HCC-MEIL joint venture wins Rs 3,681-crore order for bullet train station

Source: Financial Express, 15 March 2023

Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), in a joint venture with Megha Engineering & Infrastructures (MEIL), has won a ₹3,681-crore contract for the construction of the proposed bullet train’s Bandra Kurla Complex station.

The contract for the only underground on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail corridor was awarded by the National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL).

The Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) bullet train station is planned at a depth of about 24 metre below the ground level. The station, which will have a total of three floors, will be developed over a cumulative floor area of about 200,000 square metre and will house amenities, including waiting areas, a business-class lounge, a nursery, restrooms, smoking rooms, and information kiosks.

The station will have six platforms, and each platform is about 414 metre, sufficient to accommodate a 16-coach bullet train. The station will have connectivity with the metro and road transport.

HCC’s entry into building a high-speed bullet train station represents a significant opportunity for the company to expand its portfolio and establish a foothold in the high-speed rail construction industry. This new project allows HCC to leverage its expertise in constructing large-scale infrastructure projects and apply it to a cutting-edge transportation system, HCC said in a statement.

The contract also includes building a retrieval shaft on the eastern end for the removal of the tunnel boring machine (TBM), architectural finishing, all mechanical, electrical and plumping works, and testing and commissioning.

In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

initiated India’s first bullet train project, connecting Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The train will cover the 508-km route in under three hours, with a top speed of 350 km per hour. The project is being financed by Japan, which will provide India with a loan of `88,000 crore.

HPCL in pact to manufacture Chevron’s lubricants

Source: Economic Times, 14 March 2023

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) has entered into an agreement to manufacture, distribute and market lubricants of global supermajor Chevron in India, the two companies said on Tuesday. “Chevron Brands International LLC (Chevron), a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, has entered into a long-term trademark licensing agreement with HPCL. This collaboration encompasses the licensing, production, distribution, and marketing of Chevron’s lubricant products under the Caltex brand, including Chevron’s proprietary Havoline and Delo branded lubricant product,” they said in a statement.

The agreement provides for “Caltex-branded lubricants to be manufactured, distributed, and marketed in India by HPCL”.

HPCL already has its own brand of lubricants and this would be in addition to the existing ones.

Commenting on the agreement, Brant Fish, President of Chevron International Products, stated, “We are extremely pleased to partner with HPCL to bring quality Caltex lubricants technology and performance to India. HPCL is a market leader in India, and together we plan to build on the strength of the Caltex brand and our premium product portfolio.”

Amit Garg, Director Marketing of HPCL, said, “This exciting partnership paves the way to leverage HPCL’s market leadership to add value via a broader, premium products offering to Indian consumers through synergies between HPCL and Chevron.”

“The long-term comprehensive cooperation we have with Chevron is built on HPCL’s success in the field of lubricants production, distribution, and marketing. We look forward to a fruitful and long-lasting journey with the Caltex brand in the Indian market,” Garg added.

US-based YouTube Ad Co forays into India

Source: Economic Times, 08 March 2023

US-based YouTube advertising company Channel Factory has entered India through a strategic collaboration with advertising and marketing firm Y&A Transformation. The company will offer its ad tech solutions to YouTube advertisers in India.

Channel Factory is a Google-certified global technology and data platform which helps maximise performance efficiency and contextual suitability to deliver quantum leaps in campaign performances.

Channel Factory chief growth officer – Global Robin Zieme said, “We are delighted to enter the Indian market in collaboration with Y&A Transformation. India is one of the most happening and matured digital markets. If the recent IPL bids or the 2023 AdEx projections are any indications of where digital ad spends in India are headed, we believe we are at the right place and right time.”

Tata Motors to supply 25,000 XPRES-T electric sedans to Uber

Source: Economic Times, 20 February 2023

Tata Motors on Monday said it will supply 25,000 XPRES-T electric vehicle units to Uber in one of the largest deals in the green mobility space till date. As per a memorandum of understanding inked between the two entities, Uber will utilise the electric sedans in its premium category service, the companies said in a joint statement.

The electric fleet would be operational across Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, it added.

The Mumbai-based automaker will begin the deliveries of the cars to Uber fleet partners in a phased manner, starting this month.

The companies did not provide the financial details of the deal.

The price of a single unit of XPRES-T starts from Rs 13.04 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

A single unit of X-Pres-T (ex-showroom), with a range of 315 km, is priced at Rs 14.98 lakh and entails a FAME subsidy of Rs 2.6 lakh.

“In line with our commitment to grow sustainable mobility in the country, we are delighted to partner with Uber, India’s leading ride-sharing platform,” Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility MD Shailesh Chandra said in a statement.

Offering customers environmentally friendly EV ride experiences via Uber’s premium category service, will accelerate the adoption of green and clean personal ride-sharing, he added.

“This partnership will further cement our market position in the fleet segment,” Chandra noted.

Uber India and South Asia President Prabhjeet Singh said Uber is committed to bringing sustainable, shared mobility to India, and this partnership with Tata Motors is a major milestone in that journey.

