Companies & Sectors
Bharti Airtel splits Indian operations into 8 hubs

“The new organisation design is aimed at furthering the company’s initiatives to build a more connected organisation, aimed at delivering a world-class experience to customers,” the company said in a statement

Private telecom services major Bharti Airtel on Thursday split its Indian operations into eight hubs focussed at building a more connected organisation.


The hubs will report to Ajai Puri, who has been given the charge of newly created position of director (market operations). Puri will report to joint MD and CEO designate for India Gopal Vittal. The changes will be effective from 1 March 2013.


“The new organisation design is aimed at furthering the company’s initiatives to build a more connected organisation, which is closer to the market place and is able to deliver a world-class experience to customers,” the company said in a statement.


Various telecom circles will be clubbed to form hubs.


“Circle CEOs will continue to report to a Hub CEO and operate with the same level of independence (as they do now), while the Hub CEO will provide overall guidance and oversight to the telecom circles under it,” it added.


As part of the changes, Raghunath Mandava, currently operations director (west & distribution) has been elevated as director (customer experience). He will also report to Vittal.


Airtel business CMO Najib Khan will now take over as CEO (homes and office), where he will be responsible for telemedia business, SMB vertical, LTE and Wi-fi services.


K. Srinivas will take over as director (special projects) and will be responsible for evaluating potential investment opportunities and developing business case across various lines of business. He will report to Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal.


Last week, Bharti Airtel had appointed Kohli as managing director and said its founder Sunil Mittal will assume the role of executive chairman.


Vittal, who will take over as the new CEO in March, was named additional director and joint managing director of Bharti Airtel. He was named chief executive after the firm’s India CEO Sanjay Kapoor stepped down last month.


The revamp comes at a time when the company is looking at improving profitability while increasing both 3G and 4G subscriber base. Bharti Airtel is also struggling with uncertain regulatory environment and bleeding business in Africa.


NTPC offer for sale: Government garners Rs11,400 crore through stake sale

The NTPC offering was the government's third divestment in the current fiscal during which it has a target of Rs 30,000 crore

Government-owned power utility major NTPC’s one-day offer for sale (OFS) through which the government sold 9.5% stake in the company was subscribed 1.7 times on Thursday. The government is reported to have mobilised around Rs11,400 crore by offloading nearly 78.32 crore shares at an average price of Rs145.91.


Domestic institutional investors including insurance companies and mutual funds were major bidders.


The NTPC offering was the government's third divestment in the current fiscal during which it has a target of Rs 30,000 crore. Last week the government garnered around Rs 3,100 crore by divesting its stake in crude refiner Oil India and around Rs 5,900 crore through a, OFS for NMDC in December. The government has, so far in FY13, mobilized about Rs 20,000 crore though divestments of its stake in these companies, which is about 67% of its target.


The government is eyeing another Rs5,000-Rs7,000 crore through divestment in some more state-owned companies. The mobilisation will help the government mover closer to its fiscal deficit target of 5.3% of GDP.


Data on BSE website showed that the NTPC OFS had generated a demand for about 132.85 crore shares and all those who bid at Rs145.55 or above have been allotted shares of the government-run power utility major. Market players said that the recent change in rules for OFS that of allowing institutional investors to bid for stocks at no margin helped the NPTC issue sail through.


Earlier, institutions had to put in full margin money while bidding in an OFS. Under the new rules, an institutional investor which is bidding in OFS without any upfront margin cannot revise its bid price downward, while those bidding with full margin money can do so.


Iraq war contractor fined for late reports of 30 deaths

The Sandi Group was fined $75,000 after delaying reports to the US government that more than 30 of its workers had died in Iraq

The US Department of Labor has fined a private security contractor $75,000 for failing to file timely reports on the deaths of workers in Iraq as required by law. The Sandi Group, based in Washington DC, delayed telling the Labor department that 30 of its employees had been killed while working for the company between 2003 and 2005, according to the department.


The Sandi Group, a privately held company known for employing large numbers of Iraqis as security guards, did not return requests for comment. Since 2005 the company has won US government contracts worth at least $80.9 million, according to a federal contracting database.

The fine, believed to be the largest ever levied against a single company for failing to report war zone casualties in a timely manner, is part of an enforcement crackdown that began after a ProPublica series highlighted problems with a government program designed to provide health benefits to civilian contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Timely reporting of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities are vitally important to protect the interests of injured workers and their families," Gary A. Steinberg, acting director of the Department of Labor office which negotiated the settlement amount with the company, said in a prepared statement.


The Labor Department is responsible for administering an obscure government program called the Defense Base Act. The act requires that contractors working overseas for the U.S. government take out specialized insurance, similar to workers compensation, to provide medical treatment for injuries sustained on the job, or to pay death benefits in the event of work-related fatalities.


The ProPublica series found the system in shambles. Insurance companies routinely delayed payments and medical treatment to injured American workers, while charging taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars for the policies. The Labor Department failed to bring enforcement actions against companies that flouted the law, even when federal administrative judges urged the agency to act. Foreign workers, such as Iraqi and Afghan translators who helped U.S. troops, frequently at risk to their own lives, often received no benefits at all.


After the series ran, the department began publishing information on contractor deaths and injuries and posted report cards showing how quickly insurance companies reported casualties. They also vowed more aggressive enforcement.


Injured workers, however, say that problems remain. Marcie Hascall Clark has battled for years to receive medical treatment and lost wage payments for her husband, who was injured in Iraq. She says she hasn’t seen any improvement in a process she contends still moves too slowly. “The [Labor Department] is worse than ever,” said Clark, who runs a website for injured contractors.


As of December, 3,258 civilian contract workers had been killed or died in Iraq, and another 90,000 had reported injuries.



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