Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wayne Burt Group plans major Cetex petrochem plant expansion

Wayne Burt Capital is a deep value fund with assets of over $1 billion and with interests and investments in the oil & gas, petrochemicals and aerospace manufacturing sectors. It is backed by US & European PE Funds.

Wayne Burt Capital targets large asset-based businesses and acquires them at significantly lower value, and through effective asset management and financial restructuring unlocks the value from these assets. It has strategic relationships with aerospace companies such as GE-Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce; oil & gas companies such as Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Chevron, Cameron, etc.; and petrochemical companies like Shell, Chevron, Mitsui Chemicals and UNIVAR & Sojitz.

Addressing the media in Chennai, Mr. T.G.S. Mahesh, President & CEO of Wayne Burt Capital, said the company and its associates acquired Cetex Petrochemicals Ltd. in 2013. Cetex is an ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and BS OHSAS 18001:2007 certified organization set up in 1990 at Manali, the petrochemical zone of Chennai, by the RPG Group. The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility was built with technology from Edeleanu Gmbh of Germany and is the only company in South-East Asia manufacturing methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and secondary butyl alcohol (SBA), a versatile petrochemical solvent.

Post-acquisition by Wayne Burt Capital, Cetex was transformed from a single product into a multi-product manufacturing company. Its management team comprises technocrats from IITs & IIMs headed by Mr. Ilanahai, Managing Director. Cetex, a professionally managed company, has an advanced R&D facility headed by Mr. R. Kannan, Director - Technology, which has developed several new products such as SBA, citronellol, degreasor, cinnamic alcohol, cetol, phenyl propanol, oximone, etc. SBA is an intermediate product in the MEK process having versatile applications in the pharma and specialty chemicals segment. 

Mr. Mahesh further said Cetex is also expanding its presence in the aroma & fine chemicals segment. Its major products find versatile applications in the manufacture of paints, printing inks, adhesives, coatings, aroma chemicals and speciality intermediates in pharma & lube additive industries. 

Cetex has already signed up strategic partnership arrangements with Chevron Oronite, Singapore & USA, and Mitsui Chemicals and Sojith, both of Japan, for marketing and off-taking of 50 per cent of the total production for the export market, he added.

TE Connectivity opens Wearables Lab to address rapid growth in market

TE Connectivity Ltd., a world leader in connectivity, has announced the official opening of its TE Wearables Lab in Menlo Park, California. Exclusively focused on wearable technologies across consumer, medical, industrial and defense businesses, the lab serves as a collaboration center for TE’s team of engineers, scientists and its customers throughout the design process.

“TE designs and manufactures the connectors at the heart of most electronic products today,” said James O’Toole, President, Consumer Solutions segment at TE Connectivity. “Providing our customers with a Wearables Lab allows us to enhance our role as a strategic partner. We seek to truly iterate and collaborate – engaging earlier in the process – to support customer innovation with the goal of delivering the best antennas, smart connectivity solutions and sensors.”

According to IDC, shipments of wearable devices will exceed 19 million units in 2014, more than tripling last year’s sales. From there, the global market is expected to swell to 111.9 million units in 2018. This growth is a key indicator of the market potential and importance for continued industry innovation.

One of the first products to come out of the TE Wearables Lab is a first-of-its-kind, wireless power development kit for wearable devices. For the first time, TE will introduce a solution that addresses the need for miniaturization as well as low power requirements for wearables. Set for broader distribution in early 2015, the kit will include a small 2.5W charger with integrated magnet for attachment to a wearable device, as well as a complete RX coil and electronics for integration. TE engineers miniaturized the electronic system and the coil to make it possible for wearable designers to quickly prototype their products and develop a customized solution to meet their design requirements.  

TE’s Wearables Lab team consists of professionals with extensive skill sets and experiences. These individuals range from electrical and mechanical engineers to materials science experts, pioneering the use of conductive materials including embedding electronic systems in textiles. 

The TE Wearables Lab is currently being used by a number of start-up and middle stage companies ranging from design to manufacturing and integration companies. TE’s ability to collaborate across the wearables eco-system is one of its strengths, coupled with breadth of products and technologies. One key customer, Sensoplex, is an expert systems company that designs and supplies high performance sports and wellness wearable products to OEM companies. “TE Connectivity is a fantastic partner for us,” said Sensoplex CEO Hamid Farzaneh. “The breadth of their catalog and ability to develop custom solutions has enabled us to build very exciting products for our customers.”

