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Panasonic Corp has decided to acquire smaller rival Sanyo Electric Co., establishing itself as Japan’s top electronics maker. The deal will make Panasonic the world’s second largest conglomerate, after GE. Super Religare Labs has acquired Dubai-based Mena Healthcare for $ 20 million. This is the group’s second acquisition after the promoter’s sold their stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories. The first aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in India would come up at Hosur near Bangalore, with its promoter Air Works receiving the approval of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). India’s engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Malaysian firm Scomi Engineering have jointly bagged India’s first monorail project to come up in Mumbai. The 19.54 km project is expected to ease congestion in the highly crowded Jacob circle, Wadala and Chembur areas. India’s largest mobile operator Airtel has announced a partnership with local search engine Asklaila.com. With this free service, about 21-million Airtel subscribers in six cities will be able to search via mobile, DTH or internet (or airtellive.com) across 400 different categories. South Korea’s biggest container shipping firm and West Asia’s top container carrier have teamed up to launch a fixed-day, weekly direct service from India to Europe. The Asia Europe container Service I (EC 1) has been launched by Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd and the United Arab Shipping Co (UASC) which is owned by six west Asian countries— Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The service will run from Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Navi Mumbai, with a stop at the Pipapav port. Japanese telecom firm NTT DoCoMo Inc has announced a Rs 949-crore open offer to the shareholders of Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd for up to 20 per cent equity at Rs 24.70 per share. Rupert Murdoch’s Star has acquired majority stake in Rajiv Chandrasekhar-led Jupiter Entertainment. The new JV, Star Jupiter Entertainment, will hold majority interests in Asia net communications, which operates general entertainment channels in Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu and Tamil. Buzan World, the UK-based organization known for its Mind Mapping technique, has started operations in India, with its first training centre in the country in Pune. Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo! has stepped down as the Chief Executive of the
internet giant, ending a 17 month long turbulent tenure which saw him rejecting a takeover bid from Microsoft. Intercontinental The Grand New Delhi at Barakhamba Avenue will be now known as the Lalit New Delhi. Hospitality giant Bharat Hotels has adopted their first brand identity The Lalit as their franchise agreement for the New Delhi hotel with the InterContinental came to an end on November 18, 2008. Maruti Suzuki has launched its new hatchback, A-Star, in the Indian market and said it would in four years come out with its first indigenous car. Citigroup has appointed Mark Robinson as CEO of Citi South Asia. Based in Mumbai, he will lead Citi’s banking franchise in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and also join the Asia-Pacific executive committee. Robinson succeeds Sanjay Nayar, who has left to head India operations of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co (KKR), one of world’s leading buyout firms. Dabur India Ltd has acquired 72% stake of Fem Care Pharma for Rs 203 crore in an allcash deal, beating other companies like Godrej and Marico. Singapore has become the second largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India, surpassing the US and UK. Tax-haven Mauritius continues to lead the charts. Until July 2008, the US was the second largest source followed by UK. Publishing company HT Media Ltd has formed a new venture to provide mobile marketing services to other brands, ad agencies and network operators, in collaboration with Velti Pic, a London Stock Exchange-listed applications and services firm. HT’s digital subsidiary, Firefly e-Ventures Ltd, will have a 65% stake in the venture, which will be based in Gurgaon. Jagdish Khattar, former MD of Maruti Suzuki India, is now attempting to tap the Rs 400-acre car customization industry in association with ace car designer and promoter of DC Design, Dilip Chhabria. Together, they plan to roll-out India’s first organized car customization studios. Hyderabad-based Sutchi NEB Construction Company of India has won a major contract to construct a $ 250 million (1,252.5 crore) 70-storeyed building in Colombo, the tallest in Sri Lanka. Essar Exploration & Production, an Essar group firm, has become the first Indian oil company to enter Australia by winning two offshore petroleum exploration. The overseas E & P assets include three onshore oil and gas blocks in Madagascar-Africa, and one offshore block each in Vietnam and Nigeria. Japan’s Suzuki has launched its two super premium bikes in India, Hayabusa and Intruder M188R, both priced at Rs 12.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), with hopes to build
