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Top 10 Indian business news of the week [Sept 17th–23rd]

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Here is the weekly round-up of top 10 Indian business news.

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Mahindra & Mahindra launches Quanto mini SUV

M&M closed the week with the launch of Quanto, its first compact SUV. Based on Xylo’s platform, Quanto is aggressively priced with a sub Rs. 6 lakh price tag. Base variants start at Rs. 5.82 lakh while top end models will have an ex-showroom price tag of Rs. 7.36 lakh. The sub 4 metre Quanto is powered by a 1493 cc diesel engine and is has an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 17.21 km/l.

Tech Mahindra acquires Comviva Technologies Ltd for Rs. 260 crore

Tech Mahindra acquired a 51% stake in Comviva Technologies Ltd, a Bharti Group owned mobile solutions provider. "This acquisition is a significant step forward, in our vision of being a complete and comprehensive partner to our clients and like always, we are confident of making this a successful venture for our stakeholders" said Vineet Nayyar, Vice Chairman, Tech Mahindra.

Comviva is a global player with a customer base across Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America. The acquisition will push Tech Mahindra’s revenues from mobile solutions up to Rs. 1,000 crore by March, reported The Hindu.

BSNL introduces video call facilities to convert PCOs to VCOs

BSNL has announced its partnership with SIS Infosystems to launch video call facilities on landline telephones. The service is mainly aimed at converting existing Public Call Offices (PCOs) into VCOs.

The public will be able to access VCOs to make video calls to other landlines and internet based phones. Initially, the service will be charged at Rs. 3 for a 45 second video call out of which 30% will be retained by the VCO franchisee. BSNL plans to set up more than 10,000 VCOs across the country and sees the public access points being used for a range of services including job interviews and remote medical diagnosis in rural areas, reported HT.

Reliance Brands to become exclusive franchisee of Stuart Weitzman

RIL owned Reliance Brands has entered into an exclusive franchise agreement with Stuart Weitzman. The partnership will see Reliance Brands launching the high end global shoe company in India.

"Having the ability to leverage the global strength of the Stuart Weitzman brand, and building a larger presence for them here in India is a great opportunity. We are very excited about the association which promises to pioneer a global trend across the region." said Darshan Mehta, President & CEO, Reliance Brands. The RIL subsidiary also manages operations for ‘single-brand’ stores of many high end fashion brands including Kenneth Cole, Steve Madden and Diesel.

Former Reebok India executives arrested for fraud

"The SIT has arrested five people accused of a role in the Rs 870-crore Reebok fraud and will produce them in a city court on Thursday" said K K Sindhu, Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon.

Those arrested were all former Reebok India employees who had been accused of cheating the company. TOI reported that the two of the main accused said that they had been asked to ‘carry out certain illegal and unethical actions’ by the parent company, Adidas Group.

Mercedes-Benz launches sub Rs. 25 lakh B-Class sports tourer

Mercedes-Benz has launched its first sub Rs. 25 lakh automobile in India with the B-Class Compact Sports Tourer. B180 will carry an ex-showroom price tag of Rs. 21.49 lakh while B180 Sport is priced at Rs. 24.87 lakh.

The company said that the pre-launch phase was a sell-out. "The B-Class marks the start of a new innings for Mercedes-Benz India" said Peter Honegg, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India. Commentators see the launch as a bid by the German automobile manufacturer to expand its customer base and reach out to the salaried segment.

Businesses grind to a halt in nationwide strike on 20 September 2012

A nationwide strike in opposition of the government’s decision to raise diesel prices and to allow FDI in multi-brand retail saw businesses grind to a halt. The strike is expected to have caused losses of more than Rs. 12,500 crore to the Indian economy.

Prominent industrialists came in favour of the government’s attempt at turning the economy around. Adi Godrej, Chairman of the Godrej Group and President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said "It is not often that bold measures are announced to take economic reforms to the next level and whenever such announcements have been made, there have been pain felt by many. But the merits of the reforms that were first initiated in the early nineties are there for everyone to see."

Reliance Communications raises tariff by 25%

RCom raised its base call tariff by 25% from 1.2 to 1.5 paisa per second for postpaid and prepaid connections.

The new rates are set to apply to all circles nationwide by next month. "The move will help improve the company’s top line revenue and operative margins per user" said a company spokesperson. RCom shares rose 4.17% on Friday, up nearly 20% from the previous week.

Commentators believe that other mobile services operators are likely to follow RCom’s move to combat a decline in growth.

SpiceJet will become the first Indian carrier to ship aviation turbine fuel (ATF) from Singapore

Low cost carrier SpiceJet is set to become India’s first airline to ship aviation turbine fuel from Singapore. Domestic ATF prices are at an all time high and SpiceJet aims ‘substantial savings through direct import’ reported TOI.

"We will know the exact savings after one or two cycles of ATF import. Before that I would not like to hazard a guess. The average sales tax levied by states on jet fuel is 24% and the maximum saving could be that percentage" said Neil Mills, CEO, SpiceJet.

Sensex increases 404 points to close at 14 month high

Sensex beat its previous 14 month high of 18,464 registered last week to close at 18,752.83 on Friday. Investor confidence got a boost as UPA got reassurance of support from some of its allies and the Finance Minister announced new measures at the back of the recent big ticket reforms. Investor wealth grew by Rs. 1.27 lakh crore, reported The Hindu. The index rose 2.2% by 404 points.

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