Companies & Sectors
Wipro Consumer Care buys Yardley's business in Europe as well

Wipro Consumer Care already owns Yardley portfolio for Asia, Middle East, North Africa and Australasia 

 
Mumbai: Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting on Tuesday said it bought London-based Yardley's business in Europe except Germany and Austria for an undisclosed sum, reports PTI.
 
"We have signed an agreement with the Lornamead Group to acquire the Yardley business in Britain and many other European countries, excluding Germany and Austria. This transaction further expands the geographic reach of the Yardley portfolio already owned by us," the company said in a statement issued here.
 
The FMCG arm of IT company Wipro had acquired the Yardley portfolio for Asia, Middle East, North Africa and Australasia from Lornamead in December 2009.
 
Wipro will also acquire Lornamead's 'Woods of Windsor' business, another heritage brand in Britain, which is well known for its floral fragrance-led portfolio in personal care segment, it added.
 
Established in 1770, Yardley is one of the world's oldest brands in the personal care category with fragrance, bath and shower and skin care products. It is a premium personal care brand.
 
Following its acquisition by Wipro, its revenue grew to Rs184.9 crore last year compared to Rs83.7 crore in 2008-09.
 
"Given the brand's performance, it was only logical to own both the brands in its home market in England which in FY12 clocked a revenue of Rs29.6 crore.
 
"We will be able to leverage the brand's core values and offer new products to consumers across our markets and are confident that we will be able to develop the Yardley brand further especially by using our strong R&D and international footprint. Yardley in London will see sustained brand building initiatives," Wipro Consumer Care regional director for East Asia, Middle East and Africa Nagender Arya said.
 

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'PMO to take final view on relaxing FDI in pharma'

According to a senior official, the Finance Ministry have reached a final consensus on approvals to the FDI proposals in the pharma sector and sent the file to PMO for final view

 
New Delhi: Prime Minister's Office (PMO) will take a final view on relaxing foreign direct investment norms in the pharmaceutical sector, a senior Finance Ministry official said on Tuesday, reports PTI.
 
"We have reached a final consensus on approvals to the FDI proposals in the pharma sector. The recommendations will now go to PMO for approval," the official said after the meeting of the inter-ministerial group on FDI in pharma company.
 
The meeting of the inter-ministerial group (IMG) was attended by officials of the departments of pharma, health, DIPP and DEA and considered various views on imposition of specific conditions on foreign investors.
 
The group is headed by Shanktikanta Das, additional secretary in DEA, and includes representatives of DIPP, Health, External Affairs, and Overseas Indian Affairs Ministries.
 
There were differences on issues between Finance Ministry and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
 
While the Finance Ministry favours capping FDI in the pharma sector to 49% in existing units, the DIPP has been advocating 100% FDI through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) route in such cases.
 
According to sources, the health ministry was insisting multinational firms keen on brownfield acquisitions should seek its approval if they decide to reduce or stop manufacturing of essential drugs in the acquired entity.
 
Besides, the ministry wants that MNCs acquiring Indian firms should not cut production of generic medicines under any circumstances and also ensure their availability in the domestic market before exporting.
 
Differences between various departments had led to delay in finalising a policy related to mergers and acquisitions in the pharma sector, following which the PMO has intervened and sought a report on the matter. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh currently holds the charge of finance portfolio.
 
In October 2011, a ministerial group headed by Singh had put foreign investment in brownfield pharma on approval route, changing the 10-year old policy of automatic clearance to address the health ministry's concerns after a series of acquisitions.
 
Under the new rules, for any merger or acquisition, the overseas investor will have to seek permission from the FIPB. After six months, it will be the monopoly watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) which will vet such deals. Issues were also raised over the competency of CCI to handle such deals.
 
Some big acquisitions include Ranbaxy Laboratories buy-out by Daiichi Sankyo of Japan, Shanta Biotech by Sanofi Aventis of France and Piramal Health Care's health unit by Abbott Laboratories of the US.
 

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Raj Thackeray says don’t pay toll till government brings in transparency

Urging the government not to exert pressure on the people to pay toll, Raj Thackeray said if the people stationed at the toll plazas force the commuters, then party workers from MNS would act accordingly

 
Mumbai: Asking the state government to bring transparency in toll collection at various nakas, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday appealed to the people from the state not to pay toll henceforth, reports PTI.
 
"Till the state government does not bring in transparency in the toll collection, nobody should pay at the toll plazas," Raj told reporters at his 'Krushna Kunj' residence in central Mumbai.
 
However, the MNS chief asserted that he is not against toll. "I am not against toll or payment of taxes, but people should get the services for which they pay," he said.
 
Urging the government not to exert pressure on the people to pay toll, he said if the people stationed at the toll plazas force the commuters, then his party workers would act accordingly.
 
"We have deployed our party workers at all the toll plazas and we urge the government not to force the people to pay the toll. We are not interested in coming at loggerheads with the government," he said.
 
He asked the government to clarify as to what facilities were the people getting by paying toll.
 
"How much money has been collected from the tolls in the state, the government should reveal that. There are systems across the world and therefore we want to know about it," he added.
 
"Our MLAs will give a representation in this regard to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan," he said.
 
He also said non-payment of toll is also applicable for the Bandra-Worli sea-link.
 
Meanwhile, on the stand-off between NCP and Congress, Raj refused to respond to it, but only mentioned that he "does not understand the political mind-games of NCP chief Sharad Pawar." 
 
On the alleged financial irregularities in construction of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, Raj said the government should inquire the matter and added that "they all are tainted", without naming any minister. 
 
Meanwhile, the effect of the appeal made by Raj was seen as MNS partymen reached the toll plazas and asked the commuters not to pay toll.
 
The MNS workers reached the Bandra-Worli sea-link and asked the people on the route not to pay the toll. However, they were detained by police and taken away.
 
Similar scenes were witnessed at toll plazas in neighbouring Thane and Mulund.
 

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