Welcome 2012IACC NewsletterIssue #1, January 2012 By IACC Head Office, Mumbai
IndexContents Index ................................................................................................................................ 2 President’s Message ......................................................................................................... 4 From the Secretary General’s Desk .................................................................................... 6 Happenings at IACC ........................................................................................................... 7 Indo-US Corporate News ................................................................................................. 23Boeing looks to expand association with BEL ....................................................................................... 23Intel Capital homes in on three Indian start-ups for investment ......................................................... 23GAIL inks $20 billion deal with US firm ................................................................................................. 24Reliance Industries to Enter Financial Services in JV with New York based DE Shaw .......................... 25KFC overtakes Pizza Hut as Yum!s largest brand in India .................................................................... 25Kotak Mahindra Capital, Evercore Tie Up for Cross-border M&A Services .......................................... 26Indo-US CEO Forum asked for FDI in retail: Govt. ................................................................................ 26Pizza Hut to operate 250 restaurants in India by 2015......................................................................... 27Dell to increase focus on small & medium businesses ......................................................................... 28 India’s Investments in U.S ................................................................................................ 29RIL Buys Stake in US Nuclear Reactor Design Company ....................................................................... 29Ventureast Invests $5 Million in Orca Systems..................................................................................... 29Aditi Technologies Announces Acquisition of Cumulux, Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year ............ 29 US investments in India ................................................................................................... 31Goldman Sachs Acquires 6.47% Stake in Max India ............................................................................. 31Morgan Stanley to pump in $125 million in Mumbai realty ................................................................. 31Equity International to invest $75 million in SAMHI............................................................................. 31Bunge Inc. To Acquire Edible Oil Business of Amrit Group for $ 78 million ......................................... 32AptarGroup Inc. buys Hyderabad’s TKH Plastics for $18 million .......................................................... 33US-based Briggs & Stratton Acquires Premier Power For $3M ............................................................ 33HT Media and Apollo Global Inc., Form Joint Venture to Provide Educational Services ...................... 34US Realty Co Portman Holdings Picks Stake in Pune’s Tuscan Estate................................................... 34Omnicom Group Inc. Enters Agreement to Acquire Majority Stake in Indias Mudra Group .............. 35Caterpillar expanding in India: to invest $ 3 billion in next 5 years ...................................................... 36Not-for-profit Teach For India Secures $2.5M From Omidyar Network............................................... 36Norwest Invests $5 million in Former eBay India Heads E-com Start-up ............................................ 37UTC Climate Acquires Controlling Stake in Agnice Fire Protection ...................................................... 38
In the News..................................................................................................................... 39Visa norms for expats working at senior positions relaxed .................................................................. 39US appoints first woman Ambassador to India .................................................................................... 40US University to launch residency Programme in India........................................................................ 41US House approves bill seeking faster green cards for Indian tech professional’s news ..................... 41Farokh Balsara, Ernst & Young India Media and Entertainment Leader to now lead the EMEIA ........ 42Mr. Hemant Sonawala honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award by CSI …………………………………….42HARMAN CEO, Dinesh Paliwal Receives Prestigious Corporate Leadership Award ............................. 43US keen to partner with India on healthcare........................................................................................ 44India is third-largest buyer of US arms ................................................................................................. 45US, India advance bilateral relationship despite frictions .................................................................... 45DGHI Receives USAID Award for Indoor Air Pollution Research........................................................... 47US plans to provide technical assistance for setting up 30 agricultural hubs in the eastern states. ... 48Anti-outsourcing US bill targets Indian call centers .............................................................................. 48DuPont rejigs leadership in India .......................................................................................................... 49Mahindras US emission certificate to expire in December.................................................................. 50India, US discuss economic, strategic cooperation............................................................................... 51Moodys upgrades Indias debt rating .................................................................................................. 53India, US discuss civil nuclear and other issues .................................................................................... 53USTR Announces Results of Special 301 Review of Notorious Markets ............................................... 54 Indo-US Trade Statistics ................................................................................................... 56 Calendar of IACC Events for 2011-12 ................................................................................ 58 International Trade shows ............................................................................................... 59 How to reach us: ............................................................................................................. 74
President’s MessageChange is the only constant. In the last two months of 2011,S&P and Fitch downgraded several major banks. A couple ofdays ago, S&P stripped France of its prized AAA credit ratingand downgraded eight other European countries. Globaleconomic turmoil continues. Natural disasters, climatechange, political unrest in parts of the world, economicinequality etc. are growing.In the midst of this each of us, individually and as a society, need to ask ourselves about the bigger picture.Criticism of others is easy and therefore common, but largely meaningless. Self-assessment and contributionto the common good can be far more meaningful. Adaptation to the realities of today, rather than rigidlyfollowing systems and thought-processes that were put in place in a different era, are essential. Increasedtrust and participation, rather than distrust and growing distance between stakeholders, can only help. Whilechecks and balances are important, these can also result in paralysis in action for fear of retribution. In theUSA and India we elect our leaders. Having done that, how do we support them?What tools do we need to create more entrepreneurs amongst our youth? More thought leaders, and sharingof positive thoughts rather than mindless criticism? Less greed and more compassion? A sense of securitythrough our education systems, rather than insecurities amongst the educated. How can IACC play a biggerand better role as a bilateral chamber of commerce between two great countries and its people?IACC continues to have meaningful events and interactions on various relevant issues. I mention some ofthese below.We supported the International Taxation Conference organized by Foundation for International Taxation (FIT),which was held in Mumbai on 1st December, 2011. This provided an effective platform for informed debate onthe proposed Direct Tax Code, International Tax Structuring for Investing Abroad; Indirect Tax Development;Anti-Avoidance Rules, Practices and Treaties; Transfer Pricing & recent International Taxation Developments inIndia & abroad. The conference attracted 530 delegates from about 35 countries. Nearly 40 senior IndianRevenue officials took part in the deliberations of the conference, with experts including Mr. R N Dash,Director General, International Trade and Mr. Sanjay Mehra, India’s Competent Authority.Our focus on development of SME’s and for bringing about synergy between Indian and US business is wellrecognized. We have been organizing programs for SMEs across the country. Mr. Mitul I. Desai, SeniorAdvisor for Strategic Partnerships, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State,addressed a round table on SMEs held by IACC in Mumbai, 20th December, 2011. An IACC supported SMESummit was organized on 8th December, 2011 in Ahmedabad. Importantly, a one-day sensitization Workshopwas jointly organized by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Varanasi Branch. MSME – DevelopmentInstitute, Varanasi and Ramnagar Industrial Association, Chandauli on the topic “Sensitization Workshop onWorld Trade Organization (W.T.O.)” on 17th December, 2011.IACC has been providing a platform for Indian and US experts for sharing information and expertise to makeour relationship more dynamic and sustainable. IACC’s Kerala branch, jointly with the National Institute ofPersonnel Management, Trivandrum organized an interactive session with Ms. Jennifer A McIntyre, Consul
General, U.S. Consulate, Chennai, at Trivandrum on 12th December, 2011. Ms. McIntyre addressed theaudience on ‘Indo-US Economic Management’. She also addressed a meeting organized by IACC atPondicherry on Monday, 5th December, 2011 to explore opportunities in enhancing business ties between U.Sbusinesses and the City of Pondicherry. Mr. James Golsen, Principal Commercial Officer, Chennai ConsulateGeneral presented an overview of the support of U.S. Commercial Service in India for promotion of Indo-UStrade.Visa issues are often discussed. We provide a platform for direct interface with US authorities on this sensitivematter. An update on U.S. business visas was given by Mr. Michael Cathey, Chief of Non-Immigrant Visas, U.S.Consulate, Chennai on 5th December, 2011 in Pondicherry. A similar Interactive Session on US VisaApplications and procedure was also held on 22nd December, 2011 at Kolkata, by the Eastern Regional Councilof IACC. Ms. Jessica Pfleiderer, US Vice Counsel, US Consulate, Kolkata addressed the meeting.We have some excellent upcoming events and delegations. Let us work together to contribute to a bettertomorrow.Anand DesaiNational President, IACC
From the Secretary General’s DeskDear Members,IACC has come a long way in rendering over 43 years of service to the nation, business, trade and industry. Ourgoal is to make IACC a one stop-shop on Indo-US Business and Trade. We at IACC are constantly evolving andaddressing the industry needs and their expectations. In order to facilitate business collaborations we areproviding B2B services. I would urge you to register your organization under the B2B program if you have notalready done so.IACC welcomes and looks forward to Ms. Nancy Powell as the US Ambassador to India. Ms. Powel is not onlythe first woman to head the US mission in Delhi, but also the first career diplomat to take over the crucial postin nearly 15 years. IACC has worked and interacted with her during her earlier stint as political counselor inDelhi and as Consul General in Kolkata.I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Past National Presidents Mr. Hemant Sonawalaon being conferred the ‘Life Time Achievement Award” by Computer Society of India and Mr. Farokh T. Balsaraon being appointed as the Media & Entertainment industry leader for Europe, Middle East, India & Africa(EMEIA) region for E&Y. Based in Mumbai, Farokh has been Ernst & Young’s M&E Practice Leader in India.This issue covers regular features like Indo-US Corporate News, Happenings @ IACC, Indo-US Trade Statistics,IACC’s upcoming events, International trade fairs in USA & India amongst others. This newsletter is anattempt to further the cause of increasing trade between Indo-US Business Houses. We hope you find thisendeavor useful and inspiring.R.K. ChopraSecretary General, IACC
Happenings at IACC International Taxation Conference – 2011 December 1-3, 2011, ITC Maratha Hotel, Mumbai Roy Rohatgi, welcoming delegates at the International Tax Conference 2011 supported by IACC at ITC Maratha Hotel, Mumbai R.K. Chopra addressing the audience during the conference
A section of the audience at International Taxation ConferenceIACC supported the International Taxation Conference organized by Foundation for InternationalTaxation (FIT), held at ITC Maratha Hotel in Mumbai from December 1-3, 2011. There were 530delegates with over a third of them from overseas from around 35 countries. Nearly 40 senior IndianRevenue officials attended the conference, including Mr. R N Dash, Director General of InternationalTaxation, and Mr. Sanjay Mishra, Indias competent authority, as speakers. On final day Mr. MukeshJoshi presided over the concluding session of the conference.This conference encourages open dialogue for exchange of ideas between the taxpayers and taxadministration, which was also covered by Bloomberg TV Channel as media partners. Experts from allover the world held discussions on Direct Tax Code; International Tax Structuring for Investing Abroad;Indirect Tax Development; Anti-Avoidance Rules, Practices and Treaties; Transfer Pricing & recentInternational Taxation Developments in India & abroad.
