Monthly Archives: July 2016

India to get its first driverless pod-taxis in Gurgaon

Looks like North India will be getting the first pod-taxi in India for decongesting traffic woes faced by many communters. Work on India’s first Metrino pod-taxi line is expected to begin by the end of this month.

article source: Tech 2: July 14, 2016

While the project has got a nod from the Central government, the Urban Development Ministry (UD) has raised concerns as to who would be responsible for the safety audit of this project. According to a report in Business Today, UD claims that since this is a mass rapid transit system, it cannot be executed without the ministry’s clearances.

The Transport Ministry, which handles National Highways Association of India (NHAI) has said that the project aims to decongest traffic on the NH-8. Since the NH-8 falls under NHAI’s jurisdiction, the work is expected to go as planned either by end of July or end of next month.

Transport Ministry has set aside Rs 850 crore for this project. It will involve a ropeway like system with driverless pods that run on electricity. The pods will come and go from designated stations. there are expected to be around 16 stations within the 13-km stretch of this project.

The total cost of the project is expected to be around Rs 4,000 crore and will enable travelling in a driverless pod in the National Capital Region. The project is expected to start from Dhaula Kuan in Delhi to Manesar in Haryana which is a 70-km stretch which is expected to decongest the NH-8 highway. The first phase of the project is expected to cover the Gurgaon-Delhi border to Badshapur Mod.

According to a Transport Ministry official, four bids have been received from several companies, including two foreign firms.


Titan to buy 62% stake in CaratLane for Rs 357.24 Cr

Titan, which owns the jewellery chain Tanishq, expects this acquisition to have “very high synergy” with its jewellery business, which generated nearly 80% of its revenues in FY15.

article source: ET Tech : July 14, 2016

Tata group firm Titan Company is buying 62% stake in online jewellery brand and retailer CaratLane for Rs 357.24 crore, the company has said in a stock market disclosure.

In the filing, Titan said it is acquiring 1.91 crore shares (1,91,42,545 shares) in CaratLane that represents 62% of the company’s share capital. The acquisition is expected to close in 14 business days.

In May, the watches and jewellery maker had first announced its decision to pick up a majority stake in the Chennai-based startup. At the time, it had said that the exact stake and acquisition price is still under discussion.

CaratLane, which was incorporated in September 2007, had revenue of Rs 141 crore in 2015-16, up from Rs 127 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 101 crore in 2013-14.

The company has previously raised nearly Rs 350 crore in funding from New York-based investment firm Tiger Global Management.

Titan, which owns the jewellery chain Tanishq, expects this acquisition to have “very high synergy” with its jewellery business, that generated nearly 80% of its revenues in FY15.

“For Titan, the acquisition brings significant capabilities in the e-commerce space along with a brand, a customer segment and a business model that are very exciting,” Titan MD Bhaskar Bhat had said in May this year.

Besides selling jewellery online, Caratlane had also started an omni-channel strategy with 13 stores across the country. The startup was founded by Mithun Sancheti, whose family is also in the jewellery business.

Caratlane competes with players like BlueStone, which has interestingly raised funding from Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata in his personal capacity.

Other online players in the space include Melorra, which raised Rs 33 crore from venture capital firm Lightbox earlier this year and Voylla, which raised Rs 100 crore from Peepul Capital last year. Interestingly, Flipkart-owned Myntra had alsopartnered Tanishq to foray into fine jewellery in May this year.

Titan’s acquisition of Caratlane is also the second major deal by a traditional brick and mortar retailer in the online space, after Kishore Biyani’s Future Group acquired online furniture retailer Fabfurnish from Germany’s Rocket Internet in April this month.


Furniture retailer Ikea to invest Rs 1,500 crore in Mumbai

MUMBAI: World’s largest furniture retailer Ikea is investing Rs 1,500 crore here as part of plans to have 25 stores across India by 2025 and its first store is likely to come up within 18 months in Navi Mumbai, an official said.

It is among the several companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Owens Corning and Emerson which have committed investments in Maharashtra, he said.

