New global rules aim to strengthen banks

Basel: Global financial regulators today agreed on new rules designed to strengthen bank finances and rein in excessive risk-taking to help prevent another crisis, reports PTI.

Banks will be forced to hold more and safer kinds of capital to offset the risks they take lending money and trading securities, which should make them more resistant to financial shocks such as those of the last several years.

European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet, chairman of the committee of central bankers and bank supervisors that worked on the new rules, called the agreement "a fundamental strengthening of global capital standards."

"Their contribution to long-term financial stability and growth will be substantial," Mr Trichet said in a statement.

US officials including Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke in a joint statement called the new standards a "significant step forward in reducing the incidence and severity of future financial crises".

Some banks have, however, protested that the new rules may hurt their profitability and cause them to reduce lending that fuels economic growth, possibly dampening a global economic recovery.

Representatives of major central banks, including the ECB and the US Federal Reserve, agreed to the deal at a meeting in Basel, Switzerland, today.


ONGC sends reminder to UK-based Cairn Energy regarding stake sale

Mumbai: State-owned exploration and production (E&P) firm Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) today said it has sent a reminder to UK's Cairn Energy Plc regarding the proposed sale of shares of Cairn India Ltd to billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources, reports PTI.

The company sent the reminder on 10th September, ONGC said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Vedanta is offering $8.48 billion to buy up to a 51% stake in Cairn India, which has 10 oil assets in the country, including the giant Rajasthan oilfield.

On 30th August, ONGC, which has a 30% stake in Cairn India's Rajasthan block, had asked Cairn Energy Plc to provide all the details related to the agreements between the company and the proposed buyer.

In a letter to Cairn Energy Plc Chief Executive Bill Gammell, ONGC company secretary N K Sinha had sought details of the Vedanta deal, saying the Edinburgh-based firm required "consent of ONGC besides other governmental approvals to consummate the proposed" sale of up to a 51% stake in Cairn India to London-listed Vedanta.

ONGC believes that by virtue of its stake in Rajasthan block, it has the pre-emption or right of first refusal (RoFR) to buy Cairn India in case the company's ownership changed.

"... It is noted that ONGC has, inter-alia, pre-emptive rights in relation to Cairn's participating interest under the various agreements with the government of India and ONGC and that Cairn Energy Plc and/or its affiliates require consent of ONGC besides other governmental approvals to consummate the proposed transaction," he wrote.

ONGC requested "full details along with copies of the agreements and other arrangements entered into between Cairn Energy Plc and/or its affiliates and the proposed buyer."

However, the Joint Operating Agreement between Cairn India and ONGC gives the partners pre-emption rights in case of the sale of interest by either party in the block, but not in the case of a corporate ownership change, which is what is happening in the Cairn-Vedanta deal.

If Cairn Energy had offloaded its stake in the stock market, like it did when it in the past couple of years sold as much as 14% in Cairn India to Petronas of Malaysia, ONGC couldn't have done much, industry observers had told PTI.

If it exercises its pre-emption right, ONGC may end up paying between $12 to $13 billion at the Rs355 a share price at which Vedanta is acquiring Cairn Energy's shares in Cairn India.


Nestle Munch: Boxer baby

There is nothing brilliant about the ad, but at least it is a funny commercial that’s based on our culture

For the festive season, multinational chocolate companies are digging deep into our traditions to come up with ideas that connect with the local culture.

We just saw how Cadbury Dairy Milk has been trying to do exactly that with its 'Shubh Aarambh' campaign.
Now it's the turn of Nestle Munch. They have cast a celebrity in the form of boxer Vijender Singh. But instead of showing him living a groovy lifestyle (which is what most celebrity-based advertising in India does), they have smartly and credibly used him in a typical Indian setting. Unlike the previous stuff with fading actor Rani Mukherjee, which frankly was utter rubbish… immensely forgettable advertising. 
The new Nestle Munch commercial features the end of a long Indian wedding, when it's time for the bride to climb into the groom's decked-up car, as she bids goodbye to her maika. Her man comes across as an insensitive boor, and it appears as if he will give the poor lady a lot of hell. Worried, her kid brother runs after the car, wanting to say that very desi thing, "Boss, please do take care of my dear sister and please always love her." But the poor lad goes tongue-tied; he has no idea how to express those customary words. And expectedly, the groom treats him disdainfully.

The boy then bites into his Nestle Munch and undergoes a sudden transformation. Instead of hallucinating (unlike the Kit Kat and the Cadbury Éclairs commercials), he pops up as the Olympic boxer Vijender Singh. And with his boxing gloves in threatening action, Singh warns the dulha to be good to his beloved sister. Or else! The groom, of course, begins gulping out of fear, and promises to be the sweetest husband ever, or mutters some such words. Voiceover: "Nestle Munch ka crunch itna khaas, ki toot ke nikle mann ki aawaz." Of course, what ingredient provides such magical powers to Nestle Munch is never explained, but never mind that, this is chocolate advertising, and so it's free for all.
The ad works for me. Nothing brilliant about it, but at least they have come up with a funny commercial that's based on our culture. Bride's brother pleading with the groom is as common a sight as a mehendi ceremony at our shaadis. And also, the casting of boxer Vijender Singh is correct. He fits the part, and is the sort of brother (after Dawood Ibrahim), whose sister you don't mess with.  
Good commercial. Should evoke some laughs and hopefully some brand recall.


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