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).

‘Huge business opportunities exist for India and Austria to boost trade, investment’

Source: Financial Express, 21 March 2022

Huge business opportunities exist for India and Austria to enhance bilateral trade and investments, Austrian Minister for European and International Affairs Alexander Schallenberg said on Monday. The bilateral trade between the two countries has crossed USD one billion and “it shows what kind of potential we have,” he said here at Austria-India Business Forum, organised by industry body CII.

“We are reliable partners, we are people who look for a long term relationship. There are no political strings attached when you deal with Austrian businesses, I can assure you that,” the minister said.He added that businesses of both countries can increase cooperation in areas like renewable energy, safe water, hydro plant, infrastructure and waste management.

“We all know that there is an enormous untapped potential in relations between Austria and India,” Schallenberg noted. He said that Austrian small and medium-sized companies are looking for business potential in new markets.”We are facing challenges in Ukraine and Russia” and Austrian companies are looking for newer opportunities and markets, he pointed out.”Indian markets might be one of the most challenging ones…but we are hopeful that out of these meetings and talks, some doors will open,” he added.

Talking about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he said that it is a direct attack on the rules-based international system. “As far as businesses are concerned, we have (to) be aware that there is a real earthquake going on…Yes, there might be medium-term or long-term opportunities for other countries…but this is something where we should not look at it in that way because what we seeing is actually a catastrophe,” Schallenberg said.He added that when there is a war in Europe, “it has a tendency of spilling over to other continents and other countries. So, nobody can be indifferent of what is happening in Ukraine”.

RENMAKCH and NENCKI to produce the first Nencki Bogie Test Stands in India.

Source:  Metrorailnews, 15 March 2022

DELHI (Metro Rail News): Renmakch India Private Limited and Swiss company Nencki limited has announced a Joint Venture partnership for Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC) project. Under the Make in India policy, they will be producing the first Nencki Bogie Test Stands in India.

Seppi Käppeli, CEO, Nencki AG said that “We are pleased to announce the cooperation between Renmakch India Pvt. Ltd. (India) and Nencki Ltd. (Switzerland) as Joint Venture Partners for the project for Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC). Under the premise of the Make In India policy, Renmakch and Nencki are producing the first Nencki Bogie Test Stands in India.” “We thank our partner Renmakch for the superb support & production services and also Gujarat Metro for the great opportunity to deliver two Bogie Test Stands to their workshops, he added”.

Neelesh Dixit, Managing Director at Renmakch India Pvt Ltd thanked Mr Käppeli for this joint venture and said, “Thank You for trusting us Mr Seppi and also thank you for your wholehearted cooperation & dynamic support in this regard. This association will play a major role in further strengthening the RENMAKCH-NENCKI relationship on a long term basis”.

UK-based Volex acquires majority stake in inYantra Tech in USD 13-mn transaction

Source: Economic Times, 07 March 2022

InYantra Technologies Pvt Ltd, an electronics design and manufacturing services firm, on Monday said UK-based integrated manufacturing-services and power products company Volex plc has acquired a majority stake in it in a transaction totalling USD 13 million (around Rs 100 crore). Volex’s partnership with inYantra will bring in new verticals and fortified capabilities. It will strengthen focus on two high-growth Indian sectors of medical electronics and electric vehicles (EVs) for inYantra Technologies, the company said in a statement.

The company has entered into “a decisive strategic partnership” with Volex plc “for a transaction totalling USD 13 million”, inYantra Technologies added.

The association with Volex will also provide access to a global customer base, spread international operating footprint, inYantra added.

inYantra Chairman Pravin Jain said, “The strategic alliance with Volex positions us for accelerated growth for the next five years.”

He further said, “We have developed a joint business plan based on the synergies in the existing businesses, as well as a significant expansion of the manufacturing footprint in India, and are targeting multiples of revenue growth by 2027.”

Volex Executive Chairman Nat Rothschild said the inYantra transaction offers an excellent strategic opportunity to expand the company’s global footprint, which is consistent with its strategy, and will bring new and strengthened capabilities in the key Indian market.

