Ford Motor launches layoff program for Brazil’s Camacari plant

Ford previously said the plant was operating with about 700 excess workers. The plant employs 7,400 people in Camaçari, where it produces the compact Ka and mid-sized EcoSport SUV.

Last Updated : Apr 10, 2019 08:13 AM IST | Source: Reuters

– TFMNews

The Brazilian unit of Ford Motor Company said it was initiating a voluntary layoff program for its plant in Camaçari, in the northeast state of Bahia, with the objective to cut workforce it said was in excess of current needs.

The company in its statement did not say how many people it expected to lay off.

Ford previously said the plant was operating with about 700 excess workers. The plant employs 7,400 people in Camaçari, where it produces the compact Ka and mid-sized EcoSport SUV.

The U.S. automaker said two months ago it would close its oldest plant in Brazil, in São Bernardo do Campo, which could cost more than 2,700 jobs as part of a restructuring meant to end losses around the world.

Referring to the Bahia plant, Ford said: “The measure has the objective to align the plant’s workforce with current market demand.”

Ford sold 24,000 Ka vehicles in Brazil in the first quarter, about the same level as in the previous year. It sold 7,600 EcoSports, more than the 7,000 reported in the first quarter of 2018.

Source MoneyControl

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TFM News | The Future Markets

Water Technology firm VA Tech Wabag bags order worth Rs. 575 crore in Kolkata, West Bengal

Water Technology firm VA Tech Wabag bags order worth Rs.575 crore in Kolkata, West Bengal

The project will be executed on Public Private Partnership basis under the Hybrid Annuity Model. WABAG will build the sewage treatment plants over a period of 24 months and further Operate & Maintain them over a period of 15 years.

– TFM News

Va Tech Wabag has secured Rs. 575 crore worth order under the prestigious National Mission for Clean Ganga (‘NMCG’) Scheme to Design, Build, Rehabilitate and Operate Sewage Treatment Facilities and associated infrastructure in Kolkata, West Bengal.

The project will be executed on Public Private Partnership basis under the Hybrid Annuity Model. WABAG will build the sewage treatment plants over a period of 24 months and further Operate & Maintain them over a period of 15 years.

The Design, Build, Rehabilitate and Operate contract from Kolkata Municipal Development Authority, funded by NMCG includes Engineering, Supply and Construction of new Sewage Treatment Plants, Renovation and Up-gradation of existing Sewage Treatment Plants, Rehabilitation of pumping stations and other associated infrastructure. WABAG will build the plants using resource recovery from bio-sludge in line with India’s green power vision.

On Friday, VA Tech Wabag was trading at Rs.327, up by 0.25%, with a volume of 5601 shares on the BSE.

Source: The Future Markets

– TFM Watch

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RBI fines Rs.71 crore on 36 foremost banks for non-compliance in SWIFT

RBI fines Rs.71 crore on 36 foremost banks for non-compliance in SWIFT (Global Messaging Software) operations

  • RBI Stated that the penalties ranging from Rs.1 crore to Rs.4 crore were enforced by orders dated January 31, 2019, and February 25, 2019
  • RBI had carried out an evaluation of compliance with its orders on SWIFT related operations with 36 Banks.
  • Fine of Rs.4 crore each has been enforced on Bank of Baroda, Catholic Syrian Bank, Citibank N.A., Indian Bank and Karnataka Bank.

– TFM Watch

The Reserve Bank of India on Friday stated it has enforced penalties worth Rs.71 crore on 36 public, private and overseas banks for non-compliance with various instructions on time-bound execution and strengthening of SWIFT operations.

SWIFT is a worldwide massaging software utilized for transactions by financial entities. The enormous Rs.14,000-crore fraud at the PNB was an instance of misuse of this massaging software. Bank of Baroda, City Union Bank, HSBC, ICICI Bank, SBI and YES Bank are the few foremost banks in the list.

The penalties were ranged between Rs.1 crore to Rs.4 crore, were enforced by orders dated January 31, 2019, and February 25, 2019, the RBI stated. And added, penalties are based on lacks of regulatory compliance and “is not planned” to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction entered by the banks with their customers.

