the most peaceful region in the world. The largest improvement since last year occurred in Central America and the Caribbean, while South America also made progress in its levels of peacefulness. MENA had the largest decline, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific respectively.

  1. Europe accounts for six of the top seven places in the rankings with Iceland, Denmark and Austria remaining the highest-ranking countries. Portugal built on last year’s gains to rise nine places to fifth globally. However, the average score in Europe deteriorated, reflecting increases in the impact of terrorism as well as the escalation of violence and instability in Turkey and the country’s deteriorating relations with its neighbours.
  2. North America’s score remains in line with GPI 2015. A small deterioration in Canada, due to an increase in weapons imports and exports, was offset by a comparable improvement in the US.
  3. Asia-Pacific’s level of peace has remained largely unchanged since 2015, however a number of countries including Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Myanmar and Thailand improved their scores. Heightened tensions in the South China Sea impacted external relations between the three main nations concerned; China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
  4. Despite continuing security issues in Central America and the Caribbean, the region’s score improved sufficiently for it to move above South America in the rankings, and into fourth place overall. Improvements were recorded particularly in the levels of political instability and political terror. The best performer was Costa Rica, characterised by its low levels of militarisation.
  5. South America dropped in rank in light of the substantial improvements in Central America and the Caribbean but still recorded an improvement in its overall score since 2015. This was due to lower levels of international conflict and militarisation underpinned by largely peaceful relations between neighbouring countries. However, there was significant social unrest in Venezuela and Brazil. Political instability increased in Brazil just months before the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
  6. Sub-Saharan Africa’s average deterioration masks sharp variations in country performance: Chad, Mauritania and Niger all improved their relations with neighbouring countries, while the threat posed by Islamist terrorist groups continues to weigh on many countries in the Sahel and West African region.
  7. Russia and Eurasia remains the third least peaceful region. The biggest improvements were in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan; the largest deteriorations were in Ukraine, due to the persistent conflict with pro-Russian separatist forces in the Donbass region.
  8. South Asia remains the second least peaceful region. Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and India deteriorated; while Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan improved modestly. Internal security concerns were heightened in Bangladesh and Nepal owing to anti-government protests. Afghanistan has seen a resurgence of violence in the last year, with a number of clashes between government and Taliban forces, and the possible re-emergence of Al-Qaeda after the withdrawal of coalition forces in 2014.
  9. MENA, which was already ranked the lowest in the 2015 GPI, had the biggest deterioration in peace this year, as the civil wars in Syria and Yemen deepened and led to increased external intervention. Yemen, whose long-standing political crisis exploded into outright civil war in early 2015, witnessed a large slump, driven by the rising casuality rate, a large increase in the number of refugees and internally displaced people, and higher levels of terrorist attacks by both al-Qaeda and ISIL.
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How mood helps manage IT systems better at office

Jul 27, 2016 0

New York– Human mood and personality play a critical role in how companies should manage their IT systems, says a new study co-authored by an Indian-origin researcher, adding that organisations focus too much on the technical and mechanical aspects of IT errors rather than the human and environmental aspects.

“The mood and personality traits of the software development team affect how they report on self-committed errors in IT projects. A minor glitch in design or programming can have devastating consequences. For example, even a small error in software design could result in a NASA capsule disaster in outer space,” said Sumantra Sarkar from Binghamton University.

Sumantra Sarkar

Sumantra Sarkar

The researchers examined how human elements influence IT errors and decision-making and established a theoretical framework intended to explain some of the decision-making processes associated with reporting self-committed errors.

Since the study suggests IT errors are caused by a combination of factors, the researchers said that it is important to adopt various procedures to identify inefficiencies, ineffective care and preventable errors to make improvements associated with the IT systems.

“And, it is important to look at individuals working on information technology teams,” the study noted.

According to the researchers, current study on IT error reporting mainly explores the issues related to resources and technology, such as budget shortages, hardware malfunctions or labour shortages.

“We found a difference in the self-committed IT error reporting process of developers depending on if they were in a positive or negative mood,” Sarkar said.

“When IT workers were in a positive mood, they were less likely to report on self-committed errors. This can be explained by how being in a positively elevated state can impede one’s cognitive processing,” she added.

The study has managerial implications, too.

