Global software major Microsoft has been voted the “most attractive employer” in India in a survey conducted by human resource firm Randstad.

While Microsoft won the tag in the survey for the fourth consecutive year, the IT, telecom and ITes sector overall also emerged as the most preferred by the workforce.

The survey covered more than 8,000 potential and employed workforce in India and it was found that competitive salary and employee benefits and long-term job security were the most important factors when choosing an employer. Other criterion included the financial health of the company, good work-life balance, pleasant working atmosphere and career progression opportunities.

According to Randstad, Indian responses were in sync with global traits where salary and employee benefit was the top priority followed by job security.

Sony India is the next most attractive employer. According to the survey, Larsen & Toubro is the most attractive employer in the infrastructure industry, State Bank of India in the banking sector, Taj Group in the hospitality and Tata Power in the energy sector.

Gurgaon-based Smile Group, which has holdings in the consumer internet and digital media space, has formed a joint venture with TPG Growth to build businesses across Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

According to the agreement, they will build their business under the brand name of Katalyzers. The $100-million joint venture will partner with successful internet companies in the marketplace, classified listings, local commerce, digital media, e-commerce and mobile segments, and help them roll out their businesses across Asia and other emerging markets.

Katalyzers has already set up offices in India, Singapore and San Francisco, and has a presence across China, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America through partner offices of Smile and TPG.

The Smile Group has partnered with entrepreneurs, VCs and global companies to help digital companies expand their operations and increase their footprint by rolling out internationally.

US-India Business Council (USIBC) president Ron Somers is leaving the trade facilitation body to start a strategic consulting firm focussed on business opportunities in the two countries.

Somers resigned his position with immediate effect, a USIBC announcement said, adding that his deputy Diane Farrell will officiate till a replacement was found.
Somers had been the chief of USIBC for 10 years.

In a statement, Somers said: “With elections underway in India and a new government forming, this is the perfect time for me to do what I have long planned – hang out my shingle.

“It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience to lead the exceptional USIBC staff, work with an outstanding board, and advance the critical US-India commercial relationship.”

He joined USIBC as its president in 2004, and has shepherded the council through some of the most important years in the US-India bilateral relationship; most notably, the signing of the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2006.

Aditya Birla group’s Madura Fashion and Lifestyle is in talks with American fashion brand Ralph Lauren to form a joint venture.

Both companies are reportedly in advanced talks to form a 51:49 JV and may sign a 10-year deal.

Mudra Fashion and Lifestyle, a supplier for Ralph Lauren, is keen to bring more international premium brands as part of its strategy to retail high-margin products.

Ralph Lauren designs and markets premium lifestyle products in the apparel, home, accessories and fragrances segments.

Madura’s brand portfolio ranges from the affordable to the high-end, including names such as Peter England, Louis Philippe and Van Heusen to Allen Solly and Hackett London.

Aditya Birla is a multinational conglomerate with interests in sectors such as viscose staple fibre, metals, cement, viscose filament yarn, branded apparel, carbon black, chemicals, fertilisers, insulators, financial services etc.

Mahindra ShubhLabh Services Limited (MSSL), which is part of the Mahindra Group and sells branded fruits in India and overseas, has entered into a joint venture with Belgium-based Univeg group, the world’s second-largest fresh produce firm.

The 60:40 JV will be called Mahindra Univeg Private Limited and will focus on developing a fresh fruit supply chain to cater to the domestic and international markets.

Both the companies will initially invest $4.9 million to build capability and supply chain and later infuse capital in a phased manner. The JV hopes to generate 100,000 tonnes of fruit trade in the initial stages.

The JV’s immediate focus will be bananas, apples, pears and kiwi fruit.

MSSL launched its fresh fruit brand, Saboro, in November 2013 and the produce from this JV will also be marketed under the same brand.

India is the world’s second-largest producer of fresh fruits and vegetables. But supply chain inefficiencies have made it one of the most expensive markets for the produce.

Smartphone maker Micromax Informatics Limited has expressed an interest in buying a stake in South Korean company Pantech Co. Limited – the country’s No. 3 smartphone maker.

Pantech has been undergoing debt restructuring after suffering six consecutive quarters of losses due to fierce competition.

Nine creditor banks own a combined 37 per cent of Pantech, while Qualcomm Inc has a 12 per cent stake and Samsung Electronics Co. Limited holds 10 per cent.
Pantech sells its phones in the United States and Japan.

Gurgaon-based Micromax is globally ranked as the 10th largest among smartphone makers, widely known for its Canvas and Bolt range of phones.

Any deal will help the Indian company get an insight into the South Korean market, which is dominated by giants like Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.


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