Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hillstock Festival - State Of Mind

State of Mind, one of the leading Brand Communications Agencies in India is organising Hillstock Festival, a musical extravaganza in the hills of Kumaon. Details of the Hillstock are available here. If you are interested in becoming a part of Hillstock, please get in touch with
Raul at 9313332103 State Of Mind at 91-1151633393. email us at

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tata Motors july sales rises by 3.7 pc

TATA Motors today reported a growth of 3.7 per cent in total vehicles sold for July 2005 to 31,170 units from the previous corresponding sales of 30,057 units. Domestic sale of commercial vehicles increased by 5.6 per cent to 13,957 units. Within that, sale of M&HCVs declined by 12.31 per cent to 8,011 units (9,136 units) but LCV sales increased by 45 per cent to 5,946 units. With 12,993 units sold, Tata Motors' passenger vehicle sales declined by 15 per cent in July. Sales of the Indica fell by 22.7 per cent to 7,369 units (9,534 units) and that of the Indigo, by 5.92 per cent to 3,101 units (3,296 units). Sales of the Sumo and Safari however rose to 2,523 units (2,445 units). The brand's cumulative vehicle sales for the year so far, was up 3.2 per cent to 118,666 units. On the domestic front, total sale of commercial vehicles dipped by 3.59 per cent to 51,188 units (53,092 units) and that of passenger vehicles, by 3.3 per cent to 54,185 units. Exports for the period were up 128 per cent to 13,293 units, including a 169.3 per cent gain in July to 4,220 units (1,567 units).

Himalya bags Rs 5.50 Cr order from US FoodService

Himalya International Ltd has announced that it has received an order worth Rs 5.50 crore from US FoodService for supplying frozen stuffed mushrooms and baby potatoes. The order is the first among the number of orders the company expects from US FoodService over the next two quarters. This order is for the east coast market of the US, and the shipments are expeceted to be completed before Thanksgiving in October.

Coke appoints Atul Singh as head of India division

COCA-COLA the leading cola brand has announced the appointment of Mr Atul Singh as the new President for its India division, replacing Mr Sanjiv Gupta. Mr Singh, at present the company's East, Central and South China division head, is expecetd to take charge from September 1. The departure of Mr Gupta, who had been on medical leave for several days now, had been anticipated after the brand hived off the bottling operations into a separate entity. As per the new structure, Mr John Ustas, who was heading the brand's bottling operations in Norway and was appointed the CEO of Company-owned Bottlers (CoBos) in India early last month, will report to Mr Steve Buffington, Regional Director of Latin America and Asia for Bottling Investments. Following the shake-up, Mr Gupta was left with the charge of the concentrate business, franchise bottlers and marketing operations. The Coca-Cola India division comprises India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and franchisees, as well as bottling operations in India.

Ashok Leyland sales rises by 11.5%

ASHOK Leyland has reported a 11.5 per cent jump in its sales in July, compared with the same month last year. The company sold 4,283 vehicles, against 3,839 in July 2004. Cumulative sales for the period April-July 2005 was 17,603 vehicles, 18 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mahindra & Mahindra launches Alfa

MAHINDRA & Mahindra Ltd (M&M) on Tuesday forayed into the 0.5 tonne-payload segment in three-wheelers by launching its Champion Alfa model. It is priced at Rs 1.12 lakh, ex-showroom, Hyderabad. The brand has a 42 per cent market share in the 0.75-tonne payload segment, where main competition is from Bajaj Tempo's Minidor. The diesel engine Alfa will compete with Piaggio's APE and Bajaj Auto's GC1000. Cargo model sales had moved up from 37,000 units in 2003 to 93,059 units in 2005. South India accounted for 44 per cent of the relevant market, followed by the West with 27 per cent, the East at 22 per cent and the North with 11 per cent. Within South India, Andhra Pradesh was the biggest market with a 40 per cent share. M&M will be producing the Alfa at its Zaheerabad plant. It will be rolled out across the South and Maharashtra by October and be available nationwide by year-end.

Exide holds back Malaysian joint venture plan

Exide Industries Limited the leading brand in automobile battery segment has put on hold its proposed smelter plant for recycling lead from battery scrap through a joint venture with the Malaysian Relcamation Industry. The decision was taken in view of the downward fluctuations of lead price in the international market and reduction of duty on the metal, posing viability risk for the project. The lead acid battery major, which had planned to set up the smelter plant in central India through a JV with MRI, had almost finalised investments and capacity for the plant after the lead prices witnessed a steady increase. Besides MRI, the company also had obtained a proposal from a Russian firm in this regard. The brand would also have to chalk out a flaw-less logistics plan for collecting scraps from various locations.

Hutch launches regional service for Karnataka

With a view to increasing their subscriber base in the circle, Hutch one of the leading cellular service providing brands in India today announced the launch of content on the Voice Response platform in regional languages for subscribers in Karnataka. Access and content on the Voice Response platform earlier available in English and Hindi will now be available in 3 more languages -Kannada, Telugu and Tamil besides English and Hindi. The regional content will include Caller Tunes, Ringtones, Jokes in regional languages and other offerings are to be launched shortly. Bangalore and the Karnataka circle has seen some of the largest growth in percentage terms in mobile growth for Hutch. Karnataka and more specifically Bangalore has a multiplicity of languages with all the five languages offered here being popular with the respective segment. In AP, the service will be offered in three languages - Telugu, Hindi and until now the only other state where a regional language service was being offered along with Hindi and English is Gujarat.

Adidas & Reebok join hands to beat Nike

Adidas and Reebok joined hands to give competetion to the world's No.1 brand Nike in branded sports wear market but Reebok is likely to retain its brand. In Indian and south Asian market, Reebok and Adidas would be available as separate brands. In this acquisition Adidas will pay $ 3.8 billion or Rs.16720 crore. As far as Indian market is concerned Reebok is market leader in branded sports wear category. It has 150 outlets and more than 3000 stockists all over India, with a market share of around 45 percent where Adidas has 30 percent market share and biggest player in the world athletic and life style branding, Nike has 25 percent share. Total size of branded sports wear market in India is Rs. 375-400 crore. After this deal between German brand Adidas and Reebok, a new company is likely to be formed which will have a combined annual sale of some $11.1 billion where Nike's annual sales are $ 14 billion worldwide. In the market Adidas is popular among soccer, track and field fans and Reebok appeals to fans of sneakers, athletic football, base ball and basketball. Adidas and Reebok deal is done to face Nike's competition in world market.

Philips Electronics India formed

Philips today announced the completion of the merger of Philips Medical Systems India Private Limited and Philips Software Center Private Limited with Philips India Limited and brought under one brand name Philips Electronics India Limited. The merger and change of name takes effect post consents and approvals from the shareholders and the High Courts at Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore. The change of name to Philips Electronics India Limited enables the Company to present a unified face of the brand to all stakeholders. Business operations will not change as a consequence of the merger and name change; the aim is to simplify and rationalize Philips' operations in India - through a single legal entity.

Bharti announces BPO outsourcing

Mphasis BFL Ltd has informed BSE that Bharti Televenture Ltd, India's leading telecommunication conglomerate, has announced first ever landmark agreements to outsource its call center operation to some of the best international BPOs. These strategic partnerships with four international BPOs i.e. Hinduja TMT (HTMT), IBM Daksh, Mphasis & TeleTech Services are aimed at significantly enhanced Quality of Customer Service Delivery to the customers of brand Airtel across India. Bharti also announced a landmark technology outsourcing arrangement with Nortel wherein Nortel will deliver technology and expert resources required to provide world-class customer services to Bharti's customers via voice advanced speech recognition, multimedia contact center, unified messaging, computer-telephony integration, IP-enabled video communications and receiving & routing calls to the respective customer service partners. The agreement to outsource its call center operations by Bharti provides for the use of world-class customer service technology solutions in accordance with the international best practices and technology. The strategic move would also enable the brand to provide a standardized, consistent and a high quality contact experience to all its customers, in all the 23 mobile circles in India. This would also create economies of scale through consolidation of contact centers, which in turn will result in reduction of capital investment for technology upgrades.

Tata Tea to foray into International market

Tata Tea Limited, India's only integrated tea brand, has been scouting overseas markets, specially in North and South America, for acquisitions in tea-related business to fuel further growth. The acquisitions will be intended to increase business for both Tata Tea and Tetley and is expected to be funded by cash reserves held with the Tata Tea. Tata Tea has been looking at North and South American markets with primary focus on beverages, ready-to-drink tea and herbal tea while the South African market is also an attractive destination after the company’s launch of its brands there.

