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We want India to be no. 3 market in Coke system: Coca Cola President

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As it expects the volume turnaround momentum to continue in India, The Coca-Cola Company wants the country to be “the no. 3 market” in the future from the present sixth slot.
Describing India as “a great country and a great place to do business”, Coca-Cola president and chief executive James Quincey on Thursday said the recent blip in sales are behind them and that he is looking to build the fundamentals stronger to make India’s business much bigger.
“Over the last few decades, we’ve been investing in India, creating lots of jobs and lots of business and it has become the sixth largest market in the Coke system.
“The most immediate challenge for KK (T Krishnakumar, president of Coca-Cola India & Southwest Asia) is to become no. 5 in the foreseeable future, but in the end, my vision for India is it will be one of the top three markets in the world for Coca-Cola,” Quincey told a select group of reporters.
Quincey, who was elevated as the CEO of the Atlanta- based cola major in May, also said India is a great country with many opportunities and a great future and Coke wants to build a good business here and without quantifying the amount, committed to investment more than USD 5 billion by 2020 as announced earlier.
“India is going to return to vibrant growth…India can be a very successful place to build the business. The ideal is let’s get from six to five on the way to being no 3 is the mandate,” he said.
He parried a question on how much of the said investment have already been made, saying, “We continue with our investment plan through 2020. We’ll keep making more investments. We want to be consistently investing.”
Admitting that sales had fallen in the last quarter of 2016 and in the first quarter of 2017, he said things have started to turn around.
“No business can grow in a perfect straight line. We’ve had a rough few months at the end of last year and at the beginning of this year but things are starting to turn around and come back. We are still very positive,” he said.
Though he promised to reduce the sugar content in their products — an issue that has been gaining currency across the world on health grounds — Quincey did not offer a timeline to do so, but said, faster growth in India will also come from non-carbonated (non-sparkling) drinks, as elsewhere.
When asked about when will the company have a 50:50 product and revenue share globally, he parried a direct answer but said it took almost 15 year to reach 70 per cent from 90 per cent so, and it could be 2025 or 2030.
He was, however, quick to add that sparkling drinks will continue to grow here and will remain the focus in the immediate future.
Quincey also said the company is open to inorganic growth opportunities as in the past, Coke had bought out the local brand – ThumsUp which still continues to be the volume driver here.
The company will be investing more in the non-sparkling segment to expand the portfolio.
“If you went back 10-15 years, the business was still 90 per cent sparkling globally which now is under 70 per cent. We see an opportunity to not just continue but accelerate the broadening of the portfolio yet during that time sparkling continued to grow.
But he was quick to add, “Over the next five years the revenue we get from sparkling in India will grow and yet the total revenue will grow faster than sparkling. Over time we’ll get more and more of the other categories contributing to the revenue.

 

 
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Lenders propose to revive Jet Airways by management change: Sources

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New Delhi: Lenders, led by the SBI, are trying to revive debt-laden Jet Airways by change in management as they feel collapse of the airline will not be good for consumers and competition, a source said after the SBI chief met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday.
With Jet flying just about a third of its fleet, defaulting on interest payments and delaying salaries to pilot, State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar along with Aviation Secretary Pradip Singh Kharola and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Nripendra Misra met Jaitley Wednesday afternoon.
Kumar said the meeting was to apprise the government, which is an important stakeholder, about the happenings in what was once India’s second-biggest airline, and not to discuss a bailout package.
He, however, emphatically stated that it was in the interest of the lenders and consumers to keep Jet Airways flying, and dragging the debt-ridden firm under bankruptcy proceedings is the last option.
Jet Airways has a debt of over Rs 8,200 crore and needs to make repayments of up to Rs 1,700 crore by the end of March. In case the airline collapses, 23,000 jobs would be at stake.
Though Kumar refused to share details of the lenders’ resolution plan, the source said that the lenders have proposed to change the management of the beleaguered air carrier as they feel it is not possible to run the company with present management. Jet Airways is headed by Naresh Goyal, who currently holds 51 per cent stake.
Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways has 24 per cent. There were media reports that Etihad has approached the SBI to purchase its 24 per cent stake in the airline. On getting a new player in Jet Airways, Kumar said, “No possibility is ruled out”.
“The dialogue with Etihad is on. It is not that they have conclusively decided that they will go out. But there are certain conditions which they want to be fulfilled and it is nothing but that the airline should be professionally managed and without any interference,” he said.
Lenders of Jet Airways have been working on a resolution plan for last five months and it is almost ready, Kumar said, adding “We will make every effort to keep Jet Airways flying and in no manner it is a bailout for any individual or any promoter whatsoever”.
The SBI chief said that resolution of a service industry, like airline, is nearly impossible under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and is the last option.
“IBC means that we are grounding the airline. We will keep trying till such time we believe that all hope is lost. But as on date, I can say that not all hope is lost. We have not reached that decision point where we say enough is enough and nothing can be done,” Kumar said.
Chairman of the country’s largest bank said that the government is the most important stakeholder and it is the duty of the lenders to keep the government informed.
“It is in the lender’s Interest, the country’s interest, the aviation sector’s interest that Jet Airways continues to fly,” Kumar added. The pilots union of Jet Airways had on Tuesday threatened to stop flying from April 1 if their salaries are not paid by March 31.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said only 41 aircraft of the Jet Airways were currently available for operation and there may be “further attrition” of flights “in coming weeks”. 41 aircraft is just one-third of Jet’s fleet of 119 planes.