the company’s brand image further in the country. Hazira Port Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between the Royal Dutch Shell and the French oil major Total, will develop its existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Hazira (Surat) into $500 million multi-cargo port. ONGC’s international arm, ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), has secured the necessary 90 per cent acceptances from shareholders of UK-listed Imperial Energy for its £1.3 billion ($ 1.9 billion) bid for the energy major. Private equity giant Blackstone is picking 20-25% stake in NSL Seeds. Privately-held NSL, which claims to be India’s largest hybrid seed company, is engaged in R&D, production and marketing of seeds. Mahindra & Mahindra has exited from Swaraj Mazda by selling its 14.04% to Sumitomo Corporation of Japan. India’s second largest mobile services firm by subscriber base, Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom), has announced the nationwide launch of its Global System for Mobility, or GSM, wireless service. The move makes it the ninth player in the GSMbased market. Dena Bank has announced the appointment of D.L. Rawal as its Chairman and Managing Director. In one of the biggest cross-border deals in the education space, Manipal Education has acquired the entire shareholding of American University of Antigua (AUA) from New York-based greater Caribbean Learning Resources. India’s sixth largest mobile phone services firm by subscribers, Tata Teleservices Ltd, and Quippo Telecom Infrastructure Ltd will merge their telecom towers business into a company that will be worth some $ 2.7 billion (about Rs 13,000 crore). Walt Disney and UTV Motion Pictures have inked a deal, whereby, beginning January 1, 2009, UTV will be handling the sales and distribution of all the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Hollywood releases in India. Indian Hotels Company Ltd, owners of hotels like Taj, Mumbai, is set to unveil a new brand identity for its premium business hotels under brand name Vivanta. The first one to sport Vivanta brand will be the newly created 200 room hotel in Bangalore’s IT hub Whitefield. Canada’s Bata Shoe Organisation (BSO) has set up a specialized division, Bata Industrials, in India for providing its global range of professional industrial footwear. Bata Industrials will churn out these shoes at the company’s Batanagar factory near Kolkata.
UTV Motion Pictures has decided to exit the home entertainment business and focus only on theatrical distribution. Moser Baer will now have exclusive home video license for 25 films of UTV for next five years. The estimated size of deal stands at Rs 25 crore. Zee Learn, a division of the Subhash Chandra owned Etc Networks Ltd, has said it will expand its presence in the kindergarten to 12th grade, or K-12 schools in the country. It plans to have two brands: Mount Litera schools will open in metros and tier I cities, with an annual tuition fee range of Rs 50,000 to Rs 4 lakh depending on the curriculum they offer;. Litera valley schools in tier II cities such as Ranchi will have an annual tuition fee of Rs 15,000-50,000 depending on the city and will offer a CBSE, ICSE or IGCSE International General Certificate of Secondary Education curriculum. The Manipal Education and Medical Group International India Pvt Ltd has tied up with Tutor Vista.com, an online tutoring service in which it has a minority stake, to float a new venture called Manipal K-12 education Pvt Ltd. The venture will manage new and existing schools and will operate under the brand name Manipal Schools. Chanda Kochhar has been named the new Chief Executive of ICICI. She succeeds K.V. Kamath, whose 13-year term comes to an end in April 2009. Mr Kamath will take over as non-executive chairman from the current chairman N Vaghul. Unilever has pipped UK’s Cairn Energy to emerge as the second largest multinational company (MNC) in the Indian stock market at the beginning of 2009. Singtel, which owns more than 30% of the country’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel, has retained its position as the most-valued MNC through its investment in the telecom company, as per an ET study. The study kept unlisted companies out which explains the absence of large MNC’s in India such as Nokia, IBM, Coke, Pepsi, Microsoft, LG, Hyundai, GE, HP, StanChart and Citibank among others. Reva Electric Car Company (RECC), manufacturer of India’s first electric car, and Reliance Digital, the consumer durables and IT arm of Reliance Retail, will partner to sell Reva electric cars at the Reliance Digital outlets. Virgin Mobile has announced a partnership with MySpace for making the latter’s social networking services available on Virgin Mobile WAP enabled phones. India’s largest private telecom operator Bharti Airtel has launched its mobile services in Sri Lanka. This is Bharti’s third global venture after Seychelles, Jersey and Guernsey. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has paid $ 2.1 billion for taking over UK-listed Imperial Energy and will invest another $ 500-600 million in the company’s Russian fields to raise production over the next 2-3 years. Vodafone-Essar has unveiled Blackberry Storm, the first touch-screen phone it has developed exclusively with Canada-based technology provider Research in Motion