“It represents the largest EV partnership yet between an automaker and a ridesharing platform in India. It will supercharge the transition to zero emissions on the Uber platform as we work towards building a sustainable future,” he added.

Tata Motors has so far over 50,000 EV units from its plant in the personal and fleet segment.

In July 2021, the automaker launched the ‘XPRES’ brand exclusively for fleet customers, and the XPRES-T EV is the first vehicle under this brand.

The new XPRES-T electric sedan comes with two range options – 315km and 277 km (ARAI certified range under test conditions).

It packs a high energy density battery of 26 kWh and 25.5 kWh which can be charged from 0-80 per cent in 59 mins and 110 mins respectively, using fast charging or can also be normally charged from any 15 A plug point.

It comes with zero tail-pipe emission, single-speed automatic transmission, dual airbags, and ABS with EBD as standard across variants.

Citroen India partners with Jio-BP to build EV infrastructure

Source: Financial Express, 17 January 2023

Citroen India on Friday announced a strategic partnership with Jio-BP, a fuels and mobility joint venture between Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and BP, to build EV infrastructure and services across its network.

The partnership will enable Jio-BP to install DC fast chargers across Citroen’s key dealership network and workshops across the country in phases. These chargers will also be open to the entire universe of EV car customers to help boost EV adoption among consumers.

“With the New Citroën ë-C3 All Electric scheduled for launch in Q1 2023, this partnership will ensure Jio-bp’s charging infrastructure network is accessible via the My Citroën Connect app,” the company stated in a press release.

Currently, Jio-BP operates a rapidly expanding network of EV charging and swapping stations under the Jio-BP pulse brand. The entire range of Jio-bp pulse offerings can be accessed via its mobile app that helps customers easily locate EV charging stations in their vicinity, facilitates digital payments amongst others.

Fersa Group acquires majority stake in manufacturer Delux Bearings.

Source: Fersa Bearings on LinkedIn, 09 January 2023

Fersa Group becomes the major investor in Delux Bearings, while the Indian company, dedicated to the manufacture of bearings and electromechanical components for all types of machinery and light and heavy commercial vehicles, maintains its independence under the management of the Rathod family, founders of the company.

The investment in Delux provides the group with extensive knowledge and experience in bearings and advanced electronic applications for the powertrain of electric and conventional vehicles, complementary to those manufactured by the Spanish multinational, and allows it to diversify its product range and meet market needs and trends that require solutions that improve efficiency and reduce friction in applications.

This strategic move also allows Fersa Group to expand its production capacity, strengthen its position in the automotive sector as a supplier to the industry’s leading manufacturers, and generate synergies in innovation and R&D, as well as in operations and costs by reinforcing its global supply chain.

EV push: Eicher Motors to pick 10.35% stake in Spain-based Stark Future

Source: Business Standards, 29 December 2022

Indian automotive major Eicher Motors, the parent company of Royal Enfield, on Thursday, announced a strategic collaboration in the space of electric motorcycles with Spain-based Stark Future SL.

The board of directors of Eicher Motors has cleared an investment of €50 million for close to 10.35 per cent equity stake in Stark Future.

With this investment, Eicher will have a seat on Stark Future’s board and will explore further opportunities to collaborate in the space of electric mobility.

This investment has strategic significance for both Royal Enfield and Stark Future, given both companies are keenly invested in creating innovative and sustainable solutions for global mobility.

Stark Future recently launched its first high-performance electric motocross dirt bike, the Stark VARG, which received good response globally.

Speaking about Stark Future and this partnership, Eicher Motors Managing Director Siddhartha Lal said, “We love the vision, passion, and focus of the amazing team at Stark Future. Leisure motorcycles do not easily lend themselves to electric vehicle (EV) technology at this stage due to challenges like battery range, packaging, weight, and cost. This has resulted in stunted growth of this segment until now. Stark Future has been able to understand and harness the potential of EV technology by dramatically outperforming internal combustion engine offerings. They have created an astounding motocross motorcycle – the Stark VARG – as their entry into the EV world.”

“We believe Stark Future has the highest potential for real breakout growth in the EV leisure space with this model, and the potential to use this strong base to extend into other contiguous segments and beyond,” he added.

B Govindarajan, chief executive officer (CEO), Royal Enfield, said this was a perfectly symbiotic partnership.

“We are very excited to closely collaborate with Stark Future who are as focused as we are on challenging norms, pushing boundaries, and building uniquely differentiated offerings for riders. In addition to the sheer potential of Stark Future, we see immense synergies in this partnership. While they are scaling up and planning their market entry soon, we will support Stark in the industrialisation process. While they are the thought leaders in EV technology, particularly in light-weight components and innovative solutions, we, at Royal Enfield, will draw on these capabilities for developing our EV platforms and will also plan to share some EV platforms in the future,” said Govindarajan.

Royal Enfield has made huge strides in its EV journey over the past few years. The company’s research and development programmes have included major focus on sustainable mobility technologies. There are several ideas in the advanced stages of testing. The company has been aggressively building a sharp and insightful understanding of the EV space to create electric motorcycles with the Royal Enfield DNA, especially in the mid-weight segment.

