Britannia may shift dairy project from Maharashtra

Aug 6, 2018 0

Kolkata– Britannia Industries, which is looking forward to expanding its businesses, may shift its dairy project from Maharashtra as the state government has not yet finalised the incentive scheme, a company official said on Monday.

“I believe that now we are poised to look at businesses outside even our adjacents (adjacent business).

“Today, we are in a position in terms of management to be able to look at acquisitions if they make sense,” company’s Chairman Nusli N. Wadia told shareholders at the 99th Annual General Meeting (AGM) here.

“We planned the (dairy) project in Maharashtra and waited for over one year for finalising the incentive. Unfortunately, they have not done it… We are looking at shifting (the dairy project) to Andhra Pradesh because the Maharashtra government (has) already delayed long enough. If it does not get finalised, then we have to move,” Wadia said on the sidelines of the AGM.

The company plans to invest Rs 300 crore in a dairy project, he said.

Asked whether the company had any discussion with the Andhra Pradesh government, he said: “Of course, many times.”

The company, which completed 100 years on March 21, said its board recommended bonus debentures and proposed subdivide of shares.

“This is to inform you that the Board of Directors at its meeting held today (Monday) has recommended and approved issuance of secured redeemable non-convertible debentures, as bonus debentures of Rs 60,” the company said in a regulatory filing.

It will be in the ratio of one (bonus debenture) for every one equity share, held by the shareholders of the company on a record date as may be decided, subject to the approval of National Company Law Tribunal, Kolkata, and any other approval as may be required, it said.

According to Wadia, the company would be issuing over 12 crore bonus debentures of about Rs 720 crore.

He also said the company would invest Rs 400-500 crore of capital expenditure in the coming year with a focus on dairy, rusks and cakes businesses. The company, which launched a new logo of “Britannia” on Monday, would be launching more products in the next six months, Wadia said.

The company will launch 50 new products in the next 12 months and enter new catagories including croissants, cream wafers and enhance product offerings in the existing categories.

The FMCG major will also relaunch some of its brands in the current year, its Vice President Marketing Ali Harris Shere told reporters later in the day.

In the biscuits category, it will have innovations and new product formats along with relaunches of some brands, company’s Managing Dirctor Varun Berry said, adding that the biscuit category contributes 75 per cent of its total revenue.

At the AGM, the board decided to give notice to appropriate authority and stock exchanges to subdivide the equity shares of Rs 2.

According to the company’s annual report, the board recommended a dividend of 1,250 per cent and the total dividend payout amounts to Rs 361.84 crore including dividend distribution tax of Rs 61.70 crore.

The company reported a 19.6 per cent increase in its consolidated net profit at Rs 258 crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal (2018-19) as compared to Rs 216 crore in the year-ago period. On comparative basis, its consolidated revenue was up for the quarter by 13.6 per cent. (IANS)

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Benelli to set up manufacturing plant near Hyderabad

Aug 6, 2018 0

Hyderabad– Benelli, global leader in the super bike segment, on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Telangana government to set up an indigenous manufacturing plant near Hyderabad.

The Italian motorcycle brand, owned by China-based QianJiang Group, also entered into a strategic partnership with Adishwar Auto Ride India-Mahavir Group to market its product in India.

The partnerships were announced by the officials of Benelli, Telangana government and Adishwar Auto Ride India-Mahavir Group at an event here.

The manufacturing facility will be set up in two phases at Pochampally. The first phase, spread over 3 acre, will be executed through Adishwar Auto Ride India-Mahavir Group and will be operational by October 2018. The second phase will be a large setup that will span over 20 acre.

Established in 1911, Benelli has presence in over 60 countries. Its global product portfolio includes more than 200 variants including motorcycles, scooters and electric bicycles. (IANS)

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Auto component manufacturers association demands uniform 18% GST tax rate

Aug 6, 2018 0

New Delhi– India’s auto component manufacturing sector on Monday demanded that the industry be brought under a uniform 18 per cent GST rate.

According to the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), currently 60 per cent of the components attract 18 per cent GST rate, while the rest 40 per cent, the majority of which are for two-wheelers and tractors, attract 28 per cent.

“A benign rate of 18 per cent will not only ensure better compliance, but will also ensure a larger tax base,” ACMA President Nirmal Minda was quoted as saying in a statement.

Minda spoke at an event here to announce the auto component “Industry Performance Review” for fiscal 2017-2018.

