of iconic Indian rum Old Monk, Padma Shri Kapil Mohan, dies aged 88

Kapil Mohan, creator of the iconic Indian rum Old Monk, aged 88, died on January 6th, according to various reports on social media.

Brigadier (retd.) Kapil Mohan, former Chairman and MD of Mohan Meakin Ltd, was bedridden and in his last years. He passed away at his residence-located in Ghaziabad’s Mohan Nagar area, post a cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife Pushpa Mohan.

Introduced in the market in 1954, for quite a long duration, Old Monk was the largest selling dark rum in the world and the biggest Indian Made Foreign Liquor brand in the market. However, in the recent years, the company seems to be facing problems with dropping sales and was rumored to take the liquor off the shelves.
Kapil Mohan led Trade Links Pvt Ltd before 1966 and had also received the Padma Shri in 2010. Interestingly, Mohan himself was a teetotaler.

The iconic Indian dark rum was launched on 19 December 1954. It is blended and aged for a minimum of 7 years before being sent to the market. A dark rum with a distinct vanilla flavor and an alcohol content of 42.8%, Old Monk is quite a popular alcoholic beverage among the Indian youth.


Sources: TOI , MoneyControl

Nvidia teams up with Volkswagen and Uber in Self Driving Technology

Graphics chips designer, Nvidia Corp is going to partner with Uber, Volkswagen and Baidu, Chinese web Service Company to develop self-driving cars. This is an attempt by Nvidia’s artificial intelligence unit to expand into the autonomous vehicle trade. The company is already in trusts with carmaker Tesla for creating the technology of driverless cars.

At 2018, Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, CEO of Nvidia Jensen Huang announced that the instantaneous decisions taken by Uber’s self-driving cars operate on Nvidia technology. Since their first test on Volvo SC90 SUVs in 2016, Uber has been utilizing Nvidia’s GPU (graphics processing unit) computing system. Talking about the progress of Uber’s autonomous driving program, Nvidia claimed that in the past 100 days, one million miles had been covered. Huang also revealed that self –driving start-up Aurora will be using Nvidia’s latest Xavier processor in their vehicle systems. The Xavier processor which is also called as Volta is a highly advanced form of artificial intelligence with a faster and comprehensive structure. In the coming months, Nvidia will distribute powerful processors that will entail 30 trillion operations per millisecond with the usage of only 30 watts of power supply.

Volkswagen is said to incorporate Nvidia’s Drive IX platform, an artificial intelligence technology in their upcoming cars. This mechanism will provide a smart co-navigator facility determined by sensor data inside and outside the car. Drive IX will enhance the car with features like unlocking through facial recognition, gesture controls and voice assistance.

Globally, around 320 companies, including software designers and automakers are working in collaboration with Nvidia towards developing the driverless technology. Charting its growth, this Silicon Valley company will emerge as a leader in chips for driverless vehicles, data houses and artificial intelligence.


Sources: CNBC, Reuters

Government plans to boost tourism in upcoming budget: Sources

Government sources have said that the Indian government plans to cut down on taxes on travel and tourism and offer more incentive to the sector in the upcoming annual budget. The tourism industry in India is worth more than $210 billion.

The step is being taken with hopes to increase economic development and generation of employment. The country has also recently seen a surge in air travel given that airports are coming up all across the nation. Currently, according to reports, the tourism sector employs more than 40 million people and could potentially add up to 10 million more in the upcoming decade.

Sources have disclosed that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley plans to decrease hotel tariff rates by 28% and reward incentives to private companies.

Hotel industries like Taj and the Oberoi or even airlines like Jet Airways and tour operators like Thomas Cook are all expected to gain from this move. Additionally, domestic travel is now done mostly via online players like MakeMyTrip who will also be affected.

The government is also preparing to increase expenditure on constructing roads for tourist destinations and trains. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also earlier said that plans to invest more in North-Eastern tourism are being ushered in.

Sources: Economic Times, Reuters


Renault-Nissan set up a $200 million fund to tap into startups

In the latest move to adapt to the dynamic changes in the industry, the trinity of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi partnership have started a fund for $200 million. Sources have attested that Mitsubishi plans to invest 20%, Renault and Nissan will finance 40% each of the fund. The aim of setting up such a fund is to invest into start-ups.
Reportedly, the fund will be unveiled Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn in Las Vegas at the CES Tech Industry Show next Tuesday. Prominent car-makers have realized that investing in tech startups will allow them move ahead in acquisitions much faster. When the industry is as competitive it helps.
The auto industry which traditionally relies on ownership, is gradually coming to terms with services like Uber and other car-sharing platforms which have taken over. Self-driven cars and electric models are also flooding the market.
BMW is the latest automobile company to have ventured into this sector through its 500 million Euro investment in iVentures fund. It is  the biggest in-house facility that is owned by such a brand. This will allow BMW to now expand into car-sharing and other ride software companies.
While Nissan has refused to discuss further investment plans The fund will be set up and planned by Francois Dossa, head of a Dutch joint venture.

