Monthly Archives: March 2017

Sanction of 101 New Integrated Cold Chain Projects

New Delhi : India is one of the largest food producers in the world and is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables yet only 2.2% of our fruits and vegetables are processed.
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India requires affordable cold storages and cold chains at every food producing hub in the country. While existing cold storages are concentrated in few states and roughly 80 to 90% are used for potatoes, India has a long way to go. MoFPI is building National Cold Chain Grid in the country so that all food producing hubs are connected to cold storage and processing industries.

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Ministry of Food Processing Industries has been constantly involved in setting up new cold chain infrastructure which has both cold storage and processing facilities. The Ministry had announced sanction of 30 Cold Chain Projects in May, 2015. Today Ministry announces sanction of 101 new integrated Cold Chain Projects spread across the country. These projects are for fruits and vegetables, dairy, fish, meat, marine, poultry, ready to eat/ready to cook sectors.

The Ministry is focusing on creating Cold Chain infrastructure by strategic planning which eventually builds Cold Chain Grid in the entire country. This will help in realizing the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister for doubling of farmer’s income. It will also reduce wastage in agri supply chain and will create huge employment opportunities.

The scheme of Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure provides financial assistance up to Rs. 10 crore for entrepreneurs.

Love Everyone: The Transcendent Wisdom of Neem Karoli Baba Told Through the Stories of the Westerners Whose Lives He Transformed

These 101 new integrated cold chain projects will leverage total investment of Rs. 3100 crore for creation of modern infrastructure for the food processing sector. The total expected grant-in-aid to be released to these projects is Rs. 838 crore.

The 101 new Cold chain Projects will create additional capacity of 2.76 lakh MT of Cold Storage/Controlled Atmosphere/Frozen Storage, 115 MT per hour of Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) capacity, 56 lakh litres per day of Milk Processing, 210 MT per batch of Blast Freezing and 629 Refrigerated/Insulated vehicles.

These Integrated Cold Chain projects will not only provide a big boost to the growth of food processing infrastructure in the concerned states but also help in providing better prices to farmers and is a step towards doubling of farmers’ income. The infrastructure will also reduce wastage of perishables, add value to the agricultural produce and create huge employment opportunities especially in rural areas.

Creation of above Cold Chain Infrastructure and other necessary infrastructure would go a long way in further expanding and strengthening required food processing infrastructure in the country which shall create short, consistent and compressed supply chains from producers to processors, retailers and exporters and give major boost to fruits and vegetables processing, milk processing and non-horticulture food processing in the country.

Press Information Bureau : March 27, 2017

Walmart to open half of 50 new stores in U.P., Uttarakhand

New Delhi: Global retail giant Walmart is looking to locate nearly half of its 50 stores in the country in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as it seeks to ramp up operations in the cash-and-carry segment, while also eyeing food retail if the government eases the norms.
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Wal-Mart.com USA, LLCSources told TOI that Walmart, which currently has 20 stores across the country, is planning as many stores in the two northern states, where BJP recently swept to power. In addition, the US retailer plans to open 10 stores each in Maharashtra (where it currently operates its ‘Best Price outlets in Amravati and Aurangabad), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Walmart is looking at two more stores in Lucknow in addition to Ghaziabad, Noida, Kanpur, Allahabad, Haridwar, Dehradun and Haldwani. With each store providing direct and indirect employment to 2,000-2,500 persons, the company may end up creating over 40,000 jobs in UP and Uttarakhand.
rollback04_gen_120X90.gifThe sources said that retailer, which parted ways with Bharti a few years ago and had put its store expansion on hold for a while, sees enormous opportunity in UP and Uttarakhand where there is little competition from others (such as Metro AG and Reliance) operating in the cash-and-carry format. Cash-and-carry stores are wholesale outlets, which are only allowed to sell to retailers, canteens and hotels.
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“Our commitment to the country is very deep and we are growing our footprints in India further by opening 50 more cash-and-carry stores in next few years across key focus states, including AP, Telangana, UP, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Maharashtra etc. Our development team is growing this store pipeline for last couple of years and we’re confident of continuing our contribution to the creation of thousands of skilled jobs, helpings kiranas, farmers & SME suppliers succeed through our cash & carry business,” a Walmart India spokesperson said in response to a questionnaire from TOI.
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The 50 new stores will be opened over the next three-to-four years. So far, the company has developed hubs, which are its focus areas. For instance, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Uttarakhand comprise the northern cluster, the second one includes Andhra and Telangana with the third one in Maharashtra.
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Walmart is, however, awaiting clarity on the food retail guidelines as it does not want to limit itself to domestically produced and manufactured food products. With the government looking at relaxing the rules, the Walmart spokesperson said: “As we’ve said earlier, allowing 100% FDI in food retail is a very progressive step, but having a certain percentage of non-food items in this policy will make it economically viable.”
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TOI Business: March 27, 2017

