India’s Forex reserves rise by $488 mn

Dec 22, 2017 0

Mumbai– India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves rose by $488.2 million as on December 15, 2017, official data showed on Friday.

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) weekly statistical supplement showed that the overall Forex reserves rose to $401.38 billion from $400.89 billion reported for the week ended December 8.

India’s Forex reserves comprise of foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, special drawing rights (SDRs) and the RBI’s position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Segment-wise, FCAs — the largest component of the Forex reserves — increased by $478.3 million to $376.90 billion during the week under review.

Besides the US dollar, FCAs consist of nearly 20-30 per cent of major global currencies. It also includes investments in US Treasury bonds, bonds of other selected governments and deposits with foreign central and commercial banks.

The country’s gold reserves value remained stagnant at $20.70 billion, whereas SDRs inched up by $3.8 million to $1.50 billion.

Similarly, the country’s reserve position with the IMF rose by $6.1 million to $2.27 billion. (IANS)

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Airtel to acquire Millicom’s operations in Rwanda

Dec 19, 2017 0

New Delhi– Bharti Airtel through its subsidiaries has entered into a definitive agreement with Millicom International Cellular under which Airtel Rwanda will acquire 100 per cent equity interest in Tigo Rwanda, a company statement said here on Tuesday.

“Airtel has taken proactive steps in Africa to consolidate and realign the market structure in the last few remaining countries where its operations are lagging on account of lower market share and presence of too many operators.

“Airtel and Tigo have already merged their operations to create a strong viable entity in Ghana. Today, it has taken yet another important step to acquire Tigo Rwanda to become a profitable and a strong challenger in a two-player market,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel.

“We are also committed to the long term viability of our operations in two other countries i.e. Kenya and Tanzania, to ensure that in 2018 all our 15 operations in Africa start contributing positive margins and cash flows towards a healthy and profitable Airtel Africa,” he added.

The statement said the acquisition will consolidate the Rwandan telecom market and position Airtel as a strong number two operator in Rwanda.

“The consideration for the transaction is based on approximately six times Ebitda (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) multiple, payable over two years.”

The agreement was subject to regulatory and statutory approvals.

The statement said the agreement aims to bring together the strengths of Airtel and Millicom in Rwanda and offer benefits to customers in the form of a wider network, affordable voice and data services, and superior customer care.

The existing customers of Tigo Rwanda will join Airtel’s global network, which currently serves over 370 million customers across 17 countries.

They can avail amongst other things, benefits of the ‘One Airtel’ network with lower roaming rates across Africa and South Asia, and Airtel Money.

“The acquisition reinforces our commitment to the Rwanda market and is a significant step towards creating a stronger presence in the country.

“It will create synergies with our existing business and help boost operational efficiencies in the market. The Rwandan telecom market will significantly benefit from this acquisition, further reiterating our stand that in-market consolidations do not just help achieve better market positions but benefit customers and the industry as a whole,” said Raghunath Mandava, AMD and CEO, Airtel Africa. (IANS)

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Ola acquires Foodpanda India for $200 mn, Pranay Jivrajka to head

Dec 19, 2017 0

Bengaluru/Berlin– Cab aggregator Ola on Tuesday said it will acquire Foodpanda India business from Germany-based global online food ordering and delivery marketplace Delivery Hero Group for $200 million.

“Our commitment to invest $200 mn in Foodpanda India will help the business be focused on growth by creating value for customers and partners. With Delivery Hero’s global leadership and Ola’s platform capabilities with unique local insights, this partnership is born out of strength,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO at Ola.

According to the cab aggregator platform’s statement, the deal includes the transfer of Foodpanda’s India business to Ola in an acquisition deal in exchange for Ola stock.

The company also said Founding Partner at Ola, Pranay Jivrajka has been appointed as interim CEO of this business unit, supported by the existing leadership team at Foodpanda India.

“Saurabh Kochhar, who was the CEO of Foodpanda India until recently, has decided to move on to pursue other opportunities,” Ola said in a statement.

The statement said Foodpanda India will benefit from Ola’s scale and efficiencies as a platform, also having leveraged learnings from Delivery Hero’s global best practices.

“The partnership with Ola will allow us to further consolidate markets where it strategically makes sense to collaborate with leading local players. At the same time, we consider our stake in Ola as a very valuable asset, while Ola’s investment commitment in Foodpanda India is a clear and confident signal to the Indian market,” said Niklas Ostberg, CEO and Co-founder of Delivery Hero AG. (IANS)

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Tata, GE join hands to manufacture jet engine components

Dec 14, 2017 0

Mumbai– Industrial conglomerates GE and the Tata Group have entered into a pact to manufacture “CFM International LEAP” engine components in India, for the global supply chain, a company statement said here on Thursday.

