Business Today

Upfront

News you may have missed over the fortnight
     Print Edition: Jan 5, 2014
There was more than a touch of hype and hysteria as customers lined up for their turn to own the iPad Air and the new iPad Mini.. PHOTO: Aditya Kapoor

Going Bananas

  • There is something magical about Apple products when they first come off the shelves, yes, in India, too. There was more than a touch of hype and hysteria as customers lined up for their turn to own the iPad Air and the new iPad Mini. The iPad Air, which sports a starting price of Rs 35,990, marks the first major design change for the iPad since the iPad 2; it now has a thinner design.

Corporate


  • Finnish giant Nokia may have to exclude its Chennai plant from the $7.2-billion deal with Microsoft if tax issues facing the India unit are not resolved soon. The income-tax department had slapped a Rs 2,080-crore tax demand on Nokia for not withholding tax on the payment made to its parent as royalty for software used in its mobile phones.The shutting down of the Chennai plant will hit thousands of employees, according to Finland's foreign minister, Erkki Tuomioja.

  • Vodafone plans to invest $3 billion over the next two years. This is notwithstanding its Rs 12,000-crore tax dispute with the government. The company wants to spread its footprint in rural India.

  • Television network Star India has bagged the team sponsorship rights of the Indian cricket team for a period of three years. Star now holds all the three important rights in Indian cricket: broadcasting, series title and team sponsorship. The BCCI has declared Sahara's bid as ineligible.

  • The Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police has moved to recover a substantial part of the Rs 5,575 crore owed by National Spot Exchange (NSEL) to investors. Three properties, including one in Mumbai's Juhu area, owned by Jignesh Shah, chairman and group CEO of Financial Technologies (FTIL), are among the attached assets.

  • India's fourth-largest IT services exporter, Wipro Ltd, said it would acquire Opus Capital Markets Consultants LLC (Opus CMC), a US-based BPO provider of mortgage due diligence and risk management services, for $75 million - the company's 20th acquisition since 2000. Azim Premji-led Wipro has also decided to shut down its manufacturing of computers and servers because of the changing market scenario and consumer preferences.

  • India's fourth-largest IT services exporter, Wipro Ltd, said it would acquire Opus Capital Markets Consultants LLC (Opus CMC), a US-based BPO provider of mortgage due diligence and risk management services, for $75 million - the company's 20th acquisition since 2000. Azim Premji-led Wipro has also decided to shut down its manufacturing of computers and servers because of the changing market scenario and consumer preferences.

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has unveiled a plan to test drones as delivery vehicles as the world's e-commerce company works to improve efficiency. The gadgets, called octocopers, could carry as much as five pounds within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon fulfilment centre.

Economy


  • India's current account deficit, or CAD, narrowed in the quarter ended September as government measures to curb imports of non-essential items, especially gold, kicked in. The CAD, the excess of a country's imports of goods and services over exports, narrowed to $5.2 billion from $21 billion in the year-ago period, according to provisional RBI data. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the CAD for the year will be less than $60 billion, or 3 per cent of GDP, and the latest data suggests the government may achieve this target.

  • India was ranked 94th among the world's most corrupt nations list. Denmark and New Zealand topped as the cleanest, while Somalia emerged as the most corrupt.

  • India's services sector activity witnessed a moderate improvement in November over the previous month, even while indicating the fifth successive monthly contraction, according to the HSBC survey. The HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers Index for the services industry inched up to 47.2 in November from 47.1 in October, the fifth sub-50.0 reading and indicated an output contraction across the Indian service economy. An index value of below 50 indicates a contraction. The HSBC/Markit manufacturing PMI showed that the manufacturing sector witnessed an expansion in November for the first time since July.

  • $53 million: Estimated losses suffered by India due to phishing attacks during the third quarter, according to a study by RSA. India ranks fourth in the list of nations hit by phishing attacks. The US remained at the top of the charts. Phishing is the process of acquiring information such as user names, passwords and credit card details by sending e-mails disguised as official mails.

  • Rs 408 crore: Worth of mobile phonebased transactions by July 2013 compared to Rs 26 crore in September 2012, according to a Deloitte report. The number of transactions has shot up from 94,000 to 701,000.

Coming Up

  • India aims to earn Rs 40,000 crore from the bandwidth auction set for January, said Telecom Secretary M.F. Farooqui. The merger and acquisition guidelines, cleared by a group of ministers, will be out before the auction begins so that players can make informed decisions on the auctions.


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