The Miracle of Love

The Miracle of Love – Paperback – By Ram Das (Author)

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“There can be no biography of him. Facts are few, stories many. He seems to have been known by different names in many parts of India, appearing and disappearing through the years. His western devotees of recent years knew him as ‘Neem Karoli Baba,’ but mostly as ‘Maharajii’–a nickname so commonplace in India that one can often hear a tea vendor addressed thus. Just as he said, he was ‘Nobody.’ He gave no discourses; the briefest, simplest stories were his teachings. Usually he sat or lay on a wooden bench wrapped in a plaid blanket while a few devotees sat around him. Visitors came and went; they were given food, a few words, a nod, a slap on the head or back, and they were sent away. There was gossip and laughter for he loved to joke. Orders for running the ashram were given, usually in a piercing yell across the compound. Sometimes he sat in silence, absorbed in another world to which we could not follow, but bliss and peace poured down on us. Who he was was no more than the experience of him, the nectar of his presence, the totality of his absence–enveloping us now like his plaid blanket. –Anjani In 1967 I met Neem Karoli Baba, a meeting which changed the course of my life. In the depth of his compassion, wisdom, humor, power and love I found human possibility never before imagined…an extraordinary integration of spirit and form. I was with him only briefly for he left his body in 1973, still he entered my heart as living truth, and his presence continues to enrich and guide my life. — Ram Dass

Airtel to buy Tikona’s 4G business for Rs1,600 crore

Bharti Airtel has agreed to buy Tikona Digital Networks 4G business, including its broadband wireless access spectrum and 350 cellular sites in 5 telecom circles

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New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Ltd has agreed to buy Tikona Digital Networks Pvt. Ltd’s 4G business, including its broadband wireless access spectrum and 350 cellular sites in five telecom circles, the country’s largest telecom operator said on Thursday.

The deal size is “approximately Rs1,600 crore”, Bharti Airtel said in a regulatory filing

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Mint had on 18 March first reported that the Bharti-Tikona transaction could be in the range of Rs800-1,000 crore. Tikona has some debt on its books, which Bharti Airtel will assume, so the overall deal value is close to Rs1,500-1,700 crore, the report said.

“Tikona currently has 20MHz spectrum in the 2300 MHz band in Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh circles. Airtel plans to roll out high-speed 4G services on the newly acquired spectrum in the five circles immediately after the closure of the transaction,” Bharti Airtel said.

According to the agreement, the acquisition of the 4G business in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Himachal Pradesh will be undertaken by Airtel, while in the Rajasthan circle, it will be accomplished through its subsidiary, Bharti Hexacom Ltd, the statement said.

The deal would be another step in the process of consolidation set off by the aggressive pricing strategy of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which entered the market in September.

Tikona bought 20 MHz of 4G airwaves in the 2300 MHz band in the 2010 auctions in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, UP (East), UP (West) and Rajasthan for Rs1,058 crore.

Bharti Airtel has limited 4G airwaves in the 2300 MHz band in circles where Tikona, a Mumbai-based network solutions provider, holds spectrum. For example, in UP (East), UP (West) and Rajasthan, it has no airwaves in the 2300 MHz band. In Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, it has 10 MHz each.

“The proposed acquisition will enable Airtel to fill BWA spectrum gaps in the 2300 MHz band in Rajasthan, UP (East) and UP (West), thereby securing a pan-India footprint in the band. The deal will significantly bolster Airtel’s spectrum position in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, taking its overall BWA spectrum holding to 30 MHz each in these circles,” the statement said.

On completion of the transaction, Airtel will have 30 MHz in the 2300 MHz band in 13 circles, giving it a tremendous advantage in handling the surging data demand, it added.

The move comes less than a month after Airtel said it would acquire the Indian operations of Norway’s Telenor ASA to strengthen its presence in the 1800 MHz band. The transaction gave it access to 44 million customers (increasing its user base to 307 million), 43.4 MHz of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band and 20,000 base stations.

