Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lactalis to buy majority stake in Tirumala Dairy

France-based Lactalis Group, the world's largest dairy products maker, is in talks to buy majority stake in Hyderabad-based Tirumala Milk Products Pvt Ltd, as per a report in The Economic Times.

The report said Lactalis could pay up to $300 million for around 70 per cent stake, which could value the firm around $430 million.

Bolla Bramha Naidu, one of the four founders of Tirumala, told ET, "PE firm Carlyle, which owns a 20 per cent stake, would sell its holding while the four promoters would divest another 50 per cent, resulting in Lactalis owning 70 per cent. The negotiations are still on and clarity over exact stake sale could take a few more days."

In 2011, Carlyle acquired 20 per cent stake in the company for Rs 110 crore. It would score a multi-bagger with the proposed deal.

The remaining 80 per cent stake is held by the promoters Bolla Brahma Naidu, Danda Brahmanandam, B Nageswara Rao and N Venkat Rao.

Lactalis, which also controls Italy's Parmalat, has a presence in nearly 150 countries.

Tirumala was set up by Naidu and Brahmanandam along with B Nageswara Rao in 1998. The firm makes products like milk, milk powder, butter, ghee, butter oil and ice cream. While the company has been expanding into milk derivatives and value-added products, liquid milk still constitutes a major chunk of its sales. Tirumala is one of the top players in markets like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka with a strong distribution network.

Tirumala had recently come up with a Rs 500 crore capital expansion plan, which involves setting up processing facilities in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

WSU grad starts company with credit card, expects 2014 revenue of $500K


Ann Arbor-based AMF-Nano Corp. is the tech equivalent of "It takes a village to raise a child."

For founder and President Rakesh Katragadda, his company is the metaphorical child, born in 2009. The village is what has grown into a statewide entrepreneurial support system that has helped him reach about $100,000 in revenue this year and a projection of $500,000 to $1 million next year and up to $12 million in three or four years. 

Katragadda's company, which has three patents, makes wireless environmental sensors about the size of a penny that monitor water and air quality, temperature, humidity, soil quality and other conditions. It employs five and has had entrepreneurial support from institutions and people ranging from Troy to Traverse City to Iowa. 

Katragadda, 32, who got his master's degree in engineering from Wayne State University in 2007, worked on a retinal eye implant project for the Kresge Eye Institute, then as a consultant for Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp., before using $30,000 in credit card debt to found AMF-Nano.

He now rents a small office and lab space at the University of Michigan's Lurie Nanofabrication Facility, where he designs and builds silicon-based sensor prototypes for uses including medical devices, manufacturing and agriculture.

Michael Drake, director of corporate relations for UM's College of Engineering, said the purpose of having for-profit companies like AMF-Nano use university facilities is that in addition to leveraging UM facilities for societal good, having private-sector users sharing space with students allows those students to learn lessons in product development and real-world demands. 

Katragadda has formed a crucial relationship with General Motors Components Holdings LLC, a division of GM that is helping prototype a sensor to monitor tire pressure in cars at its large industrial sensor fabrication facility in Kokomo, Ind.

GM will also build AMF's sensors as he ramps up production for members of the Iowa Family Farms, an association of hog farmers. Sensor sales to pig farmers account for most of his current revenue. The farmers use the sensors to monitor the environment in barns.

GM Components Holdings has been trying to bring the Kokomo plant to full capacity since 2011 by forming partnerships and joint ventures. Brian King, the plant's business development manager, said he couldn't discuss specifics but could confirm a partnership involving sensor design and manufacturing. 

"Rakesh has a great technology and he's relentless," said Bill Mayer, director of entrepreneurial services at Ann Arbor Spark, who helped Katragadda get an investment of $50,000 from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Microloan Fund.

That's a matching-fund program. G. Krishna Kumar, a Troy-based gastroenterologist, was the first investor in AMF-Nano and is its CEO. He said he met Katragadda several years ago and was intrigued by the potential for wireless sensors to be implanted in the human body to give real-time feedback on such things as aortic grafts. 

They decided the quickest and cheapest path to market was to target agricultural and industrial applications — which, unlike medical devices, don't require approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and costly trials.

