US agencies, NITI Aayog sign agreement for cooperation in energy

Aug 10, 2016 0

New Delhi– In a bid to strengthen the US-India energy cooperation, USAID, the US Energy Information Administration and NITI Aayog have signed an agreement to support the design of a nodal agency for energy management data, the US Ambassador to India said on Wednesday.

In an agreement, USAID and NITI Aayog extend cooperation on the Sustainable Growth Working Group to September 2017.

With the existing strategies, the two countries will be able to make more informed policy decisions using better energy data and applying enhanced modelling to understand the key trends shaping the energy future. Again, geospatial analysis will help to determine how solar and wind resources can be applied at the best.

Richard Verma

Richard Verma

“We are pleased to sign two new agreements which expand the partnership between some of the most talented researchers in our two countries and accelerate efforts,” said Ambassador Richard R. Verma.

He was addressing the NITI Aayog Conference on Energy Data Management, Energy Modelling, and Geospatial Analysis here.

“Under this agreement, the cooperation between the Prayas Energy Group and the US Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is enhanced through direct cooperation with the US Government’s lead agency for energy information. This will strengthen how energy data is collected, managed and consumed,” he said.

According to Verma, the Working Group’s focus on energy and environmental modelling is aimed to help India’s decision-makers to understand potential flash points for water scarcity and identify opportunities to manage the growth in demand.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most recent visit to the US, new initiatives were announced to raise $1.4 billion in finance for solar projects, he said.

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Japanese companies eye healthcare sector in India

Aug 10, 2016 0

New Delhi– Aiming at the huge potential that the healthcare sector in India possesses, two Japanese companies have joined hands with medical chain supplier Carna Medical to further enhance the supply of consumable and disposable products from medical suppliers across India.

During the launch of medical product catalogue, here on Wednesday, the Japanese companies — logistic provider Konoike Transport and medical equipment distributor Medius Holdings — pointed out that India is gradually becoming one of the top countries in healthcare sector and establishing itself as a hub for medical investments.

Carna“There is a vast difference in the medical field in India and Japan. India has got a huge market in healthcare sector and is rapidly growing. Our target is not just metropolitan cities but also tier-two and -three cities as well,” said Minoru Amano, CEO, Carna Medical Database to IANS during the event.

With an initial capital investment of Rs 200 million, the Japanese companies established a joint venture in India to implement Japanese technology and create and distribute medical consumable products.

 

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Hersha Acquires The Envoy Hotel in Boston Seaport for $112.5 Million

Aug 10, 2016 0

BOSTON–Hersha Hospitality Trust, owner of upscale hotels in urban gateway markets, announced the Company has acquired the fee simple 136-room Envoy Hotel in Boston for $112.5 million.

“We are very pleased to acquire the award-winning, 4-Diamond Envoy Hotel in Boston’s Seaport District. The Envoy’s premiere waterfront location at the nexus of Boston’s Financial and Seaport districts leverages corporate demand from over 48 million square feet of office space, as well as 7-day-per-week leisure demand given the hotel’s proximity to Boston’s various tourist attractions and entertainment venues,”  said  Jay H. Shah, Hersha’s Chief Executive Officer.

Envoy Hotel Boston

Envoy Hotel Boston

He said world-class companies such as GE, which ranks 8th on the Fortune 500, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals have re-located their corporate headquarters to the city’s burgeoning Innovation District, now considered Boston’s most vibrant and fastest growing submarket. In addition, the development of popular restaurants, retail and residential have created a 24/7 atmosphere.

“The Envoy will gain market share as the hotel continues to ramp following its successful debut in June 2015. In addition, we will implement a more aggressive revenue management approach and plan to re-evaluate guestroom touchpoints and service delivery, along with the hotel’s food and beverage offerings, to align the overall guest experience with the discerning business and leisure guests in this fast growing submarket,” said Shah.

The Envoy’s location straddles downtown Boston and the Seaport. The hotel is proximate to significant and diverse corporate demand in Boston’s Financial District and the flourishing Innovation District, the 516,000 square foot Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and the U.S. Federal Courthouse, and within walking distance to Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, the North End, South Station and only 3 miles from Logan International Airport.

