Tuesday, October 6, 2015

L.D. Mittal ranks 52nd among 100 richest men in India

The Forbes list of 100 richest men in India 2015 has just been released. Mr. L.D. Mittal, Chairman, Sonalika International Tractors Ltd., is ranked 52nd in the list. With his net worth pegged at $1.95 billion, he has reached the 52nd position from the 65th position which he held last year. 

Mr. Mittal started his career at LIC, and from there on he ventured into tractor manufacturing. With a clear vision to set up a successful and impressive business empire, Mr. Mittal, along with his two sons, built Sonalika International, which is now recognized in both the domestic and international markets as a formidable player. 

Ranked the third largest company in the domestic tractor manufacturing industry, Sonalika International Tractors Ltd. today is one of the fastest growing companies in India.

Son of a grain merchant from Punjab, Mr. Mittal worked with LIC before joining the family’s agricultural and farm equipment business in 1990. He has received several Awards for his contribution to the business, and is recognized widely for his sharp business acumen, vision, leadership, philanthropy and entrepreneurship. 

Under Mr. Mittal’s leadership guidance, Sonalika’s products are sold in more than 80 countries, including the US, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific. It is a leading player in many countries across continents. The CAGR of 30% in the last decade has made it one of the fastest growing companies in India. 

By 2020, Sonalika International Tractors aims to double its revenue from the current $650 million.

Clariant in India to acquire a part of Vivimed Labs’ personal care portfolio

Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, has entered into an agreement to acquire a part of Vivimed Labs Ltd.’s personal care portfolio, subject to necessary regulatory, statutory and other approvals as may be required. The acquisition will enable Clariant India Ltd., a 100% subsidiary of the Clariant Group, to strengthen its personal care portfolio within the Industrial & Consumer Specialties (ICS) business, by offering a wider product portfolio within the sun, skin, hair and oral care range as well as anti-microbial preservatives.

Dr. Deepak Parikh, Region President - India, Middle East and Africa, Clariant, commented: “The personal care industry in India offers us immense potential supported by the growing middle-class consumer population and the rising disposable income. This strategic decision will be a significant step towards strengthening our product portfolio and thereby reinforcing Clariant’s long term commitment in the segment. We believe in the growth potential that India offers and are focussed on expanding our footprint in the region.”

Mr. Stephen Lynen, Head ICS, Asia Pacific, Clariant, said: “This marks an important step of our global strategy to enhance our offering in personal care and to boost our presence in Asia. The transaction will strengthen our portfolio with actives to formulate broader solutions such as sun protection in a strong growing market – India.”

Mr. R. Kumaresan, Head of Clariant’s BU ICS, India, added: “This reinforces our commitment to grow in the personal care space in India. This acquisition will enable us to expand our footprint and provide our customers with end-to-end solutions in sync with the current industry trends. The strong growth perspective of the personal care industry results in a bright future for the ICS business in India”. 

Mr. Santosh Varalwar, Managing Director & CEO, Vivimed Labs Ltd., said: “I am pleased to announce an important strategic development at Vivimed. This transaction will help us significantly improve our financial flexibility for future growth. We are confident that this transaction, once completed, will position Vivimed optimally to move to the next level of growth, across its Specialty Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals businesses.”

Mercedes-Maybach launched worldwide

Mercedes-Benz has just launched Mercedes-Maybach, the ultimate symbol of luxury motoring, across the world. The two variants of the vehicle are Mercedes-Maybach S 600 and the S 500. 
The Mercedes-Maybach S 500, which is the most luxurious Mercedes-Benz ever to be locally produced in India, was rolled out of the assembly lines by Mr. Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, and Mr. Piyush Arora, Executive Director, Operations, Mercedes-Benz India.

Mr. Eberhard Kern commented: “With the launch of the Mercedes-Maybach, we now expand the current range of the S-Class with the addition of a vehicle that sets a new benchmark for exclusivity and meets even the most discerning of requirements in terms of its appointments. The Mercedes-Maybach, which is the most prestigious and exclusive offering from us till date, will strengthen Mercedes-Benz’s unparalleled presence in the top-most end of the luxury car market in India.”

“The overwhelming customer response for the exclusive Mercedes-Maybach, even before its India launch, strongly underscores the success of our ‘top of pyramid’ product strategy that has been the driving reason for customers preferring the three pointed star. With the start of the local production of the Mercedes-Maybach, we are scripting a new chapter in India today”, elaborated Mr. Kern.

Mr. Piyush Arora added: “The start of local production of the Mercedes-Maybach S 500 is a landmark accomplishment for us and proves our high competence in manufacturing. This also underlines our constant endeavour to offer world-class products to our Indian customers with significant local value addition, in the shortest possible time. Mercedes-Maybach is one of the most technologically advanced products and its local production reflects the highest level of refinement and implementation of advanced technology and flexible processes in our manufacturing process. Mercedes-Maybach is the third product after the GLA and the CLA that we have rolled-out within the last few months.”

