Oil prices above $70 for 1st time since 2014

May 7, 2018 0

Washington, May 7 (IANS) Rising oil prices just passed another milestone, jumping above $70 per barrel on Monday for the first time since November 2014.

Oil prices have been climbing partly because of expectations that US President Donald Trump will abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which allowed Tehran to export more crude, reports CNN.

Prices have also gotten a lift from strong global demand and supply cuts by OPEC and Russia.

US oil prices have gained more than 16 per cent since the start of the year. (IANS)

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Merck to sell consumer health business to P&G for $4.2 bn

Apr 19, 2018 0

Mumba– German drug manufacturer Merck on Thursday said it will sell its global consumer health business to Procter and Gamble (P&G) for USD 4.2 billion.

The German company said the transaction — which is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of 2018 — “is subject to regulatory approvals and satisfaction of certain other customary closing conditions”.

“Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced that it has signed an agreement to sell its global consumer health business to P&G for approximately 3.4 billion pounds in cash, or approximately $4.2 billion at current exchange rates,” the drug-maker said in a regulatory filing to the BSE.

“For the Indian business, it has been agreed that P&G will acquire Merck’s majority shareholding in Merck Ltd (India), a publicly traded company, and subsequently make a mandatory tender offer to minority shareholders,” it said.

The regulatory filing added that as part of the transaction, Merck and P&G have agreed on a number of manufacturing, supply and service agreements.

Merck said it intends to use the net proceeds from the divestiture primarily to accelerate deleveraging.

“At the same time, it will allow Merck to increase flexibility to strengthen all three business sectors,” it said.

According to Merck, between 2015 and 2017, its consumer health’s net sales grew organically by 6 per cent, outpacing the consumer health market’s growth of approximately 4 per cent over the same period. For the full year 2017, net sales of the consumer health business amounted to 911 million pounds.

“The divestment of the consumer health business is an important step in Merck’s strategic focus on innovation-driven businesses within healthcare, life science and performance materials.

“It is a clear demonstration of our continued commitment to actively shape our portfolio as a leading science and technology company,” Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck, said in a statement.

“The attractive price reflects the high asset value and the performance consumer health has delivered,” he said.

The company said the transaction will be executed through the sale of its shares in a number of legal entities as well as various asset sales that comprises the consumer health business across 44 countries, including more than 900 products and two consumer health-managed production sites in Spittal (Austria) and Goa (India).

“As part of the transaction, it is contemplated that approximately 3,300 employees, mainly from consumer health, will transition to P&G upon completion of the transaction, subject to prior works council consultation where required,” the company said.

This includes Merck employees who, through their work, are fully dedicated to consumer health, and employees in share deal entities, it added.

“These leading brands and the great employees of Merck’s consumer health business will complement our personal health care business very well,” said Tom Finn, President, P&G Global Personal Health Care. (IANS)

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Mindtree launches Decision Moments for Marketers

Mar 26, 2018 0

Bengaluru– MindTree, a global digital transformation and technology services company, on Monday launched “Decision Moments” — a data science platform which is built on the Microsoft Azure Platform and now leverages Adobe Experience Cloud to help marketers drive faster conversions.

“Marketers are evaluating ways to deliver connected experiences in the right context across touchpoints to their customers. Taking the data science view will help marketers unearth and apply insights to achieve their marketing goals,” said Sreedhar Bhagavatheeswaran, Senior Vice President and Global Head – Digital Business for Mindtree, in a statement.

“The data-driven experience delivered by Adobe Experience Cloud coupled with consumer insights from ‘Decision Moments’ would effectively influence and engage customers at multiple micro-moments across touchpoints,” Bhagavatheeswaran added.

Mindtree built “Decision Moments” to help marketers to better direct their marketing investments and it is designed to integrate with the digital footprints from Adobe Experience Cloud and enrich it with offline and third-party data.

“Mindtree’s ‘Decision Moments’ platform will use Adobe Experience Cloud to drive higher conversions, increase lifetime value and speed to market,” added Jay Dettling, Vice President, Global Partners, Adobe. (IANS)

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Boeing signs new pact with TAL to manufacture floor beams for Dreamliners

Mar 14, 2018 0

New Delhi– Aerospace major Boeing and Tata Group company TAL Manufacturing Solutions (TAL) on Wednesday announced the signing of a new contract for the manufacture of advanced composite floor beam (ACFB) for Boeing’s 787-9 and 787-10 Dreamliner airplanes.

The US aviation major said it had awarded the first contract to TAL for the floor beams in October 2011, and TAL recently delivered the 13,000 floor beam successfully to 787 fuselage suppliers.

TAL has a dedicated manufacturing facility for Boeing in the MIHAN SEZ (multi-model international passenger and cargo hub airport – special economic zone) in Nagpur, India, from where it manufactures and ships the ACFBs.

“Boeing has provided advanced technology to support this partnership, and closely worked with TAL as they trained the frontline factory workers who are now delivering world class quality,” Boeing India President Pratyush Kumar said in a statement.