According to the statement, the two companies also evinced their intention to jointly pursue military engine and aircraft system opportunities for the India market.

“We look forward to working with GE to build more expertise and strengthen India’s defence manufacturing capabilities,” said N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons.

“Tata group’s partnership with GE will help drive synergies in defence manufacturing and focus on innovation to support our armed forces,” he added.

The strategic partnership envisages GE Aviation and Tata Sons’ subsidiary, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), to join forces for “manufacturing, assembling, integration and testing of aircraft components”.

Accordingly, a new Centre of Excellence (COE) will be established to help develop a robust ecosystem for aircraft engine manufacturing in India and build related capabilities.

“Tata Group is a leader in the Indian defence and aerospace sector, and we look forward to working together to meet the growing demand for LEAP engines. Our collaboration in building innovative technologies will support the ‘Make in India’ vision of the Indian government,” said John L. Flannery, Chairman and CEO of GE.

The “LEAP” is one of the world’s leading jet engines known for its technological superiority, efficient fuel consumption and performance for powering single-aisle commercial jets.

Traditionally, GE military engines have had a strong history in India. The company currently provides jet engines and marine gas turbines for many Indian military applications including the Light Combat Aircraft-Tejas Mk 1, Indian Navy P-8I aircraft and the P-17 Shivalik class frigates.

On the other hand, TASL is focused on providing integrated solutions for aerospace, defence and homeland security. (IANS)

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Uber refused renewal of licence in British city

Dec 13, 2017 0

London– Councillors from the British city of York have refused to renew Uber’s licence to operate in the area after they received several complaints from hackney carriage and private hire drivers about the company.

According to a report on yorkpress.co.uk, several Hackney carriage and private hire drivers hailed the decision of City of York Council’s Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Committee to refuse Uber a new licence to operate in the city after a 12-month certificate was granted last year.

The report said the decision was taken after councillors heard from nine objectors to the company and decided not to give the ride-hailing company licence to ply on the streets of the city.

The authority had received a number of complaints about the company and questioned the way Uber handled a cyber attack in October 2016 when the data of 57 million users and drivers was hacked and it was not disclosed for 13 months.

“I always consider York taxi drivers to be the foremost ambassadors for our city and they are the first people visitors will meet,” Cllr Dave Taylor, who was one of seven councillors to refuse the company a licence, was quoted as saying.

“I think we expect a high standard from all taxi drivers and it’s difficult if these standards can be undermined and under cut by out of town drivers,” Taylor added.

Meanwhile, Uber said it was disappointing for both the company’s drivers and users and it would review the details of the decision.

“This is a disappointing vote for the riders and drivers who use our app in the city,” Neil McGonigle, General Manager for Uber in York, was quoted as saying.

“More choice and competition is a good thing for both consumers and licensed drivers in the area. Passengers tell us they love being able to track their car on a live map, pay without cash and get a receipt with their fare and the route taken,” he added.

“Licensed drivers partner with us because with Uber they can choose if, when and where they drive. We will review the details of the decision once we receive the formal notice from the council,” he said. (IANS)

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Warburg Pincus to acquire 20% stake in Airtel’s DTH arm for $350 million

Dec 12, 2017 0

New Delhi– Bharti Airtel and Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm, on Tuesday announced that an affiliate of Warburg Pincus will acquire up to a 20 per cent equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited, the DTH arm of Airtel, for approximately $350 million.

In this deal 15 per cent stake will be sold by Bharti Airtel and the balance by another Bharti entity which holds 5 per cent stake, a company statement said here.

“Airtel has enjoyed a very successful partnership with Warburg Pincus in the past and we are excited to partner with them once again in an attractive and fast growing space. Airtel TV is very well positioned in the DTH space, and we are committed to grow our share of the market through a combination of innovation, value engineering, customer service and distribution initiatives,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

Bharti Telemedia offers services under the Airtel TV brand. It had approximately 14 million subscribers and approximately $550 million in revenues during the 12-month period ended September 30, 2017.

“The Indian Digital TV market is expanding rapidly and we believe that Airtel DTH is well positioned to capitalize on incremental growth in digitization and new TV penetration in Tier 3 and 4 towns and rural areas,” said Vishal Mahadevia, Managing Director and Co-Head, Warburg Pincus India.

Upon closing of the transaction, Airtel will own an 80 per cent equity stake in Bharti Telemedia Limited.

The Airtel board has approved the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals. As part of the transaction, Viraj Sawhney, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus India, will join the board of Bharti Telemedia Limited. (IANS)

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Air India seeks Rs 1,500 cr short-term loans

Dec 8, 2017 0

New Delhi– National passenger carrier Air India has invited bids from banks for Rs 1,500-crore government guarantee-backed “Short Term Loans (STLs)”.

The airline has called for financial bids by December 12.