Parle Bisleri to foray into fruit juice market

Parle Bisleri Pvt Ltd, the maker of the biggest packaged drinking water brand, Bisleri has announced its plans to foray into the domestic fruit juice market and earmarked an investment of Rs 100 crore for upgradation of its Chittor plant and setting up of a new facility. The company, which has been exporting fruit pulp under the Maaza brand, is expected to launch its fruit juices under 'Alfa' brand in India. Meanwhile, the company has also chalked out an expansion plan for its packaged drinking water business. Parle bisleri has appointed city-based Orient Beverages Ltd as sole franchisee in Eastern india while targeting to double sales in the next one year. Besides, the total production capacity of packaged drinking water would be enhanced from the current 4,500 bottles per minute to 6,000 bottles per minute at an investment of Rs 10-20 crore. Claiming a market share of about 60% among the top three brands Other two are Kinley of Coca-Cola India and Aquafina of PepsiCo India) in the packaged water business. Domestic packaged water business has a market size of around Rs 1,000 crore and was expected to grow at a healthy rate. The company, as part of its innovative packaging strategy, haas plans to launch a new 250 ml pack and has developed a breakaway seal cap to make its 20 litre package duplicate-proof.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

L&T bags Tata Steel orders

Tata Iron and Steel Company Ltd, a leading steel manufacturing brand on Thursday announced that it has placed an order for a new 2.5 mtpa blast furnace with a group of engineering companies headed by L&T. The 2.5 mtpa blast furnace order given to consortium of L&T, Paul Wurth-Italia, Paul Wurth-India is part of the next phase of the Tata Steel's expansion plans. This is the second major order in this phase of expansion as it had placed order for the 2-mtpa-sinter plant also with L&T and Outokumpu.

Indiabulls prices GDR at $5.42

Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd on Thursday said that it has priced its Global Depository Receipt (GDR) issue at $5.42 per GDR or Rs 235 per share of Rs two each, taking value offering to $130.8 million. Indiabulls has granted an over-allotment option of up to $19.51 million to Merrill Lynch International. The issue was priced after market trading hours yesterday. Indiabull's GDR is expected to be listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Merrill Lynch International and Citigroup acted as the lead managers for this offering.

Philips India pads up for FIFA promos

The Euro 30.3 billion Netherlands-based consumer electronics brand Royal Philips Electronics is all set to be the official sponsor and partner of the 2006 Federation Internationale de Football (FIFA) World Cup Germany. In line with this development, Philips India, the local arm of the leading audio brand, is planning to invest 3% of its total sales turnover in brand promotion across India during the course of the year with an objective to boost volumes by 18-20% in the second half of the year. Besides, Philips is expected to demonstrate its new brand positioning, build valuable relationships, and showcase connectivity between products and customers. Philips hopes to bring the brand values of the FIFA World Cup and Philips to life by enabling football enthusiasts across the world, and, especially India, to view the FIFA World Cup through Philips’ products, and, services.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Centurion Bank of Punjab gets approval of shareholders

The shareholders of Centurion Bank, at their extraordinary general meeting held in Panaji and the shareholders of Bank of Punjab Ltd at their annual general meeting held today in Chandigarh, approved the proposed merger of the two banks. The banks will now make an application to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the regulator's approval. The merged entity is proposed to be under the brand name "Centurion Bank of Punjab'' subject to statutory and regulatory clearances and would build upon the strong brand identities of the two banks. Once approved by the regulatory, the merger will result in the creation of a leading private sector bank in India with a nation-wide presence of about 238 branches and extension counters, 384 ATM's, about 2.2 million cutomers and strength in the retail, SME and agricultural segments.

Adidas India studying Reebok takeover

The Indian arm of German sports goods and accessories brand Adidas is gauging the fallout of the parent company's global takeover of arch-rival Reebok in a $3.8 billion deal. The sports goods leading brand has two companies in India -- Adidas India Marketing Pvt Ltd and Adidas India Pvt Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Adidas-Salomon AG. While Reebok had revenues of Rs 2.5 billion in 2004 and targeted Rs 5 billion in the current year, Adidas aims at four-fold growth in sales in the next three years. Globally, Adidas is the number two brand in the sports goods industry after Nike, while Reebok is the number three player in terms of sales.

Govt. bans Valdecoxib in India

The central government has banned the block-buster arthritis drug, Valdecoxib. The generic versions of this drug, invented by one the leading brands in life saving drugs segment Pfizer, is currently manufactured and marketed in India by Cipla, Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy's Lab, Nicholas Piramal, Glenmark and seven other pharmaceutical companies. The total market for this drug is estimated to be Rs 90 crore approximately. The ban follows the National Pharmacovigilance Advisory Committee (NPAC) recommendation that the drug may be prohibited for manufacture and sale in India under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1950. Studies abroad have shown that the prolonged use of the drug may have the risk of heart attacks apart from serious skin reactions.

Max NY Life kicks up new brand campaign

Max New York Life has launched its new campaign featuring its brand ambassador and the captain of the Indian cricket team, Rahul Dravid. The campaign underscores the need for quality advice that enables customers to make the decision to buy life insurance. The campaign, which primarily uses television to start with and communicates the message through as many as eight different slick 30-seconders, is humorous in style and appeals to different regional customer segments. The "Quality of Advice" campaign is the Max New York life's second on television. The first campaign served to introduce the brand and the heritage of its global parent in the Indian marketplace by positioning life insurance as an instrument that could enable customers to make their wishes come true. The "Quality of Advice" films are directed by Ram Madhwani, one of India's most talented film-makers.

Avenue Montaigne plans Rs 100 Cr. expansion

India's largest branded jewellery store 'Avenue Montaigne' is all set to foray into the international market with an investment of 100 crore in the next four years. It would be India's first international chain of branded jewellery stores and is expected to come up in the next two years While showrooms at Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, UK and USA would be set up by 2007, the Aerens Group would also be opening more than 40 'format stores' across India. To begin with, three showrooms would come up in the National Capital Region (NCR) along with ten others in premium cities during the current fiscal year. The idea for 'format stores' came after it was found that a large gap existed in jewellery market in the organised and unorganised sector. Branded jewellery are either available in departmental stores or the family jeweller, and both not the right format for brand promoting. Avenue Montaigne claims that it was launched -- to cater to the needs and tastes of changing times. It would have one of the finest displays in the country and provide an expansive array of national and international brands under a single roof -- not found in India till now. Besides its own (yet to be introduced) 'Swaranjali' brand, Avenue Montaigne would market other international brands like Celeste (UK), Hammer (Germany), Carrera, Pierre Cardin, Espirit, Mexx (US) and Sogini Doro (Italy) along with over 30 leading Indian brands including Agni, Nakshatra, Sangini and Kiah.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Reliance to invest Rs. 100 Cr. for disaster management

RELIANCE Energy (REL) on Tuesday announced a Rs 100-crore disaster management plan to cope with future natural calamities. Reliance Energy is expected to restore power supply to all residential customers within 12 to 24 hours, and to all commercial customers within the next 48 hours. Reliance Energy recently received notices from the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) and the State Revenue Department seeking explanation for cutting power supply to some parts of the suburbs during the recent rains. The company is expected to replace all damaged electricity meters free of cost and will also replace 100 damaged transformers, most of them in the suburbs of Kurla, Saki Naka, Kalina, Chunabhatti and Goregaon.

Air Deccan & Reliance join hands

Air Deccan, India's first low cost revolutionary airline and Reliance WebWorld have joined hands to create history in the Indian Airline Industry by offering a facility to book air tickets through Reliance WebWorld's nationwide retail chain of 241 Real broadband centers across 104 cities in India. With this unique facility, passengers can book Air Deccan tickets, pay for the ticket, reschedule as well as cancel the ticket from any Reliance WebWorld and get immediate refund anywhere across the country using Real broadband facilities, ably assisted by web guides. Currently, Air Deccan tickets can be purchased through the internet, the 24/7 call centre, travel agents or airport ticketing counters. Now customers can walk across to any neighbouring Reliance WebWorld to book Air Deccan tickets. The tickets can be cancelled at WebWorld store accross India irrespective of which WebWorld store they would have purchased the ticket from.

UTI is the most preferred MF brand

In one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the financial sector. UTI Mutual Fund (UTI MF) of Unit Trust of India (UTI), has emerged the most preferred mutual fund brand in a survey by a television channel. This achievement has come after being almost written off in 2001. The Assets Under Manage-ment (AUM) of UTI Mutual Fund are the highest (Rs 22,000 crore) and it is all set to put the past behind and grow. But this will only be possible if the government gets out of UTI MF as soon as possible, allows it to function and makes it conform to all the rules that apply to other mutual funds. The time is perfect for a government exit. The bailout and brand restoration is complete, it has got back its Rs 8,000-crore bailout funding (which is rare) and it has an opportunity to cash-in further, by selling off the Asset Management Company (AMC). The survival of the UTI MF brand depends on who acquires the AMC. Media reports say the Fund has been valued at Rs 2,000 crore, which is a hefty 8% of its AUM of Rs 22,000 crore, as against the industry average of 5%. The government can hope to get this value only from a foreign fund, or by persuading the existing sponsors (State Bank of India MF, Bank of Baroda, Life Insurance Corporation and Punjab National Bank). However, UTI's sponsors have strong individual brand names and would have little incentive to nurture the Unit Trust of India brand in the long run. This would be true of any large foreign fund, in the unlikely event that it is allowed to bid for UTI MF.

LG India's top management sees major reshuffle

LG Electronics India, one of the leading brands in electronic appliances segment both in India and accross the world has announced a top-level reshuffle at the company. Amitabh Tiwari, who is currently handling the Eastern Zone in capacity of Regional Manager has been designated as the new Product Group Head for CTVs. He takes over this position from C.M. Singh, who is said to be moving out of LG India on grounds of better future prospects. In order to impart increased focus on the premium range of refrigerators and to meet the needs created due to commencement of production for hi-end refrigerators at the Pune plant, Anil Arora has been given the sole charge of piloting the frost-free category. Meanwhile, Rohit Pandit was given independent charge of PGH Direct Cool and SFF. Further, Salil Kapoor, Head Marketing, LG India, has been given the charge of the brand team in addition to the existing portfolio of various marketing functions.

