Saab inks MoUs with Indian aerospace firms

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Feb 21, 2019

Saab, a global products, services and solutions firm with a footprint extending from military defence to civil security, has taken another step forward to expand its presence in India by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with three aerospace manufacturers.

The MoUs with CIM Tools and Sansera are to expand the existing working relationships with Saab on commercial aero-structures for the Gripen fighter and other defence-related products in the Saab portfolio.

The MoU with Dynamatic is a starting point to explore future joint opportunities in commercial and defence-related aerostructures work, including Gripen. Read the rest of this entry »


Argentina seeks Indian investments to boost economic cooperation

Source:, Feb 19, 2019

New Delhi: South American nation Argentina Monday sought investments from India in areas including renewable energy and tourism with a view to boost economic bilateral ties.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri said his country is investing heavily to create world-class infrastructure.

“You are most welcome in Argentina. If we work together, then potential is endless. I invite you,” he said here at India-Argentina Business Forum meet, organised by CII.

Macri said there is potential in areas like agriculture, renewable energy and tourism.

Speaking at the forum, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said there are huge opportunities in both countries to increase bilateral trade. Read the rest of this entry »

India, EU to jointly develop water technologies

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Feb 14, 2019

New Delhi: India and European Union will jointly take up seven research and innovations projects costing ₹320 crore to address urgent challenges in areas relating to water in India.

As many as 130 entities, including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), universities and municipal corporations, would work together on these time-bound projects which are aimed at improving quality of drinking water, waste-water management and real-time monitoring of water systems, said a press statement issued by the European Union on Thursday.

Besides supporting the government initiative to rejuvenate the river Ganga, the projects will also support transfer of European technologies to India, which would require them to be tested, demonstrated, and customised to suit Indian needs, at an affordable cost. The cooperation will also lead to increased scientific excellence while ensuring that the technology can be deployed and be of benefit to the entire population, it said.

Uneven distribution of water resources triggered by climate change, extreme water-related events (floods and droughts) and increasing demand due to population growth and economic development, as well as water pollution add additional stress to water, the environment and food security.

“Many of these water challenges are common to India and the EU. The selected research and innovation projects will aim at addressing these key water issues together with India and in doing so, will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals to which both Europe and India are committed,” the statement quoted Tomasz Kozlowski, EU Ambassador to India, as saying.

While the project India-H2O will focus on developing bio-mimetic and phyto-technologies for low-cost purification and recycling of water, the focus of the Lotus project will be on developing cheaper and innovative technologies for water quality monitoring and water resource management in urban and rural areas.

Under the project Pani Water, research groups will seek to develop newer photo-irradiation and adsorption based technologies for water treatment, while the project Spring, on the other hand, is meant for developing biotechnical treatment solutions and good practices for water resource planning and implementation.

Developing innovative decentralised water treatment technologies for urban and peri-urban areas will also be attempted as part of these projects which would be carried out over the next four years. The Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Biotechnology will be responsible for the Indian part of the funding, the statement said.

India, Russia draw up ambitious agenda in 2019 to boost economic partnership

Source: The Economic Times, Feb 12, 2019

India and Russia have drawn up an ambitious agenda to boost strategic partnership through joint efforts at various economic fora in 2019.

Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Anton Kobyakov and Ambassador of India to Russia Venkatesh Varma recently met in Moscow and discussed the participation of representatives of India in major Russian business events as a driver in strengthening strategic partnership.

This meeting was in backdrop of yet another leadership level contact between the two sides. On January 7, in a telephone conversation, President of the Russia Vladimir Putin invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the main guest of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok to be held between Sep 4–6 2019.

“We look forward to the visit of Prime Minister of India to the largest forum in the Asia-Pacific region and hope that this will break new ground of trade and investment cooperation between our countries in the Far East. I am confident that the extensive highest level participation of India in the event can significantly contribute to the achievement of the ambitious objectives announced by Prime Minister of India: to bring the trade turnover between Russia and India to $30 billion by 2025,” said Kobyakov.