“inYantra’s existing business, along with the imminent development of a complex cable assembly capability, will improve our customer offering, supporting low-cost manufacturing for existing and new domestic and export customers,” he added.

Rothschild further said Volex sees a further opportunity to improve inYantra’s margins by allowing inYantra to leverage the economies of scale from being part of a larger group.

As part of the transaction, the two partners will undertake joint development of complex cable assembly capability through low-cost production for both domestic and export markets, as Volex expands the capabilities at the Pune site by building a new medical and complex industrial technology cable assembly facility, the statement said.

Besides, there will be a stronger and structured focus on the electric vehicle segment, which is one of Volex’s key business verticals, it added.

Exide collaborates with Chinese firm for lithium-ion cell manufacturing in India

Source: Economic Times, 10 March 2022

Storage battery major Exide Industries has forged a multi-year technical collaboration with a Chinese company for lithium Ion battery manufacturing in India. Exide in a statement on Thursday said partner SVOLT Energy Technology Co Ltd (SVOLT) as part of the agreement will grant Exide an irrevocable right and license to use, exploit and commercialise necessary technology and know-how owned by them for lithium-ion cell manufacturing in India.

“SVOLT will also provide the support required for setting up of a state-of-the art green field manufacturing plant on a turnkey basis. Exide is in the process of forming a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) by way of a wholly-owned subsidiary for carrying out the said lithium-ion cell manufacturing business,” company officials said.

“It is in a fairly advanced stage of discussions for finalising the land parcel for this facility,” Exide said.

“With SVOLT’s strong technical expertise, R&D capabilities and rich experience in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries, Exide plans to set-up a multi-gigawatt lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility. Spread out across two popular cell chemistries and three cell formats, this unit shall be uniquely placed to cater to the diverse requirements of customers in India,” Exide MD & CEO Subir Chakraborty said.

SVOLT, a leader in the new technology, is headquartered in Jiangsu province in China.

Reliance to make electronics in JV with Sanmina of US; Mukesh Ambani digs into Modi’s ‘Make in India’

Source: Financial Express, 03 March 2022

Reliance Industries Limited’s subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited and US-based manufacturing firm Sanmina Corporation have entered an agreement to create a manufacturing joint-venture to make electronics in the country, the companies said Thursday, backing the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Mukesh Ambani– owned Reliance will invest Rs 1,670 crore in new shares in Sanmina’s existing Indian entity and own 50.1% equity stake in the JV while Sanmina will own the rest, the companies added.

“The joint venture will create a world-class electronic manufacturing hub in India, in line with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s “Make in India” vision,” Reliance said in the statement. All the manufacturing will take place in Sanima’s Chennai factory, and will aim to expand sites across India. The companies will manufacture electronics hardware with a priority on high technology infrastructure hardware, according to the statement. The JV will also manufacture goods across industries such as communications networking (5G, cloud infrastructure), medical and healthcare systems, industrial and cleantech, and defense and aerospace.

Bharat Forge to acquire JS Auto

Source: Economic Times, 24 February 2022

Auto component major Bharat Forge on Thursday said it will acquire JS Autocast Foundry India.

The company, along with its subsidiary, BF Industrial Solutions, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire JS Autocast Foundry India (JS Auto), the company said in a statement.

Established in 2004, JS Auto is a leading and a preferred supplier of machined ductile iron castings for the wind, hydraulic, off-highway and automotive applications.

Over the past five year, JS Auto sales have grown at a CAGR of 17.7 per cent.

The company registered sales of Rs 259 crore in FY21.

“We are delighted to welcome the JS Auto team to Bharat Forge family and will look to leverage their capabilities, highly talented technical team and strong customer connect to aggressively grow our presence in the industrial casting space,” Bharat Forge Deputy Managing Director Amit Kalyani said.

JS Auto will accelerate the company’s diversification journey and enable in addressing the decarbonisation opportunity, he added.

Bharat Forge said it will acquire JS Auto for an upfront consideration (based on enterprise valuation adjustments) plus fixed deferred payment at the end of third year.