HT to launch Pink Paper

HT Media Limited, India's second largest print media brand, is planning to launch a pink paper in the next two years. The pink paper, to launched accross India, may be launched either through a seperate greenfield project or through joint venture and acquisitions route. Currently, the brand has two daily newspapers, Hindustan Times in English and Hindustan in Hindi. The net paid sales of the two newspapers were approximately 2.17 million copies per day (Source: ABC certified figures for July-December 2004) with total readership of approximately 14.50 million readers per day (Source : NRS 2005). For the quarter ended june 30, 2005, the brand had a total revenue of Rs 184.75 crore and net profit of Rs 9.8 crore.

Ruchi Soya Ind. posts profit in q1

Ruchi Soya Industries Limited (RSIL) today announced its results for the quarter ended June 30, 2005. Ruchi Soya Industries Limited has posted an increase of 16.6% in Sales/Income from operations from Rs. 811.43 crore to Rs. 946.19 crore as compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. Profit before tax (PBT) stood at Rs 11.23 crores, up from the previous Rs 8.26 crores an increase of 36 %. The net profit for the quarter increased by 29.5 %, up from Rs. 6.01 crores to Rs. 7.78 crores. Ruchi'S Earnings before Interest & Taxes (EBIDTA) has grown by 30.6% from Rs. 18.26 crore to Rs. 23.84 crore. The branded sales for Ruchi Soya have grown at a CAGR of 26% over the past five years from Rs. 2.5 bn in FY99 to around Rs. 10 bn for FY05 E. Branded sales now account 25% of overall revenues and are likely to exhibit a stronger CAGR growth than before. Capitalizing on the brand equity of the Nutrela brand, RSIL has ventured into the ready to cook segment with soya granules called Nutrela Flavor. It has also introduced India's first vitamin enriched oils with Nutrela Healthy cooking oils in the premium light oils category.

Videocon uys 100% stake in Hyundai

Videocon Industries Chairman Venugopal Dhoot has taken full control of Hyundai Electronics by raising his stake in the company to 100 per cent from around 70 per cent now. He has bought the 30 per cent stake from Hyundai Korea. According to market estimates, Dhoot has paid close to Rs 50 crore to Hyundai Korea for acquiring the stake. Videocon will keep the rights to market some of its televisions, LCDs, DVDs, refrigerators, microwave ovens and digital cameras under the Hyundai brand name. In return, the company will pay Hyundai a certain per cent as royalty on sales. Videocon has recently announced its acquisition of the Electrolux consumer electronics business in the country and Thomson’s colour picture tube business. Videocon had well laid out plans to make Hyundai an accepted brand in the consumer durables segment in India. It is a already a well known brand in the auto segment.

Raima Sen is brand ambassador Lakme

While Vidya Balan won accolades for her impressive performance in Parineeta, Raima Sen who played her chirpy and bubbly younger sister in the film won an entire brand endorsement thanks to the movie. The world leading cosmetic brand Lakme has roped in Raima Sen after her success in Parineeta as their next brand ambassador . Raima is expected to launch the Lakme's new product range in India. Now despite she was not the central female character in the film, Raima might be more than happy to have been a part of Parineeta.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Delphi India ties-up with WorldSpace

Delphi Corporation, an automotive systems and components manufacturing brand, announced its strrategic tie-up with WorldSpace Inc., the global satellite radio broadcaster, to make mobile satellite radio available in India for the first time. The two brands will launch and market Delphi-WorldSpace Mobile Satellite Audio receivers in India, and subsequently plan to expand the product's availability into China. The product is expected to be available in the Indian market in the first half of 2006. According to the agreement Delphi is expected to provide hardware that will deliver uninterrupted access to the WorldSpace satellite radio network, which provides more than 35 radio stations across India. Digital satellite programming offered by WorldSpace includes a combination of news, sports, music, brand name content and education programming developed by WorldSpace or provided through sources such as BBC and CNN International.

HCL launches affordable PC for India

Buying a branded computer for your child is no longer a costly affair. HCL has launched "PC for India" worth Rs. 9,990 (plus taxes). The latest gift for for India by the leading brand in electroni goods segment was unvieled by the Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Dayanidhi Maran. The PC has a one GHz processor, 128 MB RAM, 40 GB hard disk, 15-inch digital colour monitor, 52X optical drive, keyboard and scroll mouse. The Linux-based PC will "support applications such as word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and web browsing, e-mail clients and audio video playback. It will come bundled with multi-lingual fonts such as Tamil. HCL's PC for India range is designed for each Indian who wants to harness the power of computing right from a first time home user in small towns to SOHO (Small Office Home Office) users.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Delphi & Varroc ties-up for OE market in India

DELPHI Corp and India's Varroc group has announced a strategic alliance to build motorcycle catalysts for the Indian motorcycle original equipment (OE) market. Delphi has a long history in the global design and production of motorcycle catalysts while Varroc manufactures parts for motorcycle and passenger car equipments such as plastic-moulded components, engine valves, forgings, starter motors and electronic ignition systems. The alliance - Varroc Exhaust Systems Pvt Ltd - will enable harnessing of their respective expertise, facilities and resources to set up a motorcycle catalyst manufacturing plant in the Varroc facility in Pune and help meet current motorcycle emissions standards in India. Delphi will provide the catalyst technology and manufacturing equipment.

SAIL approves new slab cluster for Bhilai

THE board of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has approved the proposal for setting up a new slab caster with associated facilities for second steel melting shop (SMS II) at Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) with an estimated cost of Rs 520 crore. The new single-strand slab caster is expected to have a capacity of eight lakh tonnes per annum (TPA) that would help the plant to produce value added/special quality of steel besides ensuring higher utilisation the converters. The installation of the slab caster with associated facilities such as RH degasser and ladle furnace will further augment Bhilai Steel Plant's capabilities to produce high quality plates and rails conforming to the stringent specifications for Indian Railways. The addition of a new caster along with associated facilities for secondary refining to the existing facilities of three slab casters, one combi caster and one bloom caster, will enable the shop to enhance steel production.

Ranbaxy gets temporary FDA nod

RANBAXY Laboratories Ltd has received tentative approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to manufacture and market glimepiride tablets, 3 mg and 6 mg used for treatment of diabetes. The total annual market sales for Aventis Pharmaceuticals' Amaryl tablets were $336.6 million. Glimepiride is indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to lower the blood glucose in patients with non-insulin-dependent (Type II) diabetes mellitus whose hyperglycemia cannot be controlled by diet and exercise alone.

HM-Mitsubishi to expand business in India

MITSUBISHI Motors Corporation of Japan one of the biggest brands in the automobile segment is all set to expand its operations in India jointly with Hindustan Motors Ltd. Hindustan Motors now makes Mitsubishi's Lancer sedan and assembles the Pajero sports utility vehicle, at its plant on the outskirts of Chennai. According to the agreement the two companies will work together in "driving forward MMC (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation) business strategy in India". Hindustan Motors is also expected to explore the possibilities of supplying Mitsubishi with automotive parts made in India. Hindustan Motors would start producing another model in the Lancer range in January 2006. Hindustan Motors would also add other Mitsubishi models such as Pajero, Outlander and Grandis to its line up of imported built-up models. All these brands would be sold through Hindustan Motors' sales network. In 2004, Hindustan Motors sold about 2,200 units of the Lancer and Pajero.

Reliance buys AMP Sanmar

Reliance Life Insurance a susbsidiary of Reliance Capital Ltd. has bought AMP Sanmar Life Insurance Company. The proposed acquisition is expected to mark the immediate entry of Reliance Capital Ltd. into the exciting growth area of life insurance in one of the world's fastest growing and most under-served markets. Reliance Capital Ltd. already has a subsidiary, Reliance General Insurance Co Ltd, which is present in the non-life insurance business. AMP Sanmar Life Insurance Company is a joint venture of AMP, Australia and the Sanmar group. Headquartered in Chennai, it has over 90 offices in India, 9,000 agents, and more than 900 employees. The decision to sell the company was taken consequent to AMP's intention to exit the insurance business in India.

Salora goes international

Salora International Limited has announced a strategic supply and distribution agreement with a leading Malaysian company to distribute its range of TEAC brand consumer electronic gadgets in India. The product range includes plasma TVs, CTVs, LCD TVs, digital audio and video systems, computers and communication products. Salora has also signed up with a Korean company to distribute their popular 'iRiver' MP3 players in India. The 'iRiver brand' has 18 models of MP3 players, which will be available between the price range of RS 5,000 to RS 20,000.

Hindustan Lever posts profit for q2

India's top consumer goods maker, Hindustan Lever Ltd., has reported a forecast-beating 17 percent rise in quarterly profit on improved sales and claimed that it was ready to fight to stay the market leader. In its second quarter to end-June, the brand's net profit rose to 3.0 billion rupees from 2.56 billion a year earlier. Sales rose more than 10 percent to 28.36 billion rupees, also beating a median forecast of 27.82 billion. Hindustan Lever had seen net profit slide for five consecutive quarters on high raw material costs and sluggish sales. It was also caught in a price war in detergents and shampoos with the local arm of Procter & Gamble last year. But it has since raised product prices, relaunched some brands, and benefitted from tax changes and fiscal benefits for new plants in some states.