"There are so many opportunities for the technology. It's my job to focus (Katragadda) and set a road map in front of him," said Arcadio Ramirez, a Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center consultant who helps early-stage entrepreneurs refine business plans and hone market opportunities.

Ramirez negotiated with GM and introduced Katragadda to Chris Wendel, a consultant with Marquette-based Northern Initiatives, a nonprofit community development corporation that provides entrepreneurs with access to capital, consulting help and markets.

Wendel, in turn, introduced Katragadda to Nikki Rothwell, who has a split appointment to the Michigan Agricultural Research Station and the Michigan State University Extension, both in the Leelanau Peninsula northeast of Traverse City, which is home of many vineyards. He also arranged a meeting between Katragadda and Lee Lutes, head wine maker and general manager of Black Star Farms, one of the peninsula's largest and most successful commercial operations.

Rothwell said MSU operates one weather tower in the Leelanau, which is hardly enough for the grape growers, whose slopes contain microclimates that can have different conditions just yards apart, conditions at some times of the year that can be crucial. 

Grapes lower on a hill might be in air warm enough where frost isn't a concern. A bit up the hill, frost could be imminent without growers taking action, she said. 

Rothwell said AMF's nanos could provide the kind of real-time data that keeps crops healthy, and she is pursuing a state grant that will verify how well the sensors work and their potential value to growers. 

The potential applications of the technology include frost protection, disease control and pest mitigation. 

Lutes said Katragadda is to deliver a proposal to Suttons Bay-based Black Star Farms in December to become a supplier of sensors. 

"Water monitoring, for example, is important, especially in sandy soils that are prone to drought stress. This is technology that can serve a multitude of purposes," Lutes said. 

Lutes said AMF can help not just with existing vineyard stock, but with a cloning project Black Star Farms is involved in to introduce particularly valued vines to his and his supplier's slopes. 

He is working on the cloning project with David Milarch, of the Copemish-based Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, who recently got headlines nationwide for successfully cloning a dying redwood planted by fabled conservationist John Muir in the 1880s on his ranch in Martinez, Calif.

Said Lutes: "I am certain these sensors can play a role in doing soil analysis and weather monitoring prior to planting to make sure we match certain clones to the right sites." 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Rare man with a rare mission


Rajagopal Kantamneni began helping poor kids suffering from major illnesses after his daughter died from a rare cancer

Rajagopal Kantamneni, 50, who works in a top tech company in Bangalore, got a call out of the blue from an oncologist in Hyderabad. "A 14- year-old boy, Syed Rahil, has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia - a cancer of white blood cells. His parents are too poor to afford the treatment. I will do the operation free of cost, but the other costs have to be borne by someone."

Kantamneni immediately agreed to raise the money, which turned out to be a whopping Rs 3 lakh. And the boy survived.Kantamneni is different from the other philanthropists in that he actively looks for poor children suffering from rare diseases in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. He works with doctors through the Kinnara Memorial set up with a corpus fund from friends in the US. Conducting camps in remote hamlets, they have so far helped 3,000 children, 80 of them with major problems.

In the 1990s, Kantamneni was living in the US, along with his family. His elder daughter Kinnara was born in 1995. A few years later, Kinnara accompanied her mother to India and suddenly one day, she stopped playing or even walking. Local pediatricians could not identify the cause, but in the US, she was found to have a tumor in the brain. She was suffering from Ependymoma, one of the rarest of cancers. Only 2,000 such cases have been reported in the last 50 years or so, the doctors said. She succumbed to it in 1999.

So Kantamneni returned to India and took up his life's mission. "We may think India is advanced but there are still so many places where people do not understand what diseases the children have. In a remote village in Andhra Pradesh, we came across a girl who was believed to be blind. Her parents told us that the girl was born with vision, but became blind as they could not afford treatment. We took her to an eye hospital in Hyderabad and found she had cataract. Upon surgery, she regained vision," he told .

They are not always successful. "We took a three-month old baby who was very weak to a big hospital, where the doctor suggested immediate surgery as the girl was suffering from multiple holes in the heart. We had spend almost Rs 2 lakh for medication. Post surgery, the doctor said the girl would be fine provided her parents did not take her to hill stations where the oxygen level is low. However, her parents, who were very religious took her to Srisailam for a pilgrimage and the girl died soon." he said, sadly.