Boeing and various Tata group companies have established partnerships in India to manufacture aerostructures for Boeing’s commercial and military aircraft.

“The collaboration between Boeing and several Tata group companies on various aerospace and defence programmes in India will drive synergies and create future opportunities for both companies in manufacturing and innovation,” said Banmali Agrawala, President, Infrastructure, Defence and Aerospace, Tata Sons.

Recently, Tata Boeing Aerospace had inaugurated its state-of-the-art Apache fuselage facility in Hyderabad, the statement added. (IANS)

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Broadcom drops Qualcomm acquisition bid after Trump block

Mar 14, 2018 0

Washington– In yet another win for US President Donald Trump when it comes to securing American jobs, a “disappointed” Singapore-based Broadcom on Wednesday announced to withdraw and terminate its offer to acquire San Diego-based chip-maker Qualcomm.

In a presidential order, Trump on Monday blocked Broadcom’s nearly $121 billion bid for Qualcomm, saying it might “impair the national security” of the country.

“Although we are disappointed with this outcome, Broadcom will comply with the order. Broadcom will continue to move forward with its redomiciliation process and will hold its Special Meeting of Stockholders as planned on March 23,” the company said in a statement.

Broadcom has also withdrawn its slate of independent director nominees for Qualcomm’s 2018 annual meeting of stockholders.

“Broadcom thanks the independent nominees who stood for election to the Qualcomm board, not only for their time and effort but also for their unwavering commitment to act in the best interests of Qualcomm stockholders,” the company said.

The company also appreciated the statement from the US Treasury Secretary and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) chair Steven Mnuchin on March 12.

“This decision is based on the facts and national security sensitivities related to this particular transaction only and is not intended to make any other statement about Broadcom or its employees, including its thousands of hard working and highly-skilled US employees,” Broadcom said.

In a presidential order, Trump claimed that “credible evidence” had led him to believe that if Broadcom were to acquire control of Qualcomm, it “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

“The proposed takeover of Qualcomm by the Purchaser (Broadcom) is prohibited, and any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited,” the Presidential order read.

Had it gone through, the acquisition would have been the largest technology deal in history.

The Presidential order is seen as a move to shelter US companies from foreign competition.

Broadcom had been pursuing Qualcomm for about four months.

Qualcomm’s board of directors unanimously rejected an acquisition proposal from Broadcom last month, saying that they are turning down the latter’s $121 billion bid on the grounds that the offer undervalued the business, and also that any takeover would face antitrust hurdles.

According to media reports, Trump’s move will be cheered by the Qualcomm executives who opposed the bid and welcomed by the 13,000 local Qualcomm workers whose jobs may have been in jeopardy with a new owner. (IANS)

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Global fisheries to be 20% less productive in 2300: Study

Mar 9, 2018 0

New York– The world’s fisheries will be, on average, 20 per cent less productive in the year 2300 which could be characterised by a 9.6-degree Celsius increase in mean surface air temperature, nearly 10 times the warming we have seen to this point, predicts a new study.

If not checked, the extended climate warming will drastically alter wind patterns, boost ocean surface temperatures and melt nearly all the sea ice in polar regions, said the study published in the journal Science.

“These conditions will cause changes in phytoplankton growth and ocean circulation around Antarctica, with the net effect of transferring nutrients from the upper ocean to the deep ocean,” said lead author J Keith Moore, Professor at University of California, Irvine.

“Marine ecosystems everywhere to the north will be increasingly starved for nutrients, leading to less primary production (photosynthesis) by phytoplankton, which form the base of ocean food chains,” Moore said.

The researchers used an empirical model linking plankton growth to present-day fish catches and then factored in dwindling nutrients and plankton populations due to climate warming in the coming centuries.

“By looking at the decline in fish food over time, we can estimate how much our total potential fisheries catch could be reduced,” said Moore, who helped develop the Community Earth System Model employed in this study.

Months of computations using thousands of central processing units were needed to simulate the climate and oceans up to 2300.

Fisheries in the North Atlantic will be down nearly 60 per cent and those in much of the western Pacific will experience declines of more than 50 per cent in the year 2300, the findings showed.

“The climate is warming rapidly now, but in the ocean, most of that added heat is still right at the surface. It takes centuries for that heat to work its way into the deeper ocean, changing the circulation and removing the sea ice, which is a big part of this process,” Moore said.

“This is what’s going to happen if we don’t put the brakes on global warming, and it’s pretty catastrophic for the oceans,” Moore stressed. (IANS)

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Apple planning to cut cost of MacBook Air in Q2

Mar 5, 2018 0

San Francisco– Apple is reportedly planning to launch a more affordable variant of the 13-inch MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018, the media reported.

Apple is likely to release a new MacBook Air “with a lower price tag” during the second quarter of 2018, meaning we should see it sooner rather than later, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities was quoted as saying to 9to5mac on Saturday.

