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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Siemens to manaufacture solar PV inverters in India

Dec 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– German manufacturing conglomerate Siemens’ Indian arm on Thursday announced plans to start making solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters in the country that will initially serve the domestic market.

The company said in a release that the Sinacon PV inverter will be manufactured at its Kalwa plant near Mumbai.

“Siemens India launched with Sinacon PV a new generation of photovoltaic central inverters with an output up to 5,000 kVA. The inverter is part of the Siemens’ new electrical Balance of Plant (eBoP) solution for PV power plant installations,” the release said.

“The state-of-the-art Sinacon PV inverter will be locally manufactured at Siemens’ Kalwa plant near Mumbai for the domestic market as well as for export into the region,” it added.

“Siemens aspires to contribute to this with local value addition in line with Make in India,” Siemens Executive Vice-President Harald Griem said in the statement.

A solar PV inverter converts the variable Direct Current output of a PV solar panel into a utility frequency Alternating Current that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network.

Siemens said the Sinacon PV inverter has an outdoor design for harsh environment with fluid cooling and can operate up to 60 degrees Celsius ambient temperature.

The company also plans to set up a local assembly of medium voltage inverter stations.

“The new inverters and inverter stations target large scale, ground-mounted solar PV power plants comprising Electrical Balance of Plant solution,” it said. (IANS)

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India’s largest makerspace to come up in Hyderabad next year

Dec 5, 2017 0

Hyderabad– India’s largest makerspace, a prototyping and design centre, will come up here next year and will have equipment worth over $20 million, Telangana’s Industry Minister K.T. Rama Rao announced here on Tuesday.

To be known as T-Works, the facility will come up over 250,00 square feet with many partners offering their software tools and equipment.

Modelled on the lines of makerspaces in other countries and customised to Indian needs, this will probably be the world’s second largest facility of its kind, he said.

Anybody with an idea can collaborate with other people at T-Works and convert his or her designs into working prototype.

“T-Works will be up and running around this time next year,” the Minister said, while addressing India Design Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, adding anybody could use freely available tools — software, test and measurement equipment — to build any product.

“T-Works will allow anyone young or old school student, graduate or retired professor, man or woman to collaborate with other intelligent individuals and converge their designs on paper or PC and convert it into working prototype,” said Rama Rao, son of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

Open to all Indians, the facility will have CNC machines, cutting machines of all kinds, welding and carpentry tools, PCB assembly machines, and 3D printers of all ranges.

“This I believe is going to change the way we do business especially with respect to design and hardware space in India,” he said.

The Minister said T-Works will help in making products in domains like mechanical, electro mechanic, electronics and semiconductor spaces.

It will also help in making products in automobiles, IoT, avionics, drones, med devices, medical instruments, defence equipment, consumer electronics, telecom products, mobile devices, gadgets and sensors.

“T-Works will become one of cornerstones and essential hub in the wheel in heralding a new wave of entrepreneurs, makers, tinkerers and designers of all kinds, aesthetic, textile, fashion, lifestyle, mechanical and technological,” he added. (IANS)

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Infosys Foundation gives Rs 15.7 cr to Tata Institute for research work

Dec 4, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Global software major Infosys’s philanthropic arm, Infosys Foundationon Monday announced a combined grant of Rs 15.7 crore to fund research and mentoring activities of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s (TIFR) International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS).

As part of the agreement between the Foundation and ICTS, of the total grant, Rs 4 crore will be for the travel of 25 overseas students to India each year under the Infosys Foundation ICTS Visitor Fellowship for its programmes.

“About 20 of ICTS students will also travel abroad under the Infosys Foundation ICTS Excellence Grant,” said the Foundation in a statement here.

The city-based ICTS’s programmes enable physicists, astronomers, cosmologists, mathematicians, biologists, students and researchers from the world over to solve questions on nature and discover structures across sciences.

“The Centre also strives for unifying knowledge, in-house research by faculty in theoretical sciences, science outreach that harness young minds and connects students with public interested in the latest developments of scientific research,” said the statement.

The grants are for students to participate in academic activities abroad and forge partnerships with educational institutions the world over, it said.

About Rs 7.5 crore of grant is for organizing lecture series by Indian and overseas experts, to exchange ideas and explore research opportunities in science and mathematics.

The lectures would be known as the Infosys ICTS Chandrasekhar Ramanujan and Turing Lecture Series, said the Foundation.

The lecture series will include Chandrasekhar lectures in physical science; Ramanujan lectures in mathematical sciences and Alan Turing lectures in computer science, engineering and biology.

Another Rs 3.35 crore grant is for about 200 students, faculty and post-doctoral students to support the 12th Kavil Asian Winter School (KAWS) on Strings, Particles and Cosmology 2018.

To be held here January 8-18, KAWS 2018 will bring together theorists from Japan,AChina and India to discuss about the latest developments in particle physics.

The grant will also be used for travel of speakers and participants from India to Strings 2018, an annual conference on string theory of particle physics, to be held at Japan’s Okinawa.

