IndUS Business Journal

Sri Lankan-born Alere CEO Namal Nawana to receive $11.1 million in one-time payout after acquisition by Abbott

Feb 4, 2016 0

WALTHAM, MA– Sri Lankan-born Alere CEO Namal Nawana would receive about $11.1 million in one-time payouts after the Alere’s acquisition id completed by Abbott Laboratories, according to media reports. Nawana took over as CEO when Alere founder and former CEO Ron Zwanzger resigned in 2014.

Namal Nawana

Namal Nawana

Quoting financial filings, Boston Business Journal reported that Nawana would receive about $11.1 million in one-time payouts, which includes a continuation of his salary for 18 months, totaling $1.3 million; a $201,000 cash award; the acceleration of vesting of what the company then estimated to be $7.9 million in restricted stock and options; and another $1.65 million in gross-up payments to help cover his tax hit form the change-in-control payout.

Nawana also holds 81,000 shares of company stock worth around $4.5 million, according to Bloomberg quoted by Boston Business Journal.

Nawana has been with the company since 2012, originally as chief operating officer. His assumption of the CEO role came after a months-long battle between the company’s former management and one of its investors, Coppersmith Capital, which had been advocating for the company to sell off less profitable parts of the business and align itself for a sale, Boston Business Journal said.

Four other officers — CFO David Teitel, and Daniella Cramp, Sanjay Malkani and Avi Pelossof, the heads of Alere’s cardiometabolic, toxicology and infectious disease units — also stand to receive change-in-control payments and benefits valued between $2.3 million and $3.6 million, according to Boston Business Journal.

Abbott and Alere this week announced a definitive agreement for Abbott to acquire Alere, for $5.8 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott will pay $56 per common share at a total expected equity value of $5.8 billion. Once the transaction is completed, Abbott will become the leading diagnostics provider of point of care testing. Abbott’s total diagnostics sales will exceed $7 billion after the close.

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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Indian Business Briefs: Hollywood Revenue in India Jumps 92 Percent

Feb 4, 2016 0

Modi-BriefsPM Modi: My Goal is ‘Reform to Transform’
Prime Minister Modi spelled out his elaborate vision for India at The Economic Times Global Business Summit held in New Delhi. Listing the many successes of his Government, he said he will continue to strive and give more opportunities to all Indians. His motto, he said, is to transform the life of every Indian through reforms.

Infosys, TCS Invest in Obama’s ‘Computer Science for All’ Plan
India’s top software companies, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, have joined Google and Salesforce to support President Obama’s just announced $4 billion “Computer Science for All” initiative that aims to dramatically increase the number of children with access to computer science training in the U.S. and build a more technologically advanced nation.

Apple CEO Tim: Indian Smartphone Market is Great
Tim Cook is betting on India for the long term. Apple is hoping that the country’s younger population thirst for top-of-the-line consumer products and economic growth prospects will help pick up the slack as other markets falter. In its first-quarter earnings call, CEO Cook said Apple will continue to invest in India despite the global slowdown and currency fluctuations.

India Becomes World’s Largest Exporter of Rice
In data released by the Thai Rice Exporters Association, India has beaten Thailand to become the largest exporter of rice in the world. According to the reports, India exported 10.2 million tons of rice in 2015 as compared to Thailand’s 9.8 million tons.

Hollywood Revenue in India Jumps 92%
Total Indian revenue for Hollywood films, according to trade magazine Box Office India, rose by more than 92% in 2015. Nearly one-quarter of the revenue for the year came from one movie-Vin Diesel’s action thriller “Fast and Furious 7,” which grossed $15 million in India.

Ford Mustang To Debut in India in 2016
Ford plans to launch its iconic Mustang sports car in India in the second quarter of this year. The company currently sells models such as EcoSport and Endeavour in the country. “First time in 50 years we have right-handed Mustang,” said Ford India Managing Director and President Nigel Harris.

smart citiesFirst 20 Smart Cities Revealed
The Government announced the first 20 Smart Cities, which include five capital cities, to be developed as Smart Cities. Bhubaneswar in Odisha topped the city challenge competition. The Government has also offered a fast-track window for the next rejected 23 cities based on their ranks to upgrade their proposals and submit them by April 15 for re-evaluation.

