SoftBank writes down India investment by Rs 3,735 crore
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SoftBank writes down India investment by Rs 3,735 crore

New Delhi: Japan's SoftBank Corp has booked an investment loss of 58.14 billion yen ($ 560 million or Rs 3,735 crore) on its investments in India including cab-hailing firm Ola and e-commerce company Snapdeal. In the earning statement for six months ended September 30, SoftBank wrote off 58.14 billion yen in the value of shares in its investments in India, which include ANI Technologies, owns country's largest cab aggregator Ola, and Jasper Infotech, which runs e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal. Of that, 29.62 billion yen (around Rs 189 crore) was due to a currency impairment. "Gain or loss arising from financial instruments at FVTPL (fair value through profit or loss) comprises mainly changes in fair value of preferred stock investment including embedded derivatives, such as ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd and Jasper Infotech Private Limited in India, designated as financial assets at FVTPL," SoftBank said in the earnings statement. The Japanese firm had led a $ 210-million (around Rs 1,400 crore) investment in Ola and $ 627 million (around Rs 4,182 crore) in Snapdeal in October 2014. It made follow-on investments in both firms. Both Ola and Snapdeal are looking at raising fresh funds to sustain operations amid growing competition from rivals. Bengaluru-based Ola has so far raised about $ 1.2 billion (around Rs 8,004 crore) from a clutch of investors including Tiger Global Management, Matrix Partners, SoftBank Group and Didi Chuxing. Last year, Snapdeal.com raised $ 500 million (around Rs 3,335 crore) from Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group, Foxconn Technology Group and existing investor SoftBank Group, which then valued the Delhi-based firm at about $ 4.8 billion (around Rs 32,019 crore) post money. SoftBank has so far invested close to $ 2 billion (around Rs 13,341 crore) in India and earlier this year it stated that it is looking to scale up the investment to $ 10 billion (around Rs 66,707 crore) in next 5-10 years. Last month, it said it will form a new fund with Saudi Arabia's public investment fund to invest as much as $ 100 billion in the global technology industry in the next five years. "My goal is to become the Warren Buffett of the tech industry. We're aiming to be the Berkshire Hathaway of tech," SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said after the earnings announcement. For the July-September quarter, SoftBank posted a net profit of 512 billion yen, compared with 213 billion yen the year before, boosted by gains from the sale of stakes in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Finnish game maker Supercell Oy.
0 0 101 08 November, 2016 Business Top more
UK announces first-ever easier visa regime for Indian businessmen
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UK announces first-ever easier visa regime for Indian businessmen

New Delhi: Eyeing India as a key trade partner after exiting from the European Union, the UK on Monday announced a first-ever easier visa regime for Indian businessmen that will come with swifter passage through British airports and access to EU. India had in past also sought easier visa regime for its nationals and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked his counterpart Theresa May to provide ‘greater mobility’ for its students and researchers. Speaking at the India-UK Tech Summit, May said: “So we will offer, for the first time to any country that needs visas to enter Britain, what we called ‘Registered Traveller Scheme’. “That means the Indian nationals who frequently come to the UK and to fuel growth in both our countries, the entry process will become significantly easier,” she said at the event organised by CII that was also attended by Modi. She said the businesses will have to fill fewer forms, and they would get access to the EU-EEA (European Economic Area) passport control and swifter passage through British airports. “In short, more opportunities for Britain and India and a clear message that Britain is very much open for business,” she added. May said it is not just the legal framework that are essential for effective trade and investment, it is about people too. “It is crucial that those who do need to travel between our countries for business can do so, that is the reason why when I was Home Secretary, I made visa process for Indians much easier,” May said. She further said India now has one of the best UK visa services in the world with more application points than any other country and is the only place where it is possible to get a same day visa. “…that happened because we listened to our businesses. And we are still listening. Listening to the fact that there are many people from India who are to bring their skill, ideas, businesses to Britain for the good of your economy and ours,” May added. Talking about removing trade and investment barriers, the UK Prime Minister said Britain is working side by side with India to make it easier to do business here. “We can break down barriers and make it easier to do business…That is why the UK is working side by side with Prime Minister Modi to make it easier to do business in India, for example by strengthening intellectual property rights, and paving the way for world’s leading services sector to operate in Indian market benefiting India and UK alike, But I am determined that we will go further,” she said.  
0 0 79 07 November, 2016 Business Top more
India, Japan set to sign nuclear deal this week: Report 
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India, Japan set to sign nuclear deal this week: Report 