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick rumored to sell 29% of his company stake

Taxi aggregating company Uber’s co-founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick is reported on planning to sell 29% of his

stake in the company amounting to $1.4bn. The transaction would be part of the tender offer in which SoftBank Group agreed to buy shares in Uber valuing it at $48 billion.

Kalanick, who resigned as CEO in June last year, owns 10% of the taxi offering company and is about to sell a third of them. Still on the Uber’s board of directors, Kalanick wanted to sell up to half of his shares but had to limit it due to the tender offer agreement.

In the previous year or so that saw Uber on the wrong side of the news, including accusations of a toxic workplace culture that led to an internal investigation over sexual harassment at the company, a hacking attack that stole personal information of 57 million passengers and 600,000 drivers, Kalanick’s resignation and, most recently, SoftBank’s investment in Uber; the move doesn’t come as a surprise.  Ironically, Kalanick had claimed during the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in October 2016 that he has never sold a single Uber share, even while he was still paying his home mortgage.

Although a 2016 capital investment statistic valued Uber at $68.5bn, the value dropped down to $48bn in the recent valuation by SoftBank Group.


Sources: Indian Express , Business Insider

Beer giant Kingfisher loses market share as foreign players gain prominence

Indian beer giant Kingfisher’s market share surprisingly dropped owing to premium foreign brands as urban Indians seem to have developed a liking for high-end brands over high alcohol content in their beers.

Kingfisher, yet the largest beer brand in India, lost 4.3% market share between 2011 and 2016, based on data obtained from market researcher Euromonitor. This marked the steepest decline among the top beer brands in India during this time.

Dutch beer maker Carlsberg through its flagship product Tuborg, and the world’s largest alcohol maker Anheuser-Busch InBev NV through its brand Budweiser, capitalized on the gap created by Kingfisher’s decline. Tuborg is currently India’s second-largest beer brand with 11.1% market share, an approximate five-fold jump since 2011. The firm’s flagship beer Carlsberg is also on the list, whose market share has doubled to 5.8% since 2011, as revealed by Euromonitor data.

The aforementioned brands are positioned in the market as premium urbane beers and marketed along with music festivals and other events largely targeting the youth population. While Budweiser sponsors music events including Electric Daisy Carnival and Tomorrowland, Carlsberg sponsors events including football tournament UEFA Euro in India.

Emails sent to United Breweries’ spokesperson remained unanswered.

“It is clear that SAB getting together with AB InBev makes it a very strong competitor, with a portfolio of strong beers, as well as mild beers, in the mainstream, and also in the premium space,” Steven Bosch, chief financial officer of United Breweries said in an investor call on 9 November, 2017.

“So clearly it is a strong competitor and we have our own portfolio to counter that,” he added. He also mentioned that the company launched premium beer brands Desperados, Sol, Dos Equis, and a few others in order to capitalize on growth in the craft beer market in large metropolitans with brands including Delhi-based Bira91. These brands are mainly owned by Dutch brewer Heineken; it owns more than 40% of the firm.

Sources: LiveMint, News18

India set to become fifth largest economy in dollar terms; will surpass France and UK: CEBR report

On Tuesday, a report revealed by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) that India is geared up to outdo Britain and France next year and is set to become the world’s fifth-largest economy in terms of dollars. The CEBR consultancy’s 2018 World Economic League Table portrayed a buoyant picture of the global economy, enhanced by economical prices for energy and technology.

The Indian accession is reflective of a trend that will witness rising Asian economic dominance amongst the top 10 economies over the upcoming 15 years.

According to Douglas McWilliams, Deputy Chairman CEBR, “Despite temporary setbacks … India’s economy has still caught up with that of France and the UK and in 2018 will have overtaken them both to become the world’s fifth largest economy in dollar terms.” He added that India’s growth had been hampered by restrictions on high-value banknotes along with a new sales tax, a common view shared by economists polled by Reuters.

The report also brought to prominence the possibility of China overtaking the United States as the world’s No.1 economy by 2032. It further validated its claim basis the impact of President Trump’s policies on trade being less severe than expected. In addition to that, the report stated that USA would retain its global crown a year longer than that anticipated in the previous report. Although it seems that Britain would lag behind France over the next couple of years, CEBR predicted that Brexit’s impacts on Britain’s economic performance will be less than feared, directing it to surpass the French economy again in 2020.

Low oil prices and heavy reliance on the energy sector makes Russia vulnerable- the country is likely to fall to 17th place among the world’s largest economies by 2032, from the current position of 11. In late October, a Reuters poll of economists was suggestive of global economic growth in 2018 probable of a swift increase to 3.6 per cent from 3.5 per cent this year- accompanied by risks to that forecast lying on the benefits.


Sources: Live mintFinancial Express