Here are some important news from the world of Business and Finance for the months of March / April 2012. Some of these are big news that can really help you answer questions in exams to be held later this year.
Pepsi to launch T20 football: Pepsi has come forward to launch a T20 football event which promises to ‘change the game’ under a revolutionary mega league format that will link various cities in the country. The matches are to be organised in cities like Chennai,Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai,Lucknow,Ludhiana andNew Delhi. The event is for amateur footballers in the age group of 14 to 30 years in seven-a-side teams. It is proposed to have 64 teams from each city in what will be a 20-minute knock-out event in the initial phase. The final in the respective city will be organised in a “unique metallic cage at a public venue with music, fun and Pepsi,” according to a press release on March 14, 2012.
Khazanah exits Yes Bank: The sovereign investment fund of Malaysian government, Khazanah Nasional, on March 12, 2012 sold its entire 4.2 per cent holdings in Yes Bank for $110 million (about Rs.550 crore). “They were keen to increase their stake to 10 per cent by converting their portfolio investment into a strategic one. Since the Reserve Bank norms do not allow more than 5 per cent stake by a single entity, they decided to monetise their investment at a high premium,’’ said Yes Bank founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Rana Kapoor. With this, the foreign holding in the bank had fallen to under 50 per cent. One of the leading foreign investors in the bank is theNetherlands’ largest retail bank Rabobank with 4.8 per cent stake.
Buy out Telenor or exit, CLB tells Unitech: The Company Law Board (CLB) on March 13, 2012 asked real estate firm Unitech to decide by March 19 if it wanted to buy its joint venture partner Telenor’s 67 per cent stake in Uninor or sell its 33 per cent stake to the Norwegian telecom firm. “You (Unitech) are given priority, whether you want to buy or sell (stake), you have to decide,” CLB Chairman Justice B. R. Deshmukh told Unitech. Observing that there is hostility between the two joint venture partners, the CLB said, “I see no other solution ...what can be done, you have to decide, whether you want to buy or sell out (stake).” The counsel appearing for Unitech suggested that there could be other solutions, such as a third party buying out stakes of both companies in Uninor. CLB asked Unitech to inform its decision by March 19, the next date for hearing.
BSE lists first company on SME platform: BSE, on March 13, 2012, launched operations of its SME Exchange platform with the first listing ceremony of BCB Finance Ltd. Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had granted permission to BSE last September to launch SME Exchange to offer a platform to small and medium companies to raise capital. Meanwhile, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also announced the launch of its SME platform on March 13. The new platform will be called, ‘EMERGE’.
Reliance launches CDMA Tab: The first CDMA Tab, priced at Rs. 12,999, was launched by Reliance Communications on March 12, 2012. The 7-inch capacitive touch screen Tab with Android 2.3 OS (operating system) comes with a 512 MB RAM and micro SD external storage. Weighing 397 gram, it has a 2 MP rear camera and a front camera. The company, which launched 3G Tab last year, is offering a free 4 GB SD card with the CDMA version. The device supports up to 32 GB storage. With the launch, Reliance becomes the first telecom operator in the country to offer Tabs on both the 3G and CDMA networks, a release said. It is also the first CMDA Android Tablet from an Indian telecom company. The Tab, with push e-mail capability, is bundled with ‘Documents to Go’ that supports Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint and PDF formats. Other features include Mobile TV, voice calling, GPS and video recording.
HM launches Pajero Sport: Hindustan Motors on March 12, 2012 introduced Pajero Sport, the new version of the popular sports utility vehicle (SUV) from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. Meanwhile, the Japanese automaker said it was planning to enter the fast-growing Indian small car market. Priced at Rs.23.53 lakh, Pajero Sport offers power of 178 PS. It also gives on-demand 4 WD (four-wheel drive) facility, rear stabiliser and a turning radius of 5.6 meters. Hindustan Motors (HM) manufactures Mitsubishi cars inIndia under a technical agreement, but Pajero Sport will be sold as completely built unit (CBU).
Etisalat starts to wind up in India: UAE-based Etisalat on March 12, 2012 said it had started proceedings for winding up operations of its Indian venture, but it was not clear if its Indian partners Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka had consented to the move. Following the Supreme Court order cancelling its 13 licences in February 2012, Etisalat had decided to shut down Etisalat DB Telecom (formerly Swan Telecom), affecting over 16.70 lakh mobile subscribers. “Recent events have led to a complete breakdown in the relationship between Etisalat and its Indian partners, Balwa and Goenka, who face various criminal charges of corruption associated with Swan’s acquisition of its UAS licences,” Etisalat said in a statement. It added that the company was “completely unaware of any issues or risks associated with the licences,” which were already owned by Swan when it made its investment. Since then, Etisalat has sued Balwa, Goenka and Majestic Infracon Pvt. Ltd. (formerly Tiger Trustees Pvt. Ltd.) for fraud and misrepresentation associated with soliciting Etisalat’s investment in Swan.
Tata Motors launches Tata Divo: Tata Motors, the country’s largest automobile manufacturer, has stepped into the super-luxury inter-city bus segment with the launch of the Tata Divo on March 14, 2012. Tata Divo is priced in the Rs 66 lakh-90 lakh bracket (ex-showroom Thane) with a seating capacity between 37 and 45. Compared to Volvo and Mercedes, it is priced 10 per cent lower. Tata Divo is already being sold as a global brand out of Europe under the Tata Hispano Motor Carrocera, Tata’s European subsidiary based inSpain. Along with Tata Divo, the company also launched new variants in the Tata Starbus Ultra range. These are in the mini- and mid-bus segments and will be available in the luxury, standard, school and deluxe variants.
Ford launches Fiesta Ambiente: Carmaker FordIndia on March 14, 2012 launched a new version of its mid-sized sedan Fiesta. The Fiesta Ambiente - available in petrol option and powered by a 1,500 cc engine - is priced at Rs 7.23 lakh, ex-showroomDelhi. The Ford Fiesta Ambiente is part of the Ford Fiesta line up. The Fiesta Ambiente will compete with the likes of Honda City and Hyundai Verna which are priced between Rs 6.99 lakh and Rs 10.30 lakh (ex—showroom Delhi), respectively.
Dilip Chhabria forays into aircraft interior biz with Air Works: Design guru Mr Dilip Chhabria (DC) has joined hands with the MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) firm Air Works to enter the aircraft interior refurbishment business. The duo developed a prototype of a mid-sized business jet’s interior and showcased at the India Aviation 2012 atHyderabad on March 14, 2012. Air Works said the partnership with DC Design would help it offer a one-stop-shop for its customers for aircraft interiors refurbishment and avionics upgrade.
Encyclopedia Britannica to stop print edition: Encyclopedia Britannica, a reference book in homes and libraries worldwide, will stop publishing the print edition for the first time in 244 years and shift focus to digital versions. The book-form of the encyclopedia first hit the print inScotland in 1768 and will stop being available after the current stocks run out, the Chicago-based company announced on March 14, 2012. The last edition of the 32-volume encyclopedia will be the 2010 one and the company said it will keep selling print editions until the current stock of around 4,000 sets runs out.