DLF Pramerica Life launches four new products; Shriram Capital plans to enter home finance; Vijaya Bank signs agreement with MoneyGram to offer money transfer services; Western Union, SBI to launch mobile money transfer service; SBI Life launches Saral Maha Anand
DLF Pramerica Life launches four new products
Private sector insurer DLF Pramerica Life Insurance has launched four new insurance products, including two traditional plans. The traditional non-linked products namely DLF Pramerica Assure Money Plus and DLF Pramerica Tatkaal Suraksha Gold provides saving as well as protection. Assure Money Plus provides minimum guaranteed earnings on maturity along with the advantage of high life insurance cover. Besides, it also launched two unit linked products namely DLF Pramerica Wealth Plus Premier and DLF Pramerica Ezee Wealth Plus with simplified underwriting. DLF Pramerica Wealth Plus Premier is a good product for high net worth individuals seeking potentially high investment returns along with a well secured future for the family in case of any eventuality. DLF Pramerica Life is a joint venture between real-estate company DLF Ltd and the US-based Prudential International Insurance Holdings. The company became operational in September 2008 and currently has 30 offices across Delhi NCR, Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat.
Shriram Capital plans to enter home finance
Shriram Capital Ltd plans to enter home finance business by the next fiscal. The company is currently present in commercial vehicles, two-wheelers, personal and gold loans. The company will soon apply to National Housing Bank for starting the home finance business, which will be done through its subsidiary Shriram City Union.The company will target the lower income segment for home loans, and the ticket size could vary between Rs5 lakh and Rs15 lakh, depending on the location.The company will introduce the service in South India, where it has a majority presence.
Vijaya Bank signs agreement with MoneyGram to offer money transfer services
Bangalore-based Vijaya Bank has signed an agreement with global money transfer company MoneyGram to offer money transfer services at all branches of the Bank.Travel services company Thomas Cook and UAE Exchange will be part of the agreement to provide financial services relating to travel and money exchange.Many customers of the Bank send money from West Asia which is easily remitted to their relatives in the country. Vijaya Bank has received remittances of around Rs100 crore in the first half of the financial year. The Bank would also provide reliable money transfer services from over 190 countries.
Western Union, SBI to launch mobile money transfer service
Western Union and State Bank of India (SBI) said that SBI account-holders will soon be able to receive cross-border money transfers in their bank accounts by using just their mobile phones. In July, Western Union announced the introduction of the account-based money transfer (ABMT) service to be launched in early-2011. This service will enable SBI customers with online bank accounts to pull Western Union Money Transfer transactions directly into their accounts via the Internet. The new mobile service will provide SBI customers with an additional option to direct a Western Union Money Transfer transaction into their accounts anytime and anywhere. With this agreement with SBI, consumers will be able to send money from one of Western Union's 380,000 agent locations globally to an SBI account.
SBI Life launches Saral Maha Anand
SBI Life Insurance has launched its new unit-linked insurance plan, Saral Maha Anand. The product, with a minimum annual premium of Rs15,000, has been designed to cater investment and protection needs of the middle and low-income segments. The premium can be paid monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually. The product is exempted from medical examination and offers four fund options - Index, Equity, Balanced and Bond. Investors in the 18-55 age group can invest in the product.
Nokia launched its much anticipated smartphone N8 with Ovi services at Rs26,259, which comes with a 12MP camera that can record HD quality video
Mobile handset leader Nokia has launched the much-anticipated smartphone Nokia N8 with Ovi services. The N8, priced at Rs26,259 apiece, comes with the Ovi services that enable a user to create content, connect to his/her favourite social networks and enjoy on-demand online television programmes. Ovi by Nokia is the brand for the world's largest cellphone maker's Internet service that can be used by a mobile device or computer.
"The consumer is in the centre of all that we do at Nokia and we are constantly innovating to enhance user experience and address user feedback," said Nokia India vice-president and managing director D Shivakumar said at the launch in Mumbai.