HC dismisses Ranbaxy's plea against overpricing

Government of India is getting closer to nailing India’s largest drug maker Ranbaxy for allegedly overcharging consumers on its anti-bacterial drug Roscilox from the late 90s. The Delhi High Court had dismissed a petition from Ranbaxy challenging the government move to recover Rs 4.65 crore, saying the city-based company circumvented the law and frustrated its objectives. After a series of discussions with the government explaining why it will not pay, Ranbaxy chose to file the petition last month after the drug price watchdog National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) launched a fresh recovery drive. Ranbaxy tried to avoid payment saying it did not own the drug, while the government claimed that Ranbaxy manufactured it through its erstwhile subsidiary Hyderabad-based Oscar Laboratories Ltd which was amalgamated into Ranbaxy in 1999. Ranbaxy continued to make the antibiotic after the amalgamation and had printed the brand name on its price list to the dealers. Ranbxy held that the Oscar Lab had exemptions available to small scale manufacturers, which the court said, is limited to the subsidiary as Ranbaxy was not a small scale company.

Raymond to focus on branding

Raymond Limited, India's leading textile and apparel brand, has decided to sharpen its focus on the branded garments business segment with a view to boost market share and profitability. The company will significantly increase the number of its exclusive branded garment stores in major Indian cities in the current year in addition to the multi-brand outlets. Raymond has four readymade garment brands in the domestic market - Park Avenue, Parx, Manzoni and an exclusive prêt-a-porter line of ready-to-wear designer clothing Be. Currently, Mumbai-headquartered Raymond earns a large chuck of its revenue from the flagship textile business and the branded apparel segment accounts for a small portion of its portfolio. Raymond proposes to invest Rs.8 billion in the current year to expand its business interests in both Indian as well as international market. Raymond plans to increase the number of its exclusive Park Avenue brand stores for formal readymade garments and accessories for men by more than 12 in as many months within India. The Rs.20-billion Raymond Group has business interests in fabrics, readymade garments, designer wear, denim, cosmetics and toiletries, engineering files and tools, prophylactics, and air charter operation.

ITC posts profit for q1

ITC, India's biggest tobacco brand and owner of the nation's second-largest hotel chain, posted a 20 percent gain in first-quarter profit, helped by tax savings and higher occupancy at its hotels. Net income in the three months to June 30 rose to 5.58 billion rupees, or $128.3 million, from 4.65 billion rupees a year earlier.

Sales of cigarettes account for almost 58 percent of total revenue. ITC owns WILLS one of the top brands of cigarattes in India. ITC's net sales gained 25 percent to 22.69 billion rupees in the quarter that ended June 30. Gross sales increased to 39.61 billion rupees from 33.39 billion rupees in the year-earlier period. ITC's food, garment, stationery, match and incense-stick business posted sales of 5.63 billion rupees in the year that ended March 31, 2005.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Lotte India reports loss for q1

Lotte India Corporation Ltd has reported a net loss of Rs 1.29 crore on sales and services of Rs 30.26 crore for the first quarter of 2005-06 which ended June 30, 2005 against a net profit of Rs 30 lakh on sales and services of Rs 24.98 crore for the corresponding quarter in 2004-05. Lotte India made a net profit of Rs 1.17 crore on sales and services of Rs 120.11 crore for the year ended March 31, 2005.

ONGC restores 70% normal gas supply

OIL and Natural Gas Corporation has restored about 7.2 million standard cubic metres per day (mscmd) of gas supplies from the Mumbai High fields. This is about 70 per cent of the normal gas supply. The restoration of supply has been done from Bombay High South, which had earlier dropped to 20 per cent after the Bombay High North, a key oil facility, was destroyed in a fire on Wednesday evening. The Mumbai High fields produced 11 mscmd of gas and 2.6-lakh barrels of oil per day prior to the accident. Arrangements have been made to supply gas by bypassing the destroyed facility. ONGC hopes to restore gas supplies to normal production in a few weeks, while 70 per cent of the lost oil output is likely to be restored in four weeks. There are no storage facilities on the process platform. As part of the continuous process, crude oil collected from the wells is processed and dispatched by pipelines.

SBI & LG join hands

State Bank of India Card and LG Electronics India Pvt Ltd. (LGEIL) the two mega brands in the banking and electronics segment respectively have got together to launch the LG - SBI credit card. The LG - SBI card is India’s first CO-branded credit card for the consumer appliances industry and can be used at more than 200,000 outlets in India and more than 30 million outlets around the world displaying the Visa logo. The LG - SBI card will leverage the extensive national distribution networks of both LG and SBI Card to drive penetration. Designed as a customer loyalty and rewards program, the LG - SBI card combines all the well-known features of State Bank of India card with a series of exclusive rewards, benefits and promotional offers from LG Electronics India for the CO-branded cardholder.

Catch now enters cola market

The Rs 800-crore DS Group — makers of Baba tobacco products and Catch salts — is all set to compete directly with the cola majors like Coca-Cola and Pepsi in India with a range of aerated soft-drinks under its flagship brand, Catch. DS Group has started test marketing the brand in Delhi and Mumbai markets. Available in cola, orange and lemon flavours, the aerated drinks are being sold in 200-ml PET bottles. The new range of aerated beverages, are being produced and bottled at DS Group's existing facility which makes flavoured water under the Catch Clear brand. DS is foraying in the Rs 7,000-crore soft drink market when Coke & Pepsi are sharpening their focus on non-cola brands.

TVS Motor launches Victor GX

TVS Motor Company is to strengthen its branding in the 125 cc motorcycle segment with the launch of 110 cc Victor GX this quarter. The new launches are part of TVS Motor's overall growth plan that includes a plant to make step through vehicles in Indonesia and three-wheelers. The product basket at the entry level segment would also see an addition shortly with the launch of another variant of its entry level brand, StaR. The new vehicle will be slightly more expensive than the last version of StaR, and take the number of vehicles under the StaR brand to three. In the Indian market, TVS Motor aims to increase its marketshare in motorcycles- its mainstay to 18 per cent from the current level of about 13.7 per cent.

Satyam loses Senior Vice President to Scicom

Scicom Infotech has announced the appointment of Mr. Neeraj Nityanand as President of the brand's US operations and Global Head of Sales and Marketing. Mr. Nityanand joins Scicom from Satyam Computer Services one of the leading brands in the Information Technology segment. Mr. Nityanand will be primarily responsible for the creation of a new generation of outsourcing business models for products and services in the technology and R&D space. Mr. Nityanand's experience spans over 20 years in engineering and executive level management positions in multiple energy and high technology brands in R&D, production, finance, sales and marketing and international business development. Prior to joining Satyam, Mr. Nityanand was President and Managing Director of Unocal Bharat Ltd., the Indian subsidiary of Unocal Corporation, a global integrated oil & gas company, overseeing all exploration and production (E&P) and gas marketing activities in India. Mr. Nityanand received his B.Tech from IIT Kanpur, MS in Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science and an MBA, both from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.

Hari is brand ambassador of GAIL

World junior Champion, Grandmaster P. Hari Krishna who clinched the recent Grandmaster Tournament in China has been appointed as the Brand Ambassador of GAIL (India) Limited. With the sponsorship of GAIL India, Hari Krishna has been consistently improving his performance in domestic and international tournaments, which has ultimately resulted in his highly inspiring victory in China. This win should approximately earn Hari Krishna 23 points and taking him into the 2660s in ELO ratings.

Indian Rayon posts 16.6% growth

Indian Rayon, a major Aditya Birla Group brand, has reported a turnover of Rs. 485.08 Crores for the quarter ended 30th June 2005, a growth of 16.6% vis-à-vis Rs. 416.12 Crores achieved in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. While all businesses registered a good growth, Garments and Insulators have been the major contributors. Profit before Tax and exceptional item at Rs. 46.59 Crores is higher by 50.6%, driven by the Textiles, Insulator and Carbon Black business.Net profit for the year at Rs. 30.75 Crores against Rs. 20.87 Crores in the corresponding quarter of previous year is higher by 47.3%. Indian Rayon has paid Rs. 0.68 Crores towards a VRS at its Rayon division. In the corresponding quarter of the previous year the brand had made an exceptional profit of Rs. 4.16 Crores on the Sale of its Global Export division (Rs. 4.01 Crores) and other investments (Rs. 0.15 Crores).

Blue Star reports 40% rise in profit

Blue Star a leading brand in the fmcg sector has reported a 40% growth in net profit to Rs50.5mn with the total income of Rs2.30bn for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 representing a growth of 29% over the corresponding period last year. Earnings Per Share increased to Rs2.80 from Rs2.01. New order inflow grew a significant 41% to Rs3.36bn. Blue Star has bagged several orders during the quarter including orders from big brands like RMZ Infinity, Bangalore; Nicholas Piramal, Baddi; Merryl Lynch, Mumbai; Wipro, Gurgaon; E-City, Lucknow; Tech Park One, Pune; IIT, Chennai; Mastek, Mumbai & Pune; Hewlett Packard India, Mumbai & Bangalore; Amity University, Lucknow; Airtel, Bangalore and Marina Mansion, Dubai. It may be recalled that Blue Star had reported a net profit of Rs391.6mn on a total income of Rs9.30bn for the year ended March 31, 2005. The brand continued its trend of attractive dividends by declaring a dividend of 100%.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Big brands loose professionals to ADAE

Anil Ambani led Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises (ADAE) has started picking up top notch professionals from the industry. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises has hired professionals from both private and public sectors in the last one month. These professionals are being hired to lead in the areas such as branding, marketing, information technology (IT), technology development, and human resource development. These professionals have been selected from big corporate brands like Bharti Tele-ventures, Airtel Enterprise Services, and Nokia. Public sector from where the professionals were hired include NTPC, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B). Gautam Doshi, an eminent chartered accountant has joined the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises as group president and he will be a key member of the leadership team . Sanjay Behl joined Reliance Infocomm as head of branding. Rajeev Batra joins the team as vice president-Information Technology (IT) .Nalini Gupta, joined Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises as marketing advisor-chairman’s office. Ramachandran, a professor at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) was recently appointed as directors on the board of Reliance Infocomm Ltd (RIC).

