IndUS Business Journal

Noel Tata to take over as Voltas’ non-executive Chairman

Aug 2, 2017 0

Mumbai–Tata Group enterprise Voltas on Tuesday said that Noel N. Tata will take over as its non-executive Chairman from September 1, 2017.

According to a regulatory filing made to the BSE, the company said that the decision was taken in its board meeting and was based on the recommendation of the nomination and remuneration committee.

Tata will succeed the incumbent Ishaat Hussain upon his retirement.

“Noel N. Tata, will take charge as non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company with effect from September 1, 2017,” the filing said.

Tata is a Director of Voltas for the past over 14 years, since January 2003.

In addition, he is the Chairman of Tata Investment Corporation and Trent and Managing Director of Tata International. He is also on the Board of several other companies, including Titan Company and Smiths Group.(IANS)

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Walmart India appoints Devendra Chawla as EVP and COO

Aug 2, 2017 0

New Delhi–Walmart India on Wednesday said that it has appointed Devendra Chawla as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

“Devendra will lead merchandising, marketing, and omni channel functions for Walmart India’s cash and carry business and will report to Krish Iyer, President and CEO Walmart India,” the company said in a statement.

Until recently, Chawla was CEO of the Future Consumer Limited (FCL) and Group President – Food, FMCG, Brands Future Group.

He has also served as the Concept Head – Super Market for Reliance Retail.(IANS)

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Rupee strengthens to a new two-year high

Aug 2, 2017 0

Mumbai–The RBI’s decision to lower key lending rates and healthy inflows of foreign funds in capital markets pushed the Indian rupee to close at a new two-year high level of Rs 63.70 to a US dollar on Wednesday.

Besides, a smooth GST roll-out, expectations of subdued inflation and stable political environment buoyed the demand for the Indian currency.

The rupee closed at 63.70-71 against a US dollar from its previous close of Rs 64.07. The rupee last traded around the 63.70-mark in July 2015.

The Indian currency gained over 1.70 per cent to an intra-day high of Rs 63.60 to a US dollar.

However, likely market intervention by the RBI which bought US dollar through state-run public lenders is said to have stabilised the Indian rupee around the Rs 63.70-mark.

The RBI is seen comfortable with the rupee ranging anywhere between Rs 63-65 . Anything beyond or below this limit provokes the central bank to intervene by either buying or selling the greenback.

“Indian rupee has the fundamentals which a carry trader would kill for. We continue to remain bullish on the rupee and expect 63-63.30 on USD/INR spot over the next three to four weeks,” Anindya Banerjee, Deputy Vice President for Currency and Interest Rates with Kotak Securities, told IANS.

“Risk to the view remains from equity markets. In case Indian equity markets, along with global equities, come under sustained selling pressure, Indian rupee can then see a temporary sell-off.”

According to Hariprasad MP, Senior Vice President and Head Treasury at Centrum Direct, US dollar sales by a MNC bank and monetary policy review were the major contributory factors for rupee appreciation

“The announcement of 25 bps… as opposed to 50 bps as expected, the rupee depreciated initially, but then bounced back to 63.70 levels again,” Hariprasad said.

“Since, it has breached such crucial levels, we can even expect for the rupee to reach 63.50 in the near-to-short term period. “

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Subdued inflation prompts RBI to reduce key lending rates

Aug 2, 2017 0

Mumbai–Subdued inflation and demand prompted India’s central bank, the RBI, on Wednesday to reduce its key lending rate by 25 basis points (bps).

According to the Reserve Bank of India’s third bi-monthly monetary policy review of 2017-18, the repurchase rate, or the short-term lending rate for commercial banks on loans taken from it, stands lowered to 6 per cent from 6.25 per cent.

Subsequently, the reverse repurchase rate, or the short-term borrowing rate, has been adjusted to 5.75 per cent from 6 per cent.

The decision to maintain the repo rate was taken by the six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by Patel. Four members of the panel voted in favour of reducing the key lending rate.

The six members of MPC are equally divided amongst government nominees and the RBI.

At its last policy review in June, the RBI had kept the key lending rates unchanged but induced liquidity by reducing Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR).

