India expects $5-billion investment in road sector

The country's road development programme will see a huge investment from Canada over the next three to four years

India expects a big investment of $5 billion (around Rs22,800 crore) from Canada in the country's road development programme over the next three to four years, road transport and highways minister Kamal Nath has told PTI.

"I am looking at Canada looking beyond NAFTA," Mr Nath said after meeting with top Canadian ministers and executives of financial institutions here yesterday.

"Canadian pension funds and financial institutions are actively considering participating in the National Highway Development Project (NHDP)," he added.

Mr Nath said that of the $40 billion needed from the private sector for the road programme, about $10 billion is likely to come from foreign funds. "We expect $5 billion from Canada. The Indian government will put as many as nine
mega-projects up for bidding in the next two months,” the minister said.


Gold imports dip by over 15% to 28.8 tonnes in February

A slight recovery in prices and slowdown in demand has resulted in gold imports declining sharply from the previous month

Gold imports have declined by over 15% to 28.8 tonnes during February compared to the previous month following slight recovery in prices and slowdown in demand due to the current off-season, reports PTI.

The imports of the yellow metal stood at 34 tonnes in January, according to data from the Bombay Bullion Association.

According to experts, gold prices had recovered marginally during February compared to the previous month, negatively affecting shipments. Imports also fell due to low demand in the absence of any major trigger in the current off-season.

In January, gold had closed at $1,079.20 an ounce (28.34 grams) against $1116.70 an ounce in global markets in February due to weakness in the dollar.


DQE seeks new revenue streams

DQ Entertainment International has inked three licensing deals; looks at expanding revenue base

DQ Entertainment International (DQE) has recently finalised three licensing deals for its upcoming animated series—The Jungle Book—with School Pack Inc, D'Arpege, (both Paris-based firms) and NOGA TV, Israel. The company is also planning to come up with four new animated television shows within the next month. 

“The total worldwide retail sales of licensed merchandise are approximately $200 billion, increasing at over 5% every year. We, as owners of the intellectual property of several globally famous brands, (have) the potential to hugely benefit from the licensing industry. A number of similar agreements are currently under negotiation and have opened up new and multiple revenue streams for DQE,” said Tapaas Chakravarti, chairman & CEO, DQE Group. 

The Jungle Book, an animated series comprising 52 episodes, is 100% owned by DQE. According to sources, the company is investing €8 million-€10 million in each new project. Its other new projects are mainly television shows with a total runtime of approximately 26 hours. The company might co-produce these new projects with other international players—Walt Disney might be one of the partners.

The company is tight-lipped over the new investment plans and declined to give any details on the new projects, as the company is listing on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Monday (29th March). “I cannot speak on the new television features and the investments planned by the company,” said Mr Chakravarti.

School Pack Inc will be responsible for customised manufacturing and selling of branded school products like school bag packs, school bags, school bags with wheels, courier bags, string bags and other items targeted at school-going children. 

Similarly, D'Arpege SA will be handling the company’s outdoor products like tents, balls, inflatables, punching bags, gloves and garden equipment. The company said that both these deals were signed through DQE co-production partners TF1 Enterprise, Paris, and some other important deals are under negotiation for licensing, merchandising and publishing.

NOGA TV has signed a merchandising deal along with Ahim Fried Ltd and D&C TV Ltd to manufacture merchandise and sell a variety of bedroom items branded for children with Jungle Book characters like quilts, pillows, blankets, bed linen, and towels.

According to sources, the Walt Disney Company has bagged the pay television rights for The Jungle Book for four years for 27 countries and is negotiating for adding a few more countries. The company is also launching the trailer of the new animated series Peter Pan on YouTube in the next three days and is planning to launch the animated series next month at the Cannes film festival for children.


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