Dr Reddy's plans to sell Goa facility

DR REDDY'S Laboratories Ltd one opf the leading brands in life saving drugs segment has announced its plans to dispose of the finished dosages facility at Goa. The decision was taken by the company board at its meeting this week to take on record the unaudited financial results for the first quarter of current fiscal ended June 30, 2005. The board plans to seek shareholders' approval through postal ballot on the decision. At present, Dr Reddy's has seven finished dosages facilities. Of this, five are located in India and two in the UK. The brand also has six active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) facilities in India - all of which were USFDA inspected. The Goa facility had commenced commercial operations only around six months ago. The decision to dispose of the formulations facility located at Goa was an outcome of the brand's reassessment of its formulations manufacturing strategy and the taxation strategy.

SBI reports 15.54% rise in profits in Q1

State Bank of India has reported a 15.54 per cent increase in net profit in the first quarter of 2005-06, despite a substantial increase in provisions against bad loans and losses in securities trading. The reported rise in net profit is a result of higher interest income and lower operating. State Bank of India has earned a net profit of Rs 1,222.83 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005 against Rs 1,058.40 crore in the year-ago period. Total income increased to 10,742.85 crore (Rs 9,205.29 crore). Net interest income rose by 19.88 per cent to Rs 3,541.34 crore (Rs 2,954.07 crore). Net interest margin (NIM) improved to 3.14 per cent from 2.99 per cent. Gross advances increased to Rs 2,20,523 crore (Rs 1,66,387 crore). Deposits have registered a 13.76 per cent growth at Rs 376,141 crore (Rs 330,648 crore). In Q1 2005-06 , retail advances had grown by Rs 2,771 crore against Rs 1,382 crore in the year-ago period. Housing loans increased by Rs 1,861 crore to Rs 26,849 crore. Home loans constitute 54.55 per cent of SBI's retail advances.

Hygiene eyes Rs.19 Cr. turnover in 2005-06

Hygiene Wear International Limited, an Indore-based brand in the baby diapers and nappy pads segment, eyes a turnover of Rs 19 crore in 2005-06 in India which was Rs 12-crore in 2004-05. Hygiene Wear International Limited, has a tie up with US-based Braco Manufacturing Co. which manufactures a range of diapers and nappy pads under the brand name ‘Koochees’. Hygiene occupies a 15 per cent market share in India, and in north India the brand enjoys a 27 per cent market share. Apart from its regular products, Hygiene Wear also markets ‘adult diapers’ product for diabetics, paralytic and other bed-ridden patients. Hygiene exports its products to the Unietd States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Cameroon, Seychelles, Algeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Mahindra launches MaXX Pik Up FB

Mahindra and Manhindra (M&M), India’s market leader in utility vehicles, has launched its indigenously designed engineered brand new utility vehicle, the MaXX Pik Up FB in Ahmedabad this week. With the launch of this vehicle, the Mahindra and Mahindra eyes to consoliadate its position of a leading brand in the segment with a market share of over 65 per cent in India from the current level of around 63 per cent. Mahindra and Mahindra aims at a market share of over 75 per cent in Gujarat from the current level of around 70 per cent. MaXX Pik Up FB comes with flat cargo box, which opens all three sides for effortless loading and unloading. The single wall cargo box affords the vehicle, the highest payload of 1160 kilogrammes in its category, while the 63 HP DI Turbo diesel engine is fuel effecient, the powerful nine-inch booster brakes, rigid from suspension, radial tyres all afford more safety. The vehicle will sport the white, green and maroon colours and is being launched across India. The price of vehicle ex-Ahmedabad is Rs 4.23 lakh.

Karthikeyan is brand ambassador of ESPN-Star

The speed master of India Narain Karthikeyan has been signed as the brand ambassador of ESPN-STAR Sports. The leading sports channel in India and world over has also secured five-year rights to telecast live the Formula One World Championship in India. Under the terms of the agreement, ESPN-STAR Sports will broadcast live and exclusive coverage of all 19 championship races of F1 from 2006 till 2010 season. Karthikeyan has been roped in to promote the No.1 brand. ESPN-STAR Sports has also signed Narain Karthikeyan for promoting and building F1. He will be an integral part of the channel's plan to promote motor sports in India. Karthikeyan, currently racing in the F1 championship, will participate in various on-ground promotional events, including screenings, road shows to be organised in selected cities across India.

Bharati plans $ 1bn. investment in India

One of the most well known Telecom brand of India, Bharti Tele-Ventures (BTVL) has announced huge plans about expanding their position in the Indian market. The telecom major is aiming to invest around USD 1 Billion in the various services under the Airtel brand name during the current financial year. This is around a 15% improvement over the investment Bharti Tele-Ventures made last year, which came to around USD 875 million. The major part of this investment from Bharti Tele-Ventures would go into expanding the mobile business, which in return brings the brand its maximum revenues. Rest of the investment would be used for expanding the company’s fixed line telephony service. Bharti provides telephone and broadband services through this line of business and is expanding at quite a hectic pace in the Indian market. Airtel happens to be the biggest GSM based mobile service provider and it would like to continue dominating this segment of the Indian market while it faces strong competition from Hutch and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. Essar recently made big inroads into this market when they purchased BPL Mobile for a record price for this field in the history of Indian Mobile Telephony.

Leatherman launched in India

LEATHERMAN, the American multi-utility tool brand has been launched in India and announced a strategic tie-up with Young India Films, a Chennai-based company, according to which Young India is now the exclusive distributor for the brand. According to the marketing strategy deeveloped by Young India Films the sales executive and enitre range of brand is just a phone call away. Soon there will be an exclusive Leatherman store at one of the upmarket shopping areas in Chennai and in a few high-end stores. By the year end the range will be available in the othermajor cities of India. A Leatherman compact utility tool is for everyone - be it a software engineer, automobile engineer, traveller, trekker or a do-it-yourself enthusiast. The utility tool range starts at Rs 2,500 and goes up to Rs 9,500. Some of the popular range that is available in India is the Core, Wave, Juice, Squirt, Fuse and the Super Tool 200.

Colavita launches Extra Virgin Olive oil

Colavita Italy, one of the world's largest olive oil brands, recently announced the launch of authentic Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and “Colavita Pasta” in India. Colavita has introduced the three grades of Olive oil, namely “Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil” - a Certified Authentic Product of Italy, “Colavita Pure Olive Oil”, and “Colavita Pomace Olive Oil”, and several variants of pasta, including “Colavita Penne Rigate”, “Colavita Spaghetti” and others “Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil” is the most superior quality of Olive Oil, derived from the finest Italian Olives. The brand has a firm hold in the Indian Olive Oil market. Colavita products are now available in select retail stores across India. The company has successfully launched its products in cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Pune, Cochin, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Guwahati, and Hyderabad, and is planning to further expand into other cities as well.. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that has found Colavita to be in compliance with the ISO 9002 quality system. It is available in packs of 250 ml, 500 ml, 1 litre, and 5 litres, and is priced at Rs. 160, Rs. 290, Rs. 540, and Rs. 2200

Oracle plans to buy Citbank's share in i-flex

After having courted IBM, i-flex has finally drawn Oracle's attention for a strategic investment. The US software brand is said to be focussing on Citibank's 44% stake in i-flex. Oracle is all set to invest Rs 3,000 crore for investing into buying out a majority holding in i-flex. It is expcted that major software brand Oracle would end up owning i-flex solutions entirely, in next 12 to 18 months. The 5,000-strong i-flex posted a turnover of Rs 1,139 crore and a net profit of Rs 232 crore during fiscal 2004-05. Year-on-year, its revenues have been growing over 30%. On Tuesday, i-flex scrip closed at Rs 880.85 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), showing a loss of Rs 28.40 (3.12%). The 30-share BSE sensitive index gained 47 points to close at 7,552.77.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Rains affect production at Asahi India's Taloja

THE production work at Taloja factory of one of the leading brands in glass segment in India, Asahi India Glass's near Mumbai has been completely stalled due to unprecedented rainfall in the State. Water has flooded key electrical and oil utilities causing energy starvation at the plant. While the actual cost of repair is unknown, it is estimated that the brand will take three to four weeks to bring the furnace back into production mode. This will have a substantial cost in terms of loss of sales and the consequential profits. Asahi Inda has decided to do a `hot repair' of the furnace. This unprecedented halt in production is expected to affect Asahi India's performance in the financial year 2006, in the approximate range of Rs 20-25 crore operating income, which is a preponement and not an extra expense. Started in 1987, Asahi India Glass Ltd, manufacturer of automotive safety glass and float glass, is a joint venture between the Labroo family, Asahi Glass Co Ltd of Japan and Maruti Udyog Ltd.

