MCA notifies winding-up rules: Shutting business now easier for small firms

Source: Business Standard, Jan 29, 2019

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) on Tuesday notified rules for winding up of companies, making it easier for smaller firms to wind up businesses without taking approval. The rules have provided summary procedures for liquidation of companies with asset size of Rs 1 crore and which have not accepted deposits exceeding Rs 25 lakh and turnover less than Rs 50 crore and total loan under Rs 25 lakh. The Central government will provide required approvals to such companies for winding up instead of the tribunal. The rules said, “…wherever the word Tribunal is mentioned, it shall be read as Central Government and with further directions issued by the Central Government as may be necessary, from time to time.”

Warehousing sector to add 40 million sq ft space across top 8 cities this year: Report

Source: Financial Express, Jan 26, 2019

As warehousing is fast becoming an integral part of integrated logistics network due to technological advancement and the reform-led policy measures, the sector is expected to add around 40 million sq ft space across the top eight cities this year, a recent survey said.

According to the study by global property consultant Savills, warehousing space absorption across eight cities like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Kolkata, is expected rise to 35 million sq ft in 2020.

In 2019, the total supply of warehousing space was 37.94 million sq ft while the absorption stood at 33 million sq ft.

“Warehousing industry in India has come a long way and it’s going to continue to mature as a favourable real estate asset class. The sector has witnessed a massive participation from institutional investors and developers amid raising demand from across the sector like ecommerce, retail, FMCG, 3PL (third-party logistics) , cold storage, pharma and manufacturing,” Savills India Managing Director, Industrial Warehousing and Logistics Srinivas N said.

As per the study, Mumbai and Delhi are expected to see a significant addition of around 8 million sq ft each in 2020, followed by Bengaluru and Kolkata.

Last year, Mumbai witnessed an addition of 5.7 million sq ft while Delhi added 8.1 million sq ft.

“Delhi NCR, Bengaluru and Mumbai followed by Kolkata will be the front runners in absorbing majority of occupiers since these are sourcing and consumption hubs,” the report said.

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Swedish security solutions firm Gunnebo opens India Experience Centre in Bengaluru

Source: IBEF.org, Jan 28, 2019

Gunnebo, a 240-year-old Swedish security solutions provider, opened its first ‘India Experience Centre’ in Bengaluru. The company also introduced a range of physical security products.

The company will showcase its biometric access control Chubbsafes and other Hallmark range of safes under the Steelage brand designed specifically for the jewellery segment in India, particularly in the South through this experience centre, said the company.

Mr Sabyasachi Sengupta, Managing Director, Gunnebo India, said, “The experience centre in India, here in Bengaluru, will showcase physical security solutions that include ‘Safe Storage’, ‘Entrance Control’ and ‘Fire-Safe Products’. The company always buys back the safes to prevent misuse and asks customers to upgrade. These safes are also technologically advanced, and we have added innovations over the years. Some of Gunnebo’s products are 185 years old. Customisation is the company’s USP.”

The company’s portfolio consists of Safe Store Auto, which is a robotic locker solution that is claimed to offer 24/7, high security seamless access to its users. The Chubbsafes, a biometric access control safe, provides smart features like dual authentication, duress alarm and smart messaging with a durable battery backup support, making this an ideal solution for banks, NBFCs and corporates, said Gunnebo.

The company also manufactures high quality ATM safes for OEMs. The company has been in Indian market for more than eight decades and offers a part of its global range consisting of Chubbsafes, Steelage and Minimax, a well-known fire safety equipment brand in India.
 
The company manufactures safes, safe deposit lockers, vault and strong room doors, fire resistant records, filing cabinets and fire safety products at its Halol plant. These products are sold in the domestic market as well as exported.

The experience centre was inaugurated by Mr Raghavendra Auradkar, Director General of Police, Karnataka Police Housing Corporation.

“Considering the changing security scenario along with the growing number of Indian and multinational banks, retail chains and corporates in the city, it is essential for businesses to review and upgrade their physical security infrastructure on an ongoing basis”, said Mr Auradkar.

Brazilian President Bolsonaro calls for investments by Indian companies

Source: Business Standard, Jan 28, 2019

New Delhi: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday called for greater investment by Indian conglomerates in the Latin American country’s infrastructure, railways, mining and energy sectors.

Addressing senior captains of industry, Bolsonaro, along with senior minister’s from the Brazilian government pitched for more investments from India. Brazil’s economy is broadly expected to slowly regain health in 2020, with gross domestic product growth estimated at 2.3 per cent by the country’s central bank.

Winning on a populist plank to eradicate poverty and clean up corruption, Bolsanaro has pushed for large scale foreign investment to tap the country’s vast natural resources, especially in the Amazon rainforest in the scarcely populated hinterland. Indian companies have invested about $ 6 billion in the country, and has significant footprint in multiple sectors sectors.