The reduction in key lending rates comes after four consecutive policy reviews in which the apex bank had maintained status quo on its repo, or short-term lending rate, since RBI reduced it by 25 basis points to 6.25 per cent in October 2016.

“The decision of the MPC is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of plus, minus 2 per cent, while supporting growth,” the third bi-monthly monetary policy statement said.

“The MPC noted that some of the upside risks to inflation have either reduced or not
materialised… Consequently, some space has opened up for monetary policy accommodation, given the dynamics of the output gap. Accordingly, the MPC decided to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points,” the statement said.

“Noting, however, that the trajectory of inflation in the baseline projection is expected to rise from current lows, the MPC decided to keep the policy stance neutral and to watch incoming data. The MPC remains focused on its commitment to keeping headline inflation close to four per cent on a durable basis.”

Other factors that led to the MPC in reducing the key lending rates were the “smooth implementation of the GST” and a healthy monsoon.

However, the equity markets which had already discounted a 25 bps cut were lacklustre just after the MPC’s decision was announced.

Around 2.30 p.m., the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) fell by 21.90 points, or 0.22 per cent, to trade at 10,092.75 points.

The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 32,641.58 points, traded at 32,515.81 points — down 59.36 points, or 0.18 per cent, from its previous close at 32,575.17 points. (IANS)

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Dow closes above 22,000 for first time

Aug 2, 2017 0

New York–The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke the 22,000 milestone for the first time as shares of Apple soared following strong quarterly earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday was up 52.32 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 22,016.24, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 rose 1.22 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 2,477.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index ticked down 0.29 points, or less than 0.01 per cent, to 6,362.65.

After Tuesday’s closing bell, Apple announced quarterly revenue of $45.4 billion and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.67.

Shares of the tech giant rallied 4.73 per cent on Wednesday, and drove the Dow above 22,000 for the first time ever.

This earning season has been strong so far and has broadly been supportive of stock market recently.

Some analysts, however, said the tech sector might continue to face pressure from profit-taking following upbeat earnings.

Meanwhile, investors also turned their eyes to a slew of economic data, as they tried to find clues on when the Federal Reserve might start the balance sheet reduction.

US private sector employment increased by 178,000 jobs from June to July, well below market consensus of 185,000, said the July ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday.

The ADP report is often seen as a preview for the closely-watched US nonfarm payrolls data due out on Friday. (IANS)

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Ocular to Lay Off 19 Percent of its Personnel; Antony Mattessich Appointed CEO and Amar Sawhney Transitions to Executive Chairman of the Board

Aug 2, 2017 0

BEDFORD, MA– Ocular Therapeutix announced that in line with the company’s strategic plan, Antony Mattessich has assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Former CEO Amar Sawhney has transitioned to Executive Chairman of the Board and will continue to devote substantial business time to the Company.

“In addition, Ocular Therapeutix announced that it expects to realize savings in operating expenses, including personnel costs, as result of streamlining headcount by approximately 19 percent, as part of an initiative to enhance operations and reduce expenses,” Ocular said in a statement.

In conjunction with this initiative, Andy Hurley, Chief Commercial Officer, will be leaving the Company.

Amar Sawhney

“With these anticipated cost savings and based on the Company’s current plans and forecasted expenses, the Company believes that existing cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities will fund operating expenses, debt service obligations and capital expenditure requirements through the third quarter of 2018,” the statement said.

Mattessich as CEO brings a wealth of experience to Ocular Therapeutix, having most recently served as CEO of Mundipharma International, a developer and commercializer of products in pain, inflammation, cancer, and respiratory diseases for patients around the world. He also held leadership roles at a number of global pharmaceutical companies across the US, Europe and Asia, including at Novartis, Bristol Meyers Squibb and Merck & Co.

“I am excited to begin my role as CEO of Ocular Therapeutix at such an important juncture for the Company,” said Mattessich. “As I begin my tenure, I would like to reiterate that we remain committed to DEXTENZA, while we also focus our efforts on the development of the entire breadth of innovative drug product solutions that the team has built under Amar’s guidance.”