Govt. OKs Setting Up Over 5000MW of Grid-Connected Solar Projects
The Cabinet has given its approval for setting up more than 5,000 MW of grid-connected solar PV power projects on a build, own and operate basis. The total investment is about $4.4 billion. This would generate about 30,000 new jobs and reduce 8.5 million tons of CO2 emissions every year.

Govt. Reduces Documentation for Import-Export Code
To facilitate ease of doing business and lessen paperwork, the Commerce Ministry has decided to reduce the number of mandatory documents for taking import-export code to two. Earlier, several documents were required to get the code number.

CBDT: 100 Transfer Pricing Disputes with U.S. Resolved
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said it has resolved as many as 100 transfer pricing disputes with the U.S., which will lead to an environment of “tax certainty and encourage MNCs” to do business in India. The resolution of such issues, the CBDT said further, follows the framework agreement signed with U.S. revenue authorities in January last year.

Competition Commission OKs Marriott-Starwood Deal
The Competition Commission of India has given its nod for acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts by Marriott International, setting the stage for the Marriott and Starwood combine to create a hospitality behemoth in India. The merger would not only create the world’s largest hotel chain but also the biggest hotel chain in India by rooms.

Central Bank Mandates Online Forms For FDI Filing
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to file forms related to foreign direct investment only online on the e-Biz portal starting February 8. With a view to “promoting ease of reporting” of such transactions, RBI, under the e-Biz project of the government, has enabled online filing of three returns — ARF, FCGPR and FC-TRS.

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Ankit Mahadevia’s Spero Therapeutics gets $30 million funding

Feb 3, 2016 0

CAMBRIDGE, MA– Spero Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company founded to develop novel therapies to treat bacterial infections, announced existing Series A investors Atlas Venture, SR One, MRL Ventures, Lundbeckfond Ventures, The Kraft Group and Partners Innovation Fund will provide $30 million in Preferred B funding.

Ankit Mahadevia

Ankit Mahadevia

“We are very privileged to have the strong support of our existing investors to close this Series B financing, which will allow us to continue to advance the important work we are doing to combat the global public health threat of antibiotic resistance.,” said Ankit Mahadevia, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Spero. “Humankind is currently losing a race against bacteria now resistant to every known antibiotic—known as ‘Superbugs’—with immeasurable healthcare consequences if left unchecked. Spero is executing an aggressive effort to develop important therapies that differ mechanistically and functionally than available treatments in order to address this growing threat.”

Spero will use proceeds from this financing to further progress its unique therapeutic “Potentiator Platform,” intended to improve drug potency and enhance the utility of existing anti-infective medications. Funding will also enable the organization to advance efforts in support of its DHFR program which targets Gram-positive and negative bacteria, fungi and protists. The DHFR program seeks to expand a novel antifolate’s antibacterial spectrum to treat trimethoprim-resistant isolates including key Gram-negative pathogens.

“Spero is making excellent progress in its effort to create novel therapies to combat severe infections by reinvigorating existing antibiotics and returning their relevance within the field of anti-infectives,” said Jean-François Formela, M.D., Partner at Atlas Venture. “We are excited to continue working with a company doing truly innovative work that has the potential to fulfill such an important unmet medical need.”

Added Rez Halse, Ph.D., Partner at MRL Ventures: “The unanimous reinvestment decision among Series A backers is a reflection of the promise and progress made to date. The unique Spero Potentiator Program, and other early stage efforts offer the potential to play a critical role in addressing the growing antibiotic resistance threat.”

Cambridge, MA-based Spero is a biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of novel treatments for bacterial infections. The company’s pipeline of anti-infective agents is one of the most unique in the industry – focused on Gram-negative bacterial infections and Gram-positive and negative bacteria, fungi and protists.

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GM India to launch notchback Essentia in 2017

Feb 3, 2016 0

NEW DELHI– Automobile major General Motors on Wednesday announced the launch of an all-new four-door Chevrolet Essentia next year. The new vehicle will be a notchback – that is a three-box car in which the rear is rather short.

The company made the announcement during the ongoing Auto Expo 2016 being held here.

“GM’s transformation in India is clearly reflected in the development of the Chevrolet Essentia,” said Kaher Kazem, president and managing director, GM India.

“We are heading into a new era with new-generation products that will catapult the Chevrolet brand in India, giving consumers vehicles that have never been seen in the market. ”

According to the company, the Essentia highlights aggressive plans to increase it’s presence in the Indian markets.

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Indian firm developing vaccine for Zika virus

Feb 3, 2016 0

The mosquito-transmitted infection is related to Dengue, Yellow Fever and West Nile virus.