In addition to working with customers on custom and existing products, the TE Wearables Lab team is also exploring innovations around wireless power and conductivity across textiles, plastics and other materials. With TE’s unmatched product portfolio, the company expects to be enabling connectivity across tens of millions of wearable devices globally in the next year.

“Innovation is part of our DNA,” said Brady Forrest, Vice President, Highway1, an accelerator focused on helping early seed stage hardware start-ups take ideas from prototype to scalable product. “When we met TE and heard their vision for connectivity, things clicked. Together we have a real opportunity to enable a hardware revolution and help the next generation of innovators get off the ground.” 

Delhi Franchise Summit stress on leadership and growth

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), along with MSME Development Institute, Ministry of MSMEs, Government of India, and Franchise India, recently organised the Delhi Franchise Summit in New Delhi.

The summit is the first of its initiative to provide the stakeholders of franchising industry a common platform to discuss and deliberate on issues related to Franchising.

The summit was inaugurated by Mr. R.P. Vaishya, Director, MSME Development Institute, Ministry of MSME. In his address, he mentioned that majority of enterprises seeking franchise belong to the MSME sector. All these enterprises must take advantage of franchising as a viable business option. The enterprises entering this area must make sure that contracts and legal procedures are in place. The financial institutions, on their part, should support this area of business and introduce newer schemes to give them financial cushion.

In his welcome address, Mr. Arjun Wallia, Chairman, CII Delhi State Council & Group Founder, and Chairman, The Walsons Group and Securitas India, said that franchising as an industry in India has provided such great advantages to the economy. Apart from providing good employment opportunities, franchising has also ensured that global brands reach the most remote corners of the country. He also said that franchising continues to be a good business model across the country.

Mr. Gaurav Marya, Chairman, Franchise India, in his address, said that growth trajectory of franchising sector in India is only positive for the coming years. He urged the local entrepreneurs to collaborate with global brands. He emphasised that business ethics, product quality, customer service must be constant across all.

The summit saw discussions on the Economics of Franchising, Building a World Class Brand a Successful Team, Growth Funding and Franchising in E-Commerce. 

The summit saw various leading franchisers and franchisees coming together for a day. The other eminent speakers at the Summit were Mr. Rajesh Srivastava, Chairman and Managing Director, Rabo Equity Advisors P. Ltd., Mr. Anil Khaitan, Chairman and Managing Director, SNK Corporation, Mr. Nagendra Palle, CEO, Mahindra First Choice Wheels Ltd., Mr. Pranay Sinha, Managing Director, STARCENTRES, Mr. Kashiff Khan, Founder and Chairman, K Group, Mr. Patha Sarthi Guhapatra, Founder, Safetykart.com, etc.

CELEBRITY CHAMPION honour to Dr. K. Thiagarajan

Internationally renowned population expert and the founder of United Writers’ Association, Chennai, Chevalier Dr. K. Thiagarajan has been selected for conferment of CELEBRITY CHAMPION Honour and GoId Medal by the Foundation for Social Amity and Peace, Ujjain.

Always clamouring for consistent cultivation of human excellence and unleashing human potential in all its myriad manifestation and armed with legendary negotiating skills, Dr. Thiagarajan, in his vast panorama of literary horizon spanning for over three and half decades, often orchestrates his literary sensibilities creating a conducive environment devoid of magnificence, extravagance and grandeur anchored as much as by rigour and variety in repertoire as by imagination and inventiveness in improvisation. Passion, Perfection and Practice – the subtle intangible buzz words – were some of the words he keeps mesmerising so often with sweeping rapidity in all his lecture circuits and workshops.

A multi-disciplinary scholar articulating authentically in search of nuances in various realms of knowledge and rated as a strong campaigner for sustained social responsibility and considered as an epitome of inimitable and incredible humility and simplicity, Dr. Thiagarajan’s enunciation of the philosophy of service in a coherent, disciplined and consistent manner (which is a true calling of his life) and legitimatising them how to plan and execute the tasks and the profound interaction with a galaxy of top-notch leaders in variegated disciplines who exemplified as role-models bespeak of the abundant respect and warmth showered on him. Goals in life should always be fine-tuned with a clear-cut objective of trying to shoot a target at a shooting range bamboozling one’s capabilities whatever one is trying to accomplish.