“We also hope that the initiatives of India, articulated during first Russia–India Strategic Economic Dialogue, will be pursued as national programmes and projects in our countries. For example, in digitalization we’re talking about the signing of an agreement between the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India and the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia,” he added.

During the meeting, Russian representatives spoke about organising a national stand of India at the EEF 2019 exhibition space for a general presentation of the economic, industrial, tourism and cultural potential of the country to the Forum participants. Additionally, in order to strengthen interregional cooperation, the Russian side offered assistance in organising and holding the meeting of Prime Minister of India with the heads of the Far East regions, since it has already become a traditional part of Prime Minister’s visit to Russia.

“I attended several events organised by the Roscongress Foundation and I know for a fact that all of them are world-class gatherings offering strong expert opinions and international discussions. Thus, the Indian side seeks to attend each event with a representative delegation from both Government and business. The SPIEF and EEF dates are always on our calendars, and I believe every year we step up our presence at Russian major business forums. This year we are looking forward to attending the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ International Arctic Forum since we recognise Russia’s aspiration to consolidate development issues between the Far East and the Arctic. We are quite interested in this topic. Our representatives will also attend the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi next week and of course the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum with the Delegation comprising of business representatives and Government of the Republic of India,” said Ambassador Varma.

Both sides noted the efficiency of interaction between the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Roscongress Foundation; raised issues on the ‘I Love Russia’ Forum-Exhibition scheduled for May 2019 in Mumbai under the initiative of the Confederation of Indian Industry together with The Times Group, and also discussed the possibility of holding Russia–India events in Davos in 2020.

Venezuela open to barter system to boost trade ties

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Feb 11, 2019

Reiterating that Venezuela wants to continue trading with India despite the ongoing turbulence in the country, Venezuela’s Minister of Petroleum, Manuel Quevedo, said, “It is very important to listen to all the consuming countries to maintain the balance of demand and supply…We have a good relationship with India and we want to continue this relationship.”

“Venezuela has a presidency at the moment and India certainly has good and healthy relationship with us and all the members of the OPEC and that will continue. So, we always keep these communications and relations with all consuming countries in order to ensure stability, and the balance will continue,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters at the sidelines of Petrotech-2019. India has been considering setting up a rupee-payment mechanism for trade with Venezuela, besides exporting rice and drugs to the South American nation, all in return for crude oil.

The Ministries of Commerce, Finance and Petroleum were looking into the proposal.

“Venezuela is among the top 10 crude oil suppliers to India. Since the size of the business would run into several millions, it needs to have a proper trade balance.

“So, there could be the possibility of using the rupee-payment system as a trade off: Venezuela wants to sell oil, India has to look at what it can sell besides rice and pharmaceuticals, to make the mechanism more attractive,” an official had said, adding that the arrangement “could work like a barter system.” The rupee-payment mechanism is not a new concept, but there is a general agreement that the strategy for Venezuela cannot be similar to that for sanctions-hit Iran.This mechanism is also being considered to benefit Indian exporters, particularly pharmaceutical products and non-basmati rice.

Big energy deals likely during Prince Salman’s visit

India and Saudi Arabia are expected to sign mega deals in energy and infrastructure to put meat in strategic partnership when the Gulf kingdom’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, visits New Delhi on February 19-20.

On his maiden trip to India as the Crown Prince, Salman is expected to announce investment proposals in key sectors as Saudi Arabia aims to increase its economic footprints in India that currently remain low, people familiar with the matter indicated to ET.

India will try to impress on the Crown Prince to reduce the Asian premium on crude oil imported by India, which if Riyadh agrees to will help the government keep fuel prices stable in an election season, one of the people said. He is also travelling to China, Malaysia and Pakistan in his maiden Asian trip in his current capacity, as Saudi aims to create global footprints and keep economy well oiled.