“Air India is looking for Government Guarantee backed INR STLs totalling to Rs 1,500 crore to meet its urgent working capital requirements,” the airline said in a tender document issued on Wednesday.

“The tenure of the loan will be upto June 27, 2018 extendable, from the date of availing the STL. The amount of Rs 1,500 crore will be drawn in December’17 or January’18 in one or more tranches.” (IANS)

 

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India becomes member of key export control regime

Dec 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– India on Thursday became a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement, that controls the global trade of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies.

India was made the 42nd member of the grouping, at its two-day plenary in Vienna.

The Ambassador of France Alexandre Ziegler tweeted his country’s congratulations. “As president of the Wassenaar Arrangement this year and co-rapporteur of India’s candidacy, France warmly congratulates India for joining the Arrangement.

“One more recognition, after MTCR, of the growing role India plays in today’s world,” he said, tagging India’s Ministry of External Affairs, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

“Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) participating states reviewed progress of a number of current membership applications and agreed at the plenary meeting to admit India which will become the arrangement’s 42 participating state as soon as the necessary procedural arrangements for joining the WA are completed,” the grouping said in a statement.

India’a membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies comes more than a year after becoming member of the Missile Technologies Control Regime (MTCR).

Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said here that India was likely to get membership of the grouping during the plenary in Vienna.

India has still to get membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Australia Group.

Last year, India gained entry into the Missile Technologies Control Regime (MTCR), which paved the way for it to get critical missile technologies and also export its missiles.

Russia, France, Germany and the US have backed India’s entry into the Wassenaar Arrangement.

China, which has repeatedly blocked New Delhi’s bid for membership of the NSG, is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Wednesday discussed India’s entry into the Wassenaar Arrangement with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. (IANS)

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Facebook best place to work, Apple slips to 84th spot

Dec 7, 2017 0

San Francisco– While Facebook has become the best place to work in America, Cupertino-based tech giant Apple has tumbled to number 84 this year from its 36th position last year in the leading job website Glassdoor’s “100 Best Places to Work in the US”.

Apple still remains a highly rated employer — with 4.3 out of 5 rating by Glassdoor – but other tech giants like Google, World Wide Technology, Yahoo and VMware are way ahead in the listings.

Global management consulting firm Bain & Company is the second best place to work, followed by Boston Consulting Group, In-N-Out Burger and Google.

“It’s clear employees love working at Facebook. What we really see them appreciate most is the company’s mission-driven culture, transparent leadership and the fact that their work literally impacts the lives of billions of people worldwide,” Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman said in a statement.

When it comes to “cons” for working at Apple, several employees who anonymously reviewed the company on Glassdoor said the iPhone maker is “strapped for resources” and “offers a poor work-life balance”.

“Office space is very sparse, bring your own tea and snacks kind of a deal. Lunch isn’t free, although dinner is. Nobody is going to pat you on the back for your work, and you’re expected to advance your own career, or find the mentorship you need,” one Apple employee wrote on Glassdoor.

SAP is at 11th spot, Salesforce at 15th, LinkedIn at 21th, Adobe at 31th, Microsoft at 39th and SpaceX is at 50th place in Glassdoor’s listing.

According to Glassdoor, the ranking system is based on “a proprietary awards algorithm”, which is designed to calculate the “quantity, quality, and consistency of company reviews submitted by employees between November 1, 2016, and October 22, 2017”. (IANS)

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MediaTek announces support for Android ‘Go’

Dec 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– Bringing Google’s Android Oreo (‘Go’ edition) operating system (OS) to smartphone manufacturers, Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek on Thursday announced that it is now supporting the new Android OS.

“With Android Oreo ‘Go’, we are partnering with Google to tackle the performance challenges of lower memory phones, improving the user experience of entry level smartphones for consumers in key markets across India, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and South East Asia,” TL Lee, General Manager, MediaTek Wireless Communication Business, said in a statement.

Google collaborated with the semiconductor company to ensure that Android Oreo ‘Go’ works well on its line-up of processors, thus enabling a faster time-to-market mechanism for device manufacturers and ensuring quality Android smartphone experience devices with 512MB to 1GB of memory.

“Entry-level devices are the gateway to the internet for many people, and we want to make sure everyone has a great experience when they use these devices,” Sameer Samat, VP of Product Management, Android and Google Play said in a statement.

With launching Android Oreo ‘Go’ in India earlier this week, Google has optimised its OS platform, first party apps and the Google Play Store to improve the capabilities of entry-level smartphones.

MediaTek chipsets, including MT6739 and MT6737, currently support Android Oreo ‘Go’ for 4G devices while MT6580 supports the OS for 3G devices.

Android ‘Go’ smartphones powered by MediaTek chips will be available globally in the first quarter of 2018. (IANS)

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