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AIR INDIA LAUNCHES DELHI-WASHINGTON FLIGHT

NEW DELHI: State-owned Air India on Thursday launched its first flight to Washington DC from New Delhi, thereby adding its fifth destination in the US. Air India has deployed its 238-seater Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft to cater to the new direct service to the US. The plane offers eight seats in first class, 35 in business and 195 in economy class. The launch took place at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in the presence of Charge de Affairs of US Embassy Marykay Loss Carlson, Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani, commercial director of Air India Pankaj Shrivastava, among other airline officials. Indian ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna, Lohani and Srivastava are also flying to Washington.

The occupancy on flights to Washington is at 90 percent for the month of July, according to the airline spokesperson. The airline will operate a bigger 321-seater Boeing 777- 300ER aircraft between July 9 and 17, he said.

Washington is the the fifth destination for Air India. The service to the US capital will be offered three times a week. The national carrier also plans to fly to other destinations in the US, such as Los Angeles and Houston among others. Air India’s operations to the US account for 20 percent of the total revenue of the national carrier. In the last fiscal, the state-owned carrier mopped up an estimated Rs 3,200 crore revenue, which is an increase of 17 percent over FY 2014-2015, from its US operations alone.

IDFC, SHRIRAM COS MAY MERGE TO CREATE RS 65,000CR FIN MAJOR

Mumbai: In an attempt to expand its reach in the retail sector, IDFC and IDFC Bank are evaluating options of either a buyout or a merger with companies in the financial sector. Mumbai-headquartered IDFC and IDFC Bank are exploring the option of a merger with Chennai-based financial services company Shriram Group. “A merger with Shriram Group is one of the proposals that IDFC is evaluating but nothing has been finalised yet which could be taken to the board level,” a source said. A merger of the two groups could form a major pan-India player in the financial services sector with total assets worth over $10 billion (about Rs 65,000 crore). The partners in Shriram Group are set to meet on Saturday to consider a merger of all its assets with IDFC group, sources said. Billionaire investor and dealmaker Ajay Piramal owns a 20% stake in Shriram Capital, the unlisted holding company. Piramal also holds stakes in some of the group’s subsidiaries. There is speculation in the market that Shriram Transport Finance and Shriram City Union, the two listed arms within the group, could be the possible targets for IDFC and IDFC Bank. On queries from the bourses, all the companies responded that as part of corporate strategy they continuously evaluate various opportunities that could add value to their businesses and stakeholders. The companies, however, said that there was no concrete proposal before their boards of directors. The current market capitalisation of the four listed arms from the two groups are over Rs 63,000 crore, BSE data showed.

GLENMARK PHARMA GETS USFDA NOD FOR HYPERTENSION MEDICINE

NEW DELHI: Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has received final approval from the US health regulator for Amlodipine and Olmesartan Medoxomil tablets, used in the treatment of hypertension. “Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA has been granted final approval by the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) for Amlodipine and Olmesartan Medoxomil tablets, 5 mg/20 mg, 5 mg/40 mg, 10 mg/20 mg, and 10 mg/40 mg,” the company said in a BSE filing. The approved product is a generic version of Daiichi Sankyo’s Azor. According to IMS Health sales data for the 12 months to May 2017, Azor tablets achieved annual sales of approximately $ 211.6 million, Glenmark said. The company’s current portfolio consists of 119 products authorised for distribution in the US marketplace and 66 Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDA) pending approval with the USFDA. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals’ shares were trading at Rs 666 per scrip on BSE, up 1.65 percent.

TOKIO MARINE RAISES STAKES IN IFFCO TOKIO GENERAL INSURANCE TO 49 PERCENT

NEW DELHI: World’s largest processed fertilisers cooperative, IFFCO has divested its 21.64 percent stake in its insurance arm, IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company Limited (IFFCO Tokio) to joint venture partner, Tokio Marine Asia Pte Ltd (TM Asia). Along with IFFCO, Indian Potash Limited (IPL) will also sell its 1.36 percent stake to TM Asia. The decision to divest was made after the government hiked the FDI limit in insurance sector to 49 percent. Upon acquisition of 23 percent stake in IFFCO Tokio for Rs 2,530 crores, the shareholding of TM Asia will increase from 26 percent to 49 percent. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has accorded approval for increasing shareholding of TM Asia. IFFCO entered the insurance sector in the year 2000 after insurance business was opened up for private sector with the objective of facilitating insurance services for farmers across villages of India.

INDIA TO CONTRIBUTE NEARLY 35 PERCENT OF TOTAL OFFICE ABSORPTION IN APAC IN 2017

MUMBAI: India will contribute 35 percent to total office absorption in the Asia Pacific region this year, according to a Cushman & Wakefield research report released on Friday. It said the region could reach a historic mark of 100 million sq ft (msf) of office space leasing in 2017, with India contributing a significant annual average of 32-35 msf during this period. India is also likely to witness an office supply of 125 msf between 2017- 2019, said the report. “More banks are planning to expand and grow their corporate banking and wealth management business. The BFSI sector is expected to account for 25 -30 percent of new leases in the next two to three years,” it said. Radical advances in e-commerce and mobile applications as well as breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and automation will “continue to reshape office growth drivers in Asia Pacific”. The ongoing technological changes and growth of the technology profession will continue to create demand for space, particularly in markets like Bengaluru, Manila, Hyderabad and Shenzhen, said the report. The C&W research showed that in the first half of 2017 Indian markets remain strong and are expected to see reasonable growth, despite the anticipated geo- political and economic disruptions. The banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector was the biggest driver of leasing activity in Asia Pacific. Prominent financial institutions have secured major leases over 50,000 sq ft in India, Hong Kong and Australia. New economy companies such as Uber, Grab and Alibaba have also been the most active tenants, accounting for nearly 20 percent of significant leases (over 50,000 sf) in the region.