The RBI had carried out an evaluation of compliance with its orders on implementation and strengthening of SWIFT related operational controls of 50 foremost banks. The evaluation, the RBI stated, uncovered that banks had not followed one or more of the important instructions relating to making of payment messages in the SWIFT and introduction of an extra layer of approval for all payment messages surpassing a specific limit, among others.
On the bases of evaluation conclusions and extent of non-compliance, notices (SCNs) were issued to 49 banks encouraging them to indicate cause regarding why fines should not be enforced for non-compliance with instructions.

“After considering the responses received from the banks, oral submissions made in the personal hearings where sought by the banks and examination of additional submissions, RBI decided to enforce fines on 36 banks, based on the extent of non-compliance in each bank,” the Reserve bank stated.

Fine of Rs.4 crore every ha been forced on Bank of Baroda, Catholic Syrian Bank, Citibank N.A., Indian Bank and Karnataka Bank.

The penalty on BNP Paribas, City Union Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, UCO Bank, Union Bank of India, and United Bank of India, is Rs 3 crore each.

The sum of Rs.2 crore each for Allahabad Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Canara Bank, DCB Bank, Dena Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, and Syndicate Bank.

Fine of Rs.1 crore each has been enforced on Bank of America, Barclays Bank Plc, Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank A.G., HSBC, ICICI Bank and IDBI Bank.

Rs.1crore penalty was included IndusInd Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, State Bank of India, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank and YES Bank.

Source: PTI – Indiatoday

– TFM Watch

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Sysnet Global Solutions turns out to be first to accomplish PCI SSC Qualified PIN Assessor listing

Sysnet Global Solutions turns out to be first to accomplish PCI SSC Qualified PIN Assessor listing

The standard promotes secure management, handling and transmission of all PIN information at ATMs and POS terminals.

– TFM Watch

Sysnet Global Solutions has turned into the first organization globally, to be registered on the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council’s (PCI SSC) Qualified PIN Assessors (QPA) listing.

The newly appointed QPA status company Sysnet Global Solutions has the option to approve a substance’s adherence to the PCI PIN Standard, by the PCI Council.

In August 2018, the PCI SSC published its PCI PIN Security Requirements and Testing Procedures version 3.0. The security standard promotes the secure management, processing and transmission of all PIN information at ATMs including attended and unattended point of sale (POS) terminals.

This update is outcome of joint effort between PCI SSC and the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC X9) to make a unified standard for payment partners.

James Devoy, EVP Cyber Risk at Sysnet, stated: “The PCI SSC has been developing a program to train and qualify security assessors to provision implementation of its new PIN Security Standard. Presently it’s launched, we are pleased to be the first organization to accomplish full Qualified PIN Assessor status.”

“At Sysnet, we have expertise in supporting payment organisations in accomplishing and maintaining compliance with many standards and are therefore pleased to be able to assist banks and other payment associations to comply with this latest PCI Council standard”

Source: MoneyControl

– TFM Watch

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ICICI Direct reco’s Buy Rating on 14 Stocks at end of the market

Money Control: ICICI Direct is bullish on on 14 Stocks.

Below is the list of 14 stocks which are on Hold Ratings by ICICI Direct,

stockanalysis

  1. Buy Apollo Hospitals with target of Rs.1400: ICICI Direct
  2. Buy AIA Engineering with target of Rs.1890: ICICI Direct
  3. Buy Tata Steel with target of Rs.550: ICICI Direct
  4. Buy Phoenix Mills with target of Rs.775: ICICI Direct
  5. Buy Mangalore Refinery with target of Rs.75: ICICI Direct
  6. Buy Cadila Healthcare with target of Rs.370: ICICI Direct
  7. Buy Vardhman Textiles with target of Rs.1200: ICICI Direct
  8. Buy Pokarna with target of Rs.225: ICICI Direct
  9. Buy Greaves Cotton with target of Rs.140: ICICI Direct
  10. Buy State Bank of India with target of Rs.340: ICICI Direct
  11. Buy Titan Company with target of Rs.1140: ICICI Direct
  12. Buy Grindwell Norton with target of Rs.625: ICICI Direct
  13. Buy Jubilant Life Sciences with target of Rs.905: ICICI Direct
  14. Buy Firstsource Solutions with target of Rs.55: ICICI Direct
Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by investment experts are on their own and not that of the website or its management. thefuturemarkets.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.

