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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Future Group acquires Snapdeal’s Vulcan Express

Jan 26, 2018 0

New Delhi– Future Group on Friday said it has acquired Jasper Infotech-owned Snapdeal’s logistics arm Vulcan Express at Rs 35 crore.

“Jasper Infotech, which also owns Snapdeal… has entered into an agreement with Future Supply Chain Solutions… to sell 100 per cent stake in Vulcan Express Pvt Ltd in an all-cash deal valued at Rs 35 crore,” a Future Group statement said.

Vulcan Express, which services the logistics requirements of Snapdeal, Airtel and UPS, is focused on e-commerce and high-value business-to-business logistics.

“Through Vulcan, we plan to boost our last mile capabilities and also offer state-of-the-art solutions to our e-commerce and retail clients, including realising our disruptive vision of Retail 3.0,” said Kishore Biyani, Founder and Chairman, Future Group.

“Similar to our recent sale of FreeCharge, we believe Snapdeal’s sale of Vulcan Express to Future Group is a successful deal for all three parties,” said Jason Kothari, Chief Strategy and Investment Officer, Snapdeal, who also led the sale of Snapdeal-owned FreeCharge to Axis Bank.

Future Group operates over 22 million square feet of retail space in 255 cities pan-India. (IANS)

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AI can boost revenues by 38%, employment by 10%: Accenture

Jan 23, 2018 0

Davos– If businesses invest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and human-machine collaboration at the same rate as top-notch companies, they could boost revenues by 38 per cent by 2022 and raise employment levels by 10 per cent, a new report said on Tuesday.

Collectively, this would lift profits by $4.8 trillion globally over the same period, said the Accenture Strategy report released here during the world Economic Forum (WEF).

“For the average S&P500 company, this equates to $7.5 billion of revenues and a $880 million lift to profitability,” the report noted.

Seventy two percent of the 1,200 senior executives surveyed said intelligent technology will be critical to their organisation’s market differentiation and 61 per cent noted that the share of roles requiring collaboration with AI will rise in the next three years.

“To achieve higher rates of growth in the age of AI, companies need to invest more in equipping their people to work with machines in new ways,” said Mark Knickrehm, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Strategy.

More than two thirds (69 per cent) of the 14,000 workers surveyed said it is important to develop skills to work with intelligent machines.

Yet, a disconnect between workers’ embracing AI and their employers’ efforts to prepare workers puts potential growth at risk.

While a majority (54 per cent) of business leaders say that human-machine collaboration is important to their strategic priorities, only three percent noted that their organisation plans to significantly increase its investment in reskilling their workers in the next three years.

Sixty three percent of senior executives think that their company will create net job gains in the next three years through AI.

Meanwhile, the majority of workers (62 per cent) believe AI will have a positive impact on their work.

“Business leaders must take immediate steps to pivot their workforce to enter an entirely new world where human ingenuity meets intelligent technology to unlock new forms of growth,” said Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer, Accenture.(IANS)

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TiE Amaravti chapter launched

Jan 18, 2018 0

Vijayawada– TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Amaravati Chapter and Andhra Angels have been launched in Vijayawada and they are expected to boost the growth of start-up ecosystem in Andhra Pradesh.

State Information Technology Minister Nara Lokesh formally launched TiE Chapter and Andhra Angels in the presence of entrepreneurs, mentors, advisors and Ainvestors.

Representatives from top educational institutions like IIT Tirupati and other institutions, start-ups in Andhra Pradesh were also present at the event. Representatives from corporates like PWC, Mckinsey, NASSCOM, EDB, E&Y and from VCs like Parampara, 50K and Anthill were also there.

Initially, TiE Amaravati will enroll about 30 to 35 Charter Members including several hundred associate and student members in the first operational year and hopes to grow its strength gradually.

“Entrepreneurship is a way forward and there should be an entrepreneur from every family in the state both tech and non tech area,” said Lokesh.