This includes Information Technology giants such as Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services which has about 1400 employees. In the mining sector, Sterlite Power has won 10 power transmission projects across 11 Brazilian states totalling 29 transmission lines and 34 substations while Birla Carbon, the world’s largest carbon black producer, completed 60 years of operations in Brazil in October 2018.

Pharmaceutical, Energy, engineering and automobile production were also sectors central to Indian business interests, sources said. Policymakers said that among that bilateral pacts to boost cooperation in oil and natural gas and bio-energy, that were signed over the weekend is expected to see significant Indian businesses entering Brazil.

Bolsanaro met with 23 Indian business leaders from companies including those from Sterlite Power, Apollo Hospital, Oyo Rooms, Tech Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services, Zydus Cadila, and Transport Corporation of India Limited, among others.

Export boost
New Delhi however expects to use the country as a springboard to spread its export to difficult to access Latin American markets. At the same event, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday suggested bilateral trade can reach up to $ 15 billion by 2022. Both nations are working to expand the India-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), of which both nations are part

Exports to the country have risen for the 3rd-straight year till 2018-19, hitting $ 3.8 billion. Imports however, reduced to $5.4 billion, decreasing by a Billion dollars in the same year.

Back in mid-July, India had asked Brazil to fast track negotiations on New Delhi’s PTA with the Latin American economic bloc which also includes Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Signed in 2004, the PTA is the only major way India accesses the continents vast consumer market.

Goyal also urged that the India – Brazil Business Leader’s Forum may be activated and reconstituted to make it more relevant and contemporary to businesses in both countries.

He also pushed for the opening of the Brazilian market to Indian services in wellness sector like Yoga and Ayurveda. Brazil has an association of Ayurveda (ABRA), with offices in 9 states and in 2018, held the third International Congress on Ayurveda which saw the participation of 4000 delegates. Goyal also pitched for creation of value chains between India and Brazil where goods may be semi assembled in one country and finished in another. Business relations between India and LAC are mainly by way of investments, as conventional trade in goods has challenges on account of distance, time zone difference and business culture.

Aspiration keeps premium footwear brands afloat despite slowdown

Source: ETRetail.com, Jan 24, 2019

Chennai: With premium shoe brands like Clarks Future Footwear (JV between Future Group and UK-based premium footwear brand Clarks), Woodland, Puma seeing growth, the saying ‘One can never have too many shoes’ is proven right. Despite slowdown the premium shoes have remained unaffected, and is growing at an average of 30% y-o-y.

Estimated at $8.49 billion in 2020 (as per data from research firm Statista), the footwear market is growing annually by 12.6%. Industry estimates show that premium (leather and non-leather) account for 10% of the total market size.

Industry players say premium and luxury buying sees an uptick in two cases — purchase for occasions by the aspirational millennial and by a growing cohort of marathon runners.

Harkirat Singh, MD, Aero Group (which manages Woodland and Woods) says that weddings and festivals now call for purchase of premium/luxury footwear.

“Especially in women’s wear there were not enough players in the shoes segment. However, with the market open to global brands we have been consistently growing at 15%-20% every year even during slowdown,” he said.

The brand has men’s shoes priced at Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000 on an average and women’s shoes seeing a sweet spot at Rs 6,000.

Driven by the demand, global players such as Denmark-based Ecco and German brand Birkenstock entered India during the times of slowdown and existing brands expanded their footprint. Clarks for instance, increased their touch points from 300 to 600 resulting in a 45% jump in sale.

CEO and MD of Clarks Future Footwear N Mohan said that in 12 months, the number of units grew from 5.7 lakh shoes to 9 lakh shoes.

“We have also increased the number of retail touch points and number of stores. We are currently in the growth phase after evaluating the market and understanding consumer behaviour. The overall footwear market is growing at an average of 7.6% in the last 3 years,” he added.

Established brands are also riding the wave. Sportswear brand Puma is seeing new sneakers sold out in 3 days since the launch. Runners and fitness enthusiasts contribute to the growth.

“Increasing popularity of sportswear in everyday fashion and for various occasions is driving our growth strongly. There is also a huge upswing in sneaker culture and some of our most popular products are successful despite high prices. Given the increasing demand for these products, we are seeing an average growth of 34% in the hype sneaker category where products are available starting price of Rs 9,000. Maximum traction in this category is coming from consumers between 18 and 26 years,” said Puma India managing director Abhishek Ganguly.

Analysts add that this is a part of the larger apparel and accessories market that sees growth. Anil Talreja, partner, Deloitte added said that across price segments, footwear is seeing a growth braving slowdown.

