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News in Brief

 

Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank to be merged
In a recent decision by the government, Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank will be merged. All three banks combined would have a total loan book of Rs 6.40 lakh crore and total deposits of Rs 8.41 lakh crore, making it the third-largest bank in India. Total branches will increase to 9,489. But many of these branches could be overlapping, which means they may have to cut branches that are near to each other. While any merger with a smaller bank is looked at as a negative move for a bigger lender, experts said that merging of two PSBs, i.e., Bank of Baroda and Vijaya Bank with a weaker Dena Bank will not have any adverse effect as it will bring in both diversification and scale to the merged entity. However, in order for this merger to yield the desired results these banks need to look at reducing costs and handle people-issues well.

 

Wipro has a multi-year contract with Falck
The Bengaluru-headquartered software services exporter, Wipro has bagged a multi-year business process services and finance transformation contract from Denmark-based Falck. So, as part of the contract, Wipro would help transform Falck’s finance operations and establish a scalable and efficient finance operating model. Falck is an international supplier of ambulance services, employee health care and roadside assistance. Wipro, has been present in the Nordic region for more than a decade and works with customers across the healthcare, manufacturing, energy, natural resources, utilities, financial services, telecom and retail industry verticals. With this contract it would leverage its proprietary digital simplification platform and expertise in robotics process automation and cognitive intelligence.

TVS Motors enters the Mexican market
India’s leading two-wheeler maker, TVS Motor Company, recently announced its entry into the Mexican market. In a move that will help grow its global sales and strengthen its presence in Mexico it has tied up with Torino Motors. Torino Motors is a subsidiary of Groupo Autofin and specialises in automobile and retail finance. It has been in the region for over 40 years. As a part of this association, Torino Motors will distribute the vast range of TVS Motor Company two-wheeler offerings including: TVS XL100 HD, TVS HLX 150, TVS STRYKERT, TVSApache RTR 160, 180 and 200, TVS Apache RR 310T, TVSWEGO, TVS NTORQ 125, TVS ROCKZT and TVSNeo. TVS Motor Company ranks amongst the top ten two-wheeler companies in the world and is one of the leading two-wheeler and three-wheeler exporters in India, distributing to over 60 countries.

Hyderabad-based drug firm to manufacture HIV meds         
The Hyderabad-based drug firm, Aurobindo Pharma Ltd has received approval from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) for its Dolutegravir, Lamivudine and Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (DLT) tablets. According to the latest WHO guidelines, the approved tablets are the first-line preferred regimen for HIV. It is now one of the first few companies that have received approval for this product.

Nestle and Starbucks seals the deal  
Nestle has recently finalised the deal to market the products of US coffee giant Starbucks around the world, outside of its cafes. With this deal, almost 500 Starbucks employees in the US and Europe will join the Swiss company, Nestle. Back in May, this year Nestle, had announced that it would pay $7.15 billion (6.13 billion Euros) for the rights to market Starbucks coffee globally.

Aditya Birla Group sold ‘More’  to Amazon
Aditya Birla Group ends its dream of owning a supermarket chain as it sold ‘More’ to the US online retail giant, Amazon. Although the actual amount of the deal has been kept under cover but it is estimated at Rs 4,500 crore, making it one of the biggest deals in the offline food and grocery segment. Birla had launched the venture in 2007 with plans to set up a network of 1,000 stores. But just over a decade later, Aditya Birla’s retail ambition has been abandoned owing to competition from e-commerce players. According to company insiders, the lack of a long-term strategy also hindered growth for Aditya Birla Retail, which reported a loss of `644 crore in FY17.

Climate change and a steady decline of puffins        
Since the 2000s, puffins have been in a steady decline, both in Iceland and across many of their Atlantic habitats. Overfishing and pollution are the main culprits for this. Scientists say that climate change is another underlying factor that is diminishing food supplies and is likely to become more important over time. And the fact that puffins are tasty, and thus hunted as game in Iceland, hardly helps their case. The birds are cherished by Icelanders as part of their history, culture and tourist trade, but unfortunately they are also popular as a delicacy.

Now you can fly a Drone!       
If flying a drone was something you always wished for, then it can come true now, of course keeping in mind that it does come with a list of regulations issued by the government. The new drone policy allows recreational, personal or commercial use of drones from December this year. However, in case you were planning to deliver goods, food and other items, with the help of a drone, it is simply ruled out, as the main policy states that the drone can be flown only within the line of sight of the person using it.

PepsiCo’s largest acquisition in 8 years
PepsiCo Inc. will buy SodaStream International Ltd., an Israeli company for $3.2 billion in the latest attempt by a major soft-drink maker to harness demand for at-home drink systems to offset a slowdown in soda. This would be PepsiCo’s largest acquisition in eight years. Soft-drink producers have been trying to tap the at-home market amidst a gradual decline in soda consumption and environmental concern. However, success of such a move has been elusive.

Wireless charging networks at Café Coffee Day outlets
Café Coffee Day, the Bengaluru headquartered coffee chain has partnered with wireless power solutions provider PowerSquare to introduce wireless charging network at their cafes across India. About 300-plus wireless charging spots are now available across 100 outlets in leading metros such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. The network will support all smart phones that have wireless charging and will soon expand to 350 plus cafes with more than 2000 wireless charging spots in other metros. With mobile being an integral part of its young consumers’ lives, the café network is strengthening its digital technology to keep its customers connected at all times. After making free Wi-Fi available nationally at several cafes, it is launching wireless charging for the first time.  So, now customers with Qi-enabled smart phones can place their phones on the surface and wirelessly charge their phones. Aim is to eliminate the hassle of carrying charging cables.

Women power for Vedanta
Vedanta, the metals and mining conglomerate is aiming to triple the representation of women in its workforce over the next two years. Currently, 11% of the company’s 25,000 employees are women, which it aims to increase to 30% in two years. This can be compared with the average female workforce headcount of 3-8% in India’s manufacturing sector. The company aims to achieve this with a combination of policies that include 50% hiring of woman talent from campuses, ensuring a balance in hiring male and female candidates and also building an internal leadership pipeline of women. They will also offer female staff flexibilities in working hours.

Green energy for Himachal Pradesh
Recently, Himachal Pradesh got its first grid-connected solar power plant in Shimla having a capacity of 35 KW, installed on the rooftop of the Department of Environment, Science and Technology. The project was completed by spending around ‘20 lakh and the Department of Science and Technology would save ‘2.6 lakh per annum. The sustainability of the project is for  25 years. The power generated by the solar plant would be consumed by the building and remaining power would be sold to the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Limited.