The Mercedes-Benz plant in India is part of the global assembly network, which comprises further locations in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and will be joined by Brazil in 2016 where a new assembly plant is currently under construction. At these sites, Mercedes-Benz produces cars for local markets with different production levels. 

P.V. Chandran elected INS President

Mr. P.V. Chandran of Grihalakshmi (Mathrubhumi Group) has been elected President of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) for 2015-16 at its 76th annual general meeting held in Bengaluru recently. He succeeds Mr. Kiran B. Vadodaria of Sambhaav Metro. 

Mr. Somesh Sharma of Rashtradoot Saptahik is the Deputy President, Ms. Akila Urankar of Business Standard the Vice President, and Mr. Mohit Jain of Economic Times the Hon. Treasurer, and Mr. V. Shankaran the Secretary General of the Society.

The other members of the Executive Committee are: Mr. L. Adimoolam (Health & The Antiseptic), Mr. S Balasubramaniam Adityan (Daily Thanthi), Mr. Pawan Agarwal (Dainik Bhaskar, Bhopal), Mr. Samahit Bal (Pragativadi), Mr. K. Balaji (The Hindu Weekly), Mr. V. K. Chopra (Dainik Asam), Mr. Vijay Kumar Chopra (Punjabi Kesari, Jalandhar), Mr. Vijay Jawaharlal Darda (Lokmat), Mr. Jagjit Singh Dardi (Charhdikala Daily), Mr. Viveck Goenka (The Indian Express, Mumbai), Mr. Mahendra Mohan Gupta (Dainik Jagran), Mr. Pradeep Gupta (Dataquest), Mr. Sanjay Gupta (Dainik Jagran, Varanasi), Mr. Shailesh Gupta (Mid-Day), Mr. Raj Kumar Jain (Navbharat Times), Mr. C H Kiron (Vipula & Annadata), Dr. R. Lakshmipathy (Dinamalar), Mr. Rajul Maheshwari (Amar Ujala), Mr. Jayant Mammen Mathew (Malayala Manorama), Mr. Vilas A. Marathe (Dainik Hindusthan, Amravati), Mr. Naresh Mohan (Sunday Statesman), Mr. Anant Nath (Grihshobhika, Marathi), Mr. D.D. Purkayastha (Ananda Bazar Patrika), Mr. R.M.R. Ramesh (Dinakaran), Mr. K. Raja Prasad Reddy (Sakshi, Visakhapatnam), Mr. Indranil Roy (Outlook), Mr. Rakesh Sharma (Aaj Samaj), Mr. Manoj Kumar Sonthalia (The New Indian Express), Mr. Kiran D. Thakur (Tarun Bharat, Belgaum), Mr. M. Venkatesh (Hindustan Times), Mr. Vinay Verma (The Tribune), Mr. Pratap G. Pawar (Sakal), Mr. M. P. Veerendrakumar (Mathrubhumi), Mr. Jacob Mathew (Vanitha), Mr. Bahubali S. Shah (Gujarat Samachar), Mr. Hormusji N. Cama ( Bombay Samachar Weekly), Mr. Kundan R. Vyas (Vyapar, Mumbai), Mr. Ashish Bagga (India Today), Mr. K.N. Tilak Kumar (Deccan Herald & Prajavani), Mr. Ravindra Kumar (The Statesman), and Kiran B. Vadodaria (Sambhaav Metro)

Monday, October 5, 2015

21st century belongs to India: Doha Bank chief

Though the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected global growth of 5-6 per cent, it has declined to around 3.5 per cent. Among the various developing economies, India is still the front-runner among nations facing various challenges, in terms of sustained growth. Indeed the 21st century belongs to India. 

This was stated by Dr. R. Seetharaman, Chief Executive Officer, Doha Bank, in his power-packed address delivered at the meet on “Bilateral Business Opportunity - India and Qatar & GCC” organised jointly by Doha Bank and the Madras Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) in Chennai. He said the emerging markets like India, China, Brazil and Russia, which are in a formidable position, are attracting huge foreign investments into different sectors. During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UAE in August, he was able to secure $60 billion business, fully reflecting India’s close partnership with GCC nations. 

Since the southern region, especially Tamil Nadu, is a contributor to the country’s growth, he urged the business community to make huge investments in Doha, Qatar & GCC region. 

Dr. Seetharaman also complimented the Modi Government for its liberalised policy for development of different sectors, particularly infrastructure and real estate. India’s value system is second to none in the world, and it is a true success story as well. 

Mr. Rashid bin Ali Al Mansoori, CEO, Qatar Exchange, in his special address, said that Qatar has emerged the second biggest stock exchange in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia. The Qatar economy always remain stable, and it is virtually a home away from home for several Indians.

Mr. Ramkumar Shankar, Deputy Managing Director, Chemplast Sanmar Ltd., part of $1 billion conglomerate of the Chennai-based Sanmar Group, shared his experience about his group’s business relationship with Qatar from which it imports almost 60 per cent of its raw materials for petrochemical business. Though the company entered Qatar in a small way, it has now become a big trading partner with the country. 

Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr. S.G. Prabhakharan, President, MCCI, and Chairman, XS Real Group, said as a 179-year-old chamber in the country, it conducts several programmes relevant to different aspects of development. Almost all the leading corporates and business houses in and around Chennai are the esteemed members of MCCI. 

He also said Doha, Qatar & GCC regions offer immense potential for the Indian business community. 

Mr. Ganesan Ramakrishnan, Head of International Banking, Doha Bank, in his concluding remarks, assured all the businessmen assembled on the occasion that his bank would continue offering financial assistance to them. 

India has to be innnovative nation: Former CSIR Director

The 21st century poses several challenges to the world economy. Many countries remain focused on innovation for sustained economic growth. Known for reinventing and remodifying, India too has to be self-reliant in its innovative approach to solving the emerging problems and to think ahead. This is particularly so in the case of the leather industry. A lot of research in the leather sector is taking place the world over for developing new material with new technology. 

These points were emphasized by Dr. G. Thyagarajan, former Director, CSIR-CLRI & former DG, CSIR, who was the guest of honour at the 73rd Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Foundation Day celebrations held in Chennai on September 26. 

Referring to the history of CSIR, Dr. Thyagarajan recalled that the Council was inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with the support of various stalwarts of the day like Rajaji, Arcot Mudaliar, Tata and Lalbhai. The main objective of CSIR was to deliver a true science and technology policy designed for growth. In fact, the scientists from CSIR contributed immensely to different science-related activities for finding solutions and remedies for calamities such as Bhopal tragedy, cyclones, etc. 

Dr. Thyagarajan also presented certificates to the retired staff of the Council as well as to those who contributed with the service of 25 years to CSIR. 

The others who spoke on the occasion included Dr. R.P. Bajpai, Chancellor, Vel Tech University, Avadi, Chennai, and Mr. N. Shafeeq Ahmed, Chairman, IFLMEA.

Earlier, Dr. N.K. Chandrababu, Chief Scientist & Chairman, Leather Processing Cluster, in his brief welcome address, said CSIR, with a humble beginning with just five labs, has today established 38 research institutions all over India. It is also forging ahead by nurturing world technology aligned with many R&D initiatives. 

Dr. J. Raghava Rao, Chief Scientist & Head, Chemical Lab, proposed a vote of thanks.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

ZF Hero opens Chennai plant to assemble chassis modules for BMW

ZF Hero Chassis Systems Pvt. Ltd., the 50:50 JV of ZF India Pvt. Ltd. and Hero Motors Ltd., inaugurated a new plant at Oragadam near Chennai on September 25 to assemble front and rear chassis systems for passenger cars. 

In accordance with the local-for-local concept, ZF Hero wants to provide its customers with products from local production wherever possible. Equally, design-to-market considerations play an important role in this regard. ZF engineers are located in the new plant in order to specifically meet the requirements of its customers.

Sharing his views on the development Mr. Uwe Cossman, Head of Car Chassis Technology Division from ZF: “We are really happy to be a part of this endeavor and value our partnership with the BMW Group. We serve our customers best by handling the complete value stream – from the part manufacturer until the delivery of the complete axle system. ZF will keep delivering quality and innovative products to all its partners in India and globally”.

Mr. Robert Frittrang, Managing Director, BMW Plant Chennai, said: “At the BMW Group, efficiency and quality are of utmost importance. BMW Plant Chennai takes pride in producing cars that have the same international quality standards as any of the BMW Group production and assembly facilities worldwide. ZF Hero Chassis Systems has established itself as a leader in automotive components. The cars rolling out of BMW Plant Chennai now have axles supplied by ZF Hero Chassis Systems. Our partnership is off to a successful start and we are confident that through our partnership, we will continue to deliver best-in-class premium products in the Indian market.”

“ZF Hero Chassis System continues to champion the “close to customer” and “Low-cost; High-quality” offering for global OEM in an Indian setting. ZF Hero has been present with GM India at their locations in Talegaon and Halol and now for BMW at Chennai. We believe in providing the best configured solution of Quality, Cost and Delivery to our customers”, said Mr. Pankaj Munjal, Chairman of Hero Motors Ltd., who was present on the occasion.

“This is already the 3rd facility for ZF Chassis Systems in the region serving BMW Group”, reported Michael Guempel, Head of the Region South-East-Asia / India / Pacific, “which is a testimony about superb quality and delivery performance. We are honored by this trust in us and are committed to demonstrate continuously our proven capabilities.”

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Suresh KV, Country Head of ZF in India & Head of ZF India Pvt. Ltd., said: “The new facility in Chennai is a testament of our commitment to India and to be present in closer proximity to our customers and cater to the needs of the local market. From the new plant, we will support our customers with our innovative products and technology. We want to use our global expertise and experience to provide customized solutions for the Indian market and therefore consolidate our global market position.”