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News should not be missed; Business Deals and Corporate Actions

Business Deals, Company Expansions, Stake Acquisitions and Corporate Actions – 25Th Feb – 27Th Feb

Prakash Poojary, TFM News

6_7_6_1028676_Business-deals-work-together

100 sugar mills may face SEBI action; crackdown could freeze cane procurement: Report

Private placement norms allow an unlisted company to privately sell shares to a maximum of 49 people

HG Infra bags an EPC order worth Rs..189.49 crore

HG Infra Engineering has bagged an EPC order worth Rs. 189.49 Crore (Excluding GST & Labour Cess) from Megawide Construction DMCC for Flexible & Rigid Pavement (Runway, Taxiway & Apron) at Green fleld International Airport at MOPA, Goa.

Approval granted for purchase of defence equipment worth Rs.2,700 cr

The meeting of the council, the highest decision-making body for defence purchase, was chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

BEML secures contract valued around Rs.400 crore

BEML received contract for 7 Metro train sets of 6 cars configuration to augment the metro services in Bengaluru valued around Rs. 400 crore.

Time Technoplast up on tie-up with Confidence Petroleum

Shares of Time Technoplast rose nearly 9% touching to Rs. 94.1, as the company has entered into a partnership with Confidence Petroleum for making liquefied petroleum gas available across India in blast proof composite cylinders.

Both the companies expect substantial demand for the composite cylinders over the next three-five years.

Lupin launches Minocycline Hydrochloride ER tablets

Lupin announced the launch of Minocycline Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets USP 55mg, having received an approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier. Lupin’s Minocycline Hydrochloride ER Tablets USP 55mg is a generic version of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation’s Solodyn 55 mg. It is indicated to treat only inflammatory lesions of non-nodular moderate to severe acne vulgaris in patients 12 years of age and older.

BOI approves fresh issue of equity shares

Bank of India has announced that board of directors at its meeting held on February 26, has approved issue of fresh equity shares to Government of India, through preferential issue in respect of share application money of Rs.4,638 crore received, after obtaining shareholders and other approvals.

NBCC signs MoU with Raipur SMART City

NBCC signs Memorandum of Understanding with Raipur SMART City as its Executing Agency for the various infrastructure works on deposit work basis. Co will charge project management consultancy (PMC) fees of 8% on the actual cost of work.

Adani Enterprises emerges as highest bidder for Guwahati airport

Adani Enterprises has emerged as the highest bidder for Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport of Guwahati at Rs. 160 per passenger, beating National Investment and Infrastructure Fund’s bid of Rs. 155, as per the report. According to report, with this, the group has emerged as the highest bidder for operating, managing and developing six airports. As of now, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Cochin are the only private-run airports in the country.

DHFL slumps as ICRA downgrades its creditworthiness

Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) fell by 8% to Rs.125.45, after the credit rating agency ICRA downgraded the creditworthiness of DHFL’s commercial papers to A2+ from A1+ citing its inability to raise money and generate new business. ICRA has revised the short-term rating outstanding for the Rs. 8000 crore commercial paper (CP) programme of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) to [ICRA]A2+ (pronounced ICRA A two plus) from [ICRA]A1+ (pronounced ICRA A one plus). As on date, DHFL has CP outstanding of Rs. 1,525 crore. The company has indicated to ICRA that it shall buyback substantial portion of this amount over the next one month.

Iran buys Indian raw sugar for the first time in 5 years

Iran is buying the sugar from India to use up the rupees it has received for oil sales to India, the worlds third-largest oil user.

UPL hits 18-month high after Jefferies initiates coverage with buy

Jefferies is constructive on the scale benefits, product mix synergies from Arysta which acquired by the company for $4.2 billion in July 2018.

Palladium soars above $1,550 on mine strike fears; gold rises

Spot palladium traded as high as $1,553 per ounce as of 0400 GMT.

ArcelorMittal says facing risks like excess capex on proposed Essar acquisition

The company said it provided a $567 million performance guarantee in connection with the execution of the resolution plan.

Intellect Design bags multi-million $ deal win from Emirates NBD

Intellect Design Arena announced that Emirates NBD, UAE has selected the company for end-to-end digital transformation of its transaction banking business. The transformation is part of the banking group’s commitment to digitise operations, products and services, enhancing its proposition to corporate clients and retail customers. Supported by Intellect Global Transaction Banking (iGTB), the transaction banking and technology specialist from Intellect Design Arena Limited, the planned project is aimed at strengthening Emirates NBD Transaction Banking’s market leadership and will cover the bank’s operations across trade corridors in the UAE, KSA, Egypt, India, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

HP investors meet: 159 MoUs with Rs.17,000 crore investment commitment signed, says CM Jai Ram Thakur

Stating that such initiatives were never taken before in the state, the CM said efforts would be made to ensure clearances for projects faster.