Managers should establish a good rapport with team members to foster an environment that will allow employees to speak up when they feel their mood could affect their reporting decisions.

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Court jails two senior Rathi Steel officials for three years

Jul 27, 2016 0

New Delhi– In the second conviction in a coal block allocation case, a special court on Wednesday awarded three year jail terms to two senior officials of Delhi-based Rathi Steel and Power Ltd. (RSPL) who were held guilty of illegal allocation of Chhattisgarh’s Kesla North coal block.

Special Judge Bharat Parashar awarded three years jail to the company’s CEO Udit Rathi and Managing Director Pradeep Rathi, and two years imprisonment to Assistant General Manager Kushal Aggarwal. The three were convicted under various charges dealing with criminal conspiracy and cheating.

The court slapped a fine of Rs 50 lakh against the company and Udit Rathi, and a fine of Rs 25 lakh against Pradeep Rathi, and Rs 5 lakh against Aggarwal.

The court on Tuesday held that the “ministry of coal clearly stood cheated on account of the dishonest acts of accused persons resulting in allotment of Kesla North coal block to company RSPL”.

The court convicted Udit Rathi, Pradeep Rathi, Aggarwal and the company for the offence of hatching conspiracy to cheat, while Udit Rathi and the company were also held guilty of substantive charges of cheating.

Senior Public Prosecutor V.K. Sharma requested the court to award maximum punishment to the convicts.

Defence counsel of the accused sought leniency on the basis of their good conduct during the trial.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had charge-sheeted the company and the three officials following an FIR against the company and its CEO registered on June 19, 2013.

“…it is crystal clear that the accused persons with a dishonest intention and in pursuance to the common intention and in pursuance to the common object of a criminal conspiracy hatched amongst themselves deceived the screening committee and thereby ministry of coal, government of India on the basis of false representation qua the issue of land showing a higher status/stage of progress made by them towards establishing the end use project so as to procure allotment of a coal block in favour of RSPL,” the court said while convicting them on Tuesday.

“The false representation thus continued to hold ground even when the file containing recommendation of screening committee went to (then) prime minister as minister-in-charge, coal, government of India for final approval and thus it was primarily the government which was deceived into making allotment of a coal block in favour of RSPL while believing all such representation to be true, which in fact were not.”

Besides this case, around 19 other cases investigated by the CBI are pending before the court, set up to exclusively deal with all the coal block matters. (IANS)

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Quebec commits 175 million Canadian dollars to Tata Steel Canada

Jul 27, 2016 0

Sept-Iles, Canada– Tata Steel on Wednesday said the Quebec provincial government of Canada has announced a financial contribution of 175 million Canadian dollars to Tata Steel Minerals Canada (TSMC) to support a direct shipping iron ore project (DSO project) at Schefferville.

The Tata Steel Group has invested an amount in excess of C$1 billion in the DSO project.

“…the award of a government financial contribution of C$175 million to Tata Steel Minerals Canada to support the achievement at Schefferville of a direct shipping iron ore project (DSO project) in which Tata Steel Group has invested an amount in excess of C$1 billion,” the steel producer said in a filing to Bombay Stock Exchange.

According to the statement, the financial contribution includes equity stake of C$125 million through the Capital Mining Hydrocarbons Fund and a loan of C$50 million from Investissement Quebec, acting as an agent of the government.

“Tata Steel has demonstrated its willingness to do business in Quebec by committing up to C$1 billion in the development of the DSO project, which stands out for the innovative process it uses. Our government is proud to support such initiatives, which will have positive spinoffs for Quebec and could eventually lead to new mining projects,” said Quebec government’s Minister for Mines, Luc Blanchette.

Steel producer’s Group Executive Director Koushik Chatterjee said this is a challenging time in the global iron ore industry due to soft underlying steel demand, over capacity in the steel industry and volatile foreign exchange fluctuations.

“We will continue to work closely with the Government of Quebec and other stakeholders to do all that we can do to improve the competitiveness of the Canadian iron ore business and make it more sustainable for the future,” he said.

Founded in 2010, TSMC is an indirect subsidiary of Tata Steel Ltd, with equity participation from New Millennium Iron Corp. (NML), a TSX listed company headquartered in Montreal, to develop the DSO deposits located in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

TSMC forecasts annual production of over 6 million tonnes of iron ore.