The Nokia N8 introduces a 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, Xenon flash and a large sensor that rivals those found in compact digital cameras. People can also make HD-quality videos and edit them with an intuitive built-in editing suite.
The product also offers a true home theatre experience with HD quality film and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. It also enables access to local and global Web TV services that deliver TV programmes, news and entertainment from channels such as CNN, National Geographic, etc.
People can also update their status, share location and photos, and view live feeds from Facebook and Twitter in a single app directly on the home screen. Calendar events from social networks can also be transferred to the device calendar.
The Nokia N8 comes with free global Ovi Maps walk and drive navigation for over 70 countries. It also has 16GB of in-built storage space, expandable up to 48GB with a Micro SD card.
Nokia N8 will be available in select markets during the third quarter of 2010.
Jitendra Virwani, chairman and managing director of Embassy Property Developments Limited, a Bengaluru-based real-estate development company, speaks to Moneylife’s Ashok Shaw about the situation of the real estate market in the country and the hurdles the industry faces today
Ashok Shaw (ML): Do you see prices of real estate coming under pressure in some parts of the country?
Jitendra Virwani (JV): The part of the country where we operate is growing gradually because real-estate prices haven't really gone up. Other than in Mumbai, I don't see prices having gone up. The question here is to build where the demand is and keeping in touch with the market. In Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai, prices are not very high.
ML: In the real-estate sector, do you see any issues that concern you?
JV: Not in the regions we deal in. We don't depend on any political issue to run our projects. Our projects are sustainable in any environment. We don't foresee anything in the rest of Tamil Nadu either. As long as you produce quality goods in a good location and price them correctly, there will be sustainable growth. The growth might not be 200% or 300 %, but sustainable.
ML: You must be aware that the US government proposes banning outsourcing and visa fees have been hiked. As your company and its cash flow is largely dependent on the success of your IT/ITeS tenants, how do you expect to cope with the problem if the US goes ahead and bans outsourcing altogether?
JV: We don't see much of a problem because most of our clients are growing. This year, we are close to doing 5 million square feet and every inch of ours has been built on a 'built-to-suit' basis. Also, most of our clients are growing. IBM has recruited many people. In fact, we have a problem in coping with their growth. One of the reasons we are bringing out an IPO (initial public offering) is to build some speculative space for our clients. But right now, we are not doing so. We are focussing on a 'built-to-suit' basis and funding it that way. We don't foresee any kind of issue with Indian IT growth. It's just a drama that happens every time before the elections and then it fades.
ML: But if the outsourcing ban comes into force, then how do you expect to deal with this contingency?
JV: We don't see it as a threat and we'll continue with our work. We have a good market share in the south, close to over 30% in Bengaluru. We see far more growth. In the next five years, the biggest boom in the commercial space is going to be in Bengaluru. We are also projecting our growth story. Next year, we'll be able to do 7 million square feet.
Besides, if you note that most of these tenants such as IBM are not doing only international business. They are also doing domestic business. Airtel IT management is completely done by IBM now. And looking at government business, with all this computerisation and the UID card, these companies are pitching for this business. These guys want to establish themselves to cater to domestic business also.
ML: How is your company doing in the current market scenario? What is your current inventory level? Is there any inventory left unsold?
JV: We own close to about 1,300 acres of land of which we are developing 90 million square feet. Our major project is the Chennai township project, which we are planning to launch soon. We have two more projects in Bengaluru that we are planning to launch soon. One is Embassy Christine, coming out on Outer Ring Road, which is about 1.8 million square feet - this will cater to the upper-class segment. Then, we have Embassy Grow, a more premium housing segment, about half a million square feet. This is just opposite KG Golf course.
Most of the property, we retain in our books. We don't sell our commercial property. We have retained 14.4 million square feet out of 24 million square feet. On the residential side, we have sold everything. There is no inventory left.