NTPC reports 24.15% rise in profit

Indian Public Sector Unit power brand National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has recorded a 24.15 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 1,308.70 crore against Rs 1,054.10 crore reported in the same period last year. Total income for the quarter has risen to Rs 6,609.50 crore from 5,729.60 crore in the corresponding period of previous year
ING Vysya Life Insurance Co Ltd. (ING Vysya Life) one the leading private sector brands in India in the insurance segment has announced its strategic tie-up with Exide Industries Ltd. Exide Industries Ltd. is all set to become a major shareholder and partner of ING Life Insurance Co. Ltd. as the business continues to expand its market share and premium income across India. According to the agreement Exide will acquire the 49.13 per cent stake held by GMR Industries Ltd. (GMR) and an additional 0.87% through its subscription to a concurrent capital call, resulting in Exide achieving a 50% interest in the company. The proposed transaction is yet to get the go ahead of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). Exide is all set to purchase GMR's 49.13 per cent for Rs. 203.2 crores. A simultaneous capital infusion will raise a further Rs. 50 crores of which Exide will invest Rs. 28.40 crores. The total capitalisation of the brand following the latest capital call will increase to Rs. 440 crores from Rs. 390 crores. After the capital call and relevant regulatory approvals, ING Group will continue to hold its 26 per cent holding, the maximum stake currently allowed under FDI regulations, Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd. 14.87 per cent* and Enam 9.13 per cent.

Oberoi plans expansion in Gurgaon & Mumbai

At the 55th annual general meeting of East India Hotels Limited (the flagship company of the Oberoi Group) the group announced its plans of opening a luxury Oberoi brand hotel in Gurgaon and another project of 440 room hotel in Bandra-Kurla in Mumbai which is expected to start soon. The average occupancies of this leading brand of hotels during the financial year 2004-05 increased to over 67 per cent as against 61 per cent in the previous year. There has been an increase in the East India Hotel's total revenue by 24 per cent, the operating profit rose by over 55 per cent, and the net profit after tax and extraordinary items by over 17 per cent. The dividend has also been increased to 40 per cent from 30 per cent in the previous year.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Emami signs Chiranjeevi as brand ambassador

Emami, the personal and healthcare brand in India, has signed in Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi as brand ambaasador. Chiranjeevi will feature in Navratna Oil commercials, which will hit the media within a month's time. Many stars have already endorsed the Emami as brand ambassadors including Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly and Bollywood stars Sunny Deol, Govinda, Madhuri Dixit and Amitabh Bachchan as brand ambassadors. Navratna Oil at present enjoyed leadership position as a traditional cool oil and a cure for sleeplessness and headaches. Aggression is expected to be the key word for the brand in the coming years as the brand's strength was in geographical spread and loyalty. The company would work to expand the market and Navratna Oil's share.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Zodiac to invest in retailing in India

With increasing competition in the post-quota regime, Zodiac Clothing one of the top brands in clothing segment has decided to invest further in domestic retail chains. The Zodiac group had earlier picked up a 2.93-per cent stake in Shoppers' Stop and is now looking at picking up further stakes in more retail chains However, there are no intentions of increasing its investments in Shoppers' Stop post the retail chain's IPO. Zodiac intends focusing on the Indian retail market. The Rs 151-crore Zodiac Clothing is currently on a retail expansion spree with plans of setting up 300 new stores. The company has already invested in a wholly owned subsidiary for the acquisition of a shirt manufacturing facility in the UAE and to expand its network of retail stores. Besides, Zodiac has decided to beef up the presence of its Zod brand of club wear and has recently launched its first Zod store at High Street Phoenix in Mumbai. Commenting on the opening of its first Zod store. Having stepped into the readymade casual wear market, Zodiac has been waiting for Zod to get established before investing in an exclusive shop for the brand.

John Abraham is Samsung's Brand Ambassador

Samsung has launched its new, sporty bar type colour mobile phone handset the SGH C210 in the Indian market. The company states that the SGH –C210 is the lightest bar type phone in its category. Bollywood star John Abraham will be this phone's brand ambassador. The latest brand launched by Samsung has some useful power packed features like 65K UFB LCD Colour Screen, Java, Wap, GPRS for internet connectivity, MMS messaging capabilities and a 1000 phonebook and a 200 SMS memory.

TIL posts 21.9 % net rise in sales

TIL Ltd has registered a 21.9 per cent increase in net sales to Rs 84.85 crore in the first quarter ended June 30 from Rs 69.59 crore in the same period last year. Gross income was at Rs 85.12 crore compared to Rs 70.06 crore. Total expenditure increased from Rs 55.61 crore to Rs 66.60 crore. Net profit increased from Rs 49 lakh to Rs 1.22 crore.

Texmaco Ltd posts 274% rise in profit

K K Birla group engineering outfit, Texmaco Ltd, has posted a 274% rise in net profit at Rs 3.28 crore in quarter ended June 30, 2005 from Rs 60.68 lakh in the same period of the last fiscal. The turnover during the period has improved considerably from Rs 34.87 crore in the first quarter of 2004-05 to Rs 57.7 crore in the corresponding period of 2005-06. The heavy engineering division has made a real turnaround and posted a profit of Rs 4.01 crore compared with Rs 1.19 crore in the year-ago period.

Shree cement posts Rs 26 Cr. profit

Shree Cement has one of upcoming brands in the Indian cement market has reported a marginal improvement in net profit in the quarter ended June 30, 2005 at Rs 26 crore from Rs 25.9 crore during the corresponding period of the last fiscal. Turnover has declined marginally from Rs 142.70 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2004 to Rs 142.5 crore in the corresponding period of the currently financial year. Shree Cement has claimed that it has achieved highest-ever sales in Jung Rodhak brand during June 2005.

KPIT Cummins posts profit for q1

Pune-based Information Technology consulting brand KPIT Cummins has posted a 4.07 per cent rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 6.39 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2005 against Rs 6.14 crore in the same quarter of previous fiscal. Total income from operations grew to Rs 69.96 crore in the reporting quarter against Rs 60.86 crore in the corresponding period of last fiscal. The Indian Information Technology market flodded with big brands is growing everyday. Almost all brands reported profit in the q1 results with Tata Consultancy Services at the top.

Audi plans A4 launch in '06

A4, Audi's entry level car, is all set to be launched early next year in India. The brand will be priced in the Rs 22 lakh-24 lakh range and positioned in direct competition with brands like Mercedes `C' class. Audi hopes to sell 30-35 units of its well known brand A4 in the first quarter of next year The Audi stable in the country comprises the A6, A8 and TT Coupe and has sold 50 cars in the last four months in India. While the TT Coupe and Audi A6 petrol versions have been homologated, the A6 diesel, A4 petrol and diesel versions are in the process of getting homologated. The brand currently has two dealers in the country, EuroMotors in Delhi and Island City Motors in Mumbai. Jubilant Enpro, the dealership facility at Bangalore is all set to be opened in October to service the needs of the company's South-based clients. The market seeding for brand Audi has already begun. As part of its marketing and branding strategy, the company is bringing the Audi Golf Tournament to the country this winter.

General Motors launches Corsa Elite

General Motors India today launched a brand new Special Edition of the Opel Corsa 1.4 Elite targeted at the discerning and exclusivity-seeking customer following an overwhelming response to a previous Limited Edition of the vehicle. Available at an ex showroom Delhi price of Rs 539,634 each, the Special Edition Corsa Elite is available in two premium colour shades - Shimmering Black and Crystal Mica Based on the Corsa 1.4 GSI, the brand new Special Edition redefines value for money proposition and offers a host of incremental exclusive features including a unique Triple Information Display (TID) system. It comes with exclusive features like Italian leather upholstery, 14'' Alloy Wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel, deep burl wood finish on TID dome, centre console, instrument panel, triple Information Display (TID), sporty aluminum foot pedals, chrome exhaust pipe and cigarette lighter and ashtray

Carat India appoints N P Sathyamurthy

N P Sathyamurthy, has been appointed as the chief planning officer of Carat India. MR Sathyamurthy’s previous experience includes five years with Heinz in sales & marketing and in brand management, and 10 years in media planning with agencies like Mudra, O&M and Euro RSCG. MR Sathyamurthy recently resigned as the director general of the Media Research Users Council, MRUC, where he spent three years. MR Sathyamurthy has been associated with brands like Hindustan Lever, Philips, Microsoft, Intel, Nokia, Gillette, American Express, Castrol, Prudential ICICI, HDFC, Asian Paints, Castrol, Vimal, Rasna and Dhara amongst others. MR Sathyamurthy was responsible for syndicated research products like the Indian Research Survey (IRS), Indian Listenership Track and the new Consumer Classification System. He is a faculty member at MICA and six other premier management institutes. He will take up his assignment at Carat India as soon as he completes his hand-over at MRUC.