HYDERABAD– Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech is developing world’s first vaccine for Zika virus, which has been declared as public health emergency by the World Health Organisation.

The vaccines and bio-therapeutic manufacturer on Wednesday announced that it is working on ZIKAVAC vaccines for Zika infection.

The company, which claims to be working on the vaccine for one-and-half years, has informed both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the government of India about the status of its project.

Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director, Bharat Biotech, told reporters that the pre-clinical trials for the vaccine will start in a week or two.

The company has filed global patents for both inactivated and recombinant vaccines.

He said the company was ready to partner with Latin American countries like Brazil for the vaccine development. Some Latin American companies have already shown interest in partnering with it for human trials.

“It depends on the regulatory system in the country,” he said when asked how long it would take for the vaccine to hit the market in India. Ella said that if the government declares Zika as a national emergency and takes an aggressive stand, the vaccine can be developed in less than two years.

Sumathy, director, research and development, Bharat Biotech, who is heading the vaccine development, said they started the work on this along with the development of vaccine for Chikungunya but the work was progressing at a slow pace.

She said with the virus spreading fast to Latin America and the WHO declaring it public health emergency, they will now speed up the project.

The inactivated vaccine has reached the stage of pre-clinical testing in animals. The pre-clinical trials may take two to five months while human trials will take another four to five months.

Ella pointed out that Zika is now present in 23 countries. Brazil, the hardest-hit country, has reported around 3,530 cases of the devastating birth defect called microcephaly in 2015 that are strongly suspected to be related to Zika.

The Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, which can breed in a pool of water as small as a bottle cap and usually bite during the day. The mosquito-transmitted infection is related to Dengue, Yellow Fever and West Nile virus.

Bharat Biotech has invested over $150 million since inception to build its portfolio of vaccines including ROTAVAC, the first vaccine from the developing world

It has successfully commercialised Typbar TCV, typhoid conjugate vaccine. Chikungunya Vaccine will be entering phase 1 trials shortly.

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India and IMF to host meet on Asia’s economic challenges

Feb 2, 2016 0

By Arun Kumar

WASHINGTON– Asia’s strong economic performance, its increased resilience to shocks and the region’s ongoing economic policy challenges will be the focus of a high-level conference in New Delhi March 11-13.

Co-hosted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Indian government, “Advancing Asia: Investing for the Future” will bring together officials, corporate executives, academics, and civil society representatives from more than 30 countries spanning Asia and the Pacific.

Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde

“Advancing Asia provides a forum for Asia-Pacific leaders to discuss a region renowned for its economic successes over the past decades,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

“As Asia’s advanced, emerging market and developing economies move to the next stage of success, they face the key challenge of how to maintain and enhance the region’s high growth record while boosting jobs, reducing inequality, accelerating infrastructure and human capital development and implementing other growth-enhancing reforms.

“I am very pleased to cooperate closely with the Government of India on this conference that will explore how the region can meet these policy challenges through investments in the future,” Lagarde said.

Key topics to be discussed at the conference will include the most effective drivers of growth; income inequality, demographic change, and gender; infrastructure investment; climate change; managing capital flows; and financial inclusion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lagarde will be among the conference’s keynote speakers.

Other official sector participants will include Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao, Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, and Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Advancing Asia follows the Asia 21: Leading the Way Forward conference, a conference held in Daejeon, South Korea in 2010, where leaders gathered to discuss the region’s role in a global economy recovering from the Global Financial Crisis.

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Reserve Bank of India to ease doing business for start-ups

Feb 2, 2016 0

MUMBAI– Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday announced various steps to facilitate the ‘ease of doing business’ for startups.

Rajan announced a string of initiatives, while announcing the sixth bi-monthly monetary policy review here.

“In keeping with the government’s Start-up India initiative, the Reserve Bank will take steps to ease doing business and contribute to an ecosystem that is conducive for growth of start-ups,” he said in the monetary policy statement.

Raghuram Rajan

Raghuram Rajan

Rajan pointed out that the slew of RBI initiatives will include enabling framework for receiving foreign venture capital, differing contractual structures embedded in investment instruments, and deferring receipt of considerations for transfer of ownership.

The initiatives also consists facilitating ‘escrow arrangements’ and simplification of documentation and reporting procedures for start-ups, he said.

Besides, the Indian central bank aims to make it easy for start-ups to raise foreign capital and operate in India.