(RIM). German fashion house Hugo Boss has unveiled a sourcing deal with Hyderabad-based Pokarna Group, makers of Stanza brand. The move will boost India’s stature as a valueadded player in the apparel sourcing markets globally. Mahindra & Mahindra has launched Xylo, a multi-purpose vehicle, targeting high-end consumers. The Washington Post has named Elizabeth Spayd and Raju Narisetti as Managing Editors of The Washington Post. Both will report to executive editor Marcus W. Brauchli. Citigroup has agreed to merge its Smith Barney brokerage with Morgan Stanley’s wealth management unit. Carol Bartz has been appointed as Yahoo Inc’s new Chief Executive. India has offered Qatar a 10 per cent stake in Petronet LNG Ltd to get the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter to sell 18 more LNG cargoes in 2009 and agree on a long-term supply deal for meeting fuel needs of beleaguered Dabhol power plant. Larsen & Toubro (L&T), the country’s largest engineering company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with US-based nuclear power firm Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) to manufacture modular nuclear power reactors. Prosenjit Datta has been named the editor of Businessworld, the business weekly published by media company ABP Pvt Ltd. Bharti Airtel has launched its Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) service, becoming the first private player to offer the service in India. IPTV refers to delivery of television content via a broadband connection. Apart from Airtel, State-owned MTNL and BSNL are also offering these services. Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, Massachusetts-based publisher of management content for academics, students and professionals, has set up a whollyowned subsidiary in India. Harvard Business Publishing India Pvt Ltd (HBPI), based in Mumbai, will publish India editions of Harvard Business Press Books, grow the reach of Harvard Business Review South Asia and focus on partnering with leading business schools and companies to deliver leadership and management development content and programmes. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has partnered with KPMG Advisory Italy for a multimillion dollar contract from Ducati Motor Holding to deliver technology-based services for several years that would help improve the Italian bike maker’s customer responsiveness and business efficiency.
Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota’s founder, has been named President of the Japanese French pen and stationery manufacturer BIC has bought a 40% stake in Mumbaibased stationery products maker Cello Pens for Rs 800 crore ($ 160 million). The deal will enable Cello Pens to expand its existing global distribution network and give BIC a foothold in the Rs 2,000 crore Indian stationery market. Indiatimes shopping, the country’s leading online shopping portal, has launched shopping on the Airtel DTH Interactive Services under the brand-name iShop. Indiatimes is the first company to launch shopping on the Airtel DTH Interactive Services. M&A deals and private equity investments in India witnessed consistent activity in 2008, despite the global financial turmoil and crashing stock prices. A total of 766 deals (including M&As and PE) were registered during the year, down from 1081 in the previous year. The total value of deals (M&As and PE) during 2008 was $ 41.54 billion, with the average deal size being $68.17 million for M&A and $33.93 million for private equity. India’s top five advertisers in 2008 include only one FMCG major, Hindustan Unilever (HUL), while two telecom companies, Nokia and Airtel, also figured in the list, says a new report by a leading media buying house. Bharti Airtel, which signed on a slew of celebrities for endorsements, including Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Madhavan and Vidya Balan, upped its ranking to second in 2008 against sixth the previous year. Ford India has roped in Bollywood hero Suneil Shetty as the brand ambassador for its sports utility vehicle (SUV) Ford Endeavour. Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel), which has a 31% stake in Bharti Airtel, has got government approval to offer long-distance services in India. SingTel can carry STD and ISD traffic, offer communication and Internet services to corporates and institutions. As per the existing policy, foreign direct holdings in telecom services has a cap of 74%. Infosys Technologies Ltd has been selected by the Income Tax (I-T) department to set up a business process outsourcing (BPO) unit to carry out its routine work and give tax officials more time to focus on nabbing tax evaders. Owners of Rajasthan Royals, the team that won the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, have sold a 12% stake to London-based entrepreneur Raj Kundra and his partner, Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, in a deal that values the Jaipur franchise at $ 140 million (about Rs 680 crore). Rajesh Saxena has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of American Express Banking Corporation. (AEBC), India.
