Britain’s leading insurance group, Aviva, plans to move around 600 jobs to India as part of cost-cutting measures.
The jobs affected are at its offices in York, Sheffield and Norwich and follows the company’s plans revealed last month to cut 6 per cent of its workforce, amounting to about 2,000 people in the UK, Europe and Asia.
It has now said the final total is likely to be much less, possibly around 400.
The changes would largely affect administrative posts in its life insurance operation, which are mostly based in York.
“After careful review we have identified around 600 roles where off-shoring will achieve significant cost savings. The number of full time employees impacted by this decision will be significantly less, as we expect at least a third of the role reductions to be met by closure of vacancies, temporary contracts, and natural turnover,” the London-headquartered firm said in a statement.
Union leaders said the move was a betrayal of its UK staff and believe the plans would affect hundreds of posts. Unite, one of the UK’s leading workers’ unions, claimed those jobs were being switched to Pune.
India has become the 54th country to join the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) in a bid to facilitate trade, investment and technology between companies in India and the European Union (EU).
The EEN works through local business organisations to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make the most of the European marketplace. India's entry into the EEN will give the country's SMEs access to Europe's large database of cutting-edge technology, with companies from the 27-member bloc both offering and seeking research and commercial applications in 17 sectors, including agro-food, automotive, transportation and logistics, biotech and healthcare.
The latest consortium is led by the European Business and Technology Centre, which helps the business, science and research community in Europe and India, generating new business opportunities and encouraging cooperation. This centre works closely with other existing networks, initiatives, partners and institutions, with a focused knowledge of Indian market sectors such as biotechnology, energy, environment, transport and trade.
Another partner is the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which serves more than 90,000 companies. The Federation of Indian Export Organisations is the third partner, focusing on the promotion of Indian exports and run by the Indian ministry of commerce and private trade and industry.
The EEN serves as a one-stop shop for enterprises looking to go global with their innovative ideas.
Indian publishing services company MPS Limited has entered into a binding membership purchase agreement with US-based Element LLC to acquire its unit.
The deal is valued at around $1.83 million and subject to regulatory approvals.
The acquisition will help MPS expand its presence in the education publishing market in the US.
MPS is based in Bangalore and was set up as an outsourcing unit of Macmillan. It was later purchased by Delhi-based ADI BPO in 2011.
It is in the business of publishing business process outsourcing (BPO) services, which comprises of services such as project management, copy-editing, proof-reading, composition/type-setting and graphic design.
MPS has production facilities in six cities of India and an editorial and marketing office in Portland, Oregon.
Orlando-based Element focuses on developing content and educational products for pre-K and K-12 markets. It has expertise in developing turnkey solutions for print and online products, and provides a slew of editorial, designing and production services.
One of India’s largest integrated power companies, Tata Power, has signed an agreement to develop hydro power projects in Georgia.
Tata Motors’ owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has set up a new engineering test centre in Dubai to conduct extreme hot weather vehicle research, development and testing.
With temperatures in the desert typically reaching 48 to 50 degrees Celsius in the summer months, the new 11,120 square feet facility in the Al Barsha area of the UAE city is to offer a comprehensive range of tests including durability, calibration and hot weather testing for heat and humidity.
The engineering team at the new centre, which replaces an existing smaller facility in Dubai, will also test power-trains, chassis and heat and ventilation systems, as well as the off-road and sand driving capability of Land Rover’s unique terrain response system.
JLR has a network of five global test facilities at Nurburgring, Germany; Arjeplog, Sweden; Phoenix and International Falls, US; and Dubai.
The new facility in Dubai is four times the size of the previous test centre and is aimed at enhancing its testing of future products and technologies.
The UK-based firm has already announced plans to invest around £2.75 billion in the current financial year on product creation and capital expenditure.
One of the world’s largest India-focused infrastructure funds, London-listed 3i Infrastructure, is pulling out of the country along with all its portfolio companies.
The move follows a period of poor returns and failure to meet investor expectations due to slowing growth.
The 3i Group, which launched a $1.2-billion fund in India five years ago, now plans to focus on Europe where it has reportedly earned strong returns.
The company board has decided to gradually sell all its India holdings and not invest the proceeds back into the region.
While the firm claims to be upbeat about infrastructure development in the country, it believes that private infrastructure investment in India has faced more political, market and macro-economic challenges than they had initially envisioned.
The 3i India Fund had invested around $875 million in seven firms.
“Macroeconomic, market and regulatory conditions in India have been more challenging than initially expected when the company committed to the India Fund in 2007. This investment has not, to date, delivered the premium risk adjusted returns that were expected and has brought unwelcome volatility to overall portfolio performance. On this basis, the board has decided that the company will make no further new investment in India or emerging markets, lowering overall portfolio return volatility,” 3i Infrastructure said in a statement this week.
The Mayor of London sent out a clear message about the importance of the UK-India tie-up by stressing on the need for more flights to connect the two countries.
India’s second-largest bank, ICICI, has announced plans to offer a Money2India mobile application for non-resident Indians (NRIs) to track their money remittances to India.
The application will enable the bank’s registered users to avail themselves of the money transfer tracking service through their smartphones.
The application can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for iPhones and iPads, Android Marketplace and Windows 8 Store across five countries such as the US and UK, Canada Singapore and Hong Kong, ICICI said in a statement.
To use this service, users are required to complete a one-off online registration at Money2India.com. They can then track money transfers from any bank in eight countries – the US and UK, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE – to any account with over 100 banks in India.
“Customers or NRIs can now easily track exchange rates, status of their money transfer requests and place new requests for tracking from their mobile phones,” an ICICI Bank spokesperson said.
Indian information technology firm, Tech Mahindra, has announced a partnership with Falcorp to launch Tech Mahindra South Africa to cater to demand from telecom and media companies in the region.
“The launch of Tech Mahindra South Africa follows an announcement in 2011 to reinforce its leadership and focus on its African operations,” the company said in a statement this week.
“Tech Mahindra South Africa will help create local job opportunities and invest heavily in skills development and employment over a period of 12 months,” the statement added.
A dedicated talent exchange programme for the transfer of skills between India and South Africa is also in the pipeline.
“Tech Mahindra will bring its full range of network and mobility offerings including of design, building, implementing and support for the telecom sector to the African information and communication technologies (ICT) sector,” the company said.
Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam, both part of the $15-billion Mahindra Group, together employ close to 300 associates in South Africa.
The newly-formed company will be a Level 3 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowered (B-BBEE) firm.
As part of the B-BEEE strategy, the company will target to have approximately 65 per cent in local preferential procurement, a corporate social investment plan as well as a leadership and internship programme.
BC Jindal Group firm, Jindal Poly Films which is a manufacturer of polyester (PET) and polypropylene (OPP) films has acquired the biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) films business of US-based ExxonMobil Chemical.
The deal is expected to be worth $235 million and will be completed by July 2013.
It involves acquisition of five BOPP production units located across the US and Europe. These include two units in the US in Georgia and Oklahoma, and facilities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy in Europe. The acquisition also includes a technology centre and a sales office in New York, and an office in Luxembourg.
Post the deal the combined capacity of the company in BOPP films will reach 4.45 lakh tonnes per annum.
ExxonMobil is the world’s largest company in terms of revenues and is into oil &gas, as well as chemicals business and BOPP business employs 1500 employees across all locations.