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Turner Reliance in Tie up for mobile

Turner Reliance in Tie up for mobile

MUMBAI: Turner International India has tied up with Reliance Communications to make available news channel CNN International as live stream 24-hours a day to compatible Reliance mobile phone users across India. Through this strategic partnership, Reliance mobile users (online streaming capable phones) would be able to access CNN International’s trademark live breaking news and programming initiatives on their phones or other handheld devices. CNN is also the first international news channel to partner with Reliance, a press release stated here on Tuesday. In addition to online streaming of CNN, Hollywood Express episodes will also be streamed on the mobile. On the entertainment side. Reliance subscribers will soon be able to enjoy ring tones, wallpapers, animations.

Cadila receives tentative nod for Topiramate tablets

Cadila receives tentative nod for Topiramate tablets

MUMBAI: Cadila Healthcare on Wednesday said it has received tentative” USFDA approval for Topiramate tablets, an anti-epileptic drug in multiple strengths. In a communique to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company said it has received the USFDA approval for Topiramate tablets in the strengths of 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg and 200 mg. It is scheduled to be launched in September 2008 upon patent expiry, it added. The group has 24 approvals since the commencement of filing process in financial year 2003-04. Currently, the group markets 10 generics through its subsidiary Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc.

Lenovo makes O&M B’lore global ad hub

Lenovo makes O&M B’lore global ad hub

IN A global first, PC manufacturer Lenovo is moving its entire international advertising portfolio to WPP Group agency Ogilvy & Mather’s Bangalore branch. Account planning, servicing and creative will all be now handled out of the Bangalore hub, which will work closely with other O&M branches across the world to customize advertising for different regions.

The Lenovo Hub, as it’s called, has been on a test run over the past week or so and has been fully operational since June 1. The team in the hub will work on global print, television as well as internet advertising for the Chinese PC maker, which could potentially go out to 160 countries where Lenovo has a presence.

Though China might have been the logical destination to set up a hub for Lenovo, O&M’s experience with the IBM account in India swung the deal in favour of Bangalore. In the past, according to sources, O&M has been used for some work at the Asia-Pacific level by IBM. The fact that O&M has been handling the creative business for different markets for Lenovo, the world’s third-largest PC manufacturer after Dell and HP, has also come in handy.

Assocham for phased opening of FDI in retail

Assocham for phased opening of FDI in retail

NEW DELHI: As global retail chains draw and redraw their plans for India, whose organized retail market is estimated to grow to $23 billion by 2010, Assocham today said FDI in retail should be opened in a phased manner to allow domestic players time to face competition. “Entry of the global retail giants in India should be done in a phased manner to give enough breathing period for domestic retailers to prepare themselves for competition from the likes of Wal-Mart,” the chamber said. Currently, organized retailing is estimated between $7.5billion and $8 billion, but the sector is dosed to foreign multi-brand retailers.

Jangoo Dalai resigns rirom Cisco India

Jangoo Dalai resigns rirom Cisco India

BANGALORE: In less than seven months at the helm of Cisco India, Jangoo Dalai has put in his papers as president of its India and Saarc region operations. Jangoo Dalai, who has been with Cisco since last nine years, came in place of Rangu Salgame in November, 2006. Cisco has announced that as an interim move it has appointed Naresh Wadhwa as the president. Cisco India has seen a spate of senior level executives leaving the company in the last several months and it is likely that Mr. Dalai is joining a pre-IPO company.

Suzuki plans global purchase office here

Suzuki plans global purchase office here

AFTER decades-long presence in India through Maruti Udyog, Suzuki Motor Corporation is setting up a worldwide purchase office in India. It thus joins a large and growing list of multinational corporations setting up such purchase offices, variously called international purchase offices {IPOs) or worldwide purchasing (WWP) offices in India targeting the multi-billion dollar opportunity of out-sourced production.