Quebec government’s Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Small and Medium Enterprises, Regulatory Streamlining and Regional Economic Development, Lise Theriault, said this project would have significant benefits for our economy, creating up to 550 quality jobs in Quebec. (IANS)

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Apple ready to open retail stores in India: Apple Chief Tim Cook

Jul 27, 2016 0

Washington– As the sales of Apple iPhones went through a global slowdown barring in India, the Cupertino-based tech giant’s CEO Tim Cook has announced to soon open retail stores in the country — a move that brings to the fore the global importance of the burgeoning Indian smartphone market.

Apple’s third-quarter net income plunged 27 per cent to $7.8 billion on a decline of iPhone sales. It sold 40.4 million iPhones in the quarter, compared with 47.5 million in the same period of 2015.

Tim Cook

Tim Cook

But sales of the Apple devices in India rose 51 per cent in the last three quarters compared with a year earlier, Cook said on Tuesday.

“India is now one of our fastest growing markets. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, our iPhone sales in India were up 51 percent year on year. We’re looking forward to opening retail stores in India down the road and we see huge potential for that vibrant country,” The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Cook.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of Apple’s Q3 2016 earnings call.

India is expected to overtake the US as the second-largest smartphone market next year with robust annual growth, a Morgan Stanley report said recently.

“After realising the increasing importance of India to its core businesses, Apple is now turning its India-entry plans into reality. Having its own stores will help provide better user experience to its prospective customers which, in turn, will help Apple spruce up the business,” Vishal Tripathi, Research Director at global market consultancy firm Gartner, told IANS.

“Having said that, Apple will also need to work very closely with their existing partners to understand the finer nuances and maximise the returns,” he added.

Revenue for the third fiscal quarter contracted by 14.6 per cent to $42.36 billion compared with revenue of $49.6 billion in the same period last year because of the drop in iPhone sales for the second consecutive quarter, Efe news reported.

Earnings per share were $1.42, above the analysts expected earnings of $1.38 per share and revenues of $42.1 billion.

The company reported that its gross profit margin was 38 per cent.

“Today we’re pleased to report third quarter results that reflect stronger customer demand and business performance than we anticipated just 90 days ago,” Cook added.

Meanwhile, Apple’s chief financial officer Luca Maestri said the results had exceeded their expectations in a quarter marked by currency fluctuations and comparisons between iPhone’s latest model, the 6S, and the best-selling iPhone 6.

Apple’s profits suffered the first decline in 13 years in the quarter ending March 26 and iPhone sales contracted for the first time in history, a setback that halted the meteoric rise of the tech giant.

One of the problems is the slowdown of the company’s businesses in China which Apple sees as the next growth engine.

Services including the App Store and cloud storage (iCloud), among others, generated revenue of $6 billion, a 18.9 per cent increase compared to a year ago.

Apple also expects a gross margin between 37.5 and 38 per cent during the current quarter ending September and anticipates revenues of between $45.5 billion and 47.5 billion.

Apple shares currently are down 8.2 per cent since the start of the year.

Cook, who visited India in the sweltering heat of May announced the first development centre in Hyderabad to work on Apple Maps and an app design and development centre in Bengaluru that will support the Indian developers creating mobile apps for its iOS mobile platform.

In his much awaited meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the 55-year-old Apple head stressed the possibilities of manufacturing and retailing Apple devices in the country.

Bullish on India’s upcoming 4G revolution, Cook told an Indian TV channel that 4G is critical for India’s progress — thus setting up the roadmap for a possible alliance with some big players to help Apple open more retail stores in the country.

“I am looking at India holistically and we are here for the next thousand years,” Apple CEO Tim Cook had asserted.

According to Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst with CyberMedia Research (CMR), a nod to import and sell refurbished iPhones at a cheaper price would have put Apple in a very advantageous position in the country.

“At a time when its revenues have taken a hit globally, selling its products in mid- and low-price segment would give the company an upper hand,” he had told IANS.

Tripathi added. “It will benefit to buy from an Apple store if the cost and alternative buying options like EMI are the same as compared to partner stores.” (IANS)

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Profit-taking, US interest rates and other factors depress Indian equity markets

Jul 27, 2016 0

Mumbai–Profit booking, combined with caution ahead of derivatives expiry and a key announcement over the US interest rate, depressed the Indian equity markets on Wednesday.