“Further, considering the significant technological changes that the industry is undergoing, there is a critical need for creating a fund to support indigenous R&D and technology creation in the component industry as also for technology acquisition from other parts of the world,” he said.

Minda elaborated the need for a “technology agnostic road-map with clear responsibilities of each stakeholder” to ensure a smooth roll out of electric mobility in the country.

On the industry’s financial performance, the “Industry Performance Review” showed that the sector’s turnover grew by 18.3 per cent to Rs 345,635 crore ($ 51.2 billion) during the last fiscal.

Further, exports showed a growth of 23.9 per cent in FY2017-18 to Rs 90,571 crore ($13.5 billion). (IANS)

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Women in emerging Indian cities keen to acquire skills for digital growth: GoDaddy

Aug 6, 2018 0

By Nishant Arora

New Delhi– GoDaddy, the world’s largest Cloud platform dedicated to small and independent ventures, is empowering small and medium businesses (SMBs) in tier 2 and 3 cities of India and, to its surprise, is finding young women more keen to learn the skills needed to go online.

The US-based Internet domain registrar and web-hosting company is equipping web professionals and local resellers with the right tools, knowledge and skills they need to help grow their ventures online.

“As we go deeper into the country, we see huge numbers of young web developers and entrepreneurs waiting to be trained, in order to help local companies grow online in the New-Age technological environment,” Nikhil Arora, Managing Director and Vice President, GoDaddy India, told IANS in a free-wheeling chat.

“To our surprise, we find women more forthcoming and eager in tier 2 and 3 cities to learn new digital skills. We are also excited to see the positive response among web professionals and SMBs alike,” Arora noted.

Women entrepreneurs continue to face several challenges like gender bias and access to financial funding or venture capital in the country. According to a recent Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) report, India is ranked 52 in the list of 57 countries surveyed when it comes to empowering women to run successful businesses.

Even the technology hub Bengaluru and capital New Delhi ranked 40th and 49th, respectively, on a list of 50 women entrepreneur-friendly global cities, said another report by US tech giant Dell Technologies last month.

The growing enthusiam among young women to learn digital knowledge and skills is a welcome sign, said Arora.

Today, one million people in India rely on GoDaddy’s products to get their ideas online and Arora wants to quickly add the next million in GoDaddy’s bucket.

Formed as Jomax Technologies in 1997, the company launched its first website building software and hosting services in 1999. In 2000, the name GoDaddy came into existence.

Today, with more than 17 million customers worldwide, GoDaddy has over 75 million domain names under management.

For the second quarter that ended on June 30, GoDaddy reported revenues of $651.6 million — up 16.8 per cent year-on-year — and international revenue s were at $233.3 million, up 24.3 per cent (year-on-year).

“We are very bullish on India. We have seen 8-10 million Indian SMBs — out of more than 25 million — taking their businesses online and next on our radar are the rest which are eager to go digital but don’t have the right tools, guidance and skill-sets,” Arora emphasised.

According to him, in a growing market like India, web developers are interested in learning new processes with new tools to help manage their clients while, at the same time, ensuring quality and expanding their business.

GoDaddy has already trained over 700 web professionals in Pune, Jaipur, Kochi and Ahmedabad.

“Web developers are a driving force in helping SMBs increasingly do business online and helping to shape the growth of the digital economy,” Arora told IANS.

As part of GoDaddy’s initiative, web professionals receive extensive education on how to amplify their business, develop and upgrade skills while accessing GoDaddy resources to help create and manage an effective digital presence for small business clients.

In its recent “Global Web Developer’s Survey”, GoDaddy found that nearly 50 per cent of developers in emerging markets like India tend to have more new businesses when compared to developers in other regions.

The findings showed that the primary drivers of small business websites are: Selling new services to existing clients (40 per cent); providing support to existing clients (31 per cent); and finding new clients and reselling products/services (28 per cent).

The research also found that in the US, developers and designers are more likely to work for a small firm and concentrate their work on fewer clients who provide larger retainers. However, in India, web developers primarily work in formal office environments.

According to Arora, web developers in India are now regularly guiding and engaging with small businesses to help them get online — given the “Do-It-For-Me” nature of the customers.

The pervasiveness of smart devices and increasing affordability has further encouraged millions of small businesses to leverage mobile to enhance their business. Over two-thirds of web pages designed by web developers for small businesses in India are more likely to be tailored and targeted for mobile.

According to Arora, the next wave of small businesses will rely heavily on web designers and developers.