West India CouncilCommemoration and opening of the new U.S. Consulate General Mumbai, on December 16, 2011(L-R) Mr. Anand Trivedi, Regional Director, IACC-WIC; Mr. Anand Desai National President, IACC with Mr. William J. Burns, U. S. Deputy Secretary of State at the commemoration and opening of the new U.S. Consulate General in MumbaiSME Roundtable Discussion with Mr. Mitul Desai, Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships, Bureau of South & Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State on December 23, 2011, at the Jayant Dalal, Conference Room, Churchgate, Mumbai.Mr. Mitul I. Desai, Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Departmentof State in round table discussion with the IACC SME and Committee Members and Dr. L. S. Kanodia, Regional President, IACC – WIC.
Mr. Mitul I. Desai discussing & highlighting the importance of linking U.S. and Indian SMEs with IACC SME and Committee Members.Mr. Mitul I. Desai, receiving the memento of Lord Ganesha & a bouquet of flowers from Dr. Kanodia, Regional President,IACC & Ms. Poorvi Chothani, IACC - WIC Committee Member & Managing Partner, LawquestMr. Mitul I. Desai, Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S.Department of State met IACC Regional President, IACC members and the secretariat on 20th December, 2011at the IACC office for a round table discussion. The meeting was interactive and mainly focused on mappingthe landscape of how Indian SMEs think about their US counterparts, how do they learn about opportunities inthe US, the challenges and opportunities and variances in sectors.Members shared their experiences and ways in which SMEs in India and the US could work together. Mr. MitulDesai thanked the members present and IACC for convening such an informative session.
Pune Branch“Master keys that Control World Trade” a talk by Mr. Praful Talera on December 9, 2011 Mr. Praful Talera, M.D, Dynamic Logistics delivering the talk. Crowd Interacting with Mr. Praful Talera during the session
Mr. Praful Talera being felicitated by Mr. Amarnath Mahashabde, Chairman, IACC-PuneIndo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Pune Branch, invited my Mr. Praful Talera- MD DynamicLogistics, to present a talk on “Master keys that Control World Trade”.Through his talk, Mr. Talera explained that there are certain specific points on the globe which are vital notjust for the conduct of world trade, commerce and economics but also its politics. These are the fundamentalpremises on which everything in the modern world is based – its geopolitics as well as its geo-economics. TheBritish Empire at its peak controlled, of these choke points and the Ottoman Empire before them controlled. “Innovation at Breakfast” Session – 4 on “Innovation for Emerging Markets” on December 16, 2011, at Le Meridien, Pune Mr. Amar Variawa, GM Manufacturing Services- John Deere Technology Center, addressing the audience
Mr. Variawa shared his views & examples on what elements of Innovation are important for countries like India and where do they need to be assessed with a different perspective. Panel Discussion & Interactive Session in progressPanelists (L-R) Mr. Sunil Earath- VP Operations of Battelle India, Mr. Suresh Joshi – MD of Cache Technologies Pvt. Ltd.,Mr. Prashant Pansare MD & CEO Inteliment Software Tech I Pvt. Ltd. & Mr. Amar Variawa
Mr. Ashutosh Parasnis, M.D, PTC Software (India) Pvt. Ltd. Interacting with the crowd, while seated are the panelists during the Interactive sessionIACC Pune Branch conducted the 4th Session of the Innovation at Breakfast Series at Le Meridien, Pune. Thetopic for the Session was “Innovation for Emerging Markets” presented by Mr. Amar Variawa, GeneralManager- Manufacturing Services, John Deere Technology Centre, PuneThe session was well received and attended by 25 participants of known organizations like Eaton IndustrialSystems Pvt. Ltd., Schlumberger, Vodafone, Battelle India, Deloitte Haskins & Sells, Inteliment TechnologiesPvt. Ltd etc. to name a few.
Gujarat Branch SME SUMMIT-2011, December 8, 2011 at Cambay Grand, Ahmedabad (L-R) Mr. Nanda Nandan Mahapatra-VC, Textile Association India, Ahmedabad Unit (TAI), Mr. Sunil Kakkad, Chairman, IACC Gujarat Branch, Mr. Jaimin R. Vasa, President, Gujarat Chemical Association (GCA), Mr. Vishad Rahangdale, Chief Information Officer, Electrotherm IndiaSME Summit was organized in Ahmedabad. This SME Summit helped participants to learn how to set up andgrow a business, as well as business practices that lead to success. The conference was a platform for SMEs toshowcase their expertise, interact with colleagues and experts, along with learning about new opportunities tobe explored.Following two enthralling panel discussions and three individual sessions formed the power packed agenda ofthe summit.A New Business Technology Paradigm: The New Promise of Information TechnologyThe panel discussion was chaired by Mr. Sunil Kakkad Chairman-IACC, Gujarat Branch. He gave a widespectrum of knowledge on why and how Technology should be adapted into your business, other speakers forthe summit were, Mr. Jaimin R. Vasa, President, GCA; Mr. Nanda Nandan Mahapatra, Vice Chairman, TAI; Mr.Vishal Rahangdale, CIO, Electrotherm India, spoke extensively about technology.The Changing Role of CFOs in SMEsCFO is a financial conscience of the organization. CFOs can turn SMEs into strategically and smartly managedwith various financial and non-financial value drivers. This panel was addressed by Mr. Vikram Oza, Director-Finance, Jindal Worldwide; Mr. Naveen Bohra, CFO, Metro Tel Work; Mr. Subir Basak, CEO, CelestialBiologicals; Mr. Ashutosh Y Shukla, MD, Aerotherm Products. The highly enthusiastic delegates werecaptivated with the first-hand perspective they got on some of the most essential aspects which defines thesurvival, existence and growth of any business.IACC, Gujarat Branch was Associate partner to the SME Summit organized by Silicon India at Ahmedabad.Silicon India is 13-year old media firm. They publish two technology & business magazines—one in the U.S andthe other in India.Expert’s opinion was “SME Summit Ahmedabad is a platform for the SME Owners to turn ideas into profitableones”. The Summit was followed by dinner
North India Council Varanasi BranchSensitization Workshop on World Trade Organization (W.T.O.), December 17, 2011, at KLG Motiwala Smriti Bhawan, Varanasi CA Mukul Kumar Shah, Chairman, IACC, Varanasi Branch addressing the audience(R-L) CA Mukul Kumar Shah , Mr. J.C. Pandey, Director, MSME – Development Institute, Allahabad, Mr. R.K. Chaudhary, President, Ram Nagar Industrial Association, Chandauli, Mr. Indra Mohan Dubey, Joint Director of Industries, Varanasi Mandal, Varanasi, Mr. D.K. Srivastava, Dy. Director In-charge, Br. MSME – Development Institute, Varanasi
Audience during the ProgrammeOne day sensitization Workshop was jointly organized by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, U.P. Branch,Varanasi, Br. MSME – Development Institute, Varanasi and Ramnagar Industrial Association, Chandauli on thetopic, “Sensitization Workshop on World Trade Organization (W.T.O.)” on 17th December, 2011 in Varanasi atKanhaiya Lal Gupta Motiwala Smriti Bhawan, Rathyatra, Varanasi. Mr. Indra Mohan Dubey, Joint Director ofIndustries, Varanasi Mandal, Varanasi was the Chief Guest and Mr. R.K. Chaudhary, President, Ram NagarIndustrial Association, Chandauli was Guest of Honour. The function was presided over by Mr. J.C. Pandey,Director, MSME – Development Institute, Allahabad. Mr. I.B. Singh, Assistant Director, Br. MSME –Development Institute, Chandpur, Varanasi was instrumental in organizing this Programme. Dr. ShardulChaubey, Reader, School of Management Sciences, Varanasi about “WTO Structure, Functions and its Multi-Fibre Agreement” and Dr. Ravi Shekhar Vishal, Lecturer, School of Management Sciences, Varanasi appraisedon the topic, “Tariff Barriers, Opportunities for MSMEs Scenario, Benefits to Exporters.” Mr. D.K. Srivastava, Dy. Director In-charge, Br. MSME – Development Institute, Chandpur, Varanasi welcomedparticipants and guests of the Workshop and expressed the hope that latest information imparted in theProgramme would immensely benefit the participants and help in solving some of the seriousmisapprehension about the implication of various provisions of the W.T.O. Addressing the audience, ChiefGuest Mr. Indra Mohan Dubey said that five cluster scheme are being planned to develop in Varanasi, Bhadohiand Mirzapur. CA Mukul Kumar Shah, Chairman, IACC, U.P. Branch, Varanasi briefed the audience aboutvarious activities of the IACC, Varanasi. He also spoke about G.I. Registration of Bhadohi Carpet and role ofIACC in obtaining the same. Speaker Dr. Shardul Chaubey, Reader, School of Management Sciences, Varanasicovered following salient features of W.T.O.:The root of World Trade Organization (started on 1st January, 1995) lays in General Agreement on Tariffs andTrade (GATT) which was established in 1948 by 23 original founders – India being one of them. At presentW.T.O. have nearly 149 countries. It covered all Trade from toothbrushes to pleasure boats, from banking totelecommunications, from genes of wild rice to AIDS treatment. It was quite simply the largest tradenegotiation ever undertaken in human history.Functions of WTO: The WTO is the umbrella organization responsible for overseeing implementation of allagreements – multilateral (signed by all WTO members) and plurilateral (signed by a group of members forspecific issue) that have been negotiated under Uruguay Round of will be negotiated in future. Secondly, it isto provide a forum for further negotiations on matters covered by the agreements as well as on new issues.Thirdly, it is responsible for settlement of disputes among member nations. Fourthly, it is responsible forperiodic reviews of the Trade policies of the member’s nations.