Businesses underestimate the prospects of 5G technology: Accenture Study

The government/public sector has the lowest awareness of 5G, with 59 percent believing it will be 10 times faster than 4G.

BSE stock options: Sebi slaps Rs 32 lakh fine on 6 entities for fraudulent trade

After observing a large-scale reversal of trades in the bourse#39;s stock options segment, Sebi conducted a probe into the trading activity in illiquid stock options on the BSE from April 2014 to September 2015.

GE chief Larry Culp sells biopharma business for $21 billion

Culp said the sale to Danaher, where he was chief executive for more than a decade until 2014, was a pivotal milestone in efforts to turn around the 126-year old conglomerate.

17 lakh names deleted from electoral rolls in Maharashtra

More names were likely to be deleted in the coming weeks as the process of authentication of voters was underway, the ECI official said.

Tata Elxsi collaborates with Portuguese company

Tata Elxsi and NOS announce the launch of the Digital Operations Transformation Toolbox for communication and entertainment service providers. DOTT 2.0 offers an intelligent operations automation framework built using open source technology for user-defined service definition, zero touch provisioning, validation and scheduling of field partners for provisioning and testing scenarios thus enhancing customer digital experience. It also provides an extensible roadmap for service rollout and monitoring use cases, enabling communication service providers to launch new services rapidly. At 1.57 pm, Tata Elxsi was trading at Rs. 905.65, up by 0.06%, with a volume of 6867 shares on the BSE.

RPP Infra Projects wins a new order of Rs.105.7 crore

RPP Infra Projects has secured a LoA (Letter of Acceptance) worth Rs. 105.7 crore from the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board for construction of 972 tenements at Moorthingar Street in Chennai. This project falls under the prestigious Housing for All (PMAY) scheme of the Government of India. RPP lnfra’s order book at the end of Q3FY19 stood at over Rs. 1,555.00 crore & the company has won new orders worth over Rs. 490.00 crore after Q3FY19.

Benelli Leoncino 500, Imperiale 400 confirmed for India launch in 2019

After forging a new partnership with Adishwar Auto Ride India, the Italian manufacturer announced the launch of five new products in 2019.

JSPL lowest bidder in RVLNs 4.45 LT rail tender: MD

RVNL functions as an extended arm of the Ministry of Railways. It is empowered to act as an umbrella special purpose vehicle (SPV) to undertake projects directly or by creating project specific SPVs, according to its website.

India to get 5G by 2021, ban on certain vendors won’t delay roll out: Nokia

The companys CEO Rajeev Suri said that after leading markets like the US, South Korea, China, emerging markets including India, Latin America, and certain developed markets will see roll out of the next generation technology by 2021, where million of trade secrets will flow on the network; and security will be a top priority for businesses.

Adani Ports falls on acquisition plan of Adani Agro

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone fell over 8% to Rs.323, after Adani Logistics, a unit of Adani Ports and SEZ on Saturday announced that it would be acquiring Adani Agri Logistics from Adani Enterprises in an all-cash deal.

KPR Mills to set up Ethanol plant in Karnataka

KPR Mills to set up Ethanol plant at sugar factory in Karnataka with a capacity of 90 kL/day. The Project cost is Rs. 120 crore. Production is expected to commence from next season. This will increase the value addition and reduce the volatility in the sugar business. The Bank finance towards the Project is eligible for 50% lnterest subsidy announced recently by the Central Government.

GST rates on under-construction houses cut to 5% from 12%

The Goods and Tax Council in its meeting on February 24, 2019 cut rates on under-construction properties from 12% to 5% with effect from April 1, 2019 for houses over Rs.45 lakh. The council also reduced GST rates on affordable housing to 1% from the current 8%. However, builders will not be allowed to claim input tax credit under the new GST tax norms.

JBM Group acquires major shareholding in German Auto Major Linde-Wiemann

JBM Group announced that it has acquired a major shareholding in Germany based Linde-Wiemann GmbH KG, a leading manufacturer of complex structural components & assemblies to automotive OEM’s worldwide.