During the day’s volatile trade session, the key indices oscillated in a 300-point range. They had earlier receded during the mid-afternoon trade session after touching new intra-day highs for the last 11 months.

Bombay Stock Exchange-WikipediaHowever, speculative buying in the final hour of the day’s trade aided the equity markets to provisionally close on a flat-to-positive note.

The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) gained just 25.15 points or 0.29 per cent to 8,615.80 points.

The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 27,976.14 points, provisionally closed at 28,024.33 points (3.30 p.m.) — up by 47.81 points or 0.17 per cent from the previous close at 27,976.52 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 28,210.88 points and a low of 27,899.93 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was slightly tilted in favour of the bears — with 1,341 declines and 1,317 advances.

Both indices had ended deep in the red during the previous trade session on Tuesday due to profit booking, along with caution ahead of key global and domestic events. (IANS)

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60 percent of Indians will live in Urban areas by 2050

Jul 27, 2016 0

New Delhi– Indian government on Wednesday said about 60 percent Indian population will live in cities by 2050.

“It is estimated that by 2050, 60 percent population of the country will live in cities as the rate of urbanisation in India is dramatic,” Union Minister of State for Urban Development Rao Inderjit Singh told the Lok Sabha during question hour.

He said according to 2011 Census, nearly 31 per cent of the country’s population resides in urban areas, and a large number of people would migrate to cities in coming decades.

Rao Inderjit Singh

Rao Inderjit Singh

But he maintained that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has drawn up plans and under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) steps will be taken to strengthen big cities first and infrastructure and other facilities will be strengthened in smaller cities in the second stage.

AMRUT provides for improvement of basic urban infrastructure like water supply, sewerage, storm water drainage, urban transport and development of green space and parks with special provision.

He also said that states and Union territories can raise funds required against their share through own resources or through the World Bank or foreign financial institutions.

Some of the broad targets of AMRUT scheme — launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 — are ensuring access to tap water and sewerage facilities, greenery like parks and open spaces, digital and smart facilities like weather prediction, internet and WiFi facilities, and pollution reduction by encouraging secure public transport. (IANS)

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Space Wars: Devas wins arbitration case, India mulls legal recourse

Jul 26, 2016 0

Chennai– India has lost its arbitration case in an international tribunal against Bengaluru-based Devas Multimedia Private Ltd for cancelling its space/satellite contract with the government-owned Antrix Corporation, Devas said on Tuesday. The government said that the order is being examined and “legal recourse will be taken”.

In a statement, Devas said: “A Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal has found that the government of India’s actions in annulling a contract between Devas and Antrix Corporation Ltd., and denying Devas commercial use of S-band spectrum, constituted an expropriation.”

The ruling on Monday was the second by an international tribunal arising out of the cancellation of the contract between Devas and Antrix, the commercial arm of Indian space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the statement added.

The Hague-based tribunal, which regularly takes cases involving states, including investment treaty claims brought under arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), also found that India breached its treaty commitments to accord fair and equitable treatment to Devas’s foreign investors.

According to Devas, the unanimous decision included the arbitrator appointed by India.

Reacting to the development, G.Madhavan Nair, who was ISRO Chairman when the deal was signed, told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that all this happened because of the UPA-2 government.

S. Rakesh, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Limited, was not available for comments.

However, the Department of Space, in a statement, said that in the award, issued on “jurisdiction and merits on July 25, 2016”, the tribunal has said that the Indian government’s essential security interest provisions “do apply in this case to an extent” and the “limited liability of compensation shall be limited to 40 per cent of the value of the investment” but the precise quantum has not been determined as yet.

“The Tribunal has dismissed the claims as regards violation of other provisions of the Treaty viz., (i) unreasonable or discriminatory measures; as also (ii) Most Favoured Nation treatment,” it said, adding that the “award is being examined and legal recourse will be taken”.

“We also remain committed to pursue our larger national interests including sovereign strategic security interests in this matter,” the statement said.

In an earlier decision, an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) tribunal in 2015 found unanimously that Antrix’s repudiation of the contract was unlawful, and awarded Devas damages and pre-award interest of approximately $672 million, plus post-award annual interest accruing at 18 per cent until the award is paid in full.