Detailed and clear guidelines have been provided in the WTO agreement, on carrying out of these functions asdispute settlement body of appellate body, trade review body, implementation of reports, issues ofcompliance, etc.The fundamental basis of trade under W.T.O. is to treat other countries equally – meaning that countriescannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. For example, if one country grants a specialfavor to someone (such as a lower customs duty rate for one or more products), then that particular countryhave to do the same for all other WTO member countries. This principle is known as most-favored-nationtreatment. This principle is so important that it is the first article of the General Agreement on Tariffs andTrade (GATT), which governs trade in goods. Provisions of W.T.O. also ensure that trade barriers would notbe raised arbitrarily and market opening commitments would be binding in the WTO.Speakers impressed upon that in the changed global economic environment which has been greatly affectedby the institutions like I.M.F., World Bank and W.T.O., it is very important for Indian business to understandimplications brought about by these institutions for global competition. The W.T.O. regime in the lightof various rounds of talks between member countries has become a very critical bargaining tool for analyzingcountries in order to gain market access into the developed world. The regional trade agreements which areanalyzed as being exceptions to the multi-lateral negotiations are also playing a critical role in expanding tradebetween W.T.O. members. The opportunities that will arise for Indian exporters after coming up of thevarious regional trade agreement as well as extension of the European Union were also dealt upon.The Workshop also discussed tariff, non-tariff and cultural barriers for conducting business in the globalizedborderless W.T.O. regime. Different behavioral patterns of business negotiators of different countriesattracted special attention during the Workshop. After lectures of speakers, question-answer session followedand queries were answered by the speakers.Members of IACC, Varanasi Mr. Hari Prasad Murarka, Mr. J.P. Mundra, Mr. R.K. Goel, Mr. V.G. Unni, Mr. Raj J.Agrawal, Mr. Rajesh Kumar Srivastava, Mr. Niyaz Ahmad, Mr. R.C. Jain, Mr. Chandramani Maurya, Mr. ArunKumar Agrawal and others attended the Workshop besides large number of businessmen & exporters andbank officials of Varanasi.Mr. R.R. Pathak, Asst. Director, Br. MSME – Development Institute, Varanasi proposed Vote of thanks to allspeakers and participants of the Workshop.
East India Council Kolkata Branch Interactive session on ‘US Visa Application & Procedure’ held on December 22, 2011, at the Calcutta Club, Kolkata. Welcome address being given by Ms. Heena Gorsia, Regional President, East India Council (EIC) A memento being presented to Ms. Jessica Pfleiderer, US Vice Consul, US Consulate General, Kolkata by Ms. Heena Gorsia, and Mr. Subharthee Dey, Regional Vice President, EIC.
(R-L) Mr. S D Mookerjea, Regional Vice President, EIC, Ms. Jessica Pfleiderer, Ms. Heena Gorsia, Mr. Subharthee Dey; Ms. Madhusree Daityari, Regional Director, EIC at the presentation on US Visa Application & Procedure’
South India Council Kerala Branch An Interactive session on ‘Indo-US Economic Management’ with Ms. Jennifer A McIntyre, Consul General, U.S Consulate, Chennai held on December 12, 2011 Ms. Jennifer A McIntyre, addressing the audience during the session in TrivandrumOn the Dias ( L-R) Dr. G.C. Gopala Pillai, Chairman, IACC-Kerala; Mr. T. Balakrishnan, Former Addl. Chief Secretary, Govt. of Kerala & Mr. K. Yesodharan, Vice Chairman, NIPM (National Institute of Personnel Management) Trivandrum.Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Kerala branch jointly with the National Institute of PersonnelManagement, Trivandrum organized an interactive session with Ms. Jennifer A McIntyre, Consul General, U.S.Consulate, Chennai, at Trivandrum.Ms. Jennifer addressed the audience on ‘Indo-US Economic Management’. Mr. T. Balakrishnan, formerAdditional Chief Secretary, presided over the session. Dr. G.C. Gopala Pillai, Chairman, Indo-AmericanChamber of Commerce-Kerala and Chairman, Public Sector Restructuring Board welcomed the gathering. Mr.K. Yesodharan, Vice-Chairman, NIPM-Trivandrum proposed a vote of thanks. Mr. Matthew K. Beh, Politicaland Economic Officer, Ms. Sarah J. Talalay, Vice Consul, and Mr. Finny Jacob, Economic and Political Specialistwere also present. Annual Small Enterprise Lecture - 2011, in Kochi on December 8, 2011 (L-R) Dr. P.M. Mathew, Director, ISED Cochin; Sir. William Mark Tully, Dr. K.N Kabra, Chairman, ISED Cochin; Mr. Shyam Srinivasan, CEO, Federal Bank & Dr. G.C. Gopala Pillai, Chairman, IACC-Kerala. Veteran Journalist Padmabhushan Sir. William Mark Tully speaking on the topic ‘Small is Beautiful’ at the Annual Small Enterprise Lecture 2011 in Kochi
Tamil Nadu Branch Interactive Session with U.S. Consul General Ms. Jennifer McIntyre, on December 5, 2011, at Pondicherry Thiru P. Mathew Samuel, I.A.S, Special Secretary, the Govt. of Pondicherry Industries, Thiru. B.R. Babu, I.A.S., Special Secretary to Govt. of Pondicherry - Tourism respectively, is giving the overview of the industries to participants A cross section of audience on Breakfast MeetingIndo-American Chamber of Commerce organized an interactive session with the U.S. Consul General inChennai Ms. Jennifer McIntyre at Pondicherry. The objective of the meeting was to explore opportunities inenhancing business ties between U.S business and the City of Pondicherry.Ms. McIntyre began her duties as Consul General in August 2011 and this was her first visit to the City ofPondicherry. Mr. James Golsen, Principal Commercial Officer, Consulate General presented an overview ofthe support of U.S. Commercial Service in India for promotion of Indo-US trade. A brief outline on thedevelopment of industry and the tourism sectors in Pondicherry were addressed by Thiru. P. Mathew Samuel,I.A.S., Special Secretary to Govt. of Pondicherry - Industries and Thiru. B.R. Babu, I.A.S., Special Secretary toGovt. of Pondicherry - Tourism respectively.In his welcome address Tamil Nadu Branch Chairman of IACC, Mr. Raman Govindarajan, provided insight onIACC’s activities, details of past events, and plans for the coming months.An update on U.S. business visas was given by Mr. Michael Cathey, Chief of Non-Immigrant Visas, U.S.Consulate General, Chennai immediately after the interactive session with the U.S. Consul General. Click here for index
Indo-US Corporate News Boeing looks to expand association with BELThe defence PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) which has a partnership with Boeing for the Analysis andExperimentation Centre (A&E Centre) in Bangalore is said to be mulling an additional centre at its Ghaziabadsite near Delhi.Projects such as the A&E Centre, which were set up during 2009 by Boeing, is said to benefit industry partnerswhile providing on an environment for exploring collaborative projects between domestic and foreigncompanies, to work in practice and build on the Boeing experience with defence experimentation bestpractice in other countries.Boeing India’s A&E Centre in Bangalore is the third one outside the US, with the other two in Australia andUnited Kingdom. The centre allows its customers the opportunity to explore options for future systems in avirtual environment. While using the analysis and experimentation methods, the collaborative approachsupports the defence forces in the US, the UK and Australia.The centre is staffed with Indian ex-military operations analysts and, modeling and simulation engineers.Comprising of reconfigurable laboratories and visualization space, the centre draws on the experience fromother nations where experimentation is a part of defence planning and equipment acquisition. Boeing will alsotransfer a number of mature A&E tools that are not commercially available anywhere else.“The tools will be made available for use by the Indian defence customer and our local partners,” said DineshA Keskar, president, Boeing India, adding “this would also allow us to integrate locally-developed intellectualproperty with these established tools.”Boeing is working with the defence community to identify key capability challenges, and the local Boeing teamwill conduct analyses and war fighting experiments. The process will see frequent interactions with thedefence customer to ensure the right experimental questions are developed and, right tools and techniquesare used to address the questions.“The process encourages participation in experiments by experienced serving personnel. This ensures that theexperimentation environment is for purpose and exposes service personnel to future systems options. Theopinions of these personnel can then be fed back to the operational community to improve current and futurewar fighting capability and concepts,” said an official from Boeing. Click here for index Intel Capital homes in on three Indian start-ups for investmentIntel Capital, the venture capital arm of Intel, has announced a series of investments totaling $40 million intechnology start-ups. All the investments were in Asian companies, and three in India. The companiesoriginate from China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, underlining rising entrepreneurial spirit in theAsian economies. The announcement was made at Intel Capitals annual global summit.Intel Capital is a technology oriented venture capital fund that has been investing in India since 1998. Itsnotable Indian investments include those in Sharekhan; Yatra.com; Policybazar; Nipuna, which offers BPO andother services; Futuresoft, a telecommunications product and services company; India Infoline; Sasken andNIIT.