MUL held a meeting with some of its Indian vendors in Kuala Lumpur early May, for these manufacturers to be part of Suzuki’s global sourcing programme. “Suzuki has just begun global sourcing and some Indian vendors could be part of it,” MUL managing director Jagdish Khattar had said soon after the Kuala Lumpur meeting. The Manesar plant for the manufacture of diesel engines, set to begin from July, is mainly for Suzuki’s European line-up, since it lacked a diesel offering in that market.

Analysts feel Indian pricing will initially allow Suzuki to source between 10-15% of its global car model’s components from Indian manufacturers, rising gradually to asmuchas35%.

US-based engine manufacturer Cummins has an IPO in Pune and is increasing its sourcing. It plans to source engine components worth $600 million this year, a threefold jump from the $200 million worth it sourced. Luxury car maker DaimlerChrysIer India (DCIL) sourcing has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 22%. “For the past two years, we have been averaging a 22% growth, annually. It is a very strong programme and we are using the India advantage,” DCIL director, finance and corporate, Suhas Kadlaskar said.

BMW will set up its IPO in Delhi, Seco Tools India, a subsidiary of Swedish metal cutting tools manufacturer Seco Tools, has been re-locating global product lines consistently over the past few years. Now, it has located its Asia-Pacific global sourcing office in Pune, to initially “source those products which are under cost pressure in Europe,” Seco Too is India MD Thierry Cros said. This is the commodity sourcing and it is soon to be followed by a global sourcing centre for Information Technology. This too, will be located in Pune, Mr Cros said.

Aero Engine Company Pratt and Whitney has also been scouting for suppliers. Engine and drive train components manufacturer Borg Warner is also reported to be sourcing from India, moving production to India from its plant in Monaco. Honeywell Turbochargers India expects to annually source $ 100 million worth of components for its global operations from India over the next few years, Honeywell Turbochargers MD Sanjay Sondhi said. This will primarily be mechanical and machined parts.

Oil above $70 as cyclone reaches Oman

Oil above $70 as cyclone reaches Oman

OIL pulled back slightly but remained above $70 on Tuesday as a powerful cyclone reached the coastline of Oman and shut its oil and gas export terminals. The storm, the worst to hit Oman in 30 years, began lashing eastern coastal areas on Tuesday morning. The country’s 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude exports have stopped but supplies from Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, were expected to escape disruption. The kingdom, with oil output capacity of more than 11 million bpd, can easily offset any lost Oman supplies.

London Brent crude was down 17 cents at$70.23 a barrel in midday trade. US light crude fell 50 cents to $65.71, Oil surged $ 1.33 on Monday on news the storm was headed for the energy-rich Gulf. At one stage it was equivalent to a maximum-force Category Five hurricane and. the market disruptions to shipping and production.

Shipping agents said it was also business as usual in major exporter the United Arab Emirates.

MTNL may win race for Lanka’s Suntel

MTNL may win race for Lanka’s Suntel

Beats Telekom Malaysia with $160- 180m Bid

STATE-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) is believed to have emerged as the highest bidder for Sri Lankan fixed line operator Suntel. According to sources dose to the development, MTNL is learnt to have bid between $ 160 million and $ 180 million for the Colombo-based telephone company.

The Sri Lankan Rs 3.31-billion Suntel will give MTNL a foothold in the island country’s fast-growing telecom market. It will also be the first overseas acquisition by the NYSE-listed MTNL, which had earlier tried unsuccessfully to enter the Saudi Arabian and Kenyan telecom markets.

A formal announcement on the Suntel deal is expected to be made by mid-June, said sources. When contacted, MTNL chairman R S P Sinha refused to comment.

Other companies in the race for Suntel include Telekom Malaysia and Sri Lankan firm John Keelis Holdings. Sri Lanka, with a fixed-line tele-density of around 10% remains a lucrative market for Indian operators who are expected to face saturation in the domestic market in four to five years.

Suntel is the main competitor to Sri Lanka Telecom. While Suntel’s latest results are not available, its net profit for the six months ended June 30, 2006 fell to Lankan Rs 290 million, while revenues doubled to Lanka Rs 3.31 billion. “The growth in net profit for the year ending December 2006, is expected to reach up to 46 %,” Suntel had said an earlier forecast.