Currently, Dr. Thiagarajan is piloting an intensive comparative study on competitiveness and economic development of nations and the application of competitive principles to myriad social problems such as equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, judicious use of natural resources, cultural diversity, healthcare, conservation of environment and sustained corporate social responsibility.

BMW’s new MINI and new Original arrive in India

The new MINI 3-door and the new MINI 5-door were launched in India at a one-of-its-kind event held at the Mehboob Studio in Mumbai. For the first time in its history, the new MINI is represented with a 5-door model in the small car segment.

The new MINI 3-door and the new MINI 5-door promise even more fun behind the wheel with an evolutionary refinement of product substance that enhances the unmistakable character, sporty and agile handling as well as premium style.

The new MINI Cooper D 3-door and the new MINI Cooper D 5-door are available at MINI dealerships across India as CBU (Completely Built-Up) units from today onwards. The new MINI Cooper S 3-door will be available at MINI dealerships across India as a CBU (Completely Built-Up) unit in the first quarter of 2015.

Mr. Philipp von Sahr, President, BMW Group India, said: “MINI is an inspiration for trend-setters and creative spirits the world over. And with the latest generation of MINI, we want to amplify the excitement once again. To ensure the new generation of MINI is as successful as its predecessors, we have made just subtle modifications to its design. But beneath the outer skin is a brand-new car with an absolutely revamped interior stacked with state-of-the-art technologies seen for the first time in a small car.”

The new MINI brings an iconic design wrapped around 21st century features to change the face of roads worldwide. The latest generation of the MINI is once again a pioneer of individual style, premium quality and high-end technology. The evolutionary refinement of its design, entirely new engines and innovative technology systems make the new MINI more athletic, efficient, expressive and progressive than ever before.

Mr. Philipp von Sahr said: “Reinventing an icon like the MINI was an exciting task. On one hand, we had to create a vehicle that exceeds the demands of modern, twenty-first century motoring. On the other, we had to stay true to the Original MINI and a design philosophy that has laid the foundations for over 50 years of success. Injecting everyday versatility with indisputable MINI attitude, the new MINI 5-door proves hands down that five doors can be just as much fun as three. Mixing trademark MINI looks and handling with easy access and extra legroom, the MINI 5-door gives you the comfort of a saloon car without giving up any of the classic MINI excitement.”

MINI has established four exclusive outlets – Bird Automotive (Delhi), Infinity Cars (Mumbai), Navnit Motors (Bangalore) and KUN Exclusive (Hyderabad).

Consistency in policy is key to attract investments

Mr. Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railways
Inaugurating the CII India Rail Summit, Mr. Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railways, stated that Railway is waiting for the recommendations of the Dr. Bibek Debroy Committee on Mobilisation of Resources and Restructuring of Railways, initiating a long-term perspective plan. This will provide consistency in policies and approach which are the key requirements to attract private sector participation and investment in railways. 

He further emphasized that railways is committed to speed-up reforms in order to augment capacity, induction of new technologies and improve throughput with a view to increase freight share and improve passenger facilities. The present government has adopted an industry-friendly approach with a key focus on fulfilling the transportation needs of the common masses and the country.

Elaborating further, the Minister stated that this Government emphasizes on execution and implementation of projects as reflected in the last Railway Budget. He assured industry that he would consider the request for setting up a Joint Task Force to have constant dialogue and interactions with them, leading to better understanding and implementation of projects. Reacting to industry concerns with regard to payment cycle, minister assured that they would shortly come out with measures which would make the system more responsive and transparent. The present system will closely look at the risk-sharing mechanism to provide comfort to investors. 

Earlier addressing the gathering, Mr. Pankaj Jain, Additional Member, Railways, outlined PPP models that Railways has been contemplating to introduce to attract private sector investments in Railways. These include Non-Government Private Lines Model, Joint Venture Model, BOT-Competitive Bidding Route, Customer Funded Model. Seven projects under PPP have already been executed, leading to addition / guage conversion of 950 line km at a total investment of Rs. 950 crores.