BMW plans $40 million plant in India

German luxury car maker BMW has sought permission from the Indian government to set up a $40 million manufacturing plant. The proposed plant will be located in the town of Chengelpet in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which already is the home to global car majors Ford Motor Co. and Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. A proposal from BMW AG and BMW Holdings BV is awaiting clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. The proposed plant is expected to assemble automobiles from knocked down kits, and import built-up units as well. BMW, the world's largest premium car maker, would buy out its subsidiary, BMW India Pvt. Ltd., which it set up in 1997. BMW AG will buy 30 percent of the stake and BMW Holding will buy the remainder. The German brand will also issue fresh shares to itself. BMW makes the popular 3-series saloon, the Mini and the 1-series compact, besides the Rolls-Royce brand.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Thomson ties up with VSNL

The Thomson Group known for its Technicolor, Grass Valley, RCA and Thomson brands, has announced its strategic tie-up with Tata group's Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, (VSNL) to combine their expertise to come up with new technologies for the Indian market. Through the partnership, Thomson will gain a foothold in the Indian market and will leverage the reputation of the Tatas, the brand recognition of Tata Indicom and Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd's expertise and presence to grow its broadcast, network and telecom activities. Thomson's expertise in digital video technologies will offer significant benefits to Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd and the companies will explore new opportunities in managing and delivering content for third parties.

Honda to invest Rs. 650 Cr in India

Japanese car brand Honda Motor is planning to invest Rs 650 crore in the Indian car market in the next three years. Out of which the company is all set to put in Rs 150 crore this year to up capacity at its Surajpur plant, from 30,000 to 50,000 units. The balance Rs 500 crore is expected to be spent on productionising new models and doubling capacity further to 100,000 units per annum. The entire investment is to be funded by Honda Siel’s internal accruals The investment is part of Honda’s fresh fourth-gear strategy for India. Buoyed by a fast growth in Honda car brands in India the company is planning to introduce a new volume model, the Civic, in the Indian market. In addition to meeting the growing demands of its existing models — City and Accord— the increased capacity of the plant would also accommodate the start up of local production of the new Civic, within the next year. The new Civic, which will roll out in the US soon and debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in October this year, will have a specially-developed Asian variant which will come to India. While Honda’s Japan plant will be the mother unit for this model, the company will source from Thailand, given it’s importance in Honda’s strategy post the Indo-Thai FTA, say sources. Capacity expansion and new production introduction is part of Honda’s long-term plan to emerge as “the best” automobile brand in India.

Indian delicacies steel show at New York

Indian delicacies from Basmati rice to ready-to-eat curries, spicy chutneys & pickles, crunchy snacks, the best of Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri teas and an exclusive array of Indian wines & beers were werew the star of show at the prestigious 51st Summer Fancy Food Show organized by the NASFT at New York's Jacob Javits Center July 9-11. The Indian brands present at the show were Richi Rich, Bikanervala Foods, Bombay Exports and Imports, Clique Exports, Kashmir Apiaries Exports, Green Leaf Private Ltd, Shakti Bhog Foods Ltd, Speedway Food and Beverage Pvt. Ltd., Bansirams along with a wide range of other brands. Not to be forgotten were the Grover Vineyards' range of wines: Cabernet Shiraz-Red Wine, the most acclaimed red wine brand in India, Blancs de Clairette, the noble Indian white wine, Rose-Dry, the Pride of India and La Reserve Red Wine, the first barrel-aged wine.

Essar buys 64% in BPL

The Essar group one of the leading brands in the mobile phone segment acquired a 64 pct stake in BPL Communications Ltd for over 44 bln rupees, in one of the largest acquisitions in the Indian telecom sector. The agreement was signed after highly competitive bidding by seven to eight foreign players, besides some very keen Indian players in the field. The deal follows Essar's recent consolidation of its position in its joint venture with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom, operating in India under Hutch brand, by acquiring an additional 3.4 pct equity. Essar plan to merge the two big brands Hutchinson and and Essar with Hutchison to retain it majority stake in the merged entity. Hutchison, which holds 53.4 pct in Hutchison Essar, is believed to have agreed to chip in funds in the merged entity at a later stage.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Himatsingka records Rs. 11.27 cr Profit

SILK fabric manufacturer and exporter Himatsingka Seide Ltd plans to invest Rs 400 crore in setting up a bed linen fabrics unit at the Hassan Special Economic Zone in Karnataka. The Indian brand repeoted an increase of 11 per-cent in its net-profit at Rs. 11.27 crore in q1. Sales revenues for the quarter increased 11 per cent to Rs 34.17 crore from Rs 30.79 crore in the corresponding previous quarter The brand expects to finance this new unit through internal accruals and a term loan. Himatsingka intends to take a term loan under the government's Technology Upgradation Fund scheme. The Karnataka Government has allotted 100 acres at Hassan SEZ for Himatsingka's new unit that will have a capacity of 20 million meters per annum. Construction activity at the new project is expected to start by September and the project is expected to be completed within 12 months. On reaching full capacity, the turnover of this new unit will be around Rs 475 crore. With this proposed investment, Himatsingka is targeting a turnover of Rs 700 crore by 2007-08.

Astra Microwave plans Rs 25 Cr. growth

With the increasing demand for its products and services both in the Indian and International markets, Astra Microwave Products Ltd (AMPL) has embarked upon an expansion programme involving an investment of Rs 25-crore. The India-based microwave components manufacturer is one of the few private brands engaged in designing and manufacturing of high value-added Radio Frequency (RF) and microwave super components and sub-systems for applications in defence, space and communication systems. During the fiscal ended March 2005, Astra Microwave Products Ltd registered a growth of 87 per cent in revenues at Rs 65 crore, from Rs 34 crore in the previous fiscal, while the net profit improved by 127 per cent at Rs 23 crore (Rs 7.5 crore). As at the end of the fiscal, the company's order book position stood at over Rs 105 crore.

REL shareholders say yes to pref share

THE Reliance Energy Ltd (REL) shareholders on Tuesday approved a preferential issue of shares worth Rs 1,750 crore. Of this, shares worth Rs 1,500 crore would be allotted to Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises (ADAE) at a price of Rs 573 a share. The balance would be allotted to about six foreign institutional investors. Ministry of Environment and Forests, had given the necessary environmental clearance for the 7,480-MW Dhirubhai Ambani Energy City project at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh. The Reliance Industries Ltd board has already re-confirmed the in-principle availability of gas for the project. Following the preferential equity allotment, the net worth of the company is expected to go up to Rs 8,200 crore from Rs 6,500 crore at present. This constituted an almost 90 per cent premium over the average weighted price of under Rs 300 per share paid by the Reliance Group for acquiring shares in the company.

Reliance Energy posts 42% growth in q1

RELIANCE Energy Ltd (REL) one of the leading brand names of India posted a net profit at Rs 156.63 crore for the first quarter of 2005-06, registering a 42-per cent growth over Rs 110.01 crore in the first quarter last year. The surge in profits came even as the utility brands income from its core activity - sale of electricity - fell during the period to Rs 783.24 crore from Rs 799.2 crore. The bulk of profits seems to have come from the Rs 58-crore rise in other income, mainly interest income, which stood at Rs 134.76 crore against Rs 76.92 crore last year. There was a rise in income from EPC and contracts at Rs 166.44 crore (Rs 143.58 crore). Thus, the total income for the quarter stood at Rs 1,084 crore, up 6 per cent from Rs 1,020 crore. The cost of energy purchased decreased 6 per cent to Rs 275 crore, owing to lower per unit cost. Reliance Energy Ltd shares dipped Rs 6.15 to close at Rs 650.40. The company ranks third among Indian private sector companies in terms of net worth that stood at Rs 6,514 crore as on June 30, 2005.

FIL launches Tuk 3 in Andhra Pradesh

FIL Industries Limited today launched in Andhra Pradesh a new brand of fruit drink, Tuk 3. The drink has been launched under Fruitfil, the umbrella brand of the juice division of the Srinagar-based Rs 100-crore-plus FIL group with an aim of tapping the everyday growing Indian fruit drink market. FIL, which is the latest entrant into an estimated Rs 600 crore fruit beverages market in India, is also planning to launch mango and apple drinks in the coming months under the brand Frugo’. With the launch of Tuk 3, the company has entered into the retail domestic fruit drink market. Tuk 3, an all season drink comes with a combination of Seabuckthorn (Ladakh Berry), Kashmiri apples and Indian mangoes. With the fruit beverages market spread into the drink, nectar and juice segments, FIL Industries Limited plans not to just target juice drink industry but also ‘fun and refreshing’ industry which is three times larger.

Glaxo plans to withdraw non-profitable drugs

Glaxo Smithkline (GSK) one of the leading brands in life saving drug making in both India as well International market is streamlining its product portfolio in a bid to weed out unprofitable brands. The latest brand to disappear from its product basket is antibiotic Furadantine. The drug maker is expected to focus on high value products in the product patent regime. It is expected that with this descision of Glaxo Smithkline of withdrawal the rival brand Ranbaxy will be gaining . Gramoneg by Ranbaxy is the only substitute for this drug. The drug is used for postoperative urinary tract infection, cystitis, pyelonephritis, pyelitis etc. Withdrawal of the particular drug brand can be attributed to the fact that the drug has become resistant to the organisms due to reasons ranging from incomplete dosage, drug not being used for proper indication under medical supervision and without being prescribed by an experienced physician.