“Supporting our customers in India, with increased training and support, and being available to help them create and grow their online presence for their business, has always been a key element of our value proposition,” said Arora. (IANS)

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Karnataka setting up 5 tech hubs to spur innovations

Aug 6, 2018 0

Bengaluru– IT-savvy Karnataka government is setting up five technology hubs across the state for innovations by start-ups in the product space for domestic and export markets, said a Minister on Monday.

“The first K-Tech hub was opened at Belagavi in the northwest region last week and the second hub in Bengaluru today (Monday). Three more hubs are being set up at Mangaluru, Mysuru and Shivamogga,” said Karnataka IT Minister K.J. George.

Designed as a shared prototyping facility with co-working, the hubs offer office space and amenities to incubate ideas and innovate products by start-ups in the respective regions.

“Of the five hubs, four are being located in tier-2 cities across the state to leverage the manufacturing clusters around them and hire local talent from colleges and institutions in the respective regions,” said George.

The hubs will also create ecosystem to sustain them and attract investments from local entrepreneurs for job creation and all-round development.

“The hubs will also engage with stakeholders in the region, attract talent, promote entrepreneurship for more start-ups,” said George.

The tech hubs will house a knowledge park, a science park and an incubation centre with common instrumentation facility for programme management in a network mode, linked to its hardware product incubator in Bengaluru.

“We are keen to set up an ecosystem to benefit stakeholders with infra support and mentoring. With disruptive technologies creating opportunities, the hubs will help our state in retaining leadership position in the country,” he added.

The innovation hubs will enable tech-based start-ups to access research and development centres and prototyping labs, skilled staff and access to raw materials for manufacturing products.

According to state IT Principal Secretary Gaurav Gupta, the disruptive technologies were making enterprises to invest in digital transformation of their operations to sustain their business and compete in a global market.

“Spending is shifting from IT services to line of business, with associated technologies like big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud and Internet of Things,” added Gupta.

The Minister and the IT department officials, however, did not share the cost of setting up the tech hubs for innovation. (IANS)

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Live-streaming to include hearings on socially important issues: SC

Aug 3, 2018 0

New Delhi– The Supreme Court on Friday said that the proposed live- streaming of its proceedings will include, besides important matters before constitution bench, socially important issues requiring interpretation of legal provisions.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed Attorney General K.K. Venugopal to prepare holistic guidelines on the issue while considering the ones suggested by the petitioner and the intervenors.

The court did not elaborate when the Attorney General wanted to know what it meant by socially important issues.

The AG reiterated that the live-streaming, to begin with, should start with Court Number 1 presided over by the Chief Justice of India.

Justice Chandrachud said that the guidelines suggested by Venugopal provide for recording of proceedings, after one of the lawyers sought it.

As another lawyer drew the court’s attention to its direction for the installation of CCTVs and audio recording of proceedings in two trial courts each in all states and Union Territories, Chief Justice Misra said that the “trial court proceedings are different and the Supreme Court proceedings are entirely different.”

The court directed for next hearing in the matter on August 17.

The top court had, on February 9, sought Venugopal’s assistance while dealing with three petitions, including those filed by senior counsel Indira Jaising and lawyer Mathews J. Nedumpara.

Jaising had pleaded for live-streaming and videotaping of court proceedings in cases of national importance having a bearing on a large section of people.

Jaising had based her PIL on the right to receive information under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and the principle of open courts and access to justice as protected under Article 21.

Pointing to the principle of law that justice should not only be done but also seen to be done, Jaising had contended that the best possible way to achieve this was to live-stream the proceedings in important cases so that arguments of all counsel and interaction between Judges and lawyers during hearings was “recorded accurately and without distortions”.

Meanwhile, when a law intern urged the court for permission to watch court proceedings on Mondays and Fridays, known as miscellaneous matter days in court parlance, the Chief Justice pointed to space constraint and said the court was seized of the matter and will do something. (IANS)

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Calls from Delhi to banks for loans stopped: Minister

Aug 3, 2018 0

New Delhi– Interim Corporate Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said the government has put a stop to the practice of pressuring banks to advance loans as part of its effort to better corporate governance standards among public banks.

“We are proud to say that in these four years of this government, we have stopped the phone-call thing coming in from Delhi to the banks,” Goyal said, responding to on corporate governance failures, mainly in banks, during the Question Hour in the Lok Sabha.