Shilpa Medicare gets USFDA approval for Gemcitabine Injection

Shilpa Medicare received US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval for its ANDA, Gemcitabine for Injection USP, 200 mg/vial and 1 g/vial Gemcitabine for Injection USP is a generic equivalent of reference listed drug (RLD), GEMZAR used in the treatment of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer & pancreatic cancer as recommended in the label approved by FDA. According to IQVIA MAT 12/2018, the US market for Gemcitabine for Injection USP, 200 mg/vial and 1 g/vlal is approximately US$ 11.7 Million.

Maruti Suzuki expands pre-owned sales network to 200 outlets

The company had relaunched upgraded True Value network with new brand and retail identity 19 months ago.

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Buy & Hold Ratings on 8 Stocks by ICICI Direct & Motilal Oswal

Money Control: ICICI Direct & Motilal Oswal reco’s Buy & Hold Rating on 8 Stocks.

Below is the list of 8 stocks which are on Buy & Hold Ratings by brokerages,

stockanalysis

  1. Hold TeamLease Services; target of Rs 2845: ICICI Direct
  2. Hold NTPC; target of Rs 147: ICICI Direct
  3. Hold Bajaj Auto; target of Rs 2380: ICICI Direct
  4. Hold Shoppers Stop; target of Rs 545: ICICI Direct
  5. Hold Indoco Remedies; target of Rs 195: ICICI Direct
  6. Buy Indraprastha Gas; target of Rs 381: Motilal Oswal
  7. Buy Lupin; target of Rs 1000: Motilal Oswal
  8. Buy JSW Steel; target of Rs 322: Motilal Oswal
Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by investment experts are on their own and not that of the website or its management. thefuturemarkets.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.

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ICICI Direct reco’s Buy Rating on 10 Stocks

Money Control: ICICI Direct is bullish on on 10 Stocks.

Below is the list of 10 stocks which are on Hold Ratings by ICICI Direct,

stockanalysis

  1. Buy JK Lakshmi Cement; target of Rs.335: ICICI Direct
  2. Buy Thermax; target of Rs.1265: ICICI Direct
  3. Buy Somany Ceramics; target of Rs.410: ICICI Direct
  4. Buy TCI Express; target of Rs.780: ICICI Direct
  5. Buy Ipca Laboratories; target of Rs.900: ICICI Direct
  6. Buy NCC; target of Rs.120: ICICI Direct
  7. Buy Container Corporation; target of Rs.625: ICICI Direct
  8. Buy Timken India; target of Rs.640: ICICI Direct
  9. Buy Cochin Shipyard; target of Rs.410: ICICI Direct
Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by investment experts are on their own and not that of the website or its management. thefuturemarkets.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.

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India sets $50 billion bilateral trade target with Russia by 2025

India And Russia Set Trade Target To $50 Billion By 2025

The two-way investments have already crossed the $30 billion target and now the countries are aiming for $50 billion by 2025.

Putin-and-Modi-1-770x433.jpg

Junior commerce and industry ministry C R Chaudhary has set an ambitious $50 billion target for bilateral trade between India and Russia over the next seven years.

As of end-2018, trade between the two countries stood at $30 billion.

“Our two-way trade have already crossed the $30- billion mark, which we had set for 2025. We, therefore, propose that we enhance this to $50 billion by 2025,” Chaudhary said at the Indo-Russian forum organised by the industry lobby CII on February 21.

He also said both the countries are confident of achieving the target.

The minister said by 2030, the country is expected to become the third largest economy in the world with a huge middleclass. But to reach that position, we need more and better infrastructure, access to energy, more goods and services and a modern agriculture sector, he added.

“Russia is well placed to meet our needs in these areas as well as others, he said, adding beside businesses, there is a need for collaboration between the two countries on the education sector as well.

Addressing the forum, Russian industry and trade minister Denis Manturov said small and medium enterprises are the foundation of the economy of any modern country.

“Nearly 22 percent of Russian GDP is coming from SMEs and the target is to take this to 40 percent. The Indo-Russian collaboration will play a major role in achieving this,” Manturov said.

He said Russia is willing to share its expertise in defence and artificial intelligence with India.

Chaudhary said both the nations need to make concerted efforts to reinvigorate their economic cooperation and integrate it with market forces.

Our economy is expected to emerge as one of the leading world economies and is likely to become a $5- trillion economy by 2025, he said.