India plans fourth Summit with Africa in September

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 23, 2019

NEW DELHI: India & Tunisia, on Wednesday, signed a memorandum of understanding on the creation of a Tunisian-Indian centre for innovation in information and communication technologies in the North African country. The two sides also discussed fourth edition of India-Africa Summit, scheduled for September 2020 in India. The third edition of the Summit was held here in 2015.

The memorandum was signed after a meeting between acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Sabri Bachtobji and Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

The meeting discussed “the different aspects of bilateral and multilateral cooperation as well as several issues of regional and international issues of common interest.

Both ministers highlighted the need to continue consultations to ensure the success of the next India-Africa Summit, scheduled for September 2020.

They commended “the development of the Tunisian-Indian relations which have been strengthened through exchanging visits by senior officials and organising regular sessions of the Joint Commission,” said an official statement.

Emphasis was placed on the need to prepare for the 13th session of the Tunisian-Indian Joint Commission and bolster cooperation in the fields of information and communication technology, scientific research and agriculture.


Receiving Minister of External Affairs of India at Carthage Palace on Wednesday, Kais Saied expressed Tunisia’s readiness, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, to strengthen dialogue with India on all issues relating to peace and security in the world.

The Tunisian Head of State noted on this occasion that the principles of democracy, freedom and justice shared by the two countries enable them to play an effective role on the international scene to defend just causes, first and foremost the Palestinian cause and the right of the brotherly Palestinian people to establish a State in accordance with the resolutions of international legality.

Kais Saied also recalled the historic relations binding the two countries, commending the constant development of cooperation relations, stressing the importance of the forthcoming session of the Joint Commission, a statement of the Presidency of the Republic reads.

In this connection, he stressed the importance of the establishment of several Indian companies in Tunisia, expressing Tunisia’s willingness to take greater advantage of the immense potential of the Indian economy in order to promote bilateral cooperation in all areas, particularly information and communication technology, scientific research and agriculture.

For his part, the Indian Minister of External Affairs praised the democratic experience in Tunisia, expressing his country’s readiness to further diversify the areas of cooperation between the two countries and to take advantage of the opportunities offered in terms of investment and partnership. He also voiced his country’s will to draw up a roadmap setting out the priorities for bilateral cooperation.

On another level, the Indian Minister of External Affairs asserted India’s position of principle for defending the Palestinian cause and the rights of the Palestinian people.

Baby wipes mkt doubles in 5 yrs

Source: ETRetail.com, Jan 23, 2019

Mumbai: Driven by new-age ‘supermoms’ who are financially independent, educated and internet-savvy, baby wipes has emerged as a big category. This segment was practically non-existent 10 years ago.

Though still nascent, the category has been growing fast over the last couple of years. Data by Euromonitor International reveals that baby wipes doubled in size over five years. According to the market research provider, the size of the baby wipes category increased from a little over Rs 100 crore in 2014 to around Rs 270 crore in 2018. However, it is small compared to the around Rs 5,000-crore baby diapers market.

Kimberly-Clark India marketing director Chella Pandyan said, “The wipes category in India has been growing fast over the last couple of years, but remains in a nascent stage of development as far as household penetration is concerned. While hygiene and convenience are the key consumer needs driving adoption, it is the growing availability and access — enabled by more affordable price-points and e-commerce — that is helping expand penetration.” For ‘Huggies’ baby wipes made by Kimberly-Clark, according to Pandyan, the primary driver has been the fact that it is made from natural fibres.

A study by JL Morison found that financially independent mothers don’t shy away from spending money to buy products for their babies, which provides time as well as convenience for themselves. In the qualitative part of the study, a lot of mothers indicated that they do strive to get some ‘me-time’ for themselves, which is difficult during motherhood phases, especially if they are working. Whenever they get this time, they spend it on socialising, catching up on their sleep, catching up on their hobbies and interests, surfing the net, or spending time with their spouses.

JL Morison India group brand manager Nitin Bhandari said, “From a marketer’s point of view, this indicates that mothers are now willing to spend on products that provide them quality, convenience, comfort and safety for their babies.” These ‘supermoms’ are aware about the products and they also have a plethora of choices at their disposal. “While this provides an opportunity to marketers, the challenge is to provide the best quality and benefits at value-for-money prices. One of the biggest examples is the emergence of baby wipes, which did not exist around 10 years ago. Today, it is among the fastest growing categories,” said Bhandari.

The research by JL Morison was conducted on a sample size of more than 400 mothers across five cities to understand their usage and attitudes regarding motherhood, babies and the product usage related to the same. The key trends that are driving growth in the baby care category are increasing birth rates, urbanisation, more working mothers, enhanced purchasing power and increased concern for child care.