“To build a strongA startups eco system in the new state besides the local entrepreneursAwe need to attract the best minds from across the globe,” said J.A. Chowdary, Special Chief Secretary and IT Advisor to CM, Andhra Pradesh.

Sateesh Andra, President TiE Amaravati, said that as per the 2017 edition of the NASSCOM-Zinnov report, India ranks third among global start-up ecosystems with more than 5000 start-ups and over 1,000 new additions in 2017.

“With the active support of the government and industry, TiE Chapter in the State of Andhra Pradesh will play a crucial role in focusing on creating and nurturing our next generation of entrepreneurs.

“Our immediate focus will be Fintech, IT/ITES, Pharma/Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Agriculture & Food Processing Sectors. TiE Amaravati will also work closely with educational institutions to introduce entrepreneurship based courses in the curriculum, assist in setting up E-cells and incubators to inculcate the entrepreneurial aspirations in young minds,” he added. (IANS)

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Tata Steel’s India production up marginally in Q3, sales up by 10%

Jan 12, 2018 0

Kolkata– Tata Steel on Friday said its India production in the October-December 2017 period was marginally up by 3.1 per cent to 3.26 million tonnes (mt) compared to 3.16 mt produced in the corresponding quarter of 2016-17.

The steel maker also said its sales, during the quarter under review, were at 3.30 mt, up by over 10 per cent from 2.99 mt in the year-ago period.

In the first nine month period (April-December) of the current fiscal, its India production was at 9.24 mt compared to 8.22 mt produced in the same period of the last financial year, the company said in a statement.

During the April-December period, its sales at 9.12 mt registered about 18 per cent growth over the 7.76 mt in the corresponding period of 2016-17.

However, the steel maker’s production from European operation in the December quarter was slightly higher at 2.67 mt as compared to 2.64 mt in the comparable period in 2016-17, it said.

In terms of sales, Europe operations registered higher sales during the quarter at 2.39 mt.

Steel producer’s Kalinganagar plant ramped-up to 100 per cent capacity utilisation for commercial saleable steel production.

It achieved highest-ever quarterly sales in ‘automotive and special products’ segment with a growth of 6 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 26 per cent year-on-year. (IANS)

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Infosys net up 38% in Q3, lowers outlook

Jan 12, 2018 0

Bengaluru– Global software major Infosys on Friday reported a record 38 per cent increase in consolidated net profit annually in rupee terms for the third quarter (Q3) but lowered revenue outlook for fiscal 2017-18 to 2.1-3.1 per cent on an appreciating rupee.

In a regulatory filing on the BSE, it said net profit grew 38.3 per cent annually to Rs 5,129 crore for Q3 of 2017-18 from Rs 3,708 crore in the same period year ago and 37.6 per cent sequentially from Rs 3,726 crore quarter ago.

In dollar terms too, net income shot up 45 per cent annually to $796 million from $547 million in the like period year ago and 37.6 sequentially from Rs 578 million last quarter.

With the rupee appreciating against the US dollar over the months, the company lowered its consolidated annual revenue guidance to 2.1-3.1 per cent from 3-4 per cent in rupee terms but maintained the outlook at 6.5-7.5 per cent in dollar terms for 2017-18.

The company posted consolidated revenue of $10.2 billion or Rs 68,484 crore for fiscal 2016-17.

“The annual revenue is expected to grow 5.5-6.5 per cent in constancy currency (CC) in rupee and dollar terms, but 2.1-3-1 per cent in rupee terms, with the dollar at Rs 63.88 on December 31,” said the filing.

The revised outlook in rupee terms is lower than 3-4 per cent given on October 24 when dollar was Rs 65.29 on September 30 and 3-5 per cent on July 14 with dollar at Rs 64.58 on June 30.

The company reported consolidated revenue grew 3 per cent annually to Rs 17,794 crore for the quarter from Rs 17,273 crore in the same period year ago but was flat (1.3 per cent) sequentially from Rs 17,657 crore quarter ago.