There is a need to curate a digital bridge between the two economies so that SMEs can benefit from it and to create awareness about the two nations to promote more technology and capital transfers, he said.

Additional secretary at the Union MSME ministry and development commissioner Ram Mohan Mishra said there are humongous opportunities for both the nations to collaborate and partner in various sector.

Logistics and infrastructure is another area where both the countries can collaborate, Mishra added.

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Reliance Capital invites Nippon Life to acquire 42.88% stake in its mutual fund business

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Capital offers to sell its 43% stake in mutual fund business to Nippon Life

Nippon Life Insurance already holds 42.88 percent stake in Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management

reliance_capital.jpg

Reliance Capital on Thursday invited Nippon Life Insurance to acquire nearly 43 per cent stake that it holds in Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management (RNAM). The Japanese life insurance firm already owns 42.88 per cent stake in RNAM, the asset manager of Reliance Mutual Fund (RMF).

“Reliance Capital Ltd. has invited its partner, Nippon Life Insurance Co. Ltd. to make an offer to acquire up to 42.88% stake held by Reliance Capital in Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd. (RNAM),” Reliance Capital said.

The company management didn’t provide any further details. Further announcements shall be made at the appropriate time, the company also stated.

Earlier today, Reliance Communications (RCom) requested the lenders for their approval to release nearly Rs 260 crore that it received in income tax refunds.

“Reliance Communications group has requested urgent approval from its lenders to release approx. Rs 260 crore received from Income Tax refunds, lying in its bank account, directly to Ericsson,” RCom said in a regulatory filing.

“RCOM is confident of raising the balance approx Rs 200 crore for payment to Ericsson, in order that the entire Rs 550 crore plus interest thereon stands paid to Ericsson well within the time of 4 weeks allowed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” it added.

On Wednesday, Supreme Court held RCom chairman Anil Ambani guilty in contempt for not paying dues worth Rs 550 crore to Ericsson.

The Supreme Court said in its ruling that RCom chairman Anil Ambani, Reliance Telecom chairman Satish Seth and Reliance Infratel chairperson Chhaya Virani breached the undertaking given to the apex court and the related orders.

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Israel’s Wix.com sees 25% revenue growth in 4th quarter 2019

Israel’s Wix.com fourth-quarter profit up, sees 25 revenue growth in 2019

wix-work-at-website-designer-firm-wix-com-offices-in-tel-aviv-2.jpg

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Wix.com, which helps small businesses build and operate websites, posted higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and forecast a 25 percent rise in revenue in 2019.

It reported on Wednesday a net profit of 42 cents per share excluding one-time items, up from 16 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 39 percent to $164 million.

Analysts had forecast adjusted profit of 33 cents a share on revenue of $162 million, I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv showed.

Israel-based Wix offers free basic features for setting up websites but users must pay for extra services such as shopping carts, individual web addresses and site traffic analysis.

The company has 142 million registered users. During the quarter it added 147,000 paid users to reach 4 million premium customers, up 24 percent from the end of 2017.

Wix projects 2019 revenue of $755-$761 million, up 25-26 percent from 2018. Analysts were forecasting revenue of $761 million.

Chief Financial Officer Lior Shemesh said Wix expects to generate free cash flow of about $155 million, from which it will use $15-$20 million for new growth initiatives.

“If there will be upside from those investments it’s not part of our guidance. Potentially there’s an upside,” he told Reuters, noting 2018 was a record year for product launches.

The company has seen strong demand for its paid set of tools Ascend, which was launched in December and allows businesses to connect with and manage customers.

President Nir Zohar said Wix’s main competitor is Squarespace, a private New York-based firm. There has been some recent M&A activity in the sector, with the $2 billion acquisition of Web.com by Siris Capital and Square Inc’s $365 million purchase of Weebly.

For the first quarter Wix, whose shares have jumped nearly 70 percent in the past year, estimates revenue of $172-$173 million, up 25-26 percent from a year earlier.

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Cathay Pacific Airways profit beating expectations; HK$2.3 billion ($293.05 million) for 2018

Cathay Pacific Airways sees 2018 profit beating expectations, shares surge

Shares surged by as much as 6.6 percent to their highest level since June 2018 after the market reopened for the post-lunch session.

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(Reuters) – Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said on February 20 it expected to swing to an annual profit of about HK$2.3 billion ($293.05 million) for 2018, more than double analyst estimates, as it undertakes a turnaround plan.

