QBiz: Infosys to Hire Americans; Snapdeal-Flipkart Deal Uncertain

Here’s a look at the important business stories from the previous day. 

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1. Infosys to Hire 10,000 Americans Over Two Years

Infosys, India’s second largest software services firm, is planning to hire 10,000 Americans over the next couple of years. The Bengaluru-headquartered company said it would open four new Technology and Innovation Hubs across the United States focusing on cutting-edge technology areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, cloud, and big data.

The company said in a statement that these four hubs would not only focus on technology and innovation areas, but also serve clients in key industries such as financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, energy. The first hub, which is expected to come up in Indiana in August this year, will create 2000 jobs by 2021 for American workers and will help boost the local economy.


2. Snapdeal-Flipkart Deal: Nexus And SoftBank Fail To Agree On Valuations

Japanese firm SoftBank on Monday could not manage a crucial nod from co-investor Nexus Venture Partners (NVP) for the sale of Snapdeal, possibly to Flipkart.

The board meeting of Snapdeal, where SoftBank and Nexus have representatives, did not reach an agreement on the sale, people privy to the development said.

The meeting, they said, remained inconclusive as NVP – an early-investor in Snapdeal – has still not agreed to the valuation given by SoftBank. The approval is crucial for the proposed sale of Snapdeal to larger rival, Flipkart, they added.

(Source: BloombergQuint)


3. Amazon India to Double Storage, Hire 5,000

Amazon India is doubling its storage capacity with the addition of 14 new fulfilment centres this year as it looks to cater to a growing base of Prime customers who demand expedited shipping.

The company says the expansion will create an opportunity for the employment of around 5,000 individuals, spread across its 14 new centres. This figure will not include the temporary workforce Amazon hires to fulfil increased order demand during festivals and sales.

Out of the 14 fulfilment centres Amazon is setting up in 2017, seven will be specialised centres for storage and handling of large appliances and furniture that requires different type of expertise. The other seven centres will be opened by mid-June, including three in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.


4. India to Launch New IIP Series With 2011-12 Base Year

India will unveil a new series of index of industrial production (IIP) with a base year 2011-12 on 9 May with an aim to map economic activities more accurately.

The new series, which captures industrial activities on monthly basis, will be launched by Chief Statistician and MOSPI Secretary TCA Anant, a government official said on the condition of anonymity. A high-level panel had firmed up the methodology with new base year of 2011-12.

Currently, the IIP is calculated on base year of 2004-05.

The change in baseline for the IIP is expected to bring in more accuracy in mapping the level of economic activity and calculating other numbers like national accounts.

Work is also in progress to change the base year for the wholesale price index (WPI) to 2011-12 year.

(Source: BloombergQuint)


5. PMI Data, Fitch Outlook Point to a Humming Economy

India’s economic growth story received an affirmative thumbs-up on Tuesday from cold, hard data on factory output in April – and from the warm glow of sentiments articulated by global rating agency Fitch.

Factory output increased for the fourth straight month in April led by strong growth in new orders. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index stood at 52.5 in April, the same level as in March.

The rate of growth of new orders was at a six-month high in April and output increased in each of the three monitored sectors, led by consumer goods.

This sentiment was echoed in rating agency Fitch’s reading of India’s economic outlook, and in its projection of 7.7 per cent growth in 2017-18 and 2018-19, against 7.1 per cent last year.


6. Centre, States to Consider Simpler Power Tariff System

Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal and state ministers will consider the possibility of sharply reducing the number of power tariff slabs to make them uniform across the country and examine ways of re-engineering of power plants to use domestic coal in place of imported fuel at a two-day meeting in the capital starting Wednesday.

The annual meeting of power ministers will also explore ways of enforcing clean energy purchase obligations of power distribution companies and review challenges in achieving 100% rural electrification in difficult terrain and in left wing extremism affected areas.

The idea is to have about 15 uniform slabs across the country in place of the highly complex system prevalent in states, where slabs vary significantly.

(Source: Livemint)


7. Need to Focus More on Manufacturing Sector: Arvind Panagariya

India needs to work simultaneously on manufacturing and services, but the focus should be more on manufacturing as it creates more jobs, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya today said. Panagariya also said that deployment of robots by companies need not be a big concern as the exercise won’t take away jobs, at least not in the next 20 years.

India needs to work on both manufacturing sector leg and services sector leg…Manufacturing leg is more important because it creates more jobs. 
Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog

8. Heineken Eyes Majority Ownership in Mallya's UB

Dutch beer maker Heineken International is making a determined push to capture majority ownership in Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries, six months after petitioning courts against a proposal to freeze the liquor baron’s shares in the company.

Heineken has now approached lenders with a proposal to buy out all of Mallya’s shares in United Breweries that are pledged with them. Heineken and Mallya are joint owners of UB Ltd, the maker of KingfisherBSE 3.03 % beer. While the Dutch giant owns 43.4%, Mallya holds a little over 30%, most of which is pledged with banks.


9. Apple Can't Ignore Microsoft's Slick, New Laptop

Microsoft has already cracked the professional and creative markets with inventive tablets and a desktop that turns into a virtual drafting table. Now it’s chasing another category many believe is Apple’s to lose: the $1,000 laptop for everyone.

Microsoft Corp., a company once derided for buggy software, unstable hardware and indifferent design, debuted the Surface Laptop on Tuesday. The machine boots up in seconds, has a touch screen and gets a claimed 14 hours of battery life (two better than Apple’s MacBook Air). Weighing in at 2.76 pounds, about a quarter-pound less than the Air, the Surface Laptop boasts a 13.5-inch screen and is one of the thinnest and lightest products in its class.

Microsoft is targeting the education market—and even threw laptops inside backpacks stuffed with textbooks, notepads and keys to simulate college-kid wear-and-tear. Yet the Surface Laptop’s affordable price, portability and features could appeal to a far broader audience—including Mac loyalists.

(Source: Livemint)

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