The three latest additions to the India portfolio are Happiest Minds Technologies — promoted by Mr. AshokSoota, founder of MindTree — TELiBrahma Convergent Communications and Fashion and You. Happiest MindsTechnology, according to Mr. Ashok Soota makes products that result in ‘happy customers, is engaged inproviding cloud services, software products engineering, infrastructure management, security testing andconsulting services.TELiBrahma Convergent Communications is in mobile applications space. According to its founder Mr. SureshNarasimha, the company is growing at 300 per cent year on year over the last three years. Its product usesBluetooth and WiFi technologies for advertisers and retailers. It has tied up with leading automobile andFMCG companies in the country to promote products among mobile users.Fashion and You, promoted by Mr. Harish Bahl, is an e-commerce venture. According to Mr. Bahl, they areamong the largest fashion retailers through Internet out of India, with 1, 50,000 transactions done monthly.The ongoing turbulence in global financial markets does not seem to have impacted Intel Capital, which isgoing ahead with its investment plans. The President of Intel Capital, Mr. Arvind Sodhani, stated that asventure capital funds are long-term investors, these short-term fluctuations do not affect them. In fact, headded, such disturbances provide opportunities for making investments at a better price. In 2011, Intel Capitalhas made worldwide investments of about $472 million in 136 companies. The fund has made 31 exits thisyear out of which six companies completed IPOs and 25 were bought by other companies. Click here for index GAIL inks $20 billion deal with US firmGAIL has entered into a 20-year deal with Sabine Pass Liquefaction, a subsidiary of US-based Cheniere EnergyPartners, to import 3.5 million tonnes a year of gas in ships, a deal that industry sources said is likely to be ofthe size of $15-20 billion and could be a game changer for the Indian market.Sabine Pass has US government licence to export gas unlocked from shale rock and is developing aliquefaction facility on the border of Texas and Louisiana. It is expected to start supplies through the PanamaCanal in the next 8-9 months.The deal could shake up the Indian LNG market with a pricing linked to Henry Hub, the US bulk marketbenchmark for natural gas. All Indian - or Asian - LNG deals have so far been benchmarked to JCC (JapaneseCrude Cocktail, or mix of crude bought by Japan) / Brent at an average of $18 per unit.Sources estimate that Sabine Pass LNG will cost GAIL in the range of $11-13 per unit in spite of entailing ashipping cost higher than West Asian supplies. At present, various importers such as Petronet pay $15-18 perunit for shiploads from the spot market. Petronet has tied up 2.5 million tonnes from Australias Gorgonproject for its Kochi terminal at $18 per unit. "The deal will show how we link the Asian market with the US. Itbreaks the hold (on Indian buyers) of LNG exporters cartel and gives us better (price) bargaining power withother sellers and options of opening the Gorgon deal. The pricing will also derisk GAIL from the domesticmarket," GAIL chairman B C Tripathi told TOI.GAIL director (marketing) Prabhat Singh said Sabine Pass marked a strategic shift for the Indian market andopened up a new LNG sourcing destination. Both, however, did not comment on the deal size or LNG price.Tripathi said the deal would open new avenues for GAIL and put it on the global LNG trading map. "We couldhave our own tankers; that will be a new revenue stream. Our Singapore trading desk is operational and wecould trade some of the LNG globally. Above all, it ensures volumes for our expanding pipeline network." Click here for index
Reliance Industries to Enter Financial Services in JV with New York based DE ShawReliance Industries Ltd, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, agreed to set up a joint venture with the D.E.Shaw Group to build a financial services company, Reliance said. No financial terms were available. The JointVenture aims to offer an array of financial services to the Indian market, the statement said.Reliance is free to enter almost any sector after Mukesh Ambani and his long-estranged brother Anil ended apact last year that had prevented them from competing in each other’s industries. Mukesh Ambani made adramatic return to telecoms last year with the $1 billion acquisition of Infotel Broadband, the only company towin a nationwide licence for broadband wireless spectrum in an Indian government auction.D. E. Shaw & Co., L.P. is an American-based global investment management firm founded in 1988 and based inNew York City. The firms trading mode is systematic and computer-driven. The firm was founded by DavidE. Shaw, a former Columbia University faculty member and has more than 1,300 employees. The companyhas managed up to $40 billion in aggregate capital and in 2011 had $15.6 billion in assets under managementand was ranked as the 21st largest hedge fund by Institutional Investor. Click here for index KFC overtakes Pizza Hut as Yum!s largest brand in IndiaKFC, which almost quit India due to protests from health and animal rights activists after its debut in 1995, hasovertaken Pizza Hut as the largest-selling fast food chain of Yum! Restaurants, riding on the country areincreasing their appetite for chicken.Worlds largest quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain McDonalds, domestic fried chicken chain Bangs and T.G.I.Fridays restaurant chain too have reported a spike in chicken sales this year, confirming the widening appealof the meat as eating out becomes a habit across the country. "KFC is growing faster than Pizza Hut," saysSandeep Kataria, chief marketing officer of Yum! Restaurants India, while McDonalds says the McSpicychicken burger range is the fastest growing product across its 240 stores.Driving this chicken mania is a number of factors including rising number of nuclear families, youngstersstaying away from home, travel, rising incomes, changing lifestyles and mall culture that has boostedaccessibility, competition and innovations. "There are a lot more innovations both in QSR formats andpackaged ready-tocook and ready-to-eat formats, visibility of these products has gone up, prices are a lotmore aggressive, and marketing spends have increased," says Sushil Sawant, assistant VP of Godrej TysonFoods, a joint venture between Godrej Agrovet and Tyson Foods Inc. that rolled out frozen chicken tikkas andkebabs under Yummiez brand this October.T.G.I. Fridays VP (Marketing & Development) Rohan Jetley says, "Chicken is the most neutral non-vegetarianproduct- its consumption is not religiously restricted like beef and pork are, its healthier/safer than red meat,and its not seasonal like fish and seafood." The growth in demand is expected to continue. The Rs 40,000-crore domestic poultry industry expects per head chicken consumption to double to 6 kg a year by 2014-15from less than 3kg last year. While existing players have drawn up aggressive expansion plans, others such asUK-based Dixy Chicken and Southern Fried Chicken are waiting in the wings to expand base in the country.Yum! India plans to have 500 KFC outlets by 2015, up from 156 now.