Shares surged by as much as 6.6 percent to their highest level since June 2018 after the market reopened for the post-lunch session.

Before the announcement, 15 analysts polled by Refinitiv I/B/E/S had on average expected the airline to report a profit of HK$1.1 billion for 2018, up from a HK$1.25 billion loss in 2017, as out-of-the-money fuel hedges rolled off.

The airline said in a statement that its passenger business had benefited from capacity growth and improved revenue management, with average airfare prices up despite competitive pressures.

Cathay, which relies on cargo for about a quarter of its revenue, said the freight business was also strong, with rates up and volumes higher.

The airline last year said US-China trade tensions had not hurt its business but it was keeping a close eye on the situation in case trading volumes shifted.

Cathay and Singapore Airlines Ltd are both pursuing turnaround plans designed to cut costs and boost revenue to better compete against rivals from the Middle East, mainland China and budget airlines.

“The company’s transformation programme has had a positive impact,” Cathay said on February 20.

($1 = 7.8485 Hong Kong dollars)

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Albemarle Corp posted higher than expected 4th quarter profit

Albemarle bullish on lithium outlook after fourth quarter profit

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(Reuters) – Albemarle Corp, the world’s largest lithium producer, posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday and gave a bullish 2019 outlook, saying it sees nothing that could slow demand for the white metal used to make electric car batteries.

The forecast for sales growth of up to 14% this year comes as anxiety grows among some investors that the race to supply lithium for batteries and other materials could flood the market, hurting profits by decreasing prices.

But the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company in a news release said it is “not forecasting any significant macroeconomic headwinds and have not seen any decline in our customer demand forecasts.”

Albemarle said it expects 2019 sales of $3.65 billion to $3.85 billion. Its shares rose 2.6% to $85 in after-hours trading.

The company reported fourth-quarter net income of $129.6 million, or $1.21 per share, compared to a net loss of $218.4 million, or $1.95 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding one-time items, Albemarle earned $1.53 per share. Analysts expected earnings of $1.47 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Lithium sales rose 18 percent to $341.6 million during the quarter on both higher volume and prices that were up 4 percent from a year ago, the company said.

Lithium is Albemarle’s largest segment, with two smaller units selling industrial chemicals.

Albemarle is expected to discuss its financial performance and outlook during a conference call with analysts on Thursday morning.

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Millicom buys Spain’s Telefonica for $1.65 billion

Millicom spends $1.65 billion on Telefonica Central America mobile businesses

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(Reuters) – Millicom International Cellular, a cable and mobile operator in Latin America and Africa, said on Wednesday it bought the mobile telecommunications assets of Spain’s Telefonica in Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua for $1.65 billion.

Telefonica has long been rumoured to want to sell in Mexico and Central America. Millicom’s chief operating officer in Latin America, Esteban Iriarte, declined to comment when asked if Millicom was interested in a presence in Mexico.

Last month, Telefonica said it had reached an agreement to sell its Guatemalan and El Salvadoran operations to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil.

While Millicom already operates in Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Iriarte said he does not think the acquisition will raise anti-trust concerns because Telefonica’s business is primarily mobile, while Millicom’s is fixed.

“Both of us are operating in Central America, but in different areas,” he said.

The company is eager to add the Telefonica team to its ranks, he said.

“They have a very good base of people in Central America, and it will give us the chance to incorporate new talent in the company,” he said. “It’s great talent to have in the mobile area.”

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GoDaddy first-quarter revenue forecast misses estimates

(Reuters) – GoDaddy Inc forecast current-quarter revenue on Wednesday that missed analysts’ estimates, sending its shares down more than 2 percent and overshadowing the web hosting company’s strong fourth-quarter results.

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For the first quarter, GoDaddy expects total revenue between $705 million and $715 million, while analysts were expecting $716.3 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company also forecast full-year 2019 revenue in a range of $2.97 billion to $3.00 billion, compared with Wall Street estimates of $2.99 billion.

The world’s largest domain name registrar said it had about 18.5 million customers at the end of the fourth quarter, up 6.8 percent compared with a year earlier. Average revenue per user rose 6.6 percent to $148 in the reported quarter.

Net income attributable to the company fell to $42.5 million, or 24 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $92.6 million, or 54 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn 14 cents per share.

Total revenue rose 15.5% to $695.8 million, beating estimates of $693.6 million.

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