TGIF to focus on large format outlets in India

TGI Friday’s is looking to enter new cities such as Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Chennai

Bistro Hospitality Pvt Ltd that operates global casual dining restaurant chain, TGI Friday's (TGIF) in India today said it will open a minimum of two to three outlets every year and will focus only on large formats.

Besides expanding presence in existing locations-Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, the company is also looking to enter new cities such as Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Chennai.

"With cultural dynamics changing in India at a fast pace, the acceptability and willingness to experience the American concept of TGIF is growing in the country. Hence, we have decided to expand aggressively here," Bistro Hospitality Vice President Development and Marketing Rohan Jetley told PTI.

He said the company plans to "to open a minimum of 2-3 restaurants every year". At present the firm operates nine TGIFs in India out of which four of them are small formats.

This financial year the company will open three new TGIFs in Mumbai and Bangalore and would target other cities going ahead, he added.

Asked about the required investment for the expansion he said: "One restaurant costs anywhere between Rs3 crore to Rs7 crore depending on the size and location. Our focus will be to open large formats with a carpet area of 5,000 to 7,000 sq ft."

Recently the firm has opened a large format outlet in Bangalore having an area of 6,500 sq ft with a seating capacity of 250 guests. The new projects will be funded by internal accruals, he added.

Asked about revenues, Jetley said the company expects to close this fiscal at Rs50 crore.

TGIF was introduced in India in 1996. It is currently operated by Bistro Hospitality in which 25% stake is held by US-based hospitality firm Carlson.
 
In India, Carlson also operates 35 hotels across brands, including Radisson, Country Inns & Suites and Park Plaza with a total of about 3,500 rooms.

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US urges India to liberalise FDI policy in financial services sector

“You should understand the central role insurance plays in commerce, trade and economic activities. Planes don’t fly, ship don’t sail in global commerce without insurance,” Michael Camunez, a senior official in the US Commerce Department said at a CII function in Delhi

New Delhi: Asking India to liberalise its foreign investment policies, particularly in the financial services sector, the US today said further opening these areas can add about 1.5% to the country’s economic growth, reports PTI.

“India imposes substantial foreign direct investment (FDI) caps in the financial services sector particularly in the insurance sector...

insurance penetration is very low (in India)...

“You should understand the central role insurance plays in commerce, trade and economic activities. Planes don’t fly, ships don’t sail in global commerce without insurance,” a senior official in the US Commerce Department said here at a CII function.

Michael Camunez, assistant secretary for market access and compliance in the US Commerce Department said that liberalising FDI policies will also help in creating funds to invest in the infrastructure sector.

Mr Camunez said that India is going to invest about $1.2 trillion in infrastructure sector in the coming years.

“...if India wants to substantially liberalise FDI caps in its financial services sector, generally it should contribute as much as 1.5% to India’s GDP growth, that’s remarkable statistics,” he added.

US business houses wants India to increase the FDI cap in insurance sector to 49% from 26%.

The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008 is pending in Parliament. The Bill, when enacted, would allow raising the FDI cap for the industry to 49%. However, it has been awaiting approval since 2008, as it was delayed by strong opposition from the Left parties.

He said that according to a study, India is going to be one of the top insurance markets in the world and further opening the sector “will be a win-win for both India and the US”.

Further, Mr Camunez said that protectionist policies are increasing in India in areas like foreign technology transfer, intellectual property rights and manufacturing.

“...these policies are hampering India’s domestic competitiveness...,” he added.

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Sessions court rejects Hassan Ali, Tapuriah’s bail plea

ED counsel, Ujjwal Nikam contended that both the accused had hatched a criminal conspiracy with international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi in the trade of weapons. Thus logical inference could be drawn that they had indulged in conspiracy to ‘wage war against the nation’

Mumbai: A sessions court today rejected the bail plea of Pune stud farm owner Hassan Ali Khan and his associate Kashinath Tapuriah, arrested in March by Enforcement Directorate (ED) which alleged that they had laundered $93 million in foreign banks and indulged in conspiracy to ‘wage war against the nation’, reports PTI.

The bail petitions were rejected by principal sessions judge, Swapna Joshi, who agreed with the prosecution that granting them liberty at this juncture was not justified.

Opposing their bail, ED counsel, Ujjwal Nikam, alleged that Mr Khan and Mr Tapuriah had laundered $93 million in foreign banks.

He also alleged that $300 million had been obtained by Mr Khan from sale of weapons. This, Mr Nikam said, was reflected in some documents recovered during investigation which were signed by him and notarised in London.

Mr Nikam contended that both the accused had hatched a criminal conspiracy with international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi in the trade of weapons. Thus logical inference could be drawn that they had indulged in conspiracy to ‘wage war against the nation’, a serious offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The ED counsel said that Mr Khan had acquired passports by submitting forged and fabricated documents from various regional passport authorities like Hyderabad, Patna, Mumbai, Pune and London. Various offences were registered against Mr Khan, Mr Nikam said.

He alleged that Mr Khan had transferred $7 lakh from his Swiss bank account to the account of SK Financial, London.

Mr Nikam submitted that notarised documents seized from the possession of Mr Khan mentioned that Mr Tapuriah was his advisor.

I P Bagaria and Girish Kulkarni, lawyers of Mr Khan and Mr Tapuriah respectively, argued that the offences alleged to have been committed by the accused pertained to the period prior to the enactment of Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002, under which they had been charged.

The provisions of this Act could not be invoked even if it is presumed that charges against the accused were true because the PMLA did not have retrospective effect, the defence lawyers submitted.

Lawyers Mr Bagaria and Mr Kulkarni argued that the alleged offences against Mr Khan and Mr Tapuriah were not scheduled offences under part A of PMLA. Hence, the accused may be released on bail.

The lawyers argued that the ED had already contemplated action against the accused under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and questioned how on the same set of facts the agency could prosecute the accused under PMLA also.

They contended that the ED had filed complaint against the accused only under Section 3 of PMLA and had not filed any further complaint under IPC for offence of ‘waging war against nation’. Therefore the accused could not be charged with the IPC provision.

Countering the arguments, Mr Nikam argued that the objective of PMLA should be considered by the court. He said Section 3 of PMLA is contemplated in such a manner that continuity in action is necessary and therefore Section 3 has retrospective effect.

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