The Envoy, recognized by USA Today as the ‘Best New Hotel in America’, and named the ‘Best New Hotel in Boston’ by Forbes, features 136 rooms, all with floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase views of Boston Harbor, the Financial District and the North End. The Envoy is also home to the popular 6,000 square foot Lookout rooftop bar, and the 3,900 square foot Outlook restaurant and bar. The fee simple asset, acquired unencumbered of debt or management, is affiliated with Marriott’s Autograph Collection, leveraging Marriott’s powerful distribution capabilities.

The acquisition was funded with 1031 exchange proceeds from the Company’s sale of seven limited service assets in Manhattan to the Company’s joint venture with an affiliate of Cindat Capital Management Limited (“Cindat”) at a trailing full-year 5.4% economic capitalization rate. The Cindat transaction generated $177 million in taxable gains for the Company. Through a series of reverse 1031 acquisitions that included the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, the Sanctuary Resort and the Hilton Garden Inn M Street, as well as the acquisition of the Envoy, approximately $16 million of deferred taxable gains remain from the Cindat sale.

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TCS ranks among top 100 US brands: Survey

Aug 10, 2016 0

Mumbai– Indian IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been ranked among the top 100 brands in the US in a survey by a leading brand valuation firm.

“Brand Finance has ranked TCS as the 58th most valuable brand in the US and as one of only four global IT services companies recognised as a top 100 brand in the US, with 78.3 points, earning an AA+ rating,” the global software major said in a statement here on Wednesday.

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

As the world’s leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy, Brand Finance evaluates the financial value of a company’s brand name, intellectual assets and trademark vis-a-vis firms across industries.

“Our brand value grew 286 per cent to $9.04 billion in 2016 from $2.3 billion in 2010, marking the fastest growth across the IT services industry during this period,” the outsourcing major asserted, citing the annual ‘Top 500 US Brands’ survey of the consultancy.

According to Brand Finance Chief Executive David Haigh, TCS has emerged as a dominant force in the IT services industry and is the strongest brand in the sector.

“Its (TCS) brand power is indisputable,” Haigh said in the statement.

The study also revealed that the company’s customer focus has been central to its success, with improving scores for brand investment and staff satisfaction.

“The ranking reflects the extent we are rooted in the US community, focused on the impact we can have for our customers and society,” said Surya Kant, President of TCS in North America, Britain and Europe.

The $16.5 billion IT behemoth has significantly invested in the US over the past year to further its business growth and brand strength.

“Our new facilities such as the Digital Reimagination Studio at Santa Clara in California are fostering enhanced digital initiatives with customers,” the statement noted.

The company has also been a top recruiter of IT services talent from the colleges in the US.

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Kerala Finance Minister hopes to raise $3.7 billion from NRKs through chit fund

Aug 9, 2016 0

Thiruvananthapuram–Economics professor turned Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac, into his second spell in the job, hopes to raise Rs 25,000 crore ($3.7 billion) from the state’s diaspora in two years — and is also looking foward to the Rs 4,000 crore that will accrue annually once the GST (goods and services tax) regime is in place.

In a chat with IANS just before catching a flight to New York for the wedding of his elder daughter Sara, Issac confessed that one way to take the state to greener financial pastures is to think out-of-the box and the very fact that he has placed his hopes on the close to three million non-resident Keralites (NRKs) proves the point.

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac

“Yes, things might not be rosy at the moment as far as the diaspora is concerned in the wake of the dip in oil prices. But there is a huge scope for bringing in money from ordinary NRKs as the Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) has now got the clearance from the Reserve Bank of India to start the chit business in which NRKs can participate, which hitherto was not possible,” said Issac.

Proof that this is possible is the performance of the KSFE — a highly-profitable non-banking company fully-owned by the state government with an annual turnover of Rs 30,000 crores and a customer base of 3.3 million.

He said that through the NRK chit scheme he plans to bring in Rs 25,000 crore in two years time.

“The only thing that now needs to be done is to fix the launch date of the chit scheme. Every month we expect to do business of Rs 1,000 crores. We expect to set aside Rs 5,000 crores for infrastructure development in the first year,” Issac said.

Issac also plans is to take forward the concept of Islamic banking through the Cheraman Financial Services Ltd, established with the majority participation of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation.

“Under this scheme, the Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals will get a fresh infusement of Rs 250 crores. Since the funds come without any charge, there is no additional burden on the company,” Issac noted.

He said yet another project that’s on the anvil is the revamp of the three-tier cooperative banking structure to form Kerala’s own bank.