About Rs 85 lakh will be for the Homi Bhabha Chair Professorship to support research and mentoring. As part of the agreement between the Infosys Foundation and TIFR, the Chair would be called the Infosys Homi Bhabha Chair Professor. The current chair holder is Professor Spenta Wadia, the founding director of ICTS. (IANS)

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Paypal-owned Canadian firm leaked 1.6 mn customers’ records

Dec 4, 2017 0

New York– Global digital payments platform Paypal has identified a potential compromise of personally identifiable information for approximately 1.6 million customers on TIO Networks — a Canadian payments platform owned by Paypal.

“The PayPal platform is not impacted in any way, as the TIO systems are completely separate from the PayPal network, and PayPal’s customers’ data remains secure,” TIO Networks said in a statement.

PayPal paid $233 million in cash to acquire TIO Networks in July this year.

On November 10, PayPal suspended TIO’s operations after it discovered security vulnerabilities in the firm’s platform.

“The operations of TIO Networks were suspended to protect customer data as part of an ongoing investigation of security vulnerabilities of the TIO platform,” the company said on Monday.

The ongoing investigation uncovered evidence of unauthorised access to TIO’s network, including locations that stored personal information of some of TIO’s customers and customers of TIO billers.

The company was yet to contact all customers, billers and retailers affected by the leak.

“Individuals who are affected will be contacted directly and receive instructions to sign up for monitoring,” the company added.

“We will continue to communicate important updates to customers,” TIO added.

Paypal has 218 million active account holders,

Available in more than 200 markets around the world, the PayPal platform, including Braintree, Venmo and Xoom, enables consumers and merchants to receive money in more than 100 currencies. (IANS)

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Rural demand, new launches push November auto sales higher

Dec 1, 2017 0

New Delhi/Chennai– Robust rural demand along with new offerings led automobile manufacturers to report healthy sales figures for November.

Passenger car major Maruti Suzuki India’s total sales rose 14.1 per cent to 154,600 units, from 135,550 units sold during the corresponding month of 2016.

“This (total sales) includes 145,300 units in the domestic market and 9,300 units of exports. The company had sold a total of 135,550 units in November 2016,” the auto major said in a statement.

Maruti Suzuki’s November domestic sales edged higher by 15 per cent to 145,300 units from 126,325 units.

Exports inched-up by 0.8 per cent, with 9,300 units that were shipped out during last month, up from 9,225 units sold abroad in November 2016.

Similarly, Hyundai Motor India too reported a healthy growth in its domestic sales.

The company’s November domestic sales rose by 10 per cent to 44,008 units from an off-take of 40,016 reported in the corresponding month of 2016.

Commenting on the November performance, HMIL Director for Sales and Marketing Rakesh Srivastava said: “Hyundai volume of 44,008 units is a growth of 10 per cent with strong performance of the newly launched bestseller Next Gen Verna along with Grand i10, Elite i20 and Creta.

“Due to strong pull of festive demand on the strength of buoyant rural markets, we hope to build on this positive momentum with a cumulative retail sales of 200,000 units for the period September to December 2017.”

Other major manufacturer, Tata Motors’ domestic sales for November rose exponentially on the back of new product offerings.

The company’s November domestic passenger and commercial vehicle sales rose by 58 per cent to 52,464 units.

However, the company’s exports during the month under review declined by 12 per cent to 4,927 units shipped out due to a drop in volume in key commercial vehicles’ international markets such as Nepal and Sri Lanka.

On the same page, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) total sales rose by 18 per cent to 38,570 units last month up from 32,564 units sold during November 2016.

The company’s domestic sales increased by 21 per cent to 36,039 vehicles during November 2017, as against 29,869 vehicles sold during November 2016.

Conversely, exports for November 2017 stood at 2,531 vehicles, a de-growth of six per cent.

M&M also logged a growth of 13 per cent in the three wheeler segment last month selling 4,455 units as against 3,953 units sold during corresponding period in 2016.

“We expect our growth momentum to continue on the back of some recent refresh launches as well as the positivity of our product portfolio,” Rajan Wadhera, President, Automotive Sector was quoted as saying in the statement.

Passenger cars manufacturer Honda Cars India registered monthly domestic sales of 11,819 units in November 2017 against 8,029 units in the corresponding month last year.

Besides, Ford India’s combined domestic sales and exports in November reached 27,019 vehicles from 21,004 vehicles in the same month last year.

Two and three-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto a rise of 21 per cent in total sales, including exports, for November 2017 to 326,458 units from 269,948 units sold during the corresponding month of 2016.

Bajaj Auto’s total domestic sales last month stood at 179,835 units — up 16 per cent, while the overall exports edged higher by 27 per cent to 146,623 units.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) closed the month of November with stellar domestic sale which was up 44 per cent to 432,350 units.

Honda’s motorcycle sales grew by 56 per cent to 150,606 units, while scooter sales grew by 39 per cent to 281,744 units.

TVS Motor Company registered a sales growth of 12 per cent from 224,971 units sold in November 2016 to 251,965 units in the like month of 2017. (IANS)

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