Indian operators are keen on the Sri Lankan market. Although the Tatas-owned VSNL has won international long distance and ISP Licenses in Sri Lanka, Suntel was not on VSNL’s radar as the Sri Lankan operator offers CDMA fixed line services, which is not a strategic fit for VSNL.

Bharti Airtel also recently announced an investment of $ 150 million to roll out GSM and W-CDMA services in the island nation.

Suntel’s largest shareholder is Nordic telecom firm Telia AB, which holds a 55 % stake through its holding company Overseas Telecom AB. The remaining shares are held by Sri Lanka’s Metro corp, the National Development Bank of Sri Lanka, Townsend Ltd of Hong Kong and the International Finance Corporation (IfC).

Earlier, only Telia was learnt to have been interested in selling the stake. However, subsequently, other partners have also agreed to exit Suntel. Suntel plans to invest $33m in 2007 to expand networks.

If the deal with Suntel materialises, it will provide a respite to MTNL, which has been under immense pressure to grow abroad as its business remains restricted to Delhi and Mumbai.

MTNL lost the race for Saudi Arabia’s third mobile licence in March and fixed line license in April. It was also out of the race for license in Kenya. It has the licence to offer fixed line, cellular and ILD licences in Mauritius.

Zensar Technologies opens centre in Poland

Zensar Technologies opens centre in Poland

PUNE: Zensar Technologies, a software services and business process outsourcing services provider, is opening its first near shore centre in Gdansk, Poland. This is the first centre to be opened in Poland by an Indian outsourcing company. Zensar said it will employ 350 people over the next 30 months, investing over $2 million in the new centre.

Air Deccan slaps congestion cess

Air Deccan slaps congestion cess

IT IS a way of showing who calls the shots. Air Deccan, the country’s largest low-cost carrier, in which liquor king Vijay Mallya took 26% stake last week for Rs 550 crore, re-imposed the congestion cess of Rs 150 per passenger from Tuesday.

This is the first in a series of measures the UB chief is likely to introduce in the coming weeks to turn around Air Deccan. “We have decided to focus on making Air Deccan’s operations profitable this year and this may involve taking some hard decisions,” a senior UB Group executive told ET. Imposition of the Rs 150 congestion cess has been on cards, the UB executive added.
Air Deccan had scrapped the cess following objections from the civil aviation ministry. Airlines had imposed the cess last year citing higher fuel burn in major airports owing to congestion in air and on the ground.

Despite civil aviation minister’s displeasure over the levy, most airlines held ground and continue to charge the cess.

Meanwhile, in a top-level appointment, Air Deccan has brought in Anand Ramachandran as vice-president (finance). Mr Ramachandran has over 10 years of industry experience by dint of his stints with Jet Airways and the Reliance Group. Air Deccan’s ex-COO Warwick Brady has joined Indonesia’s Mandala Airlines as managing director and CEO.

Sources in the UB Group said other belt-tightening measures likely to be undertaken by the low-cost carrier to fly out of rising losses include massive rationalization of routes and schedules. To Stan with, an airport service team from Kingfisher is currently working to bring out synergies in the operations of the two carriers, especially in the smaller airports.

Analysts note that Kingfisher is likely to rationalize some Air Deccan flights in the busy trunk routes, which also cause the maximum losses. Both Mr Mallya and Air Deccan chief Capt GR Gopinath earlier indicated there could be a slight increase in fares to enable the low-cost carrier to break even. Air Deccan reported losses worth Rs 213 crore in the first three months of the current calender year.

Talks are currently on with aircraft manufacturers Airbus and ATR for rationalization of the order books of the two airlines. Kingfisher and Air Deccan have together booked over 150-odd aircraft to be delivered over the next five years. Senior executives from the UB Group said Mr Mallya would be spending time with senior Air Deccan management to chalk out its growth and expansion plans towards the end of this month.

Both the carriers anticipate that they would be able to save up to Rs 300 crore annually through synergies arising out of joint operations.

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