In addition to setting up a Joint Task Force on Railways, CII proposed that projects where private sector participation were being sought can be divided into three categories, namely projects related to infrastructure, those related to manufacturing and projects with regard to operation of railways. These three categories will require three distinct models, taking into consideration the dynamism and issues of risk reward mechanism associated with each of the segment. 

The inaugural session of the summit was addressed by Mr. Naresh Aggarwal, Chairman, CII Railway Transportation and Equipment Division, and Managing Director & Co-Chairman, VAE VKN Industries Pvt. Ltd., and Mr. Tilakraj Seth, Vice Chairman, Rail Transportation & Equipment Division, and Executive Vice President, Siemens Ltd. 

India and USA start addressing grand challenges through science: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Dr. Harsh Vardhan
According to Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, India and the US have started addressing grand challenges through science. 

Speaking at the India-US technology Summit being organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and the US Department of State, the Minister observed that the two countries are already working together in the areas of health & biomedical sciences, food security, clean energy, integrated water management and weather forecasting. New collaborative R&D programs on low cost diagnostics, next generation vaccines, brain research, cancer research, high energy physics, and emerging materials were on the anvil.

He highlighted the need to collaborate in the field of renewable energy to develop cost effective and efficient products that will have wider access and minimum carbon imprint. The need to develop an innovative clean technology development and deployment fund using a consortia approach and PPP model.

He also stated that the Indian Government is expected to invest in renewable energy projects in a major way over the next 5 years alone and invited US companies to take advantage of this opportunity.

Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisor’s on Science and Technology, stated that both the countries continue to attach great importance to bilateral co-operation in the field of Science and Technology. He mentioned that in recent weeks, several bilateral dialogues in this field had met to explore newer areas of cooperation in the technology space. These included dialogues such as the Indo-US Joint Commission on Science and Technology, India-US Higher Education Dialogue and the High Technology Cooperation Group among others.

He was of the view that the two countries could gain by cooperating in areas such as the development of smart cities and clean energy. He pointed out that the US Trade Development Authority was engaged in a project to enhance connectivity in the Asian region with a view to promote infrastructure development and promote intra-regional trade.

In his address, Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, highlighted the need for increasing the speed at which R&D was converted into applications. He highlighted the change in attitude in India and mentioned that there is a need to work quickly to take advantage of the demographic dividend in India.

In his address, Mr, Richard Stengel, Under Secretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy, US Department of State, spoke of the need for maintaining an open internet as well as for net neutrality. He pointed out that of the next billion people to go online, 300 million were expected to be from India. With so many people going online, there is a need to maintain a free flow of information on the net.

Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, Charge d’affaires, a.i. Embassy of the United States of America, highlighted that the size of the US delegation participating at the Summit was proof of the vibrancy of the bilateral relationship in this field. She felt that it was a time for action in the US-India relationship.

Mr. Ajay Shriram, CII President, stated that the US and India have natural synergies in terms of capability, innovation, technology, hardware and software which they must jointly leverage. He called on US companies to invest in India’s high technology sector.

Dr. Naushad Forbes, Vice President, CII and Chairman, India-US Technology Summit, spoke about the need for both Indian industry as well as the Government to step up their investment in R&D. He felt that Indian industry’s R&D spend should increase from 0.3% of GDP at present to 1%. Of GDP Similarly, he was of the view that the government’s spend on R&D should go up from 0.5% of GDP at present to 1% of GDP. He observed that Indian industry’s spend on R&D was growing by 35% p.a. and felt that this trend needed to continue for some time. There is a need to focus on design capabilities in India. 

Dr. Forbes also stressed on the need to shift the focus of public research in India from autonomous R&D labs to the higher education sector in line with the trend worldwide.

Ms. Diane Farrell, Acting President, US India Business Council, said that the programmes announced by the Government of India such as the development of smart cities, Digital India and Make in India offered many opportunities for US and Indian companies to work together.

Earlier in his welcome address, Mr. Venkatesh Valluri, Chairman, CII National Committee on Technology, and Chairman and President, Ingersoll Rand India, stated that there were three key areas that the two countries could work together. These included defense co-production, development of smart cities and joint R&D. He felt that there was a massive opportunity for both countries to work together for the overall upliftment of society.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Arabinda Mitra, Adviser & Head, International (Bilateral Cooperation, Department of Science and Technology, stated that the Summit marked a watershed moment in US-India relations.