“We remain excited about the opportunities for our diversified pipeline programs, which we believe have the potential to improve the standard of care across a multitude of ophthalmic indications,” said Sawhney. “We are very pleased to welcome Antony as CEO and are confident in his proven abilities to build, manage and grow pharmaceutical organizations into successful companies and brands. As Executive Chairman of the Board, I will continue to provide Ocular Therapeutix with my time and expertise to facilitate the transition as the Company executes on its business plan. In addition, the Board and I would like to express our sincere thanks to Andy for his strategic leadership and operational acumen over the past year. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

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Jaitley pitches for early decision on disinvestment of Air India

Aug 1, 2017 0

New Delhi–Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday yet again pitched for an early decision on disinvestment of Air India, saying the government has to decide “what to do with it”.

“Aviation in the country has become a personal choice. We have to decide what to do with Air India. For the next few years this sector will expand radically,” he said in the Lok Sabha replying to a debate on the Supplementary Demands for Grants 2017-18.

He sought to suggest that the government cannot keep collecting taxes for a company whose accumulated losses was around Rs 50,000 crore.

He said that as far as Air India was concerned its international operations had certain percentage of market share while domestically it was 15-16 per cent. He said 84 per cent of the passengers are being handled by private airlines.

“We are not in favour of closing down any organisation to the extent possible,” Jaitley said.

“In a monopoly situation perhaps it was all right but in a competitive situation the challenges are different. Government has to take an appropriate decision. We must not create a situation that would lead to running it like a government department,” the Finance Minister said.

Air India is run as a government department rather than a commercial establishment, he said.

Referring to the growth of the sector, he said that some of the big airports of the country like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are better than the best airports of the world.

More and more people are travelling by air and there is need for more airports because of the push for regional connectivity.

There are 72 airports in the country and there is a demand for 30-35 more.

States want 2-3 more airports in their states, he said.

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Criminal proceedings in Panama Papers cases, those claiming NRI status: Jaitley

Aug 1, 2017 0

New Delhi– Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said in the Lok Sabha that criminal proceedings will be carried out in cases arising out of the Panama Papers disclosures, and the tax department will go into claims about people claiming NRI status to avoid scrutiny.

“I want properties from 1988 to be covered under the Benami Act. The money in foreign countries was reported from four sources, including HSBC, International Consortium of Journalists and Panama Papers. These details need documents. Otherwise there is no proof.

“In cases of which we are receiving details, we send notices, assess their income tax details and raise tax demand. According to the law, criminal proceedings are also carried out. In HSBC and now in Panama Papers, the proceedings will be carried out. In some cases details are received, in some it is not. Lot of people claim NRI status, we will see if it is valid or not. It is now a disincentive and a risky business,” he said.

The Finance Minister was replying to a debate on the Supplementary Demand for Grants for 2017-18 and the relevant Appropriation Bill.

He was replying to a query by an Opposition member about what the government was doing in the case of Panama Papers disclosures.

After the Minister’s reply, the House approved the first batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants for 2017-18, for an additional expenditure of Rs 11,166 crore, and three appropriations.

Arun Jaitley

On the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which has completed one month of implementation, Jaitley said the incidence of tax will be lower than the previous indirect tax regime once the input tax credit is availed and the prices will come down.

“The methodology of taxation has changed, in medium and long term it will bring prices down because of input chain that is created. Currently cascading effect of taxation is there.

“After input tax credit, the weighted average of tax incidence is less than what it was till June 30. My estimate is that states’ will not run into losses under GST and if they do we will compensate them,” he said.

The Finance Minister said that the GST Council will meet on August 5 to finalise the details of the anti-profiteering mechanism.

“We were a non-tax compliant society. The trend is being broken. We are meeting on August 5. We will finalise the entire mechanism of anti-profiteering soon. We need to make a few examples and everyone will fall in line,” he said.

“The Council will meet once a month. We did rate revisions when required. More the revenues, the more the states will get. States know this. More revenue for states means, more money for infrastructure, education, health, etc.,” he added.

He said the switch-over to GST was smooth overall and minor glitches are rectifiable.

Jaitley also dismissed the contention by some members that GST would lead to payment of more tax by consumers.