“Ikea is starting to invest now. They have bought a big piece of land for Rs 400 crore in Navi Mumbai for their store,” said Apurva Chandra, Principal Secretary – Industries, Maharashtra government.

In Association with
Ikea plans to build a 400,000 sq ft store on the land.”They are investing almost Rs 1,500 crore here. This will be the first retail store in India,” Chandra told PTI.The Swedish firm had previously announced it will open a store in Hyderabad in second half of 2017.

“Now they have taken the land, the first store will take another year or year and half,” Chandra said.

The privately-owned firm expects the Mumbai store to get more than 5 million visitors a year.

Ikea is also scouting for land to set up stores in Bengaluru, Delhi and the NCR region.

Chandra said Amazon is also investing in Maharashtra.

“They (Amazon) are launching their first web services from Mumbai. They are also going to set up a data centre here which will entail big investment,” he said.

In Association with

Besides, he added, Microsoft is planning to set up data centre here.

“Then there is an American company, Owens Corning. They came in recently. They have taken approval for Rs 1,000 crore. They have already started, they have got land,” he said.

Owens Corning develops and produces insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composites.

Chandra added: “(US firm) Emerson, which is into process engineering and automation, has come here and is investing Rs 2,000 crore.”

Ikea, which has been sourcing from India for its stores worldwide for three decades, plans to add suppliers and double its sourcing volumes by 2020.

In Association with

Its store in Hyderabad will be a massive 4 lakh square feet in size and will include all features of a global Ikea store, including restaurant, play and development area.In July last year, the company had announced purchase of 13 acre land close to the IT hub in Hyderabad’s HITEC city.Each store may employ 500 to 700 workers directly and 1,500 indirectly.At present, Ikea sources products worth 300 million euro for its global operations from India.

Amazon India opens largest fulfilment centre in Sonipat

The fulfilment centre in Sonipat will help sellers in north India to stock their products with Amazon

article source: Livemint : July 15, 2016

In Association with
Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Sonipat is 22nd warehouse in the country.

For rural India, mobile recharges are important than colas, chocolates

Smartphones have made deep inroads in rural India and even they have a ‘selfie’ fetish, similar to urban kinds.
article source: Business Insider:  July 12, 2016

The smartphone trend is rising in rural sector, so much so that the rural population is using money to recharge their phones to watch online videos than spending on low-cost FMCG items such as cold drinks, chocolates, etc.The ten-rupee recharge pack is a hit in rural India.

“The ‘selfie culture’ is making consumers spend more on their phones rather than on fast-moving consumer products, which are discretionary,” Suresh Narayanan, managing director of Nestle India, told ET.

As per the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the mobile internet user base in rural India nearly doubled in 2015, while in urban sector, it increased by 71%.

“Spends on mobile recharges – or low-priced entertainment options – have been replacing impulse buys in rural markets. It’s been directly impacting a category like ours and we’ve been observing this for the past four-five quarters,” Perfetti Van Melle’s Managing Director Ramesh Jayaraman told ET.

In a bid to attract rural population, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo even went aggressive and slashed prices to Rs 5 per serving.

“In rural areas, there was lesser money because of two years of deficit rainfall. Whatever little money was in their hands, rural consumers preferred to spend on mobile recharge rather than colas. In urban markets, extreme heat prevented consumers from stepping out and impacted our sales. Besides, there are other options like water and functional drinks which did better,” ET quoted a person as saying.

According to Hong Kong-based market tracker Counterpoint Research, almost a third of smartphone sales are in rural India, which is poised to double this year, whereas the total market is estimated to grow by 30%.

KKR commits to invest up to Rs520 crore in Kwality

Kwality Ltd will use the money to strengthen its own brand and expand into more profitable retail business

article source:Livemint : July 14, 2016.

Kwality reported consolidated net sales of Rs.6,416 crore in the year ended 31 March.

Mumbai: India’s largest private dairy company Kwality Ltd Wednesday said private equity fund KKR India has agreed to invest up to Rs.520 crore in the company in a structured finance deal.