Livemint: March 24, 2017

Amazon India to invest $515 mn in food retail business over next 5 years

Last year, govt allowed 100% FDI in multi-brand food retail

New Delhi: Global e-commerce major Amazon is aiming to enter the food retailing sector in India with investment plans of $515 million over the next 5 years.

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Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Thursday confirmed the company’s investment plans while adding that Metro Cash & Carry has also shown interest in food retailing.

Back in January, Amazon had filed its application with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). Online players Grofers and Big Basket also have also submitted FDI proposals regarding retail trading of food items.

While Amazon is one of the major e-commerce players in India, Grofers and Big Basket are into online grocery space.

Last year, in June, the government allowed 100 per cent FDI in multi-brand food retail, including through e-commerce. However, the food products have to be produced, processed or manufactured in the country.

However, while the move has drawn little interest from international retail players so far who have complained that just having “food only” stores was not a viable option.

Multinationals including Walmart and French retailing major Auchan Group have indicated their interest in investing in the country if the government allows “food plus” in foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, official sources said.

Booking.com INTWhile the Food Processing Industries Ministry wants FDI rules to be eased in multi-brand retail and allow food retailers to sell non-food items to the tune of 25 per cent of all shelf products, other ministries including DIPP are examining the matter, a senior government official said.

On this note, Badal said the government will have to sort out the debate by November, this year when her ministry plans to organise the World Food Festival.

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Of the Rs 30 lakh crore retail pie in India, food constitutes Rs 4 lakh crore. The food processing sector received $5.76 billion in FDI equity inflows from 2010-11 to 2015-16, according to government figures.

In the current financial year, till December incoming FDI reached 663.23 million.

Badal added that the government plans to establish a National Food Grid to boost processing level of farm produce and reduce wastages by compressing gaps in supply chain. For this, a number of mega food parks, as well as cold chain projects are being approved.
Aliexpress INTJapanese firms plan Indian units

A number of Japanese companies have shown interest in setting up units for food processing, an official said. “Japan is keen to source its requirements from India. It already sources 40 per cent of products from abroad,” the official said.

Companies like Ajinomoto, Marubeni Corporation and Calbee are seeking investment opportunities in states. Kagome, the world’s largest producer of tomato-based foods like ketchups, is among these.

Business Standard: March 24, 2017

UK car exports to India grow 11-fold in 7 years, Jaguar Land Rover top list

New Delhi: According to UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), car exports from UK to India have grown 11 times in the past seven years to 3,372 cars in 2016, led by Jaguar and Land Rover models owned by Jaguar Land Rover, a subsidiary of Tata Motors.
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Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar XF, Jaguar XE and Jaguar F-Pace are the top five best-selling models in India. On the other hand, car registrations of Indian models in UK rose 12.6 per cent to 31,535 in 2016.
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The Indian automotive aftermarket bought car parts from UK worth GBP 14 million (US$ 17.48 million) in 2016 and is expected to grow 15 per cent per year over the next five years.

RK Damani-led D-Mart stocks register over 100% returns on listing day

New Delhi: Market investor RK Damani-led retail store chain Avenue Supermarts, commonly known as D-Mart, witnessed more than 100% return on its debut on the domestic bourses on Tuesday.

The scrip of the company opened at Rs 604.40 per share on the BSE — more than 100% premium over its issue price of Rs 299 apiece.

It closed with gains of 6.01% at Rs 640.75 per share, which accounted for a gain of 114.30% from its issue price.

“D-MART witnessed blockbuster opening and continued to trade higher throughout the session. Against issue price of Rs 299, it opened at around Rs 600 and continued gain till intra-day high of Rs 648.90,” Dhruv Desai, director and chief operating officer of Tradebulls, told IANS.

Flipkart IN“More than 100% return was seen in the stock. It sustained the gains till the end of the trading session.”

Jimeet Modi, chief executive of SAMCO Securities, said in a note: “This listing will certainly qualify as the biggest listing of recent times in subscription and listing gains terms.”

“We can make a conclusion after looking at the facts of this initial public offering (IPO) that broader trend of the market is very much intact and more northwards and investors are ready to pay premium for quality.”
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On March 8, the IPO of the retail chain was oversubscribed by 104.59%.