Goyal said, “Not a single phone call will go (to banks) to give a loan, to address a loan, to restructure a loan or to settle a loan. We have given autonomy to the banks.”

For the first time, an honest asset quality review was carried out in 2015 that forced the banks to show non-performing assets (NPAs) which in earlier years were restructured and never reflected the true picture of the banks, he said.

Further, Goyal said the government has taken several measures to uphold corporate governance and have been strictly dealing with shell companies and defaulters.

“It is probably for the first time in history of India that a government has come down so strongly on non-active companies, called shell companies in common parlance,” he said. The government has struck off 2.26 lakh such companies from the register and has identified another 2.35 lakh companies that are under the scanner.

“It is only under this government that big defaulters are being brought to book,” he added. (IANS)

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Another 2 lakh companies may be struck off: Minister

Aug 3, 2018 0

New Delhi– More than two lakh companies have been identified for not filing their financial statements for two consecutive years and therefore may be struck off, Union Minister of State for Corporate Affairs P. P. Chaudhary told the Lok Sabha on Friday.

In the current fiscal, a total of 2,25,910 companies have been identified for action under Section 248 of the Companies Act, 2013 on the basis of non-filing of due returns for the financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17, the Minister said.

Chaudhary said the Registrars of Companies (ROCs) will follow due procedure before striking off the names of these companies.

Last fiscal, the government had identified 2.97 lakh companies which were not filing their financial statements or annual returns for a continuous period of two or more financial years. And, the RoC had removed the names of 2,26,166 companies as part of its crackdown on shell companies.

The Central government has also ordered probe into the real ownership of 68 companies which deposited and withdrew funds in an exceptional manner from bank accounts during the demonetization period.

In the last one year, 6,97,115 companies filed their financial statements, while 2,93,017 companies did not, informed the Minister. (IANS)

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SC grants huge relief to RCOM, clears asset sale to Reliance Jio

Aug 3, 2018 0

New Delhi– In a major relief to Reliance Communications (RCOM), the Supreme Court on Friday cleared the sale of its assets to Reliance Jio.

Accordingly, RCOM’s Special Leave Petition (SLP) was cleared by the Supreme Court. This allows for the sale of the company’s assets including spectrum, telecom towers, India optical fiber and multi-connectivity nodes.

The Supreme Court has also directed RCOM to make Rs 550 crore payment to Ericsson on or before September 30, 2018.

Industry insiders say that the relief granted by the Supreme Court paves the way for completion of the company’s asset monetisation programme, under which RCOM will sell these assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm.

The asset sale is expected to bring down RCOM’s debt by over 50 per cent or by around Rs 25,000 crore which includes around Rs 18,000 crore in cash and another Rs 7,000 crore in deferred spectrum payment liabilities, which will get transferred to Reliance Jio, as the new owner of the spectrum.

It is also expected to enable RCOM to reinstate the bank guarantees that were encashed by DoT (Department of Telecom) earlier this year on account of deferred spectrum payment liabilities.

In the second phase of assets sale, RCOM is expected to raise another Rs 3,700 crore by selling the its remaining 850 MHz spectrum assets, which may also go to Reliance Jio.

Sources pointed out that with these two asset sales, and monetisation of the company’s 133-acre Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City campus in Navi Mumbai and its 4-acre property in prime New Delhi, which will get in another Rs 10,000 crore, RCOM’s debt will be reduced by nearly Rs 39,000 crore. (IANS)

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Demand conditions accelerate India’s July service sector growth

Aug 3, 2018 0

Mumbai– Favourable demand conditions accelerated the growth of India’s service sector in July, a key economic data point showed on Friday.

Accordingly, the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index rose from 52.6 in June to 54.2 in July, the strongest rate of output growth since October 2016.

An index reading of above 50 indicates an overall increase in economic activity and below 50 an overall decrease.

“July data was encouraging as the service sector observed the best performance since October 2016, underpinned by the strongest gain in new orders since June 2017,” Aashna Dodhia, Economist at IHS Markit, and author of the report, said in a statement.

“In response to strong underlying demand conditions, job creation picked up to the fastest since April.”

Consequently, the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Composite PMI Output Index rose from 53.3 in June to 54.1 in July, driven by output growth in both the manufacturing and service sectors.

As per the report, the latest rise in overall output was marked and the strongest seen since October 2016.

“Marked expansions in both the manufacturing and service sector, with stronger growth in the latter, powered the fastest improvement in overall operating conditions in the economy since October 2016,” Dodhia said. (IANS)

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