Kataria expects the chain to account for 60% of the $1 billion (approximately Rs 5,400 crore) sales that thecompany is expected to generate by then. The expansion of Pizza Hut will be slower, rising to 400 by 2015from 216 now. Bangs, which calls itself the countrys first domestic fried chicken quick service restaurant (QSR)brand having set up in 2009, plans to open 50 outlets within a year to add to 20 it has across 10 states,encouraged by a 30% jump in sales quarter-on quarter. The growth is not restricted to metros and traditionalcentres. "We are surprised... our sales in Chennai and Gujarat are doing equally well as in Punjab andHaryana," says bangs Director Asvin Simon. Small towns like Durgapur, Kozhikode and Kochi figure as much asmetros in the expansion plans of KFC, which more than doubled the number of stores this year. Its top-sellingproducts Zinger chicken burgers and chicken buckets account for more than two-thirds of its sales. KFCrecently launched grilled fiery chicken, a juicier variant of the tandoori chicken, nationally to "veryencouraging" results. Yum! Attributes KFCs rapid growth-70% CAGR-to a younger, on the move targetaudience, innovative products, and aggressive prices. Click here for index Kotak Mahindra Capital, Evercore Tie Up for Cross-border M&A ServicesKotak Mahindra Capital Company Ltd (KMCC), investment banking arm of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, hasentered into a strategic alliance with New York-based investment banking advisory firm Evercore Partners Inc.for cross-border merger and acquisition advisory services among India, the USA, the UK and Mexico, thecompany has said.Under this agreement, the respective investment banks will leverage their combined expertise, strongknowledge of global and local markets and deep corporate relationships to cater to their clients. “In thechanging landscape of global investment banking where specialized advisory firms are gaining prominenceover bulge-bracket investment banks, we find in Evercore a strong, world-class advisory firm,” Uday Kotak,executive vice-chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank commented on the partnership.Founded in 1991, KMCC provides investment banking and clearing services in India and internationally. Thecompany operates in two segments – advisory & transactional services and trading & principal investments.The firm has advised major international corporations such as CRH, eBay, Hutchison Whampoa, Lafarge,Standard & Poor’s, Thomas Cook and Walmart on their India entry and acquisition strategies.“We are pleased to be partnering with Kotak, the leading Indian investment bank. This strategic relationshipfurther expands our global reach and is another critical step in our ability to serve our clients around theglobe,” said Roger Altman, executive chairman of Evercore.Evercore, founded in 2005, operates as an independent investment banking advisory firm and providesadvisory services on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and other strategic corporate transactions, primarilyfor multinational corporations and private equity firms. It also offers restructuring advice to companies infinancial transition, as well as to creditors, shareholders, and potential acquirers. Click here for index Indo-US CEO Forum asked for FDI in retail: Govt.Amidst a raging controversy over FDI in multi-brand retail, government today said it received arecommendation from the Indo-US CEO Forum to open up the sector, among other areas, for foreigninvestment. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry JyotiradityaScindia quoted the Indo-US CEO Forum as having recommended enhancing of "Indian foreign directinvestment (FDI) policy reforms through further opening up of key sectors such as insurance, private sectorbanks, retail and defence to foreign investors". Asked whether the government would accept theserecommendations, the minister said, “... the policy is reviewed on an ongoing basis with a view to making itmore investor friendly".After the Cabinet approved 51 per cent FDI in the multi-brand retail and removed the cap on the single brandretail on November 24, the government has come under attack not only from the Opposition but also from theUPA allies - Trinamool Congress and the DMK. These parties have forced stalling of Parliament for the last fourdays demanding a roll-back of the decision, whereas the government has indicated no reversal of the policy.
The Indo-US CEO Forum was constituted in July 2005 as a major initiative for enhancing bilateral trade andinvestment. It was reconstituted in November 2009 by President Barack Obama and Prime MinisterManmohan Singh and comprises 12 Indian and 12 US CEOs. Co-chaired by Tata Group head Ratan Tata andHoneywell Incs Chairman and CEO David Cote, the Forum last met in Washington in September this year.Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Planning CommissionDeputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahlulwalia attended the Washington meeting. Click here for index Pizza Hut to operate 250 restaurants in India by 2015 Casual dining outlet, Pizza Hut in Chennai, IndiaHaving completed 15 years of operations in India, casual dining chain Pizza Hut is looking to enhance itspresence across the country and run 250 outlets by 2015. Besides strengthening retail presence, Pizza Hut isalso looking to expand its product offerings to consumers. "There are 131 Pizza Huts in 34 cities of India atpresent. The plan is to take this count to 250 by 2015," Pizza Hut India Marketing Head Sunay Bhasin said.The expansion would also happen in tier II and tier III markets, he added. To commemorate 15 years ofoperations in India, Pizza Hut is set to roll out a nationwide marketing and advertising campaign. "A newnationwide ad campaign would be launched by the end of the week," Bhasin said without providinginformation on the amount to be spent. At the same time, a new range of 15 different pizzas would be rolledout at stores across the country. "The 15 pizzas are inspired from regional cuisines and flavors from aroundthe country," he added. Click here for index
Dell to increase focus on small & medium businesses Inset: Dell Vostro V131 LaptopIn a bid to tap into the increasing IT usage by small and medium businesses (SMBs), Dell today announced itwould be increasing focus on this rapidly growing market segment. Rekuram Vardharaj, country marketingmanager, medium business, Dell India said that there were close to eight million SMBs in the country, of whichabout 1.5 million were addressable by IT. "An increasing number of small and medium businesses are using ITand well aim to provide bespoke solutions that can address their needs," he said. Speaking at an event inPune, Vardharaj pointed out that the city alone had close to 80,000 SMB enterprises, with the IT spend bymedium businesses in the range of $70-75 million making it one of the focus markets for the company. THEICT spend by the SMBs in India is estimated to be in the region of $10bn."The offerings will be aimed to addressing the pain points of these enterprises which tend to be issue ofconstrains -of time, budgets and resources. We would like to partner with the businesses and providehardware and service solutions with the minimum possible downtime for the customer," he said.Dell is the number one brand in the consumer and SMB segments in the country. It has in the recent pastlaunched a number of SMB specific products like the Equal Logic storage solutions and the Vostro V131 laptop. Click here for index
India’s Investments in U.S RIL Buys Stake in US Nuclear Reactor Design CompanyThe Reliance Industries announced that it has bought a minority stake in Terra Power, a US-based nuclear-technology design and engineering company, through one of its subsidiaries."This is one of our series of investments in the broader energy sector," a company spokesman told. TerraPower, based in Washington, is designing a nuclear reactor that uses low-enriched uranium and produces lesswaste. The reactors need uranium to start up and can “run for decades on depleted uranium” withoutenrichment or reprocessing, Terra Power said on its website.Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani will join the companys board, which includes MicrosoftChairman Bill Gates and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, a financial daily had reported earlier inthe day.Reliance, Indias most valuable company, controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has outlined plansto spend $4 billion to $4.5 billion by 2014 on three US shale gas joint ventures it entered into last year. Acompany official told that it is scouting for oil investments in the Americas as it looks to increase the stake ofcrude production it owns to feed its refinery, the world’s largest. Click here for index Ventureast Invests $5 Million in Orca SystemsVenture capitalists are trawling cross-border technology startups again. Hyderabad-based Ventureast recentlymade a $5 million Series B investment in California-based semiconductors startup Orca Systems. The companyprovides highly integrated radio frequency and modem technology delivering solutions for high-performancewireless applications. The firm has a research and development facility in Bangalore.Founders Guruswamy Sridharan and Kartik Sridharan started the company in 2006 after selling their earlierstartup Ashvattha Semiconductor to Insilica in 2005. Orca has raised a total $7 million so far, including theVentureast investment, said a press release. Earlier this month it announced the launch of DRBT, a dual modeBluetooth RF plus modem IP core which provides customers with revolutionary reductions in silicon area, lowpower and exceptional radio performance. Click here for indexAditi Technologies Announces Acquisition of Cumulux, Microsoft Cloud Partner of the YearAditi Technologies announced its acquisition of Cumulux, the 2010 Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year. Aditi isone of the top Microsoft National System Integrator Partners focused on enterprise social, big data, mobileand digital marketing. With this acquisition, Aditi is positioned to be a leader in cloud services and will drivethe transformation of applications and workloads to the cloud. "Cumulux and Aditi have demonstratedcredibility and excellence in building solutions on Windows Azure for Microsofts ISV and enterprisecustomers," said Jenni Flinders, Vice President for the US Partner Group at Microsoft. "Cumulux is a valuablepartner for Windows Azure in the ecosystem and having them combine with the scale and depth of Aditi willgive our customers a tremendous opportunity.""Aditi is betting its business on the cloud. We are excited to join forces with Cumulux. This partnership makesus the leader in Azure based transformation." said Pradeep Rathinam, CEO of Aditi Technologies. "We believethat the adoption of cloud will be key competitive advantage for our customers and we are committed tohelping them strategically leverage Azure. To accelerate the adoption, we are investing 5M USD in AzureAcceleration Lab - an Azure based rapid application development offering. "
Aditi will leverage its deep Microsoft alignment aggressively to roll out the cloud services proposition to theISV and enterprise markets in US, UK and India. The team has already helped over 50 ISV and e-commercecustomers adopt and deploy Azure through the Azure Acceleration Lab. Kicking off a global launch, Aditi andCumulux will:• Build out an Azure delta force of architects and MVPs to drive Azure adoption in close collaboration withMicrosoft across US, UK and India.• Hire and train 130+ cloud developers to create a cloud services platform to deliver IP led innovations forcustomers as they migrate their applications to the Cloud.Speaking on the acquisition, Paddy Srinivasan, CEO at Cumulux says, "Aditi and Cumulux complement eachother. The synergy of global scale and strong Microsoft DNA make us one of the top Azure service providers inthe market. Aditi gives us and our customers deep competency and scale in leveraging Azure to build largescale complex solutions. I am incredibly excited and look forward to replicate and amplify Cumuluxsproposition at a global scale with Aditi." Paddy has joined Aditis cloud advisory board and will continue todrive and build the Azure business for Aditi. Click here for index
US investments in India Goldman Sachs Acquires 6.47% Stake in Max IndiaGoldman Sachs has bought a 6.47% stake in Max India for Rs. 308 crore through bulk deals. Before thistransaction, Goldman Sachs held around 9% stake in the company after it converted its debentures into sharesearlier this year. Goldman Sachs is now the largest shareholder in Max India after Analjit Singh who owns a37% stake.Warburg Pincus had 14% stake in Max India at an average price of Rs. 40 per share. In June this year, it sold 2%stake in June at around the same price. With this deal, Warburg Pincus stake has come down to 5.82%.In October, South Africa based hospital chain - Life Healthcare acquired 26% stake in Max Healthcare forR516.5Cr, valuing the company at around Rs. 2000 Cr in all cash transaction. Before that in June, WarburgPincus sold its 16.37% stake in Max Healthcare Institute Limited to Max India Limited for Rs.140 Cr. Click here for index Morgan Stanley to pump in $125 million in Mumbai realtyThe global real estate fund of Morgan Stanley is in talks with Mumbai-based Sheth Developers to invest $100million to $125 million in a residential project in Mumbai, three sources with direct knowledge of the mattersaid. The Morgan Stanley fund will invest in the unlisted Indian firm’s project in the western suburbs ofMumbai said the sources, which declined to be named as they were not authorized to speak to the media.Morgan Stanley declined to comment and Sheth Developers did not return phone calls seeking comment.Sheth Developers acquired an 18-acre land parcel in Andheri from Borosil Glass Works in 2010 for about Rs875 crore and plans to develop a large residential project there, said the sources.If completed, the investment would be the first in India by the Morgan Stanley fund in three years, two of thesources said. The fund has invested about $750 million so far in India. In October, sources said that a bunch ofinvestors including a fund managed by Morgan Stanley and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp arein separate talks to buy a Mumbai property from Indian textiles firm Alok Industries for about $200 million.Last month, the Wall Street bank named Shirish Godbole as the head of its global real estate investment fundin India. Indian developers have come under pressure over the past year as rising interest rates deterresidential buyers and funding for builders becomes scarce as economic growth slows. Click here for index Equity International to invest $75 million in SAMHIUS-based investor firm Equity International will invest USD 75 million (about Rs 370 crore) in SAMHI, adeveloper and owner of hotels in India that has partnership with Marriot Hotels.Gurgaon-based SAMHI is a newly-formed hospitality property company co-sponsored by GTI Capital Group, aprivately held investment firm founded by Gaurav Burman, Gaurav Dalmia, Jonathan Schulhof and MadhavDhar. "This investment perfectly represents our model of partnering with the best-in-class managementteams in India, and investing both our own capital as well as aggregating capital from the finest co-investorsglobally," GTI Capital Group Co-founder and General Partner Gaurav Burman said. While the investment willinvolve picking up of equity stake in SAMHI by Equity International (EI), the company has not disclosed thesame.
