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Lodestone deal for Rs 1,932 cr is Infosys' biggest buy

BANGALORE: Infosys announced its biggest-ever acquisition on Monday, a development that could temporarily muffle chatter that the company is too conservative and risk-averse for its own good.

India's second-largest software exporter said it would buy Lodestone Holding, a Switzerland-based consulting company specialising in business software from Germany's SAP, for about $350 million ( Rs 1,932 crore), giving it better reach in continental Europe. "I don't think Infosys and conservative should be used in the same sentence anymore," Chief Executive SD Shibulal declared, referring not just to the acquisition but also the realignment of the business model, which he called "a bold step". But investors hoping for meaningful deployment of Infosys' Rs 20,000-crore cash pile were not overjoyed. The company's shares closed only 0.6% higher on the Bombay Stock Exchange after having run up about 10% in the last month. The acquisition of a European consulting outfit drew the inevitable comparison with Axon, a UKbased company in the same line of business that Infosys was keen on buying in 2008. When rival HCL Technologies entered the fray, raising the prospect of a bidding war, Infosys backed out, leaving the Gurgaon-based company to buy Axon for about $650 million. "After losing out on the Axon acquisition, Infosys organically grew its consulting and system integration revenues to $525 million - 5% compounded quarterly growth rate over the last 20 quarters," said Shashi Bhusan, senior research analyst at brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher. "We see this acquisition as a much-needed inorganic booster for the company," Bhusan said. Chief Financial Officer V Balakrishnan said it was "worth the wait", referring to the decision to back away from Axon.

Following the acquisition, Infosys may revise its revenue growth guidance for the year to March 2013. This may be done while announcing earnings for the September quarter. The Bangalorebased company is projected to grow 5% in the year to March 2013, compared with 11-14% for the industry. Lodestone, with 850 employees, including 750 consultants, comes with about 200 clients in the manufacturing, automotive and life sciences sectors. Its 2011 revenues were 207 million Swiss francs, or Rs 1,200 crore. It will take Infosys' SAP practice to about 10,000 professionals and $1 billion in revenues. There is only marginal overlap between clients of Infosys and Lodestone, presenting significant cross-selling opportunities, the companies said.

To read more on Infosys see ET 11th Sept 2012

HSCI changes name to Honda Cars India

New Delhi: Japanese auto major Honda has changed the name of its Indian operations to Honda Cars India Ltd following the breakup of its joint venture with Usha International of the Shriram Group. The erstwhile JV, Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI), will now become a 100 percent subsidiary of Honda in India. "The name change will be with immediate effect as per the fresh Certificate of Incorporation issued by the Registrar of Companies, NCT of Delhi and Haryana," Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) said in a statement. Last month, Honda bought out Usha International's entire 3.16 percent stake for Rs 180 crore in the joint venture, which was established in December 1995. HCIL President & CEO Hironori Kanayama said the company was committed to the Indian market and would continue to bring latest products from Honda.

See ET 11th Sept 2012

Britannia launches fortified flavoured yogurt

MUMBAI: Top biscuits and dairy products maker Britannia Industries today said it has expanded its portfolio by launching fortified flavoured yogurt. The yogurt - fortified with iron, iodine, calcium, zinc and vitamin A - will be offered in three flavours - mango, vanilla and strawberry, a company release said here. "Flavoured yogurt has emerged as a distinct segment in the last one year. Internationally, flavoured yogurt - in both frozen and fresh forms-- is well developed and seen as a healthier option," Britannia Industries Dairy Business Head Vinod Menon said. The product will be initially rolled out in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the release added

See ET 11th Sept 2012

Five ways to identify the strengths of your team

A Successful leader needs to put together a team that can deliver on contracted assignments and think creatively. But it's equally important to identify the team's strengths and put them to best use. ET shows how. Get the Right Mix Strategic and execution excellence should be one of the crucial attributes of a strong team, says Shaily Gupta, group head-human resources, Edelweiss Group. "Good leaders ensure their teams get this blend right," she says. However, equally important is the ability to handle the unknown, to take care of ambiguity and fluidity, says Sandeep Banerjee, chief executive officer and managing director, EdenRed India. Induce Collaboration The sense of ownership in team members and ability to work cohesively are important to strengthen the performance of a team, says Banerjee. Adds Gupta: "Great teams are those that foster individual creativity but at the same time encourage interdependence which is productive and collaborative".

Go Beyond the Brief "Great teams have the ability to go beyond the brief and bring new perspectives to the contracted assignment," Gupta says. Such teams will inevitably push themselves and sometimes even their managements into thinking out of the box, she adds. Interact Informally While formal feedback can help identify strengths and weaknesses of a team, informal interactions also help in knowing teams better. "I always look out for personal experiences with my team members and colleagues in both formal and informal settings to get to know them better and to appreciate their (and each other's) strengths and advantages," says Banerjee. Aim at Larger Picture A team that rests on past laurels can never achieve greatness. To succeed and be a great team you need to have an achievement orientation, says Gupta. Execution skill is critical to enhance a team's performance and a leader needs to ensure that the team has the ability to look at the larger picture and have a purpose behind their actions, adds Banerjee.