Ecco Shoes launched in India

Danish major Ecco shoes launched its operations in India with the introduction of its premium golf footwear priced at Rs 26,999. The brand also launched its formal and casual range for men and women. Ecco shoes will initially be available in three cities - New Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh and will be retailed out of Shoetree outlets. In the first year of operations, a budget of Rs 10 million will be allocated to support a very selective marketing effort focused at the concept stores. The brand expects to sell approximately 15,000 pairs within the first year of operation with a break even expected between the second and third year. The brand offers a wide range of products, which includes formal, casual and golf shoes. The formal range of shoes predominantly consists of office wear for men and costs anywhere between Rs 8,299 – Rs 12,000. The casual range is priced between Rs 7,349 - Rs 12,000. The golf range, for men and women is priced at Rs 10,399 - Rs 26,999 and Rs 6,399- Rs 10,299 respectively.

General Motors plans cheaper Corsa

With an aim to strengthen the brand amongst middle income buyers, General Motors (GM) has decided to introduce a cheaper version of Opel Corsa. The variant, Opel Corsa 1.4 Elite, will be introduced this week with a price reduction of over Rs 50,000-80,000 from the existing ones which are priced in the range of Rs 5.88-6.26 lakh. Todays leading brands by General Motors Chevrolet Optra (Rs 8.7-12 lakh) was launched in September 2003 and Tavera (Rs 6.7-10.80 lakh) in May 2004. General Motors so far has been able to sell about 17,000 Optras and 18,120 Tavera. General Motors has set a target to sell 38,000 Chevrolets by December this year. The aotumobile major is trying to expand its brand equity with Chevrolets. These cars, from the General Motors-Daewoo Automotive Technologies (GM-DAT) stable, are making inroads into Europe and other developing markets such as India wearing the Chevrolet badge.

LIC & SBI, front runners for UTI

The Government of India is no mood to sell UTI Mutual Fund to any private player and has insisted that one of the existing sponsors buy it by this fiscal. Finance Ministry has appointed SBI Capital as the merchant banker to carry out the valuation of the country's largest fund house that manages assets worth Rs 22,000 crore. Unit Trust of India AMC may be sold to the highest bidder among the four existing sponsors -- State Bank of India, Life Insurance Corporation, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda out of which Life Insurance Corporation and State Bank of India appears to be the front runners . Top officials of these leading brands in their respective segments have given a presentation to the Ministry of Finance last week on the future course of action for the country's largest fund house including buying out the stakes of other players. Unit Trust of India AMC has been one of the fastest growing funds in the country and targets Rs 26,000 crore in AUM by the end of this fiscal, a growth of over 25 per cent. The fund is now geared up to expand its branch network to 15 more cities this fiscal over and above the 56 cities they are already into. Unit Trust of India AMC plans to expand its branch network to 100 cities in the next two years.

Bagga plans high sales for Khodays Liquor

Bagga Millennium Liquor India Pvt Ltd, which grabbed the marketing and distribution rights of the Khodays liquor brands on long lease, is expecting volume sales up to 2.5 million cases in 2005-06. Bagga's initial focus is on Red Knight Whisky, a semi-premium brand, which is attempting a comeback in markets such as Haryana and Punjab, where it once enjoyed good share. The brand is averaging about 70,000 cases monthly, and its sales for the full year should be in the vicinity of a million cases. Along with Red Knight Whisky, the other brands receiving initial focus include Peter Scot Whisky, which is expected to mop up sales of 2.5 lakh cases in the current year, and the economy priced Democrat Whisky.

Tata Tea plans sale of six estates

After divesting 17 tea estates of South Indian plantations in favour of workers, Tata Tea the leading tea brand has now turned its focus on the remaining six estates in the south India and was weighing a completely different option, most likely an outright sale. Out of the remaining six estates one is in Kerala and the rest in Tamil Nadu. Tata Tea's plantations in southern India were located in the Western Ghats in the western part of the state of Kerala and adjoining part of the state of Tamil Nadu. The former, in Idukki district of Kerala, were located in an area knwon as the Kanan Devan Hills. The brand managed to get almost a 97 per cent participation from the workers. The other estates in the Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu and one estate in the Trichur district of Kerala formed part of the Anamallais plantation area. On the branded business front, Tata Tea was reassessing the business. Tata Tea has already restructured the brand, "Agni".

Silver Smith opens 1st retail showroom

Silver Smith India Ltd. has launched its first retail showroom under the brand name of "Niche" on Monday in New Delhi.The company hoped to make "Niche" household name and trend setter in the jewellery segment. Silver Smith India - listed on all major stock exchanges in India - was incorporated in 1994 to process raw silver and gold into value added jewellery items at its fully automated and integrated manufacturing facilities.

Zenith adjuged second in PC manufacturing

The recently released IDC-Dataquest Report on the Dataquest top 20 Information Technology companies in India shows that Zenith is the second-largest Indian PC Manufacturer after HCL Infosystems. Zenith has shown a higher market share than Wipro, Dell, and Acer; its market share is at par with IBM/Lenovo, just after Hewlett Packard. Zenith's profit reached new heights after it entered the laptop market in August 2004. Zenith launched seven laptops, under the brand name the 'power of seven', which did well in the Indian market. Its laptop sales increased 350 per cent within two quarters; the only Indian brand to register this volume of growth in 2004-05. As a result, Zenith declared a dividend in 2004-05 and invested further in its manufacturing facilities. The Indian notebook market has grown by over 140 per cent last year with sales touching 2.2 lakh units, compared to the previous year's 75 per cent. Since laptops are a high margin product, this has significantly added to the Zenith's bottomline.

NDTV eyes international presence

After achieving a huge brand equity in India NDTV now plans to move foriegn. The news broadcaster has chalked out for itself a business proposal envisaging providing consultancy to TV channels abroad and, in the process, picking up equity stakes in such ventures. The Indian brand is planning to enter the international arena in the financial year of 2006-07. NDTV is looking at forming joint ventures with local TV companies in various countries, including those nearer home in Asia. Such ventures, admittedly, would bring in revenue from consultancy, apart from extending the NDTV brand name globally. What is not clear at this stage though is whether the Indian company would convert its equity shareholding in joint venture to have full-fledged NDTV channels in those countries.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Indian Beer wins 13 medals

`COBRA Beer`, the brainchild of Indian-origin entrepreneur Karan Bilimoria, has won 13 gold medals for its beers and wines at the prestigious Monde Selection awards in Brussels this year. The awards include 11 gold medals won by the Cobra Beer, which is a record in itself. Of the Gold Medals, two were awarded to Mount Shivalik, the Indian brand of the Cobra Group launched just four months ago. The brand had won two gold medals in its very first entry in 2001 and repeated the performance in the next two years, also the international trophy in 2003 for its consistent performance for three years. In 2004, it won six golds, and this year, it scooped a record 11 golds and two grand gold medals. The major beer brand Cobra had expanded its operations in India, South Africa and the US with offices in Mumbai, Cape Town and New York. It is currently exporting beer and wine to 30 countries and brewing the beer in Holland, Poland, South Africa, Belgium and India.

Coke, Pepsi to concentrate on non-cola brands

With growth patterns across the world tilting in favour of non-cola beverages, soft drink brands Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are sharpening focus on their non-cola portfolios in India as well. This year, for example, though cola brands have registered roughly the same growth as last year, non-cola brands have been growing at anywhere between 30-50 per cent After aggressively pushing the fruit-based Maaza earlier this year in new flavours and packaging, Coca Cola is now in the process of rolling out a low-calorie variant of its clear lime brand, Sprite. Sprite Zero, as the product is called, is being pushed as having less than one calorie. The introduction of Sprite Zero comes close on the heels of another mint-lemon variant — Sprite Ice. Rival brand Pepsi has rolled out 7-Up Ice and limited edition flavours of Mirinda such as BlackBerry. The carbonated soft drink market in India is estimated at Rs 7,000 crore. In the non-carbonated segment, Coca-Cola is in the process of setting up small-format cafes called Georgia Junctions, to generate growth for its Georgia coffee. Pepsi, meanwhile, is busy focussing up visibility of Lipton Ice tea, which it has introduced jointly with Hindustan Lever. Both firms are also focussing diet variants of their flagship cola brands.

Bajaj Auto to invest in Indonesia

India's second-biggest motorcycle brand, Bajaj Auto Ltd is all set to set up a manufacturing plant in Indonesia to tap south east Asian markets The Pune-based motorcycle brand, which enjoys a huge brand equity in the scooter segment and dominates the market for three-wheeled motorised rickshaws in India, is also planning to set up a plant in Brazil in about 18 months. The brand is expected to use its large cash pile to fund its global forays. which uses technology from Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd to make some models in the world's number two bike market after China, will look to entering other south east Asian markets.

Reliance Info introduces Wild Macaw

Reliance Infocomm Ltd one of the top Information Technology brands in India is out with a new initiative, The Wild Macaw club is set to cultivate outdoor travel as a habit and create new learning experiences. The target audience would be in the age group of 13 to 30 years, of travel enthusiasts, who like to discover, explore and have a passion for outdoor learning. The brand in looking at companies, schools and colleges for tie-ups. The Wild Macaw will be offering a line up of activities, including outdoor session for discussions, lectures and projects on various themes. Camping, trekking, rock climbing, nature trails, cycle treks, beach walks and jungle trips will be planned regularly. The Wild Macaw celebrated its launch with the culmination of a month-long contest, with the winners going for their first fun and education trip to Crocodile Bank for one night and two days. The club has also tied up with organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund, Dakshinachitra and Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd to leverage their experience in this area.