India, Germany sign work plan for collaboration to strengthen quality infrastructure

Source: Financial Express, 17 February 2022

India and Germany on Wednesday signed a work plan for cooperation to strengthen quality infrastructure, reduce technical barriers to trade, enhance product safety and strengthen consumer protection.

The work plan 2022 was signed during the virtually held 8th annual meeting of the Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure, led by the Indian Ministry for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh and Deniela Bronstrup, Director General, Digital and Innovation Policy at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) were present in the meeting.

“A Work Plan for the Year 2022 was agreed upon and signed by both sides…,” an official statement said.

The areas identified for collaboration include mobility, energy, circular economy, smart farming/ agriculture, medical devices, digitalisation (artificial intelligence, Industry 4.0 and other new technology areas), machinery safety, medical devices and equipment and market surveillance.

Speaking in the meeting, India’s consumer affairs secretary underscored the importance of a well-established and robust quality infrastructure which consists of standardisation, technical regulations and market surveillance for the success of the government’s initiative to transform India into a global manufacturing hub.

Stating that Germany is an important and trusted partner for India, the secretary expressed hope that the Work Plan 2022 signed virtually during the meeting would pave the way forward for collaboration towards well functioning and resilient systems of quality infrastructures.

He urged involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, such as different ministries, standardisation bodies and industry to learn from each other’s approaches on different aspects of quality infrastructure.

Germany’s Bronstrup said despite the challenging period, both sides continued cooperation under the framework of the Working Group.

“This is a great sign of strong relations between Germany and India and that both sides can draw benefits from exchange of information and expertise on issues of mutual interest to support bilateral trade,” he said.

The German side shared their initiatives at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and requested support for the German candidate for the position of Director Standards at ITU.

A publication — ‘United in Quality and Safety’ — was released providing information about the quality infrastructure in Germany and the European Union.

Outcome of the Global Quality Infrastructure Index (GQII) study conducted by the German side was also shared.

As per the GQII report, India is placed at seventh position on standardisation aspect, ninth for accreditation activities and 19th for metrology related activities.

India scored 95.6 out of 100 and is ranked at 10th place in the world for overall quality infrastructure environment in the country, the statement said.

This was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Digitalization and sustainability: key factors for an effective and modern Quality Infrastructure’ and a session on ‘Focus areas for cooperation within the Indo-German Working Group in 2022’.

The Working Group meets annually since 2013, and identifies areas of cooperation to support and strengthen quality infrastructure taking into account needs and requirements of relevant stakeholders from diverse technology areas so as to support bilateral trade.

India, Australia ink letter of intent on new and renewable energy technology

Source: Financial Express, 15 February 2022

India and Australia on Tuesday inked a letter of intent for working together towards reducing the cost of new and renewable energy technologies and scaling up their deployment to reduce emission globally.

The letter of intent (LoI) was signed at the 4th India – Australia Energy Dialogue, as per a power ministry statement.

According to the statement, the dialogue was co-chaired by Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, R K Singh and Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor from Australia.

This LoI will pave the way for working towards reducing the cost of new and renewable energy technologies and scaling up their deployment in order to accelerate global emissions reduction, it stated.

The focus of this LoI will be scaling up manufacture and deployment of ultra low-cost solar and clean hydrogen, it stated.

There is an urgent need to focus on advancing technology and clean energy transition. In this context, the agreed forward action plan includes areas like energy efficient technologies; grid management; R&D collaboration on flue gas desulphurisation, biomass or hydrogen co-firing, water cycle optimisation, renewables integration, batteries and electric mobility.

There are five Joint Working Groups (JWGs) under the India – Australia Energy Dialogue — Power; New & Renewable Energy; Coal & Mines; Critical Minerals; and Oil & Gas.

Apart from the power sector, there are many desirable areas of cooperation agreed under other JWGs like reducing costs of green hydrogen; cooperation in sphere of coal-based energy security and resource deployment; investment opportunities in the minerals sector; exploring potential for an LNG partnership, among others.