Start-ups across sectors will find it easy to receive foreign venture capital investments and also easily transfer shares from foreign venture capital investors to other residents and non-residents.

The RBI is also planning to permit start-ups to raise rupee denominated loans from foreigners and allow them to create innovative convertible instruments to raise funds.

In addition, it aims to enable startups to issue shares without cash payment through ‘sweat equity’ or other legitimate payment owned by the company, as long as the payment does not fall into the purview of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

Rajan said RBI is preparing a detailed statement on start-ups to be issued separately.

The start-up India campaign was started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 16.

He had then announced tax rebates for the first three years, exemptions on capital gains, a corpus fund of Rs.10,000 crore and a mobile app to register startups in a day among others.

The central government is expected to bring out more incentives to promote entrepreneurship and startups in the forthcoming budget.

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Procedures to be made easier for exporters

Feb 2, 2016 0

NEW DELHI–The government will work with various departments including environment, textiles and finance to boost exports to simplifying procedures towards improving the ease of doing business in the country, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday.

“The commerce ministry will follow up with environment, textiles, customs and finance for easing out of few more things related to export promotion so that there is an ease of doing business from the exporters point of view,” Sitharaman told reporters after a meeting with export promotion councils (EPCs) here.

Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman

“Many of the issues which are enablers to better exports have been identified, issues which may have a bearing on the forthcoming budget were also raised,” she said.

Several export related issues, including the impact of India-Asean free trade agreement (FTA) on the country’s exports were raised at the meeting held as part of stakeholder consultations to discuss ways to boost exports, which have been in continuous decline for over a year.

Sitharaman said other issues discussed included non-tariff barriers of other countries, currency volatility, special economic zones, problems in dealing with customs authorities and service tax.

She said the exporters’ concerns about the Asean FTA stems from the feeling that products are coming in at zero duty whereas similar exports are unable to be made from India.

The minister also said the government has not yet decided on fixing a minimum import price on certain steel products.

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Karnataka pitches for big-ticket investments

Feb 2, 2016 0

BENGALURU–To accelerate its industrial growth and socio-economic development, Karnataka is showcasing its resources and strengths for big ticket investments at its fourth global investors meet (GIM) here from Wednesday, Industries Minister R.V. Deshpande said.

“We are pitching for big ticket investments to achieve 12 percent industrial growth per annum over the next five years and create jobs for lakhs of youth in diverse sectors spanning manufacturing, services and agri-business,” Deshpande told IANS.

R.V. Deshpande

R.V. Deshpande

Though the Congress government has been vying with other states to attract investments since its return to power in 2013 after a decade, its attempts to get big ticket investments eluded for various reasons, including lack of support and social infrastructure beyond Bengaluru and delays in clearances.

“To ensure investors explore other cities and regions across the state for manufacturing or processing, we are offering incentives and facilities, besides assuring them speedy approvals for early implementation of their projects,” Deshpande said.

“We have lined up mega investment projects across 14 sectors and offering Rs.1 lakh crore worth infrastructure projects under the PPP (public-private partnership) mode for domestic and global investors,” he added.

Of the 117 infrastructure projects across the state, 25 pertain to strengthening basic amenities in Bengaluru and easing traffic congestion, parking shortage, skywalks for easy movement of pedestrians on busy road junctions.

“The projects will enable us to provide support infrastructure in cities and backward regions across the state so that investors can choose any place suitable for producing their goods or offering their services,” the minister said.

Sector-wise, of the 117 projects, 41 are in transportation, urban & municipal infrastructure, tourism, agri-infrastructure, industrial infrastructure, energy, industrial infrastructure and one each in health and telecom sectors.

Among projects are Devanahalli business park, a 6,000-seating capacity international convention centre near the city airport and light rail transit system across Bengaluru.

Other projects are two National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ) at Tumakuru and Kolar, greenfield airport at Shivamogga, airstrips in seven districts and development of 18 stretches of state highways and six ports.

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India’s fastest-growing state: Meghalaya

Feb 1, 2016 0

By Prachi Salve & Sanjana Pandit

India’s fastest-growing state is Meghalaya at 9.7 percent in 2013-14, higher than the fastest-growing big state, Madhya Pradesh, at 9.5 percent. Arunachal Pradesh grew faster than Gujarat.

Fewer people, 12.8 million, live below the poverty line in the entire northeast than in just one large state, Karnataka, which has 12.9 million poor people.