In dollar terms, revenue grew 8 per cent annually to $2,755 million from $2,551 million in the like period year ago but remained flat (1 per cent) sequentially from $2,728 million quarter ago.

“Operating margin improved fractionally (0.1 per cent) to 24.3 per cent in Q3 from 24.2 per cent in the second quarter,” said the city-based company in a statement, adding that the operating margin range would be 23-25 per cent for 2017-18.

Operating profit at Rs 4,319 crore was flat (0.4 per cent) annually but 1.7 up sequentially in rupee terms and at $669 million grew 4.5 per cent annually and 1.4 per cent quarterly in dollar terms.

Cash flow from operations increased by a whopping 49 per cent to $657 million from $441 million quarter ago.

“On account of the conclusion of an APA (Advance Pricing Agreement) with the US Internal Revenue Service during the quarter, net profit for Q3 increased,” it added in the statement.

In accordance with the APA, the company reversed income tax expense of $225 million (Rs1,437 crore) pertaining to previous periods, resulting in the profit increasing.

The company also had written down an unspecified amount invested in its innovation fund investment DWA Nova LLC, which impacted its net profit by $11 million (Rs 70 crore).

The company also earned $31 million (Rs 198 crore) from interest on income tax refund for the quarter.

Asserting that it was a privilege to be appointed the company’s Chief Executive, Salil Parekh said he would help its clients navigate the digital future and employees to build new skills and capabilities.

“We are progressing towards stability and are well positioned to serve our clients in the new areas of demand” said Parkeh in the statement.

Parekh, 53, joined the company on January 2 as the second non-promoter CEO and Managing Director after its first non-founder executive Vishal Sikka quit in August.

Prior to joining Infosys, Parekh was an executive board member of the Paris-based global consulting, technology and IT firm Capgemini for 25 years.

Chief Operating Officer Pravin Rao said increased adoption of digital offerings and new services helped stabilise price realization, and they were “able to grow client relationships across revenue categories”.

Chief Financial Officer M.D. Ranganath said operating margins were stable on improvement in efficiency parameters.

“Our cash generation continued to be robust during the quarter. We also executed the share buyback of Rs 13,000 crore in line with our capital allocation policy,” he added. (IANS)

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Amazon CEO becomes richest man in history

Jan 11, 2018 0

New York– Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is now the world’s richest man, not just at present, but of all time.

Both Bloomberg and Forbes have put Bezos on top of their billionaire lists. Bloomberg said Bezos’ net worth reached $106 billion while Forbes put it at $105 billion as of Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The previous record was held by Microsoft founder Bill Gates with $100 billion in 1999.

The majority of Bezos’ net worth comes from the 78.9 million shares of Amazon stock he owns. Shares of Amazon (AMZN) climbed nearly 57 per cent in 2017.

The Seattle-based corporation managed to make up 89 per cent of online spending among major retailers in the five-week period beginning on Thanksgiving, according to an analysis of transaction data by Earnest Research in New York.

Bill Gates now still sits on the No. 2 post on both of the fortune lists with roughly $92 billion. Some argue that if not for his significant charitable contributions, Gates would still be worth far more than Bezos.

According to Bloomberg, Gates has given away almost 700 million Microsoft shares, worth $61.8 billion at today’s value, as well as 2.9 billion of cash since 1996. (IANS)

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Maruti Suzuki raises prices across models

Jan 10, 2018 0

New Delhi– Automobile major Maruti Suzuki India on Wednesday increased prices across its model range with immediate effect.

According to the company, the price increase ranges from Rs 1,700 to Rs 17,000 (Ex-showroom in Delhi).

The company disclosed that it had to increase prices due to a rise in “commodity and other administrative and distribution costs”.

“The new prices are effective from 10th January 2018,” the company said in a statement. (IANS)

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