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Sebi asks exchanges dealing in agri-commodity derivatives to create fund for farmers

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New Delhi: Sebi on Wednesday asked the exchanges dealing with agri-commodity derivatives to create a fund for farmers and FPOs in which the regulatory fee forgone by the regulator would be deposited.
Besides, it has issued framework including action plan and guiding principles for the utilisation of fund. In September last year, the regulator had decided to levy a nominal fee of Rs 1 lakh per exchange instead of levying charges based on turnover slab rates and proposed to set up a fund with the fee foregone by it.
Sebi on Wednesday said, “it has been decided that the stock exchanges dealing with agricultural commodity derivatives shall create a separate fund earmarked for the benefit of farmers/FPOs (farmers producer organisations) in which the regulatory fee forgone by Sebi shall be deposited.”
For the fund, Sebi said the exchange needs to draw an action plan for full utilisation of foregone fee in any financial year to be utilised during the succeeding financial year. Such action plan shall be drawn up by the 10th of April of the year in which the fund has to be utilised, it added.
The exchanges would be required to disseminate the details of the action plan on their websites under intimation to Sebi.
The earmarked fund shall not be clubbed with any other funds such as Investor Protection Fund, Investor Services Fund, and Corporate Social Responsibility Funds, Sebi said.
Factors like waiver or subsidy in warehousing charges, reimbursement of cost of bags provided to farmers and FPOs for deposits on exchange platform, and subsidising of broker fee for farmers, amongothers, should be considered by exchanges for preparing action plan.

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Telecom subscriber base crosses 120 cr; Jio, BSNL, Airtel add customers

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New Delhi: The country’s telecom subscriber base for the third time crossed 120-crore mark with Reliance Jio, BSNL and Airtel adding new customers in January, according to a report released by telecom regulator Trai.
“The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,197.87 million at the end of December 2018 to 1,203.77 million at the end of January 2019, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.49 per cent,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in monthly subscriber report for January 2019.
Earlier, the subscriber base crossed the 120-crore mark in July 2017 and May 2018. The mobile customer base grew to 118 crore in January from 117 crore in December.
The wireline connection in the country slid to 2.17 crore in January from 2.18 crore in December. Reliance Jio dominated growth by adding over 93 lakh new mobile customers.
State-run telecom firm BSNL followed Jio by adding 9.82 lakh mobile subscribers. Bharti Airtel returned to growth track, after losing mobile customer in December, by adding over 1 lakh new customers.
The net increase of telecom subscriber in January was 59 lakh, compared to over 1 crore subscribers added by the three players. However, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices jointly lost close to 44 lakh mobile customers.
The country’s biggest telecom operator Vodafone Idea lost 35.8 lakh mobile customers, Tata Teleservices 8.4 lakh and state-run MTNL 4,927 mobile customers. The wireline connections declined mainly because of BSNL losing 90 thousand connections.
Private operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone added 29,930 and 6,386 connections. Broadband connections in the country grew 4.15 per cent to 54 crore in January from 51.8 crore in December.
The mobile devices-based broadband connections accounted for over 96 per cent of total base with over 52.1 crore subscribers while wireline connections reached 1.82 crore.
Top-five service providers constituted 98.63 per cent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of January.
Reliance Jio led the market with 28.94 crore broadband subscribers. It was followed by Bharti Airtel with 11 crore connections, Vodafone Idea 10.98 crore, BSNL 2 crore and and Tata Teleservices Group 22.6 lakh connections.
BSNL maintained lead in the wireline broadband segment with 91.7 lakh connection. It was followed by Airtel with 23 lakh connections, Atria Convergence 14 lakh, Hathway Cable & Datacom 7.9 connection and MTNL 7.7 lakh connections.

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