Merck plans India bio-production plant

indexNew Delhi: German healthcare and life sciences firm Merck KGaA may set up a bio-production plant in India to help local companies create biotech drugs and biosimilars (copies of off-patent bio-tech drugs). The plant will be its fourth such globally, a top executive for the company toldMint.

“We would be open to set up a bio-production centre. We have one in France and we have opened one in the US. We will open another one in China. Because we believe that demand in these three geographies is undisputed; as it is in India,” Udit Batra, member of the executive board of Merck KGaA and chief executive of its life science business, which contributes 44% of the firm’s global revenue, said in an interview on Friday.

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Pharma major Granules India to invest $84 million in expansion

Source: Business Standard, Feb 20, 2017

Chennai: Hyderabad-based pharma major Granules India Limited is planning to invest $84 million in setting up new capacities, expanding existing ones and investing in R&D to improve its product mix in favour of higher value-added products. The investment will be backed by World Bank’s investment arm International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The project cost is proposed to be financed with debt of $68.5 million, including a corporate loan of up to $47.5 million from IFC’s own account, and the rest through equity and internal accruals, according to the project disclosure.

IFC has made three investments in Granules till now, including debt and equity in 2007 (IFC exited the equity in 2014), Cleaner Production Lending Facility (CPLF) loan in 2009; and debt investment in 2011 for capacity expansion in the Gagillapur unit.

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Government to play active role in making India a global semiconductor hub

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 21, 2017

NEW DELHI: The ministry of electronics and information technology (Meity) is revising its policy framework towards making India a global semiconductor hub, which will see the government taking a more active role, including initial investment, in a bid to attract private sector players. The existing policy has not worked as it offered little commercial viability for the private sector.

Earlier, a Jaypee-led consortium pulled out midway from a project for setting up of a semiconductor wafer fabrication manufacturing facility.

Recently, another consortium, led by Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC) including ST Microelectronics and Silterra Malaysia, which had also received approval to set up a fab unit, has been facing challenges in tying up the funding. The two projects were worth Rs 51,000 crore.

Admitting that the government’s earlier approach of inviting two private parties for the project — in which it was ready to subsidise as much as 40% of the project cost — had not worked, Meity Secretary Aruna Sundarajan told ET that the new approach will be more broad and have the government taking “a strategic and central role”.

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Electronics industry estimated to grow at a CAGR of up to 23%

Source: Business Standard, Feb 21, 2017

Bengaluru: India’s ESDM (Electronic System Design and Manufacturing) industry is forecasted to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 16-23 per cent to reach $171-228 billion by 2020, an industry specific report said on Tuesday.

“In 2015, India’s ESDM industry is sized at $82 billion, growing at a CAGR of eight per cent from 2013. By 2016-17 the sector will become a 100 billion plus opportunity and is estimated to grow further at a CAGR of 16- 23 per cent to reach $171-228 billion by 2020,” the report said.

It said that apart from sector-specific drivers, the forecasts are based on several parameters such as overall GDP growth of India, currency movement, inflation, existing trade agreements, consumer sentiments, potential government consumption, existing government policies, investments, manufacturing entities, and type of value addition in India.

The Indian ESDM Industry Update, an India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA)- Ernst&Young (EY) report was announced at the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) ‘Vision Summit’ in Bengaluru.

IESA is the trade body representing the Indian ESDM industry in the country.

On the Indian ESDM sector and economic outlook, the report said that the robust growth of India’s electronics industry is primarily driven by huge domestic demand for products that can be attributed to a multitude of factors, including a growing middle class, rising disposable incomes and favourable duty structures.

Citing large-scale public procurement needs that are driven by government projects like broadband connectivity to villages, rural electrification and e-governance programs as among the reasons, it said favourable ESDM policy initiatives and rising interest of MNCs and Indian enterprises in the sector have created a positive impact on the Indian ESDM value chain.

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EPFO introduces common form for different types of withdrawal

Source: Business Standard, Feb 21, 2017

Subscribers of retirement fund body EPFO can now withdrawal money from their PF account using one common form and will not be required to file documents like marriage invitation cards for taking advances.

Besides, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has also done away with the practice of filing utlisation certificates for advances taken from their PF accounts and can submit self-utlisation certificate.

“To add further convenience, these forms (different form for various advances and withdrwals) now have been further simplified and replaced with a single page Composite Claim Form (Aadhar). This new Composite Claim Form (Aadhar), can be submitted without the attestation of employers,” EPFO said in statement.

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FIPB clears 15 FDI proposals worth Rs 12,000 crore

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 21, 2017

NEW DELHI: Inter-ministerial body FIPB today approved 15 investment proposals, including that of Apollo HospitalsBSE 1.45 %, Hindustan Aeronautics, Dr Reddy’s and Vodafone, envisaging foreign investment of Rs 12,200 crore.

“15 out of 24 FDI proposals were approved while three were rejected,” sources said.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, deferred 6 proposals, including that of Gland Pharma with the proposed FDI inflow of Rs 8,800 crore.

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EU asks India to extend by 6 months trade pact with EU nations

Source: Financial Express, Feb 20, 2017

New Delhi: The European Union today pressed India to extend by six months its bilateral investment pacts with several EU-member countries which are expiring soon, saying absence of the treaties could adversely impact trade ties and FTA talks. A high-level European Parliament delegation, here to gauge India’s views about the Trump administration and discuss various key issues concerning India-EU ties, also expressed concern over situation in Jammu and Kashmir and called for improvement in ties between India and Pakistan. Chair of the EU delegation for relations with India Geoffrey Van Orden said EU wants New Delhi to renew the investment deals first to take forward the stalled FTA talks. “It will be helpful if trade and investment pacts can be extended for six months. The issue has become a problem for the FTA talks,” he told reporters.

India’s existing trade and investment pacts with The Netherlands have come to an end in November while while similar pacts with several other EU countries will expire in the coming months.

Orden said expiry of the pacts will make it difficult for the European countries to go for fresh investments in India, adding the EU want India to first give the extension to the pacts and then move ahead with the FTA which is known as EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA). On Kashmir, he said EU is always sensitive about issues relating to human rights violations, adding certain forces do not want India-Pakistan relations to improve.

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