According to Devas Chairman Lawrence Babbio, with the PCA award, two international tribunals have now unanimously agreed that financial compensation should be paid after annulment of Devas’s rights.

“Other courts in France and the United Kingdom have agreed that the award against Antrix ought to be enforced. We prefer a mutually agreeable resolution of this matter. But until that occurs, Devas and its investors will continue to press their claims before international tribunals and in courts around the world,” Babbio was quoted as saying in the statement.

The PCA tribunal unanimously found that by annulling the contract in 2011 and denying the commercial use of S-band spectrum, the Indian government expropriated the investments of Devas’s foreign shareholders and also acted unfairly and inequitably, thus making it liable to pay financial compensation.

Antrix entered into an agreement with Devas in 2005 for the long-term lease of two ISRO satellites operating in the S-band.

However, the then United Progressive Alliance government cancelled the controversial contract in February 2011, invoking sovereignty and decided to use the advanced satellite for the country’s strategic use.

Under the annulled deal, Antrix was to lease satellite transponders to Devas for allowing it to offer digital multimedia services using the S-band wavelength (spectrum), reserved for strategic purpose.

The space agency launched the GSAT-6 on August 27, 2015 from its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90 km north of Chennai, as a communication satellite, using a heavy rocket.

In June this year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had issued a notice to Devas for alleged violation of foreign exchange laws involving around Rs 1,200 crore.

According to a government statement, Devas Multimedia is suspected to have received FDI of Rs 578.54 crore between May 2006 and June 2010 from various overseas investors, but the share subscription agreements it entered with them contained clauses contrary to the conditions specified in the approvals granted by Foreign Investment Promotion Board.

Devas Multimedia was also charged with contravening the FDI regulations under FEMA for assuring foreign investors an annual eight per cent priority dividend in addition to other dividends on cumulative basis, and for one tranche of receipt of funds, issuing a security akin to an External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) promising higher returns than the ceiling fixed by the Reserve Bank of India.

According to the probe agency, a show cause notice has been issued to the Indian investors, the persons responsible in the Indian company, including its directors and foreign investors.

The ED has initiated adjudication process, and in case the alleged contravention is proved, the noticees are liable for penalty under FEMA, which may be up to thrice the sum involved in such contravention.

Meanwhile the Department of Space said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have filed an FIR against Devas and other unknown public servants of Antrix/ISRO/DOS and it is presently under investigation. (IANS)

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June air passenger traffic in India up 21%, with SpiceJet highest passenger load

Jul 26, 2016 0

New Delhi– Domestic air passenger traffic rose 20.81 per cent in June to 79.75 lakh from 66.01 lakh registered during the corresponding month of last year, official data showed on Tuesday.

During May, the air passenger traffic had surged by 21.63 per cent to 86.69 lakh.

SpiceJet-logoThe data furnished by the Ministry of Civil Aviation showed that passenger traffic during the January-June period grew by 22.52 per cent.

“Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-June 2016 were 475.79 lakhs as against 388.33 lakhs during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 22.52 per cent,” the ministry’s passenger traffic analysis said.

The data showed that low-cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF) during the month under review at 93.5 per cent.

The LCC was followed by budget passenger carriers — GoAir (88.6) and IndiGo (87.2).

Further, the data on the on-time performance showed Vistara led the industry with 86.5 per cent punctuality rate at four major airports of Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

It was followed by IndiGo (83.3), Jet Airways and JetLite (81.1), SpiceJet (80.7), and Air India’s domestic operations (73.8) being on schedule.

Meanwhile, Trujet had the highest number of cancellations at 21.73 per cent followed by Air Pegasus (19.33), AirAsia India (10), Air Costa (3.06) and Air India (1.08).

“The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of June 2016 has been 0.96 per cent,” the aviation regulator said.

According to the data, a total of 788 passenger related complaints had been received last month.

Budget passenger carrier IndiGo achieved the highest market share in the month under review at 37.9 per cent followed by Jet Airways (16.3), Air India (15.5), SpiceJet (12.7), GoAir (8.3) and JetLite (2.8).

Vistara reported a market share of 2.8 per cent, followed by AirAsia India (2.2), Air Costa (0.8), Trujet (0.4) and Air Pegasus (0.3).

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