HT Business: March 22, 2017

Flipkart gets US$ 1 bn from Tencent, Microsoft at US$ 11-bn valuation

Flipkart eyes another $500 mn from eBay, which seeks to merge India ops with it and exit business

Bengaluru: India’s largest e-commerce marketplace Flipkart has closed a $1 billion funding round with backing from Chinese Internet giant Tencent and participation from Microsoft, just two months after former Tiger Global executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy took over as CEO of the company.

This latest round of funding brings down the valuation of India’s most highly valued startup to $11 billion from a previous high of $15 billion according to sources close to the development. While the round has been completed, the company has so far not disclosed any details on the investment.

Flipkart declined to comment on “market speculations” citing company policy.

Apart from the $1 billion, Flipkart is also looking at an additional $500 million investment from eBay which is in talks to merge its India entity with the company and exit the business. The investments will give Flipkart the firepower it needs to take on a fast-growing Amazon and also a potential entry into the peer-to-peer e-commerce market. Amazon owns peer to peer marketplace Junglee and has integrated its services on its main platform.

After asserting his dominance in the boardroom earlier this year and pushing for the appointment of key aide Krishnamurthy to the position of CEO, Lee Fixel has not participated in the latest funding round. After sinking over $1 billion into Flipkart, Tiger Global seems to be prepping for an exit from India’s most successful startup according to one of the sources.

Flipkart is engaged in a heated battle with US-based rival Amazon in India which has committed to investing $5 billion into the country over the next few years. Before Krishnamurthy’s arrival at Flipkart in mid-2016, the company suffered nearly 12 months of stalled growth that made investors jittery.

Booking.com INT
In the meantime, Amazon had grabbed a big chunk of the market at the expense of number two Indian rival Snapdeal, burning huge amounts of money on discounting products and rolling out loyalty services such as Prime. Flipkart saw some respite in the festive season sales of 2016, where it is believed to have outperformed Amazon by a large margin.

With Krishnamurthy at the helm of the company, some sense of positivity has returned at Flipkart. The latest round of funding shows the return of investor confidence, with the drop in valuation suggesting a return of sensibility in the market rather than skepticism of the company’s future.

Aliexpress INTSome industry watchers are however seeing this as the second big battle in the war to dominate India’s fast-growing e-commerce market. The entry of Chinese online retail giant Alibaba through a recent $200 million investment in Paytm E-commerce could challenge even Amazon’s seemingly endless supply of cash.

While Flipkart seems to have built up on its war chest with the latest and planned investments, the future of Softbank-backed Snapdeal seems bleak. The company has been struggling to raise funds for itself as well as attract external funding for its digital payments arm Freecharge, despite payments being the hottest sector in India’s startup space right now.

Business Standard: March 21, 2017

Vodafone’s India operations to merge with Idea Cellular in two years

Mumbai: Vodafone India will merge with Idea Cellular within two years, making the merged entity the largest telecom operator in India with 400 million customer base and 35 per cent market share. Vodafone will own 45.1 per cent of the merged entity after a consideration of US$ 592.15 million is paid in cash for transferring about 4.9 per cent to promoters of Idea or its affiliates.

 
The companies expect cost and capex synergies to yield US$ 10 billion in present value terms post integration costs and payments towards spectrum.

IBEF: March 20, 2017

Future Group to expand affordable fashion retail format

Kolkata: Future Group plans to open 80 new stores for its affordable fashion format FBB this fiscal to grow the store count which at present is 300, said group CEO Kishore Biyani.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Biyani said the retailer plans to sell 23 crore units of garments by next year March and expects it to grow to 80 crore units by 2021. “Next fiscal, we are targeting Rs 10,000 crore sales from fashion and we expect much of it will be driven from Kolkata,” he said.

Biyani said he expects prices at FBB will plunge by 3-5% every year as the retailer gains scale in operations and backend. He said around 40% of the group’s revenue is driven by fashion.

Future Group launched its largest FBB store in Kolkata. The group is on an expansion spree in Kolkata and soon plans to set up a Central store over 1.5 lakh square feet in Rajarhat. Future Supply Chain Solutions has also just set up an integrated apparels and general merchandise distribution centre at Burdwan, near Kolkata. This will serve all the Big Bazaar and FBB stores located in West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and North Eastern States. The facility is spread over 2.6 lakh square feet.

Biyani said the new distribution center at Burdwan will enable the group to reduce complexity, increase productivity and offer better services to customers in the Eastern region. “Our aim has always been to come up with better processes and technology that enables us to operate seamlessly,” he said.

The Times of India: March 20, 2017