Blue Dart Express Limited has launched DHL’s value-added service ‘Duties and taxes Paid (DTP). The value added service is aimed at providing multinational and SME exporters the most convenient trading experience and would allow an exporter from India to manage his shipping requirements in a seamless manner. Delhi-based chartered aviation company Shaurya Aeronautics has started India’s first helicopter simulator training at Safdarjung airport in Delhi. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has entered into a joint venture with NTPC Ltd for nuclear power generation. The two companies would shortly float a new joint venture company that would implement an array of nuclear power projects in the country. Mahindra Group (M&M) is launching Odyssea, India’s first branded yacht venture. The company will initially target Mumbai, Goa and Kochi with the boats, which would be sold by direct sales agents to corporates travel agencies and individuals. MAN Force Trucks (MFT), the joint venture between Germany’s MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG and Pune based Force Motors Ltd would make India its manufacturing hub for supplying heavy trucks to the overseas markets. The company will utilize its plant in Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh. UBS, the largest Swiss bank, has agreed to divulge the names of rich Americans whom the authorities suspect of using its offshore accounts to evade taxes. The bank admitted having conspired to defraud the US internal revenue service and agreed to pay $780 million to settle a federal probe into its activities. Lintas, the acronym for Lever International Advertising Services, started its Indian branch in the 1940s, reporting to its London headquarters. The advertising network, Interpublic Group (IPG) has been a stakeholder in the Indian agency for more than 30 years and only recently acquired a 100% stake of the company. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given sanction to Sky Ads to use airspace to tow banners for promotional activity with the help of aircraft. The firm is the first in India to offer aerial advertising. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has launched its third generation (3G) mobile services in limited areas of Delhi. Named as Jadoo, the service has been started at an initial investment of about Rs 400 crore. Marten Peters has replaced Asim Ghosh as the CEO of Vodafone Essar. Mother Diary, a foods company wholly owned by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), is introducing a homogenized fresh milk product variant for the retail market called tea special. This product variant is available in Surashtra, Gujarat, in bulk and is called ‘Cha Special’.
Pepsico has rolled out a new brand called Nimbooz, a lemonade drink under its 7-up umbrella. The brand is among the company’s most ambitious launches since it will address huge untapped demand for packaged nimbu pani in India. Soft Drink Company Coca Cola Co has appointed Gautam Gambhir as brand ambassador for Coke. India’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer Tata Motors has announced the launch of Xenon XT, a four-door, five-seat pickup. Tata Motors has decided to launch luxury sedan Prima in Europe. The European version of Nano car by Tata Motors is touted as the world’s cheapest car. French retailer Carrefour SA, the world second largest retail group by sales, has started a corporate social responsibility, or CSR project in India to train thousands of farmers in global farming practices. The merger between Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL) and Reliance Industries Ltd will create a petro-chemical giant estimated to be worth $47 billion at March 2009 price levels. It will displace state-owned Indian Oil as the India’s biggest refiner. It will also make RIL world’s largest refinery in a single location, with annual capacity to process 62 million tonnes of crude in a year. The combined entity will be fifth biggest producer of propylene, a key ingredient for plastics. The inventor of iPhone, Apple, for the second year in a row, has topped the Fortune list of the most admired companies in the world. Pepsico, led by India-born Indra Nooyi, found a place in the list top 50. Legendary investor Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway and Japanese auto maker Toyota are ranked the second and the third, respectively. Wockhardt CMD Habil Khorakiwala has handed over the baton to his, Murtaza who will be the new Managing Director. Procter and Gamble Hygiene and Health Care (P & G) has appointed R.A. Shah as its new Chairman, in place of Bharat Patel who stepped down to pursue other interests. Bangalore based PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has appointed Ashok Nayak as Chairman. In an attempt to boost India’s infrastructure, the State Bank of India and Australian financial powerhouse Macquarie Group have floated a $ 1 billion venture fund dedicated to this sector. The SBI Macquarie combine has also roped in International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank arm, into the fund as one of the investors.