Saudi Arabia’s investments in India remain relatively low despite its financial clout and the upward trajectory of Indo-Saudi political ties. But Riyadh is planning to invest in India’s energy sector in a big way. India and Saudi are expected to deepen strategic partnership in areas including security, counter-terror, defence and economy.

Saudi Aramco, the national petroleum company, signed a $44-billion deal in April 2018 with an Indian consortium to acquire a 50% stake in Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. UAE-based ADNOC, too, signed an agreement to pick up 25% of Saudi Aramco’s share in the Ratnagiri project.

After a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince in Buenos Aires last November, the two nations had decided to set up a mechanism for promoting Saudi Investments across energy, defence, food security and manufacturing sectors over the next 2-3 years.

The Crown Prince is learnt to have informed the Prime Minister on that occasion that Saudi would be finalising an initial investment into India’s National Infrastructure Fund. He also referred to the prospects for investment in technology, agriculture and energy sectors.

Modi had then urged the Crown Prince on the importance of stable and predictable energy prices and some discussions had taken place between the two leaders on how Saudi could contribute to and help stabilise the energy prices, particularly for India.

Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner, after China, the US and the UAE.

“Saudi Arabia is a major source of energy as we import around 17% of our crude oil requirement from the kingdom. In 2017-18, the India-Saudi bilateral trade increased 9.56% to $27.48 billion. During this period, our imports from Saudi Arabia reached $22.06 billion, registering an increase of 10.5% over the previous year ($19.97 billion), whereas our exports to Saudi Arabia reached $5.41 billion, registering an increase of 5.88% over the previous year ($5.11 billion),” according to a foreign ministry document.

The current bilateral trade (April-October 2018, provisional figures) is valued at $19.64 billion. Saudi Arabia was the 15th largest market in the world for Indian exports, and the destination to 1.85% of India’s global exports in 2017-18. It was also the third largest source of India’s global imports.

For Saudi Arabia, as per 2017 data, India was the fourth largest market for its exports, accounting for 8.88% of its total shipments. In terms of imports, India ranked seventh and was the source of around 4.13% of its imports.

According to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), there were 322 Indian companies operating as joint ventures or wholly owned entities, worth $1.4 billion, in the kingdom in December 2017.

These companies worked in projects in sectors such as management and consultancy services, construction, telecommunications, IT and pharmaceuticals.

Saudi Arabia ranks 48 in terms of India-bound investments between April 2000 and June 2018 with a funding of $208.38 million. Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC set up its R&D unit in Bengaluru with an investment of more than $100 million in November 2013. Saudi-headquartered Al-Fanar is executing a 300mw power project in Kutch. Many other companies have invested in India through their non-Saudi subsidiaries. Source: The Economic Times, Feb 12, 2019

With $4.2 bn Arysta deal done, UPL is world’s top-5 farm solutions firm

Source: Business Standard, Feb 05, 2019

Mumbai: Agricultural input company UPL Ltd has announced the completion of its $4.2 billion acquisition of Arysta LifeScience Inc, the global leader in bio solutions and seed treatment. With this the company has become the fifth-largest agri solutions entity in the world.

The agreement effecting this transaction was signed in July 2018. UPL acquired Arysta through its wholly-owned arm, UPL Corp, in which Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and TPG infused $1.2 billion to acquire 22 per cent stake, with UPL Lts holding the remaining 78 per cent. UPL Corp borrowed $3 billion from domestic and foreign banks and financial institutions to fund this acquisition, taking its overall debt to $3.8-3.9 billion as of March 31, 2019.

Prior to this acquisition, UPL and Arysta were the seventh- and tenth-largest agri solution companies, respectively, in the world. Following this deal, the company’s combined sale would go up to $5 billion with EBITDA of $1 billion and EBITDA margins of 20 per cent. UPL Ltd’s promoters hold 28 per cent stake in the company, with the rest is held by banks, financial institutions and the public. Read the rest of this entry »