“We aimed to challenge and inspire the motorcycle industry with the creation of the Stark VARG and by bringing our electric technology from the drawing board to reality. To now partner one of the very first motorcycle brands in history, and be part of their journey towards sustainability, is a huge inspiration for us at Stark,” said Anton Wass, founder and CEO, Stark Future.

Minda Corporation ties up with South Korea’s Daesung Eltec for ADAS technology

Source: Economic Times, 31 October 2022

Auto components maker Minda Corporation on Monday said it has collaborated with South Korean firm Daesung Eltec to bring next generation advanced driver assistance system solutions to India. The two companies signed a technology licence and assistance agreement on October 28, 2022, Minda Corporation said in a statement.

Through the collaboration, the partners will offer advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) for passenger, commercial and off-road vehicles segment.

These include around view monitoring system (AVM), including driver monitoring system (DMS), lane departure warning system (LDWS) and front collision warning system (FCWS).

“ADAS is a critical, futuristic technology with early signs of its adoption already visible in the Indian market. Current estimates from leading car manufacturers project that ADAS features relating to autonomous driving will become near ubiquitous in the next few years,” Minda Corporation Executive Director Aakash Minda said.

Daesung Eltec brings in more than four decades of rich experience in the automotive electronics industry, he said, adding the collaboration would enable Minda to be one of the early movers providing localised solutions in the domain.

On signing of the agreement, Daesung Eltec CEO Won Ghee Yang said,”The Indian automobile industry is steadily progressing towards an era where autonomous vehicles will become commonplace, making ADAS both relevant and necessary. We strongly believe that this association is a great step towards bringing together the strengths of both the companies.”

Under the collaboration, Daesung Eltec will support Minda with product design, development and validation and will also play a key role in process design, validation and manufacturing line set-up for ADAS systems, the statement said.

India, Bangladesh explore cooperation in AI, cyber security, startups

Source: Economic Times, 20 June 2022

India and Bangladesh on Sunday decided to expand their strategic partnership to develop cooperation in areas of Artificial Intelligence, cyber security, startups and Fintech besides expanding ties in railways sector as well as cross-border river management and conservation.

This was decided at the 7th Joint Consultative Commission meeting between the two foreign ministers S Jaishankar and AK Abdul Momen held here on Sunday evening.

In his opening remarks Jaishankar said, “…we now look forward to working with you to take our ties to new domains- Artificial Intelligence, cyber security, startups, Fintech. We were pleased to receive your ICT Minister. We had a very good visit by your railway minister recently and I am glad to expand our cooperation on the upgradation of our railway system. We share 54 rivers. Comprehensive management of our rivers and their conservation, as well as the shared environmental responsibility that we have, especially the Sundarbans-these are really areas that we need to work together as part of our commitment to climate action.”

Border management was also a key item on the agenda of cooperation. “…better management of our long border is also a key priority. Our Border Guarding Forces are committed to combating trans-border crimes. We must continue to work together to make sure that the border remains crime-free,” Jaishankar said in his remarks.

Sub-regional cooperation in power, especially hydropower was also on the agenda of JCC. “We are both the largest producer and consumer of energy in the region. And we would be very happy to work with Bangladesh to structure a progressive partnership in the areas of production, transmission and trade,” Jaishankar pointed out.

Momen’s visit is also significant since Bangladesh is among the Muslim majority countries that neither issued a statement nor summoned the Indian envoy over the remarks by the BJP spokespersons on the Prophet. The JCC was held after two years.

Actis buys road assets of Welspun Enterprises for Rs 6000 cr

Source: Economic Times, 10 June 2022

The UK based global investor Actis has acquired a portfolio of six operating highway toll road projects in India from Welspun Enterprises Limited (WEL), part of the Welspun Group, for an aggregate Enterprise Value of $775 mn (Rs. 6,000 crore).

The portfolio benefits from a stable mix of annuity and toll cash flows, with the projects located strategically across India including in the most prominent North-South highway corridor, said an Actis statement.

This will be the first road investment in India from Actis’ Long Life Infrastructure Fund (ALLIF), which seeks to invest in stabilised operating assets, within multiple infrastructure sectors that deliver a strong cash yield for investors, Actis said.

Aligning with this objective, five of the six toll roads have a Hybrid Annuity concession, whereby the concessionaire gets a fixed pay-out to ensure road availability. The concessions for the five projects are awarded by National Highways Authority of India and have received a AAA local credit rating, it said.

“This is a strong, first of its kind, investment for ALLIF, which fully aligns with the fund’s core objective – to invest globally in infrastructure assets that provide consistent yield for our investors,” said Adrian Mucalov, Partner, Head of Long Life Infrastructure at Actis.

Actis’ Long Life Infrastructure’s
recent investments include the purchase of a 50 percent stake in Dubai headquartered Emirates District Cooling Company (EMICOOL), and the acquisition of Ulug Energy in Turkey.

In April, Actis had sold its renewable energy platform Sprng Energy to Shell Overseas Investment BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell plc, for $1.55 billion (Rs 11,900 crore).