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.