Tokyo: India and Japan are set to sign a historic civil nuclear cooperation deal during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit here this week, a move that will boost bilateral economic and security ties and facilitate leading US-based players to set up atomic plants in India. The two countries had reached a broad agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear energy sector during Japanese Prime Minister Shiozo Abe's visit to India in December last year, but the deal was yet to be signed as some issues were yet to be worked out. Modi and Abe are set to sign the deal on Friday, Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on Sunday. The deal would allow Japan to export nuclear technology to India, making it the first non-NPT signatory to have such a deal with Tokyo. It would also cement the bilateral economic and security ties as the two countries warm up to counter an assertive China. There was political resistance in Japan - the only country to suffer atomic bombings during World War II - against a nuclear deal with India, particularly after the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011. Japan is a major player in the nuclear energy market and an atomic deal with it will make it easier for US-based nuclear plant makers Westinghouse Electric Corporation and GE Energy Inc to set up atomic plants in India as both these conglomerates have Japanese investments. According to the report, India and Japan are also likely to agree that if New Delhi conducts a nuclear test, the bilateral cooperation will stop. A delegation of Japanese parliamentarians had called on Modi on Thursday in New Delhi ahead of his visit from November 11. That day, Modi also pitched for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of disaster management and risk reduction.
0 0 94 06 November, 2016 Business Top more
Apple seeks incentives to set up manufacturing unit in India
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Apple seeks incentives to set up manufacturing unit in India

New Delhi: US-based iPhone maker Apple has sought incentives from the government to set up a manufacturing unit in the country. In a communication to the government, the Cupertino-based technology major has asked for incentives related to the Department of Revenue and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITY), an official told PTI. "They are doing their due diligence from quite some time. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will write to both the departments regarding this communication for their views," the official added. At present, to boost electronic manufacturing in the country, the government provides benefits under Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS). The scheme provides financial incentives to offset disability and attract investments in the electronics hardware segment. It also gives subsidy for investments in Special Economic Zones, among other benefits. Currently, Apple's products are manufactured in six countries including Korea, Japan and the US. Apple's communication regarding setting up of a manufacturing unit assumes significance as the Finance Ministry in May had rejected relaxing the 30% domestic sourcing norms, as sought by the iPhone and iPad maker as a pre-condition for bringing in FDI to set up single-brand retail stores in the country. The company had sought exemption on the ground that it makes state-of-the-art and cutting-edge technology products for which local sourcing is not possible. The government had also turned down the firm's proposal to import refurbished phones and sell them in India. The company sells its products through Apple-owned retail stores in countries like China, Germany, the US, the UK and France, among others. It has no wholly-owned store in India and sells its products through distributors such as Redington and Ingram Micro. The government has announced incentives to promote electronic manufacturing in India and reduce the import bill. Total import of electronics goods were valued at Rs 2.25 lakh crore in 2014-15 as against Rs 1.95 lakh crore in the previous year.  
0 0 84 06 November, 2016 Business Top, tech more
Reliance to contest government’s $1.55 billion penalty
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Reliance to contest government’s $1.55 billion penalty

New Delhi: India's Reliance Industries Ltd is to contest a $1.55 billion fine imposed by the government on the company and its partners for selling gas belonging to the blocks of Oil and Natural Gas Corp, Reliance said in a statement. "RIL proposes to invoke the dispute resolution mechanism in the production sharing contract and issue a Notice of Arbitration to the Government," the statement said. India's oil ministry on Friday issued a notice to Reliance and its partners UK-based energy giant BP and Calgary- based Niko Resources Ltd for extracting gas from the adjacent blocks operated by Oil and Natural Gas Corp. "In carrying out petroleum operations, the contractor has worked within the boundaries of the block awarded to it and has complied with all applicable regulations and provisions of the Production Sharing Contract," the statement said. The government's claim is not sustainable, Reliance said. The company said: "The liability of the contractor has not been established by any process known to law and the quantification of the purported claim is without any basis and arbitrary".
0 0 55 05 November, 2016 Business Top more
S Padmanabhan to head Tata Group HR
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S Padmanabhan to head Tata Group HR