 

VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTMENTS DIP 25 PC IN APR-JUNE

New Delhi, Jul 7 () Venture Capital investments slid to 78 deals worth USD 275 million during April-June this year, the lowest in any quarter for such investments in the last three years, says a report. According to data from Venture Intelligence, investment activity in the second quarter of 2017 was 25 percent lower compared to the same period in 2016 (which witnessed 104 investments worth USD 309 million). The activity level was seven percent lower compared to the immediate previous quarter (January-March) which witnessed 84 deals worth USD 349 million. “While challenges in Consumer Internet & Mobile sector had become quite apparent last year, they are beginning to reflect quite starkly in terms of VC investment figures during 2017,” Venture Intelligence Founder & CEO Arun Natarajan said. The largest VC investment during June quarter was Sequoia Capital’s USD 20 million commitment to shared office space provider Awfis. IT & ITeS companies attracted 54 investments worth USD 180 million (69 percent of the activity pie) – down 33 percent compared to April-June of 2016. Financial Services firms led by OneAssist (USD 18 million) and Ummeed Housing Finance (USD 5.5 million)- attracted four investments worth USD 25 million. Seed rounds witnessed a steep 53 percent fall in the second quarter of 2017 to 22 transactions (compared to the 47 deals in April-June 2016). The Series A round (or First Round of institutional investments) was the only category to witness a rise, climbing 15 percent in the second quarter to 39 transactions, the Venture Intelligence analysis showed.

CASHEW RISES ON BUYING SUPPORT

New Delhi, Jul 7 () Cashew prices rose by Rs 5 per kg in the national capital today on increased buying by retailers and stockists amid low stocks. Furthermore, fall in supplies from growing regions also supported the uptrend. Cashew kernel No 180, No 210, No 240 and No 320 rose by Rs 5 each to conclude at Rs 1,075-1,085, Rs 950-960 Rs 900-925 and Rs 800-825 per kg, respectively. Marketmen said increased buying by retailers and stockists against restricted supplies from growing belts, mainly pushed up cashew prices to rise. Following are today’s quotations (per 40 kgs): Almond (California) Rs 17,200-17,400, almond (gurbandi) Rs 11,900-12,000, almond (girdhi) Rs 5,000-5,100; abjosh afghani Rs 8,000-23,000, almond kernel (california) Rs 625-630 per kg, almond kernel (gurbandi) Rs 725-800 per kg, chilgoza (Roasted) (1 kg) Rs 2,400-2,600, cashew kernel 1 kg (no 180) Rs 1,075-1,085 cashew Kernel (no 210) Rs 950-960, cashew kernel (no 240) Rs 900-925, cashew kernel (no 320) Rs 800-825, cashew kernel broken 2 pieces Rs 665-765, cashew kernel broken 4 pieces Rs 650-765, cashew kernel broken 8 pieces Rs 545-655, copra (qtl) Rs 8,500-10,500, coconut powder (25 kgs) Rs 3,900 -4,300, dry dates Red (qtl) Rs 2,400-12,000, fig Rs 20,000- 26,000, kishmish kandhari local Rs 10,000-15,000, kishmish kandhari special Rs 9,000-21,000, kishmish Indian yellow Rs 3,400-4,800, kishmish Indian green Rs 5,200-7,500, pistachio Irani Rs 1,000-1,100, pistachio hairati Rs 1,380-1,450, pistachio peshawari Rs 1,500-1,550, pistachio dodi (roasted) 700-800, walnut Rs 270-380 and walnut kernel (1 kg) Rs 780- 1,300. DP SUN DPL BAL

DIPP TO HOLD MEETING NEXT WEEK ON NEW FDI APPROVAL SYSTEM

New Delhi, Jul 7 () The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has convened a meeting of 11 ministries including finance on July 13 to discuss the new system of approval of FDI proposals. Foreign investments in bulk of the sectors are allowed under the automatic route. Currently, only 11 sectors, including defence and retail trading, require government approval for Foreign Direct Investment. This is the first meeting on FDI approvals related issues after abolition of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), a ministry official said. The DIPP, under the commerce and industry ministry, has issued a detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) for clearance and approvals of FDI applications which require government’s nod. As per SOP, the government will clear all FDI proposals requiring approval within a maximum of 10 weeks after the receipt of an application. Proposals for foreign investment in sectors/activities requiring government approval would be filed online on the revamped FIPB portal, rechristened as Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal (FIFP). Proposals not requiring security clearance would be cleared in eight weeks and applications that require security nod would take a cumulative time period of ten weeks. FDI applications which require security clearances include investments in broadcasting, telecommunications, satellites, private security agencies, defence and civil aviation. Investments from Pakistan and Bangladesh also need security approvals. The move is aimed at improving business environment for investors. FDI in 2016-17 grew by 9 percent to USD 43.47 billion. Foreign investments are considered crucial for India, which needs over USD 1 trillion for overhauling its infrastructure sector such as ports, airports and highways to boost growth. They also help improve the country’s balance of payments situation and strengthen the rupee value against other global currencies, especially the US dollar.

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