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RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS, DIGNITY, NHRC TELLS BUSINESSES

KOLKATA: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized East Regional Conference on Business Human Rights in Kolkata on Friday. The objective of the Conference, the third of its kind, is to share the developments in the area of business and human rights besides hearing experiences and views of stakeholders.

Justice Darmar Murugesan, Member of NHRC said that availability and accessibility of human rights are an important measure of human well being universal in nature. It is crucial that business enterprises respect human rights culture in the country by their conduct and operations. “Undoubtedly, the Government has a responsibility and has taken initiatives to protect the people against the violation of human rights, at the same time, business organizations also need to shoulder the responsibility to respect human rights,” he said.

He said the United Nation’s Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights developed by John Ruggie and endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 rests on three pillars – Protection, Respect and Remediation. The second pillar elaborates on corporate responsibility to respect human rights which entails twin responsibilities on the part of businesses.

He further said although respect of human rights remains a voluntary obligation for companies, it is receiving wide support, of late, paving the way for implementation of Guiding Principles in responsible business efforts.

Dr Satya N Mohanty, Secretary General of NHRC while talking in context of responsibility of business to respect human rights added that it has become a much more simpler task for the businesses ever since the Sustainable Development Goals 2013 itself has come out with one agenda item on ‘responsible business’.

He highlighted the aspect of ‘knowing’ and ‘showing’ embedded in UNGPs which emphasizes that the company should know and be able to show that they respect human rights by conducting due diligence process on continuous basis. He also highlighted the importance of mapping of supply chains by businesses to identify the adverse human rights impacts.

Mr Avijit Mukerji, Regional Managing Partner and Assurance Leader, East, PwC, said the canvas of CSR for most companies is limited to consciously choosing two important areas – education and sustainable development. He also stressed upon the importance of embedding human rights framework in business operations which would substantially help them in building their reputation in the market.

Mr Sushanta Sen, Principal Adviser of CII, listed some recent initiatives of CII and highlighted the importance of industrial relations and ensuring equally, dignity of regular and contract workers – through payment of reasonable wages.

JBM AUTO POSTS 25.77% JUMP IN NET PROFIT

CHENNAI: Auto ancillary company JBM Auto reported a 25.77% jump in its net profit to Rs 65.88 crore in FY16-17 compared to a net profit of Rs 52.38 crore reported for the financial year 2015-16.

Net sales recorded for the financial year were Rs 1,790.23 crore as compared to Rs 1,517.76 crore in the previous financial year.

For the fourth quarter, JBM Auto reported a profit of Rs 13.47 crore compared to Rs 9.67 crore in the same period last year. JBM Auto’s Q4 FY2017 sales, including other operating income, stood at Rs 467.47 crore compared to Rs 422.11 crore in Q4 of FY2016, registering a year-on-year increase of 10.75%.

The earnings per share (EPS) for FY2017 stood at Rs 15.91, compared to Rs 12.39 in the same period last year. On the basis of strong financial performance, the board has recommended a dividend of 40% (Rs 2 per share) for the approval of the shareholders.

JBM’s in-house R&D, based in Delhi-NCR, works in sync with its three international R&D centres in Italy, China and the UK. JBM Group is involved in the design of all vehicle segments right from concept stage including packaging and engineering projects with Fiat, Escorts, Volkswagen Group, Mercedes-Benz/Daimler, Kamaz, Ashok Leyland, Piaggio, Volvo and other OEMs. At the top end of the spectrum, JBM’s engineering services to Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren are able to provide higher margins and brand equity.

BANKS START DEBT RESOLUTION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST RCOM

MUMBAI: Lenders to Reliance Communications (RCom) placed the cash-strained telecom company under a strategic debt restructuring exercise (SDR). An SDR is a debt-recovery programme under which lenders convert debt to equity and sell the business to new owners.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules require that banks get control of at least 51% shares in the company through debt conversion and sell the business within 18 months of initiation of SDR. However, RCom’s lenders have agreed to wait until seven months before they convert debt to equity.

RCom has debts of over Rs 45,700 crore on its books and it intends to reduce this by Rs 25,000 crore through a merger of its mobile services unit with Aircel and a sale of its interest in the telecom tower business to Canada’s Brookfield. The company’s current market capitalisation is Rs 5,139 crore.

“We met the lenders on Friday and presented our plan for strategic transformation and I am happy to report that our plan has been accepted by them,” said Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance Communications. Ambani added that creditors have given the company time till end of December to seal the two transactions which would reduce RCom’s debt by 60%.

 

ELON MUSK’S TWEET LEAVES AUTO INDUSTRY WONDERING

NEW DELHI: Elon Musk, the founder of American electric carmaker Tesla, highlighted India’s plans to shift to an all-electric fleet by 2030, just hours after quitting from US President Donald Trump’s advisory council over his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

Musk’s words were lapped up by Anand Mahindra, the chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra, who invited the US businessman to India for selling his green cars.

“India commits to sell only electric cars by 2030. It is already the largest market for solar power,” Musk tweeted, an apparent reference to India’s growing efforts towards promoting cleaner energy.

Mahindra, who has large plans in the electric vehicle space, responded to Musk’s tweet. “Time you got out Elon. You don’t want to leave that whole market to Mahindra do you?? The more the merrier–and greener..!,” Mahindra -who is usually very active on the social media -tweeted. Musk acknowledged Mahindra’s comment with a “good point :)” tweet.