Mumbai: Over a week after Cyrus Mistry was ousted as Chairman, Tata Sons on Friday announced organisational changes bringing in S Padmanabhan as the group human resources head. Besides, the former Tata brand custodian under Mr Mistry's regime Mukund Rajan has been given the responsibility of overseeing operations of the overseas representative offices of Tata Sons in the USA, Singapore, Dubai and China. This is in addition to his existing responsibility of ethics and sustainability. Harish Bhat, who is responsible for marketing and customer centricity, will henceforth also be responsible for managing the Tata Brand, Tata Sons said in a statement. "In the interim, he will oversee the functions of Strategy and Business Development," it added. Mr Padmanabhan has been given the responsibility of Group Human Resources in addition to his existing role of leading the Tata Business Excellence Group. Tata Sons further said Gopichand Katragadda will continue to be the Group Chief Technology Officer, while Sanjay Singh will oversee the Public Affairs function out of the Delhi office. Three members of the now-disbanded Group Executive Council set up by Mistry -- Nirmalya Kumar, NS Rajan and Madhu Kannan -- have already quit. They have decided to explore options outside Tata Sons and have left the services of the company, the statement added. On October 24, Tata Sons board had replaced Mr Mistry as Chairman and appointed Ratan Tata as interim Chairman. The company had said it would find a new Chairman in four months.
0 0 60 04 November, 2016 Business Top more
Suzuki to invest $970 mn in second production line in Gujarat
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Suzuki to invest $970 mn in second production line in Gujarat

New Delhi: Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp will invest about 100 billion yen ($970.97 million) in a second vehicle production line at its new plant in Gujarat, even before operations have begun, the Nikkei business daily reported on Friday. The second line could debut in early 2019, the report said, and will manufacture the same yearly volume as the first production line, which is slated to debut in 2017. The addition of the production lines are expected to increase Suzuki's manufacturing capacity to 2 million cars a year, the paper said. The new factory in Gujarat will manufacture models such as the Baleno hatchback, with vehicles for export also being considered due to Gujarat being a major port, Nikkei said. Suzuki's unit, Maruti Suzuki India, had earmarked an investment of about Rs. 18,500 crore ($2.77 billion) for the Gujarat plan in December last year, to set up six production lines capable of producing 250,000 vehicles each, Reuters reported in December. Suzuki Motor said vehicles sales in India, its biggest market, rose 5.2 percent in the April-June period.
0 0 26 04 November, 2016 Business Top more
OVL completes acquisition of 11% additional stake in Vankor oilfield
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OVL completes acquisition of 11% additional stake in Vankor oilfield

New Delhi: ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp, has completed the acquisition of additional 11 per cent interest in Russia's Vankor oilfield, taking its total stake to 26 per cent. The company signed a deal with Rosneft Oil Company to acquire the additional 11 per cent stake in the East Siberian field for $930 million on October 28. "We raised a bridge loan of $930 million from overseas lenders to pay for the acquisition cost of 11 per cent stake," ONGC Videsh CEO and managing director Narendra K Verma said here. OVL, which had previously bought a 15 per cent stake in Vankor from Russian national oil firm Rosneft for $1.268 billion, will get a 7.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent from its 26 per cent stake. OVL will tie up long-term financing in the next six to nine months to replace the bridge loan, he said. Besides OVL's 26 per cent, a consortium of comprising Oil India (OIL), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat PetroResources (BPRL) has acquired a 23.9 per cent stake in the field at a cost of $2.02 billion, giving them 6.56 million tonnes of oil. After the stake sales, Rosneft holds a 50.1 per cent stake in JSC Vankorneft, the company that operates the Vankor oilfield. Vankor is Rosneft's (and Russia's) second largest field by production and accounts for 4 per cent of the country's production. The daily production from the field is around 410,000 barrels per day of crude oil and 26 per cent stake would give OVL about 107,000 bpd. The field has recoverable reserves of 2.5 billion barrels. The $2.2 billion OVL spent for acquiring 26 per cent stake in Vankor will be its third biggest acquisition. It had in 2013 paid $4.125 billion for a 16 per cent stake in Mozambique's offshore Rovuma Area 1, which holds as much as 75 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. In 2009, it had bought Russia-focused Imperial Energy for $2.1 billion. Prior to that, it had in 2001 paid $1.7 billion for 20 per cent interest in the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field off Russia's far eastern coast.
0 0 40 31 October, 2016 Business Top more
Cyrus Mistry counters Tatas’ claim on Welspun Power buy
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Cyrus Mistry counters Tatas’ claim on Welspun Power buy