SAMHI has already commenced development of properties in Bangalore, Chennai and Gurgaon, which willcomprise four hotels and 630 rooms with brands such as Courtyard and Fairfield by Marriott and Hyatt Place.The company had recently formed a JV with Marriott Hotels to develop mid-scale and economy hotels acrosskey Indian cities under the brands Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott. In addition, it has plans toset up properties in top markets, including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata.Commenting on the companys investment in SAMHI, Equity International Chief Executive Officer GaryGarrabrant said: "With SAMHI we have the opportunity to create the leading hotel property company in India,and we are privileged to partner with GTI Capital in this highly compelling market." SAMHI was founded byAshish Jakhanwala, SAMHIs Chief Executive Officer, who previously led the development of Accors hotelportfolio in India; Manav Thadani, Chairman of HVS India; and Steve Rushmore, President and Founder of HVS,the global hospitality consulting firm.Equity International (EI) invests in companies outside the United States with a particular focus on identifyingand initiating high-growth sectors. It has raised over $2 billion and invested in 22 portfolio companies to-dateacross 14 countries. Click here for index Bunge Inc. To Acquire Edible Oil Business of Amrit Group for $ 78 million (Deal value includes cash consideration for oil business on slump sale, trademark and non-compete fee.)Headquartered in White Plains, NY Bunge Ltd. has struck a deal to acquire the edible oil business of Noida-based diversified Amrit Group in a deal worth Rs 413 crore ($78 million). The deal would give Bunge, one ofthe world’s largest agri commodity traders, a key position in the north Indian edible oil market.Under the deal, Bunge will acquire the edible oil business of the public-listed firm Amrit Banaspati CompanyLtd. (ABCL) for Rs 220.72 crore on a slump sale basis.The sale would include the entire edible oil business of ABCL including manufacturing, marketing anddistribution of vanaspati, refined and filtered edible oil, bakery shortening, table margarine & speciality fats,and salt & soya nuggets. The company owns a manufacturing unit located at Rajpura in Punjab.Bunge will also acquire secured and unsecured loans of ABCL amounting to Rs 40.6 crore besides paying thekey promoters Naresh Kumar Bajaj, Ashwini Kumar Bajaj and Vikram Kumar Bajaj a sum of Rs 47 crore as non-compete fee for the next five years.Among the various brands marketed by ABCL, there is also Gagan, owned by a separate public-listed groupfirm Amrit Corp. As a part of the deal, Bunge is also acquiring the Gagan brand for Rs 104.5 crore from AmritCorp. The overall edible oil business of ABCL employs 450 people; features brands like Gagan, Ginni, Amrit,Bansari and MerriGold and generates most of the sales. The firm clocked sales of Rs 1,010 crore for the yearended March 31, 2011, with net profit of Rs 22.06 crore. For Bunge, this will be a big boost to its India businessas it already owns key oil brands like Dalda. The company has been present in India for around a decade andhas manufacturing units at Trichy in Tamil Nadu and Bundi in Rajasthan.Amrit Group’s decision to exit a well-established business is marked by business fundamentals as edible oil is athin-margin business and ABCL has been operating on full-capacity utilisation for the last couple of years.Growth would have meant addition to capacity and, therefore, further investments. The edible oil business inIndia is inherently dependent on palm oil imports and associated with currency risks. In such a scenario, entryof MNCs like Cargill, Bunge, Noble Grain, LouisDreyfus and ADM meant local players were at a disadvantage,compared to the global biggies with backward and forward linkages due to their access to global plantations. Click here for index
AptarGroup Inc. buys Hyderabad’s TKH Plastics for $18 millionAptarGroup, Inc., a Illinois based manufacturer of cosmetics and perfume dispensers, has acquired Hyderabad-based TKH Plastics Pvt. Ltd for $18 million (Rs 89 crore). New York Stock Exchange-listed AptarGroup will payapproximately $17 million in cash and $1 million in assumed debt as a part of the transaction.TKH Plastics is in the business of injection molded dispensing closures, with clients in Indian personal care,food, and beverage markets. The company has also been a licensee of AptarGroup’s dispensing closureproducts since 2006. TKH had annual revenues of approximately $8 million (Rs 39.6 crore) in the most recentfiscal year, an AptarGroup statement said.In addition, AptarGroup’s new pharmaceutical device facility in Mumbai is nearing completion and is expectedto be fully operational in the beginning of 2012.AptarGroup completed its strongest year in 2010 with sales increasing 13 per cent to $2.1 billion whileoperating income went up to a record $268 million, up 35 per cent from a year ago. Europe accounts for 57per cent of the sales, followed by the USA and Latin America. However, Asia accounted for only 4 per cent ofthe AptarGroup’s revenues in 2010 at $90 million.AptarGroup’s key customers include Johnson & Johnson, P&G, Unilever, Merck, Henkel, Revlon, Cipla, ReckittBenckiser, Kraft and LVMH, among others.“These steps are part of our strategy to expand our footprint in the region. We recognize that India is asignificant and growing market. The acquisition allows us to serve our personal care, food and beveragecustomers even better and the clean-room facility will enable us to provide locally produced delivery devicesto our pharmaceutical customers,” said Peter Pfeiffer, president and CEO of the AptarGroup. Click here for index US-based Briggs & Stratton Acquires Premier Power For $3MUS-based gasoline engine maker Briggs & Stratton Corporation has acquired Tamil Nadu’s Premier PowerEquipment’s and Products Pvt. Ltd for an approximate value of $3 million or Rs 14.89 crore, the company hassaid in a statement. The current acquisition marks the US Company’s initiative to expand into developingmarkets in order to diversify its products and geographic portfolio, the company has further added.Founded in 2004, Premier Power manufactures and markets Briggs & Stratton generators in southern andeastern India. The company also specializes in stand-by power and agricultural equipment. It has amanufacturing facility at Pappampatti, Coimbatore, and operates an in-house research and developmentcentre. “Premier has the agricultural products and distribution network that will serve as a platform for ourfuture growth within India,” said Todd Teske, chairman, president and CEO of Briggs & Stratton. The companywill finance the transaction from cash on hand. It also expects that the acquisition will not have a materialeffect on its earnings in fiscal 2012.Founded in 1908 and headquartered in Wauwatosa (Wisconsin), Briggs & Stratton designs, manufactures,markets and services air-cooled gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment worldwide. It operates in twosegments – engines and power products. The engines segment products are primarily used for lawn andgarden equipment like walk-behind lawn mowers, riding lawn mowers, garden tillers and snow throwers.Besides, this segment caters to industrial, construction, agriculture and other consumer applications, such asgenerators, pumps and pressure washers. The company also manufactures replacement engines and serviceparts.The power products segment offers portable and standby generators, pressure washers, snow throwers andlawn and garden powered equipment. Manufactured under various brands such as Briggs & Stratton, Brute,Craftsman, Ferris, John Deere, GE, Murray, Simplicity, Snapper, Troy-Bilt and Victa, these products are soldthrough several retail distribution channels including consumer home centres, warehouse clubs, massmerchants and independent dealers Click here for index
HT Media and Apollo Global Inc., Form Joint Venture to Provide Educational ServicesHT Media Ltd, publisher of the Hindustan Times newspaper, has entered into an agreement with an affiliate ofApollo Global, Inc. (USA), to form a 50:50 joint venture in order to provide educational services andprogrammes across the country, the company has disclosed in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.However, the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.The JV between HT Media and Apollo Global aims to address the need of quality educational services and theeducation-employment mismatch, so that employees are well-trained for the 21st century global workplace.Founded in 2007, Apollo Inc. is a joint venture between Apollo Group, Inc. and the Carlyle Group, a privateequity major. The Apollo Global network also includes BPP, a leading provider of education and training toprofessionals in the legal and finance industries in the UK and Europe; Universidad de Artes, Ciencias yComunicación (UNIACC), a leading arts and communications university in Chile; the UniversidadLatinoamericana (ULA) , a renowned communications, business and medical university in Mexico and WesternInternational University (WIU), a US-accredited university specializing in business and technology educationwith online delivery worldwide.Incorporated in 1924, HT Media is based in Gurgaon and the company, along with its subsidiaries, primarilyengages in the publishing business. It has also made foray into the education space with the launch ofStudyMate, a chain of tuition centers in Delhi for 9th-12th standard students. StudyMate