Referring to apprehensions by Congress member from Kerala who said that the state was dependant on tourism for its economy and the houseboat industry would be affected, Jaitley said that any levy of tax would be passed on to the consumer and the houseboat owner would not pay it. If somebody can afford to stay at Rs 10,000, he can as well pay Rs 1,000-2,000 more.

“It is the consumer who pays the tax. Up to Rs 20 lakh turnover, there is no tax. If turnover is up to Rs 75 lakh, and if you are a trader then you have to pay 1 per cent under composition scheme. Manufacturers will have to pay 2 per cent, restaurants will have to pay 5 per cent. There is no tax on prasad and langar,” he said.

Touching upon the economy, Jaitley said that this is the first year in which the world economy is showing signs of slight improvement.

He said that exports have improved in India.

“Fiscal deficit has reached 3.2 per cent. Going ahead we will bring it to 3 per cent,” he said.

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Wipro sets up innovation center in Silicon Valley

Aug 1, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Global software major Wipro Ltd on Tuesday said it had opened an innovation center in the Silicon Valley to develop and showcase next-generation technologies and solutions for enterprises.

“Our Silicon Valley innovation centre at Mountain View in California will demonstrate enterprise applications based on disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Hyper Spectral Imaging, Machine Vision and Collaborative Robotics & Automation,” said the IT major in a statement.

Wipro said it has been investing in emerging technologies to make its clients future-ready in the digital era and solve real-world business challenges faced by enterprises.

The centre will also serve as a value creator for start-ups, small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs, enabling them to integrate their capabilities with that of the company and participate in the larger innovation ecosystem.

The centre has incubated a ‘Digital Pod’ and features a a Rapid Proto Lab’. The pod is built for the company’s digital strategy, design and engineering teams to work in a collaborative and adaptive workspace with clients.

The tech giant has 14 digital and design pods the world over, including in Bengaluru, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Munich, New York, Oslo, Stockholm, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. “Clients will have access to immersive experiences and ability to experiment with futuristic technologies in the ‘aRapid Proto Lab’,” said Wipro.

The company hopes to enter into research partnerships with universities across the US during this fiscal.

Abidali Z. Neemuchwala

“The centre will support our collaboration with start-ups in the Bay Area through our strategic investment arm Wipro Ventures, a $100-million fund that focuses on investing in early-to mid-stage start-ups,” said the statement.

Wipro Chief Executive Abidali Neemuchwala said that the centre was imbued with the culture, spirit and energy of the Valley, which is the cradle of technological innovation.

“The centre will design and deliver solutions for our clients. We are committed to work with start-ups, academia and tech firms in the Bay area to help our clients achieve digital transformation outcomes,” he said.

Wipro, which has invested $2 billion to set up 40 facilities in 23 US states over the last decade, has been creating jobs in the US.

“We have about 14,000 employees in the US, including 1,600 hired in the first six months of this year, with majority of them being locals. We will continue to recruit from top universities and hire laterals locally,” it added. (IANS)

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Piramal Enterprises’ net up 60 percent in Q1

Aug 1, 2017 0

Mumbai–Piramal Enterprises Ltd on Tuesday reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 350 crore for the first quarter of 2017-18, registering a 60 per cent annual growth from Rs 219 crore over the same period a year ago.

In a regulatory filing on the BSE, the Piramal group’s flagship company said revenue from operations for the quarter under review grew 27 per cent annually to Rs 2,254 crore from Rs 1,776 crore in the like period a year ago.

On standalone basis, net profit for Q1, however, plunged a whopping 84 per cent to Rs 42 crore from Rs 258 crore a year ago, while revenue declined 40 per cent annually to Rs 621 crore from Rs 1,041 crore a year ago.

Sequentially, consolidated net profit declined 12.3 per cent from Rs 399 crore a quarter ago and revenue dipped 8.5 per cent from Rs 2,463 crore a quarter ago.

On standalone basis, net profit, however, zoomed 289 per cent sequentially from Rs 11 crore a quarter ago but revenue dipped 34 per cent sequentially from Rs 936 crore a quarter ago. (IANS)

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