Industry experts and companies say Musk’s comments are more as a posturing against Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate deal. The electric vehicle ecosystem is in its infancy in the country and it will take years to gain popularity.

Musk has been showing interest of bringing his electric car to India, though he recently raised some doubts over certain regulatory concerns. However, the Indian government dispelled his apprehensions and said that businessman was welcome to invest in India.

The chatter of Mush and Mahindra was lapped up by the twitterati, who had many comments to offer to the two businessmen.

ECONOMY TO BOUNCE BACK NEXT QUARTER, EXPECT 7.5 % GROWTH THIS FISCAL: NITI AYOG

Niti Ayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya on Friday, said that India’s economy is expected to grow at 7.5% in the fiscal ending in March 2018. Speaking at a press conference, he said that the economy will witness a “good” turnaround as early as the next (April-June) quarter itself.

He further said that the growth rate will accelerate to above 8 per cent in 2019.

Panagariya re-imposed faith in the country’s economy after the GDP growth slowed down to 7.1 per cent year-on-year in 2016-17. The GDP growth in the January-March quarter came down to 6.1%, with which India lost the tag of the fastest growing economy. Analysts quoted demonetisation as the main reason behind the slump although Finance Minister Arun Jaitley denied these claims in a press conference on Thursday.

KKR EYES BIGGER DEALS WITH RECORD $9.3BN FUND FOR ASIA, SEEKS RBI NOD FOR 100% ARC

Mumbai: Storied American investor KKR & Co plans to chase bigger buyout deals in India even as it announced a new $9.3-billion Asia fund, making it the largest private equity pool dedicated to investing in the region. Nearly one-fourth of the record fund may be deployed in India with KKR gearing up to become possibly the first foreign investor to run a 100% asset reconstruction company (ARC) in the country.

“We have ploughed nearly $8 billion in private equity investments and financing support to Indian companies in the past eight years. The new Asian fund gives us an opportunity to look at bigger transactions as domestic corporations seek de-consolidation and value maximisation,” Sanjay Nayar, chief executive, KKR India, told TOI. The firm has invested $3.2 billion in private equity deals, besides extending more than $1 billion annually in financing through corporate- and real estate-focused NBFCs.

KKR has filed an application with the Reserve Bank of India to start a fully owned ARC to pursue deals for distressed assets in the country. It had earlier planned to acquire majority stake in International Asset Reconstruction Company, in which HDFC Bank, Tata Capital, ICICI Bank and City Union Bank are investors.

KKR opened its Mumbai office in 2009, though it has been investing in the market since 2006. KKR’s existing India PE investments include Aricent, Avendus Capital, Bharti Infratel, Cafe Coffee Day, Emerald Media, Magma Fincorp, SBI Life and Max Financial Services. In the past 12 months, KKR exited from portfolio companies such as Alliance Tire Group, Gland Pharma, Dalmia Bharat Group and TVS Logistics in deals totalling almost $2 billion. Recently, it made a second $900-million investment in Bharti Infratel following one in 2008.

GVK GROUP TO FLY OUT OF BENGALURU AIRPORT

Hyderabad: City-based infra player GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd (GVKPIL) on Friday informed the bourses that its board has agreed to divest the company’s remaining 10% stake in Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) to FIH Mauritius Investments Ltd (FMIL, a part of Fairfax Group) for a consideration of Rs 1,290 crore, marking its exit from the project.

“The board of directors has approved the sale of residual 3,84,60,000 equity shares of Rs 10 each corresponding to 10% of the issued and paid up share capital in BIAL held by GVK Airport Developers Limited through Bangalore Airport & Infrastructure Developers Private Limited (BAIDPL), a step down subsidiary of the company, to FIH Mauritius Investments Ltd (FMIL) and/or its affiliates at an aggregate purchase consideration of Rs 1,290 crore,” the company said in a regulatory filing.

According to the company, the proceeds of the sale will be used to pare debts and the transaction is expected to be completed by early 2018.

GVK Group founder chairman and managing director, G V K Reddy, said, “Notwithstanding this sale, the airport sector will continue to be a core focus area for GVK…Our immediate focus will now be on Mumbai and Navi Mumbai airports and on selectively evaluating privatisation opportunities. This reduced debt burden gives us flexibility and releases management bandwidth to focus on these projects.”

“Capacity optimisation and real estate development will be the key focus areas for the existing Mumbai airport. Having won the bid for the Navi Mumbai airport, we are excited to deliver yet another world class airport,” he added.

RETAILERS ASSOCIATION OF INDIA SETS UP GST HELPDESK

CHENNAI: Retailers Association of India (RAI) has set up a desk to help its members understand GST. Through the helpdesk, member retailers across the country can resolve their queries by subject matter experts and facilitate a smoother transition to GST.

“Members of RAI deal with a variety of goods and services as they represent various retail formats and segments such as supermarkets, garment retail, jewellery and quick service restaurants. Many of them are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) located in various parts of the country. We also have international retailers representing various formats as our members. As they move into a new and complex regime, a helpdesk with seasoned experts on the panel will help extract collective wisdom and ease the move towards GST,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India.

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