See ET 11th Sept 2012

Max Speciality Films sold to Treofan

New Delhi: Diversified firm Max India today said it will sell its packaging material making division, Max Speciality Films, to Germany's Treofan for Rs 540 crore. The company's board today approved divestment of its profitable Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) Film division, Max Speciality Films (MSF), to Treofan, a German global technology leader for BOPP film, Max India said in a statement. "Treofan, which develops and sells BOPP films in over 90 countries around the world already has production facilities in Europe and the Americas, and has offered an enterprise value of Rs 540 crore to acquire 100 per cent stake in Max Speciality Films," it added. MSF, which has BOPP capacity of nearly 50,000 tonnes per annum (TPA), manufactures speciality BOPP films, including multilayer white opaque films, ultra high barrier metalised plain films and leather finishing foils.

See Financial Express 11th Sept 2012

Tata Motors enters Indonesia, to start local assembly in 2013

Homegrown auto major Tata Motors announced its foray into Indonesia with the setting up a wholly-owned Jakarta-based subsidiary and plans to launch its products in 2013. The company will foray into both passenger and commercial vehicles through its arm PT Tata Motors Indonesia, the company said in a statement. "Indonesia is a key market for Tata Motors, which has a wide range of products from small cars to buses in passenger vehicles and from 0.5T mini-trucks to 49T heavy trucks in commercial vehicles," it added. Tata Motors is also evaluating options for setting up a manufacturing base in Indonesia to serve the country and the ASEAN region, it said, adding that commercial launch and local assembly would happen in 2013. A significant investments will also be planned for component localisation, the company said without elaborating. Commenting on the development, Tata Motors ,anaging director Karl Slym said, "As elsewhere in the world and as is the Tata practice, we will function in Indonesia as an Indonesian company. We will establish deeply rooted local operations and will grow in tandem with the prosperity of the country and its people". On the company's product launch programme for the Indonesian market, Tata Motors executive director (Commercial Vehicles) Ravi Pisharody said, "Based on customer feedback, we will progressively introduce a relevant passenger and commercial vehicles, backed by appropriate distribution and service infrastructure such that we are closest to our customers". Tata Motors is also participating in the 20th Indonesia International Motor Show, starting in Jakarta on September 20. It will display 14 Tata passenger and commercial vehicles, being considered for introduction in Indonesia progressively. The display includes a special green pavilion of Tata CNG vehicles, whose need is growing in Indonesia, it said. By the time of the launch in 2013, PT Tata Motors Indonesia will have about 10 to 15 dealers nationwide, offering sales, service and spare parts. "Over a period of three years, the company will set up a countrywide network of about 60 full-service dealers, about 100 other workshops and about 300 more spare parts retailers," the company added.

12th Sept12

Aditya Birla Group's Madura Fashion & Lifestyle enters luxury single brand retail with UK's Hackett
The move follows a mandate from group chairman Kumarmangalam Birla to give heft to the growing high-margin fashion business and dramatically scale up revenues within the next few years. MUMBAI: Aditya Birla Group's Madura Fashion & Lifestyle has entered the luxury single brand retail through a joint venture with British luxury menswear and accessories brand Hackett London as part of a strategy to be present across price and consumer segments in the fashion business. The move follows a mandate from group chairman Kumarmangalam Birla to give heft to the growing high-margin fashion business and dramatically scale up revenues within the next few years, officials said. Confirming the move, Madura F&L CEO Ashish Dikshit said, "Our partnership with Hackett London establishes our intent and we plan to bring in few more brands to India from around the globe." He added, "Markets are evolving in various segments and offers opportunities for market dominance in the apparel industry." The 33-year-old brand Hackett, founded by designer Jeremy Hackett, has over 77 stores mainly in Europe and Asia. Its commercial success has been linked to the export of its very British take on things to countries around the world, which will now extend to India. Vicente Castellano, managing director of Hackett London, said India has been on the firm's radar for some time. "Madura's undoubted understanding of the Indian men's fashion market combined with the appeal of Hackett London, will enable Hackett to build a strong business in India and bring our 'Essentially British' world to the Indian consumer," he said. Madura is setting up the first Hackett store in the Emporio mall in Delhi in the second week of September followed immediately by another store opening in UB City, Bangalore. A third store will come up in Chandigarh this fiscal. Harminder Sahni, MD of management consulting firm Wazir Advisors, said the Aditya Birla Nuvo firm is moving in the right direction. "While luxury retail is a tiny market in India yet, it makes strategic sense to have corner space at the right time," he said. Madura F&L's portfolio includes product lines that range from affordable and mass-market to

luxurious, high-end brands and caters to every age group, from children and youth to men and women. Its brands include Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England.

12th Sept12

Cos give Nudge to leaders in waiting

See ET 11th Sept 2012