helps studentsmaster the course materials with the help of learning activities, self-assessment tools and educational games.Students select activities which appeal to their learning styles, making the whole experience a personalizedone and effective. Click here for index US Realty Co Portman Holdings Picks Stake in Pune’s Tuscan EstateUS-based realty development and advisory firm Portman Holdings, LLC has acquired significant minority stakein Tuscan Estate (a 900,000 sq. ft. residential development located in Pune) from ICICI Venture for anundisclosed sum. According to VCCedge, financial research arm of VCCircle, Portman Holdings has bought 49per cent stake in the company.In October 2009, Kolte Patil Developers Ltd (KPDL) in charge of Tuscan Estate, entered into a joint venture withPortman Holdings for a project worth Rs 275. The two companies had planned to develop around 8.5 lakh sq.ft. of mid-segment residential project in the eastern suburb of Pune.Incorporated in 1953, Atlanta-based Portman Holdings caters to owners, lenders, private equity investmentfunds, institutional investors and closely held private real estate investment partnerships. The company claimsto have raised and deployed over $6 billion and developed over 50 million sq. ft. of premium real estate acrossthe world. Tuscan Estate, already under construction, is being developed in multiple phases and is slated to befinished by 2016. The project master plan includes 11 towers containing a total of 517 residential units. “Thisproperty is an ideal follow-up to our first direct investment in India and a good opportunity for us,” AmbrishBaisiwala, CEO of Portman Holdings, commented on the deal.In October this year, Ambuja Realty acquired the RMZ block of Ecospace Business Park in New Town(Rajarhat), Kolkata, for an undisclosed sum. Also in September, Chennai-based Kalpathi Group, with businessinterests in private equity and entertainment, acquired the IT Park Rantech Towers for around Rs 50 crore.Spread over 2.2 lakh sq. ft., the IT Park is located at Sholinganallur (on Old Mahabalipuram Road) in Chennai.Of the eight-storey building, 15 per cent area will be for self-use by the group and the rest will becommercially leased/rented out to other IT companies.Although the private equity action in Indian real estate sector has been muted, there have been a couple oflarge deals this year across income-generating developments. In February this year, Ascendas India Trustentered a deal to acquire a portfolio of five buildings in Phoenix Infocity Pvt. Ltd. SEZ for Rs 855 crore. KotakRealty Fund also sold Peepul Tree Properties (an IT park in Goregaon) to Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd andTata Realty Initiatives Fund 1 for Rs 525 crore. Click here for index
Omnicom Group Inc. Enters Agreement to Acquire Majority Stake in Indias Mudra GroupOmnicom Group Inc. announced today it has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in MudraGroup, Indias leading integrated marketing communications group. Mudra will significantly expandOmnicoms service capabilities and presence in Asias third largest economy. As part of the agreement,Omnicom will extend its partnership with the Reliance ADA Group.Mudra Group utilizes a deep understanding of consumers, brands and media to deliver creative solutionsthrough four agency networks: branding and communications agency Mudra India; marketing and advertisingagency DDB Mudra; integrated engagement and experiential agency Mudra Max; and Ignite Mudra, Indiasonly agency that caters to entrepreneurs. Mudra has 26 offices across the country and an extensive fieldactivation network.In conjunction with the strategic partnership, Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani will join the OmnicomInternational Advisory Committee. Mr. Ambani has vast experience in the international business community,leading businesses in the areas of telecom, capital, power, infrastructure, entertainment and health. Inaggregate, the Reliance Group businesses serve a customer base of more than 100 million people."This acquisition is an important step in achieving Omnicoms strategy to extend and deepen our presence inrapidly growing markets," said John Wren, President and CEO of Omnicom Group. "Our vision is to be a sourceof innovation in every market we serve. Mudra is widely acknowledged as an outstanding company withimpressive creative product and expertise in a broad range of disciplines. Mudras innovation and depth oftalent will strengthen our business capabilities not only in India but around the world."Mudra, a DDB Worldwide partner since 1993, was the only agency in India to win a medal in the Agency of theYear category at the Spikes Asia Advertising Festival in 2011, and Mudra won more Lions at the 2011 CannesLions International Festival of Creativity than any other agency group in India."DDB has been an excellent partner over the years. We have benefited immensely from the collaboration andtransfer of knowledge from around the globe. We are proud to belong to such a storied network," MudraGroup CEO Madhukar Kamath said. "Omnicom and DDB have clearly been the inspiration for Mudra Groupstransformative growth over the last five years. My colleagues and I look forward to the next decade ofexplosive growth in the Indian market."DDB Worldwide President and CEO Chuck Brymer noted, "This acquisition will further unite two companiesthat have long held the same values, creative goals and ambitions. Under Madhukars leadership, Mudra is theoriginal challenger brand of the Indian communications industry, and it shares DDBs culture of creativeexcellence. Together, we will create even greater growth for our clients in this rapidly changing,technologically driven region."DDB and Mudra Groups shared history is rooted in a relationship that began in 1988 and has growntremendously since the formation of DDB Mudra in 2007, which established DDB India, Tribal DDB, Rapp andDDB Health & Lifestyle in the Indian market. John Zeigler, CEO, DDB Asia Pacific, added, "Mudra has animpressive history as both creative leaders and strong believers in integrated solutions making them one ofthe most innovative companies in India."Omnicom Group EVP and CFO Randall Weisenburger also noted, "In addition to significantly expanding ourservice capabilities in the region, this partnership will bring with it an exceptional Shared Services andOperations Center in Ahmedabad that will help Omnicom more efficiently expand its other operations in India.Additionally, Mudra recently moved into a new headquarters facility in Mumbai called Mudra House, asustainable building and one of the few in India to be awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and EnvironmentalDesign) Gold certification. Mudra House is widely acclaimed for its conservation features and state of the arttechnology." Click here for index
Caterpillar expanding in India: to invest $ 3 billion in next 5 yearsConstruction and mining equipment major Caterpillar Inc. is investing $210 million (around Rs1, 096 crore) inits Indian operations as part of its global plans to invest up to $3 billion over the next 5 years.The company will set up an engine manufacturing facility for electric power generation sets and expand its off-highway truck manufacturing facility in Chennai, according to Richard P Lavin, group president, CaterpillarInc. We are yet to decide on the location, though we have short-listed some of the states. The finalannouncement on the same will be shared in 2-3 months, said Lavin.The plant, he said, would have an initial capacity for 3,000 units, which will be expanded to 5,000 units in 12-18 months from the start of the production. The facility, to be set up as a new subsidiary incorporated inIndia, will start production in two to three years, he added.The engine manufacturing facility, to be set up with an investment of $150 million, will produce Perkins brand4000 Series engines, which will cater to 750-2500 kV electric power gensets, said Kevin R Thieneman, IndiaCountry Manager, and President Caterpillar Asia.Perkins is a wholly-owned diesel engine manufacturing subsidiary of Caterpillar. The Indian facility will be thefirst facility outside the UK and 50 per cent of the machines produced will cater to parts of Asia and othermarkets, he added. The expansion would be in addition to the companys investment of around $108 millionon the truck manufacturing facility.The current investment plans, a part of Caterpillars 2015 corporate strategy, are in tandem with thecompanys earlier investments in India, which are nearing completion, added Thieneman. This newinvestment will play a role in developing our technology further while benefiting our customers who areplaying a vital role in the transformation of the Indian economy, he added. Click here for index Not-for-profit Teach For India Secures $2.5M From Omidyar NetworkTeach For India, a non-profit organisation aiming to eliminate educational inequity in the country, has raised$2.5 million (Rs 13.4 crore) funding from Omidyar Network. The monies raised will be used to cover newschools and expand its operations across new cities in order to accelerate vital improvements in Indianeducation system, the company has said.Teach For India, modelled after Teach For America, was incorporated nearly four years ago. It enables collegegraduates and young professionals to commit two years and teach full-time in under resourced schools. InJune 2009, Teach For India placed its first cohort of Fellows in low-income municipal and private schools inPune and Mumbai.