Mumbai: Stepping up his attack on the Tata Group in general and industrialist Ratan Tata in particular, the ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry on Friday denied the Group's claim that the board was not properly consulted on Tata Power's purchase of Welpsun Power in June. "It is surprising that Ratan Tata has sought to justify Monday's conduct by making vague public statements that are contrary to his knowledge and contrary to the records of the Tata Group. Tata sources said the trustees of Tata Trusts were not kept informed about the transaction with Welspun Power," Mr Mistry said in a late night statement on Friday. He said that all the board notes were shared with Mr Tata in his capacity as the chairman emeritus of the group. Presenting his side of the facts, Mr Mistry said that in the early part of 2016, Tata Power had made a presentation to Tata Sons that a significant focus area would be the renewables sector. And this was appreciated by the Tata Sons board. "On May 31, 2016, a note was circulated to the board of Tata Sons and to Tata providing information about the proposed Welspun transaction, and asking them if they needed any further information." "The only board member to reply was Vijay Singh, a nominee director of Tata Trusts on the Tata Sons board, who appreciated the plan. And with no other view having been expressed, Tata Power executed the agreement on June 12, 2016," Mr Mistry said. Mr Mistry further claimed that even after the conclusion of the deal for Rs 10,000 crore, a series of discussions took place in the presence of Mr Tata and trustee N A Soonawala. "These discussions included much more detailed interaction with the merchant bankers to the transaction. Soonawala had strong views on how this listed operating company must structure its transaction and proceeded to have further meetings with the merchant banker," he said. Since shareholders' nod was needed to arrange the funds for the transaction, the deal was discussed again at the Tata Sons board. "On June 30, 2016, Anil Sardana, CEO of Tata Power, made a detailed presentation to the Tata Sons board. The discussion covered all aspects of the transaction including the structure and the Tata Sons board unanimously approved the transaction," Mr Mistry claimed in the statement. The minutes record that Nitin Nohria and Vijay Singh "after discussing the proposal with Tata and Soonawala", while reiterating their view that the proposal should have come to the trustees earlier, approved the transaction. "Therefore, to even suggest that the Tata Sons board including the nominee directors of the Tata Trusts had not been adequately informed is contrary to the factual record," he concluded. Hitting out at Mr Mistry for making "unsubstantiated claims and malicious allegations", Tata Sons had on Thursday said the former chairman was fully empowered to lead the group and its companies but had "overwhelmingly" lost the confidence of board members. The promoter company of the major Tata group companies also alleged that Mr Mistry's tenure was marked by repeated departures from the culture and ethos of the group. Mr Tata was on Monday named interim chairman of Tata Sons, after the company removed Mr Mistry as chairman in a surprise announcement.
0 0 48 29 October, 2016 Business Top more
Ratan Tata looking for a partner to buy out Mistry family’s stake  
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Ratan Tata looking for a partner to buy out Mistry family’s stake  

Mumbai: Ratan Tata, who returned this week to the helm of India’s largest conglomerate, is seeking a partner that could buy out the Tata Sons stake held by the family of ousted Chairman Cyrus Mistry, people with knowledge of the matter said. The Tata family trusts have reached out to sovereign wealth funds and other long-term investors to gauge their interest in purchasing the Mistry family’s stake if it became available, according to the people. The trusts held preliminary talks with potential buyers of the about 18 percent Tata Sons stake as they prepare for a number of possible scenarios, the people said. Mistry’s family doesn’t currently plan to sell its holdings, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The family trusts wants to ensure that if Mistry’s family later decides to sell its stake in the Tata Group holding company, the new investor will be a friendly party that shares their long-term vision, according to the people. Tata Sons owns more than $65 billion worth of listed company shares, data compiled by Bloomberg show. On Monday, Tata Group’s holding company abruptly ousted Mistry as chairman and replaced him with his 78-year-old predecessor Ratan Tata, a scion of the founding family. The rift, which had been brewing for months, signals an end to Mistry’s push to bring more fiscal prudence to the coffee-to-cars conglomerate after a string of global acquisitions. The Tata trusts, which currently own about 66 per cent of Tata Sons, have also been drafting plans for how to raise funds if they were to make an offer for the Mistry family stake themselves, one of the people said. The plans could involve the Tata trusts paring holdings in various operating companies to be able to afford the purchase, according to the person. Mistry is still considering his next steps and plans to make a decision on his response to the ouster in the next couple of weeks, another person said. Tata Sons owns major stakes in Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Asia’s largest provider of software services, and Tata Motors, the producer of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles. It also controls Indian Hotels Co., the luxury hospitality company that operates New York’s Pierre hotel, as well as steelmaking operations, the Tetley tea brand and a power producer. The holding company is examining at least two internal candidates to succeed Mistry, people familiar with the matter said. Tata Consultancy Services Chief Executive Officer N. Chandrasekaran and Jaguar Land Rover head Ralf Speth are among those being considered, the people said, asking not to be identified because the process is private. Trent Ltd. Chairman Noel Tata, a member of the founding family and Mistry’s brother-in-law, is also being considered.
0 0 58 28 October, 2016 Business Top more