“This will see the present three-tier set-up being wound up and the apex body would be similar to the present Kerala State Cooperative Bank. The name of the proposed bank is being chalked out. The new bank will be able to accept deposits from non-resident Indians. Here also, the state will gain as the funds will be at its disposal. This work is currently being done by various commercial and scheduled banks,” Issac said.

For Issac, thinking out-of-the-box is nothing new as he pointed out that the 14.5 per cent ‘fat tax’ he introduced in his budget presented last month was an eye-opener for the country.

“Basically it’s a measure to see that the health of our people is kept intact,” Issac said.

He signed off by saying that the cash-strapped state can also look forward to the GST that is expected to be in place from the next fiscal when an additional Rs 4,000 can be raised by virtue of being a ‘consumer’ state.

Those who know the hardworking professor reveal that Issac is a lucky person. They point out that during his student days, he had a miraculous escape when he and a close friend exchanged seats on a bus soon after which the vehicle met with an accident and his friend died. (IANS)

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Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen to be Honored with The Advertising Council’s 63rd Annual Public Service Award in November

Aug 9, 2016 0

NEW YORK — The Ad Council, the largest producer of public service advertisements (PSAs) in the U.S., has announced that its 63rd Annual Pubic Service Award Dinner held November 16, 2016 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City will honor the public service contributions of Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe Systems.

Attended by more than 1,400 prominent executives from the media, advertising, and corporate communities, the Annual Dinner also recognizes the industries and individuals who support the Ad Council and its public service campaigns. This year’s event will be chaired by Margo Georgiadis, President of Google, Inc. and Chair of the Ad Council’s Board of Directors.

The Ad Council has been hosting the Annual Dinner, honoring corporate leaders for their contributions to public service, since 1953. The Public Service Award Dinner is the organization’s largest fundraising event. Last year’s benefit raised a record-breaking $4.1 million to support the Ad Council’s programs.

Shantanu Narayen

Shantanu Narayen

Under Narayen’s leadership, Adobe is a leader in sustainability and corporate social responsibility, and has been named to the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World Index, the Civic 50 List of the most community-minded companies in the nation, Ethisphere’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, Newsweek’s Green Rankings, and it received the highest score of 100 in the CDP 2015 Global Climate Change Report.

“We are so proud to honor Shantanu Narayen with this year’s Public Service Award. As CEO of Adobe Systems and President of the Adobe Foundation, he is building a legacy of sustainable business practices and philanthropy,” said Lisa Sherman, President & CEO, Ad Council. “Narayen is a leader in corporate social responsibility, and an exceptional business person, and could not be more deserving of this year’s award.”

As chief executive officer of Adobe, Narayen led the company’s successful transformation of its creative software business from the desktop to the cloud, while creating and leading the explosive digital marketing category. In March of 2016, Narayen was named one of Barron’s “World’s Best CEOs” alongside top leaders such as Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet and Larry Page. He is a member of the Pfizer and U.S. President’s Management Advisory Boards, where he provides advice on best business practices related to federal government management and operation. He is president of the Adobe Foundation, which funds philanthropic initiatives around the world including Project 1324, a program that provides young people with the opportunity to communicate their ideas and take action in their communities using multimedia and digital tools.

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action, and saving lives.

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Four Indian-Americans named in Forbes list of top US wealth advisors

Aug 4, 2016 0

WALTHAM, MA–Four Indian-Americans have been named among the nation’s top wealth advisors by Forbes magazine.  The list of 200 advisors includes Raj Sharma, Ash Chopra, Sonny Kothari and Raju Pathak.

Raj Sharma-action“The 200 members of Forbes’ 2016 list of America’s Top Wealth Advisors collectively manage $675 billion, serving clients that range from Silicon Valley billionaires and Wall Street titans to small business owners and family fortunes,” Forbes magazine said.

Sharma and Chopra, both working in Merrill Lynch-Private Banking & Investment Group, have been ranked 17th and 129, respectively, on the Forbes 2016 list of top wealth advisors. Kothari of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management is ranked 176 and Pathak of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management has been ranked at 184 in the coveted list of wealth advisors.

“Though list members might seem to have a lot in common, there are plenty of differences too,” Forbes said. “Some advisors cater to smaller investors — or what one, Gerstein Fisher’s Gregg Fisher (#28), calls “regular people” — while others have hefty minimums of $10 million and up as their threshold for taking on new business.”

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