Tripura reported India’s highest unemployment rate, 25.2 percent in urban areas, followed closely by Nagaland with 23.8 percent in 2011-12. The highest unemployment in the urban areas of a large state was 7 percent, in Jammu and Kashmir.

The eight north-eastern states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim (added in 2002) and Tripura – are growing fast, educating their people at a rate much faster than the rest of India, reducing their dependence on agriculture, and generally prospering, IndiaSpend research has revealed, but the growth is not creating enough jobs and livelihood opportunities.

Other thing evident is that while northeast states are often clubbed together, we found, in many cases, wide differences; for example, Manipur’s high poverty rate and Sikkim’s prosperity. Some of the economic indices are India’s highest, and some are India’s lowest.

Today, in the first of a three-part series, we analyse the northeast’s economic indicators, such as gross state domestic product (GSDP), unemployment, and population below the poverty line.

Growth driven by services, industry

Meghalaya, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh recorded the highest growth rates in GSDP in 2013-14.

Meghalaya’s growth in GSDP of 9.7 percent was equivalent to Bihar, which had a GSDP growth rate of 9.1 percent.

Arunachal Pradesh, with a growth rate in GSDP of 8.9 percent grew faster than Gujarat, which reported 8.7 percent.

The share of the industrial sector for all eight states has increased while the share of agriculture and allied activities has declined.

Unemployment in urban areas across all north-eastern states is higher than rural areas, and is in line with the national pattern.

“The growth in manufacturing has not been accompanied by a commensurate growth of employment opportunity for the local population,” Sumarbin Umdor, professor of economics at North-Eastern Hill University, wrote in The Shillong Times. “Given the lack of job creation in other formal sectors, most of the employment outside agriculture is therefore in the low productivity informal sector, particularly in informal construction, retail trade and transportation.”

Tripura recorded the highest unemployment rate in urban areas at 25.2 percent in 2011-12, India’s highest jobless rate, followed by Nagaland with 23.8 percent, India’s second-highest rate, and Manipur with 7.1 percent.

Meghalaya had India’s second-lowest unemployment rate (after Gujarat), with 0.4 percent in rural areas and 2.8 percent in urban areas in 2011-12.

A caveat: Unemployment rates in rural India are always lower than urban, since they do not account for hidden or partial employment. In general, employment rates do not adequately reflect reality, but only offer an indication.

Poverty unevenly spread: Manipur is poorest; Sikkim richest

The northeast has widely varying rates of poverty, which largely reflect unrest and insurgency.

While 36.9 percent people live below the poverty line (the ability to spend Rs 1,170 per family per month in urban areas, Rs.1,118 in rural areas) in Manipur, where a cocktail of insurgent groups have crippled the economy, only 8.2 percent of the population is below the poverty line in Sikkim (Rs.1,226 in urban, Rs.930 in rural), where plentiful hydro power has raised incomes, as IndiaSpend has reported.

Meghalaya and Sikkim have seen some of the largest falls in poverty in India.

For instance, the percentage of population below the poverty line in Sikkim was 13.1 percent in 2009-10 and fell to 8.2 percent in 2011-12. In comparison, poverty in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh – the large states most successful in cutting poverty – fell from 36.7 percent to 31.7 percent and 37.7 percent to 29.4 percent over the same period.

Similarly, in Meghalaya, the percentage of population below the poverty line was 17.1 percent in 2009-10 and fell to 11.9 percent in 2011-12.

Although the number of people below the poverty line might be lower than the national average, the intensity of poverty in these states is much higher, according to the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD).

Poverty in the northeast, like the rest of India, is a more rural phenomenon than urban: 11.6 million people of the 12.8 million living below the poverty line are in rural areas.

The two main reasons for poverty are under-developed agriculture and unskilled labour, according to NIRD.

To address the region’s development challenges, including infrastructure, the Central government created the ministry of development of northeastern region in 2004, allocating it Rs.2,362 crore in 2015-16. The grants from the centre and their share in central taxes together form 79 percent of their total revenue, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

Some of the grants, like the ones given out by the ministry are influenced by politics as well. For example, from 2010-11 to 2012-13, Arunachal Pradesh received the highest, with almost 19 percent of the total allocations. Later, when the government wanted to sign the Naga peace accord of 2015, the allocation to Nagaland was increased (to 20 percent) and that of Arunachal Pradesh had come down.

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