The organization was founded by its current CEO Shaheen Mistri who is also the founder of AkankshaFoundation, a not-for-profit supporting underprivileged children. Incidentally, Ashish Dhawan, co-founder ofthe Indian PE firm ChrysCapital, is one of the board members of Teach For India. This is the second educationsector investment in India by Omidyar in as many months and third in the field this year.Omidyar Network, incorporated in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, is an investmentfirm specialising in early, mid and late-venture investments, as well as non-profit organisations. Bulk of itsinvestments supports companies in India and Sub-Saharan Africa and focuses on areas like microfinance,SMEs, emerging market ventures and property rights.Last month, Omidyar invested an undisclosed sum in Gurgaon-based Aspiring Minds, an employabilityassessment company that provides standardised employability benchmarks to students and enablesemployers to evaluate students for job placements. Earlier in April, Omidyar had invested in Tree HouseEducation in a pre-IPO round, along with existing investors Matrix Partners India and Foundation Capital.Other organisations that have received investments from Omidyar include Janaagraha Centre For Citizenship& Democracy, Foundation For Ecological Security, D.light Design, Quikr India, Sa-Dhan, Rural DevelopmentInstitute and Comat Technolgies. Click here for index Norwest Invests $5 million in Former eBay India Heads E-com Start-upTrendsutra Platform Services Pvt Ltd (Pepperfry.com), a lifestyle e-commerce start-up co-founded by formereBay India country manager Ambareesh Murty but yet to be launched, has raised $5 million in venture capitalfunding from Norwest Venture Partners.The company has said in a statement that over the past few months, it has built a team of over 70 e-commerce and retail professionals. By Christmas 2011, Pepperfry aims to offer a range of 25,000-plus lifestyleproducts across categories like clothing, furniture & home décor, precious & fashion jewelry, lifestyleaccessories and personal care. The company is headquartered in Mumbai and has ground sourcing andfulfillment operations in Delhi and Jodhpur.The company was set up in July and targets the $30 billion offline retail market for lifestyle products spanningthese categories. Discounts available on the site will vary between 20 per cent and 70 per cent. Currently, thesite is in the last stage of testing and is set to be launched before December 25, 2011.Ashish Shah, former head of eBay Motors, will be the COO of the company. Shah’s LinkedIn profile shows himto be a co-founder of the firm. “Pepperfry’s goal is to make affordable indulgence possible. We will ensurethat our customers get competitively priced lifestyle products without needing to compromise on style orchoice,” said Ambareesh Murty, CEO of Pepperfry.The differentiators for Pepperfry.com are its product range and transparency in pricing. “In terms ofdifferentiation, it is the sheer range of products that we offer. We have 25,000 products and one can easilysearch through those to find what he wants. Second factor is the transparency – when you come to our site,look at the product page and you will find there are terms, descriptions, pricing details, price of gold and thegems used for jewellery, for example, as well as return arrangements. We have tried to be very forthcomingabout our prices,” said Murty.“Pepperfry has a strong team, extensive e-commerce and retail expertise and great execution abilitiesreflected in the imminent launch of Pepperfry.com in less than five months since commencing operations. Weare excited by the e-commerce opportunity in India and believe that Pepperfry is a great addition to ourrobust global Internet portfolio,” said Niren Shah, managing director of Norwest Venture Partners India.Incidentally, Norwest has recently invested in Fashionandyou.com and Smile Group’s daily deal siteDealsandyou.com. According to Murty, products and goods-related e-commerce has come into its own in thecountry. “It is symptomatic of the trend that customers are comfortable with using their credit cards onlineand buying from someone who is not in front of them. This fundamental shift in customer behavior hastranslated into purchase of goods online,” he said. Click here for index
UTC Climate Acquires Controlling Stake in Agnice Fire ProtectionUTC Climate, Controls & Security Systems, part of the US-based diversified aerospace and building systemsprovider United Technologies Corp (UTC), has acquired a controlling stake in Chennai-based Agnice FireProtection Ltd, for an undisclosed sum, the company had recently said in a statement.The acquisition of Agnice complements existing capabilities and offerings, and further strengthens itsfoundation in India, the statement has added.Incorporated in 1995, Agnice is engaged in the engineering, procurement and construction of fire protectionsystems for petrochemicals and refineries in India and abroad. The company provides a plethora of servicessuch as fire risk evaluation, engineering, system design, hydraulic calculation, quantity surveying andbudgeting, drawing and documentation, procurement installation, testing and commissioning, andmaintenance. The company is based in Chennai, with additional offices in Oman, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.Founded in 1934 and based in Hartford, Connecticut, UTC is a leading provider of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, building controls and automation, and fire & security systems. The company’s UTC Fireand Security segment provides electronic security products comprising intruder alarms, and access control andvideo surveillance systems.Incidentally, UTC has been increasing its presence in India by various acquisitions. In 2005, the companyacquired Kidde Fire in Mumbai (formerly Vijay Fire) for an undisclosed sum. Two years later, UTC Fire andSecurity acquired majority stake in Alba Control Systems Ltd, currently called Chubb Alba Control Systems Ltd.On the global front, United Technologies had acquired GE’s security business for $1.82 billion. Also, in Augustthis year, United Technologies was planning to acquire Bangalore-based Firepro Systems for around $200million, according to various media reports.Commenting on the deal, Zubin Irani, President of UTC Climate, Controls & Security Systems (India), said, “UTClooks at India very strategically. With acquisitions like this, we enhance our position by building scale, reach,product offerings and customer service capabilities across the country.”“This acquisition will enable Agnice to expand to new horizons. By aligning with UTC’s global expertise,capabilities and network, we will provide a superior platform for our continued growth,” said Agnice MDGovindarajan. Click here for index
In the News: Visa norms for expats working at senior positions relaxedExpats working at senior positions in India will not need to go back home and seek a fresh Indian employmentvisa when they take intergroup transfers, the government has said in updated rules. This will provide flexibilityto foreign companies that have multiple businesses in India in deploying their resources."Ministry of home affairs may approve change of employer only if the foreign national holds a senior or skilledposition, "says the amended guideline issued by the ministry.The earlier guideline was seen as a major irritant by expats and companies employing them as any transferwithin the group would mandate a homeland visit and a fresh work visa.This not just inflated costs for companies who employed foreign nationals but also led to loss of crucial workhours. The fresh clarification is seen as a welcome change by the industry that had been lobbying with theministry for relaxation in these guidelines for some time. "This will facilitate multinational companies intransferring their expatriate employees to different subsidiaries in India based on business needs," said SanjivChaudhary, Tax Partner-KPMG.Most multinationals and even Indian companies prefer to keep their senior and skilled expat employeeslargely on project basis.A mandatory visit home and a fresh employment visa led to unnecessary hassle, said a senior executive with amultinational consultancy that faced this issued. Another firm had to lobby hard to get home ministrypermission to retain its senior consultant in a subsidiary.Experts say the new guideline would also make the process more efficient and transparent as they had toapproach the ministry individually and each application was treated on a case by case basis. "..It is good thatthe protocol has been put in black and white" said Amitabh Singh, partner, Ernst & Young.However, the relaxation will only be limited to changing jobs between registered holding company and itssubsidiary and between subsidiaries. In other cases, where the foreign national desires to change employer,he will be required to return to his home country and obtain a fresh employment visa.Change of employer will be permitted only once during the tenure of five years of the original employmentvisa and five years of residency on employment visa would be counted from the original date of its issue andnot from the date of change of employer.However, experts say the new norm only partly addressed the issue and a further relaxation may berequired. "The government should also look at allowing movement of employees between joint ventures,"said Chaudhary. Click here for index
US appoints first woman Ambassador to IndiaNancy J Powell, the new American Ambassador to India, is not only the first woman to head the US mission inDelhi, but also the first career diplomat to take over the crucial post in nearly 15 years.A South Asia expert, 64-year-old Powell had served as the US ambassador to Pakistan (2002 to 2004) andNepal (2007 to 2009) and had also held key diplomatic positions including as political counselor in Delhi (1993-1995), consul-general in Kolkata (1992-93) and deputy chief of mission in Dhaka (1995-97). Her stint asnational intelligence officer for South Asia at the National Intelligence Council (2006-07) has also given heradequate insights about the region. Powell moves to Delhi from the department of state, where she workedas director-general, Foreign Service, and director of human resources.The last US Foreign Service officer to be posted in Delhi was Frank Wisner, who served as ambassador forthree years from 1994. His successors – including Richard Celeste, Robert Blackwill, David Campbell Mulfordand Timothy Roemer – were political appointees. Only seven of the 22 US ambassadors in India sinceIndependence have been career officers of the Foreign Service, Powell being the eighth. The position hasattracted the likes of Chester Bowles, a former adman-turned-politician (who was ambassador to Delhi twice,between 1951 and 1953 and 1963 and 1969), John Kenneth Galbraith, a renowned economist and author(1961 to 1963) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a veteran Democrat (1973 to 1975).The low-key Powell was ambassador in Islamabad during the crucial years following Pakistans misadventure inKargil, when relations between the two South Asian neighbors had deteriorated. She had also warned thePakistan government that extremist outfits with links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban had regrouped, leading to acrackdown on them.Of course, Powells India tenure could be brief, as US President Barack Obama, seeking a second four-yearterm in 2012, could be voted out of office. A new Associated Press-GfK poll found that half of the Americanssurveyed felt he should not continue in office for the second term. Less than 40 per cent of the respondentsapproved Obamas handling of the economy, with the vast majority disapproving it. Recent US diplomaticpostings to India have been political ones, with American presidents such as Bill Clinton, George Bush andeven Obama taking a greater interest in building up relations with the worlds largest democracy. Click here for index