The analyst expects the more affordable MacBook Air will help push MacBook shipments up by 10-15 per cent this year.

MacBook Air, launched by then Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco in 2008, has not been updated since 2015 as Apple has shifted focus towards the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro.

The 13-inch MacBook Air, a popular choice for college students, is currently sold starting at $999 for 128GB of PCIe-based storage, a 1.8GHz dual-core i5 processor, and 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

The device last saw a minor update at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2017, with a slightly faster processor, and 8GB of RAM as a default.

Kuo says that KGI is “positive” on shipments of AirPods and predicts the refreshed model will come in the second half of the year, driving strong year over year growth.

Further, Kuo predicts on the entry-level 6.1-inch model of iPhones this year.

Kuo also notes that demand for HomePod has been “mediocre” thus far. Overall, demand for the smart speaker based on “shipping time” is “neutral”, the report said. (IANS)

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Amazon to pay $1.2mn in settlement over pesticides sale

Feb 16, 2018 0

San Francisco– Online retail giant Amazon has reached a settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over charges of third parties selling illegal pesticides on its website.

The EPA said Amazon had committed nearly 4,000 violations of federal pesticide law — dating back to 2013 — for selling and distributing imported pesticide products that were not licensed for sale in the US, reports Xinhua news agency.

Amazon agreed to pay $1.2 million in administrative penalty as part of the consent agreement and the final order entered into by Amazon and the EPA’s Region 10 office in Seattle, the EPA said in a statement on Thursday.

“This agreement will dramatically reduce the online sale of illegal pesticides, which pose serious threats to public health in communities across America,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick.

In addition to the million-dollar fine, the settlement requires the Seattle-based company to develop a mandatory training programme for all vendors selling pesticides on the online marketplace.

“Amazon is committed to closely monitoring and removing illegal pesticides from its website,” Hladick said.

The EPA began an investigation into the sale of online pesticides at the end of 2014 and found that third-party vendors had been illegally selling foreign and mis-labelled pesticides in the country.

It ordered Amazon to prohibit the sale of the illegal pesticide products, including some that the regulatory agency said could be mistaken for blackboard chalk and sidewalk chalk by children in 2015.

Amazon later immediately removed the products from the marketplace, prohibited foreign sellers from selling pesticides and cooperated with the EPA during its subsequent investigation.(IANS)

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Birlasoft-KPIT to merge into $700 mn entity, then split

Jan 30, 2018 0

New Delhi– CK Birla Group’s Birlasoft and KPIT will merge to create a $700 million company, which will later demerge into two separate IT entities focused on “digital business IT services” and “automotive engineering and mobility solutions”.

A statement released late on Monday said the new “Birlasoft” — one of the two specialised companies that will be created at the conclusion of the deal — would be a $500 million digital business IT services company.

It said the new Birlasoft will be created by merging the KPIT ITSS (information technologies solutions and services) business with the current Birlasoft and will be led by Anjan Lahiri as the CEO and MD.

According to the statement, the new “KPIT Technologies” will be a $200 million focused engineering services company that will be created by tapping into the current engineering business of KPIT to create a global leader in automotive engineering and mobility solutions, and will be led by Kishor Patil as the CEO and MD.

“This company will deepen the relationship with global automotive and mobility leaders in fulfilling their engineering needs.

“The company will continue to enhance its expertise in all the features to deliver cleaner, safer and smarter solutions to the world of automotive and mobility,” it said.

The statement said during the period prior to the completion of the deal, Birlasoft and KPIT will continue to be run by their current managements, in addition to which management from both the companies will work together to familiarise Birlasoft with the ITSS business.

“With this, Birlasoft will expand its industry leading capability in enterprise solutions with unmatched digital capability.

“We will become the leading ‘enterprise digital’ company in the country that will advise its customers in unlocking value in their digital journey,” said Amita Birla, Chairman of Birlasoft.

Ravi Pandit, Chairman of KPIT, said: “We will be focused on building the KPIT brand as the foremost organisation in the world for automotive engineering and mobility solutions…

“While transitioning the “Business IT services” business to Birlasoft in the next year, our team will continue to work with Birlasoft to ensure the best service to the KPIT Business IT customers.”(IANS)

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Infosys arm ties up with Kailash Satyarthi foundation

Jan 29, 2018 0

Bengaluru– Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of global software major Infosys, on Monday said it has joined hands with Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Children’s Foundation to create child labour-free villages.

“A grant would be created as part of the tie-up to create a child-friendly village focused towards improving children’s health, providing education and creating a non-violent environment,” Bengaluru-based Infosys Foundation said in a statement here.

The grant would be given out over the next three years, it said.

The Foundation, however, did not specify the grant amount.

Through the project, Delhi-based Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation aims to benefit 10,000 children, women and youth through education and improve child protection mechanism in villages.

It also aims to create better sanitation and hygiene and have zero incidences of child marriage in the villages of India. (IANS)


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