Delhi-based Kwality earns more than 70% of its revenue by selling dairy products to companies such as Hindustan Unilever Ltd, ITC Ltd and Britannia Industries Ltd. The company will use the money to strengthen its own brand and expand into more profitable retail business.

“We are in a critical stage of growth where we are shifting our business model from B2B to B2C, which encompasses revamp of all business functions across the value chain including procurement and product mix shift,” Sanjay Dhingra, managing director, Kwality Ltd, said in a statement.

The company will use the money to strengthen milk procurement infrastructure for high-margin value-added product categories including cheese, paneer, table butter, tetra-packs, flavoured milk and yoghurt, the statement added.

On 5 June, Mint had reported that KKR India was set to invest about Rs.600 crore in Kwality in a structured debt transaction. Kwality, formerly Kwality Dairy Ltd, sold its ice-cream brand to Hindustan Unilever in 1994. The company that was set up to supply milk to Kwality Ice Creams India Ltd was acquired by the Dhingra family in 2002. Sanjay Dhingra held 65% in the company as of 9 April, according to BSE data.

Kwality reported consolidated net sales of Rs.6,416 crore in the year ended 31 March. The company is in the process of introducing flavoured milk, tetra pack milk, and several variants cheese and table butter, the company had said after announcing its latest earnings.

“We are confident of the business strategy employed by Kwality to expand its footprints in the retail dairy segment and are positive that the company is on track to become a prominent player in the B2C category in a short span of time,” said Sanjay Nayar, chief executive officer, KKR India.

KKR so far has invested more than $3 billion in about 60 companies in India, including GMR Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Avantha Group and Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd.

Tourism can support 46 million jobs in India by 2025: Richard Verma

Travel and tourism sector in India has the potential to grow much faster and support 46 million jobs by 2025, provided the right investments and policies continue to be implemented, US Ambassador Richard Verma said today.

article source: The Financial Express

Verma also welcomed the recently announced National Civil Aviation Policy and the 100 per cent FDI in the civil aviation sector. (Reuters)

Firstcry IN
Travel and tourism sector in India has the potential to grow much faster and support 46 million jobs by 2025, provided the right investments and policies continue to be implemented, US Ambassador Richard Verma said today.According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism sector contributed USD 120 billion or 6.3 per cent to the country’s GDP, which supported approximately 37 million jobs in 2015. INT
“If the right investments are made, tourism has the potential to support 46 million jobs in India by 2025,” Verma said.

His remarks came while delivering the keynote address at a conference organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) on the theme ‘Travel and Tourism as a means to achieve USD 500 billion trade between India and USA’.

“… India’s tourism industry is growing, but it has the potential to grow even faster if the right investments and policies continue to be implemented,” Verma said.

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One of the areas that will help increase this potential is “timely and efficient” air connectivity, which is vital to any strong tourism relationship, he added.

Highlighting the close ties between the two countries, Verma said, “In 2015, the US was India’s largest source of foreign tourists. Over 1.2 million American visitors came to India, accounting for 15 per cent of the total foreign travelers.”

On the other hand, the US last year welcomed more than one million Indian visitors, who contributed nearly USD 11 billion to the American economy, he added.

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Verma also welcomed the recently announced National Civil Aviation Policy and the 100 per cent FDI in the civil aviation sector.

“We look forward to increasing passenger traffic between our countries as India takes steps to facilitate greater regional connectivity and implement growth enabling measures,” he said.

In 2015, for the first time in history, the US Mission in India processed more than 1 million non-immigrant visa applications in a single year, Verma noted.

Highlighting the role of tourism in economic development, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, “Tourism is very very critical for India because India needs to create more jobs and there is no other sector which has multiplier effect of creating jobs.”

Oyorooms IN

The tourism and travel sector has huge potential to grow if the country further opens up the civil aviation sector, improves civic governance, enhances communication strategy and focusses on consistency of policies, capacity building and community participation, he added.