Groupe Danone SA of France has decided to sell its 25.48% stake to the Mumbai-based Wadia group company Britannia Industries Ltd, bringing the curtains down on what has been a long, and often sordid, fight for control of one of the oldest biscuit manufacturing companies in the world that was set up in the late 19th century in Kolkata. Anil Agarwal-promoted Sterlite Industries has signed an agreement to acquire America’s third largest copper producer Asarco Llc for $ 1.7 billion (Rs 8,756.6 crore), which includes cash payment of $ 1.1 billion (Rs 5,666 crore). French food services giant Sodexo is acquiring Radhakrishna Hospitality Services Group (RKHS), India’s pioneer in the food and facilities management sector, in a transaction valued at over $ 100 million (roughly Rs 520 crore). Public sector infrastructure funding agency, India Infrastructure Finance Co (IIFCL), will lend Rs 10,000 crore to banks for financing highways, ports and other projects being jointly executed by the government and private players. Banks will get the funds at an interest rate of 7.85% and can charge up to 10.35% from infrastructure developers. IIFCL can lend up to 20% of the total project cost, but its exposure would be less than that of the lead bank. American Tower Corporation (ATC) is set to acquire Xcel Telecom, founded by former BPL Mobile chief executive Sandeep Basu, in a deal worth over Rs 700 crore. The merger will help ATC compete with other independent tower companies, besides establishing its footprint in the world’s fastest growing telecom market. Bharti Airtel, the country’s largest telco by subscribers, will restructure its businesses into nine verticals under different CEOs, as it looks to expand into areas beyond its mainstay, voice telephony. Some of the verticals identified are: mobile commerce, entertainment, media, internet, enterprise services and small and medium businesses. Amas Bank (Switzerland) Ltd has announced that it has changed its name to Hinduja Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. The bank belongs to the family-owned Hinduja group, one of the largest diversified business groups in the world. India’s leading IT solutions major HCL Technologies has bagged a $ 350-million deal from Reader’s Digest to provide a wide range of outsourcing services spread over seven years. The solutions will be enabled through an integrated help desk in 14 languages: Portuguese, French, Russian, Czech, Spanish, Polish, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Romanian, Slovak and Turkish. BPL Mobile, one of Mumbai’s oldest cellular phone operator, has been renamed Loop Mobile. DLF Pramerica Life Insurance Co Ltd is a joint venture between real estate major DLF and Prudential International Insurance Holdings.
Telenor Group has completed the Unitech Wireless transaction and made the first investment of Rs 1,250 crore that gives it a stake of 33.5% in the telecom JV. The Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has awarded a Rs 1,182-crore contract to software major Wipro for converting its paper-based administrative and operational system into a paperless e-governance system. HDFC Bank has become the most valuable bank of the country in the private sector, toppling ICICI Bank from the number one position. Till recently, ICICI Bank was the most valued bank in India, followed by the State Bank. The largest gas transportation company in the country, GAIL India, was split into two legal entities from April 1, 2009. The separated entity, GAIL Gas (GGL), will also be listed on the domestic bourses. Donna Karan New York (DKNY), label of the fashion designer Donna Karan and part of the world’s leading luxury group LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton), is entering India through a tie-up with DLF Brands, DLF’s wholly-owned subsidiary. Reliance Industries has signed gas sales and transportation contracts with 12 fertilizer firms who have been chosen to receive the first produce from the company’s eastern offshore KG-D6 fields. Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-op (IFFCO), Krishak Bharti Co-op (Kribco), Tata Chemicals and Indo Gulf Fertiliser were among the companies which signed the Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement with RIL for buying the KG-D6 gas at $4.2 per million British thermal unit price. Others who signed the twin contracts included National Fertilizer Ltd, Chambal Fertilizer, Gujarat State Fertilizer, Rashtriya Chemical Fertilizer, Nagarjuna Fertilizer, GNFC and Sriram Fertilizer. Talent Trove Inc., a US-based media firm that offers an online platform to people for showcasing their talent, is now making its entry into India. The company, promoted by an Indian, Devinder Singh, will invest $ 30 million in India by 2011. The firm will launch a reality talent hunt television channel in India, venture into live talent shows, content production, film making and film distribution.
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