Video on Kammas: Dominant Caste and Territory in South India by French Scholar Dalel

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nara Bhuvaneswari placed in the Powerful Indian Business Women List of Fortune Magazine


Smt. Nara Bhuvaneswari, Vice Chairperson & Managing Director of the Heritage Foods, named as most powerful business women in India, and placed at 45th Rank in the list of Fortune-50 most powerful business women for the year 2013.

Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc.United States (US).

Natco Pharma at record high, jumps 8% on US court ruling

US Supreme Court justice declined a request from Teva for a stay of an appeals court ruling that would strip the company's USD 4 billion-a-year multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone of patent protection in 2014, rather than in 2015.

Shares of Natco Pharma ( Rajeev Nannapaneni, CEO) gained of 8 percent, touching a record high of Rs 826 intraday on Thursday. Investors are bullish on the stock as US Supreme Court rejected Teva stay request in Copaxone case. A US Supreme Court justice declined a request from Teva for a stay of an appeals court ruling that would strip the company's USD 4 billion-a-year multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone of patent protection in 2014, rather than in 2015. 

In July, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in a patent fight that pits Teva against two teams developing cheaper generic forms of Copaxone: one with Novartis AG and Momenta Pharmaceuticals and another between Mylan and Natco Pharma.

In NSE This stock closes at Rs.792.20 with a gain of Rs.30.80 (4.05%)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ram Nutakki makes profits from second-hand products!

If you've ever considered buying a second-hand smart phone or plasma TV, you've probably experienced the following pain points -- there's no way to tell whether the gadget is in good shape; there's no telling whether you've been gypped on its price; and you need to visit the seller to take delivery of your product.
These were the questions that confronted 36-year-old Ram Nutakki when he wanted to buy a used smart phone in mid-2012. "I realised that to buy a phone at half the original price, I had to meet three or four people and invest a lot of time and effort to find what I wanted. Also, there was no way to tell whether the product would work properly after the purchase," reveals Nutakki.
 
Defining 'Re-commerce'
After a little research, Nutakki realised there was a sizeable opportunity in the 're-commerce' space for lifestyle gadgets. With a consulting background in SaaS and e-commerce, Nutakki gave it some serious thought. "Re-commerce in India is confined to used cars, which is a big-ticket transaction. I found a huge demand for second-hand lifestyle gadgets, which is a considerably smaller-size transaction."
But he had to address something else, that had very little to do with actual commerce. "Indians are reluctant to make second-hand purchases because there is no guarantee on how long these products will last. Besides, there is the stigma of owning a hand-me-down," he explains.
All things considered, Nutakki felt it was best to open a brick-and-mortar store that would serve both buyers and sellers of used lifestyle gadgets. These products would be refurbished, if necessary. He finally took the plunge in April 2013 and opened a store in Hyderabad.
Taking The Plunge
The venture struck a chord with a former colleague, Mitesh Majithia, who came on board as co-founder, and between the two of them, Nutakki and Majithia earmarked USD 1 million for the project as seed funding from their personal savings. "We put a lot of thought into everything, from the location of our first store to store design and the brand name," reveals Nutakki.
 
"Through the brand name, we wanted to convey to the value-conscious buyer that there was no need to spend a bomb on a new gadget when you can procure one that is as good as new with a service warranty, for 30 to 40 per cent of the original cost," he reasons.
YNew is located at a prominent marketplace in the heart of the city, which is a hub for students and office-goers. "The store is strategically located and designed to grab eyeballs of people who are aspirational yet price conscious. The store offers three categories of products or 'screens' -- smart phones and tablets, laptops and PCs and LCDs and LEDs.
 
Revenue Model
The YNew store entertains both buyers and sellers. If you're a seller, store engineers will tell you on the spot whether your product is worthy of being resold as is or whether it needs to be refurbished. In the latter case, it takes just a day or two to make a product shelf-worthy. The product has to then meet 13 parameters before it is finally approved for sale.  The store also offers repair services.
YNew charges a 5-per cent commission on products whose sale value is more than Rs 20,000, 8 per cent on products whose sale value is between Rs 10,000 and Rs 19,999 and 12 per cent on products priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 9,999.
 
Once the transaction is complete, the seller receives the proceeds of the sale within 48 hours. As for the buyer, YNew offers an almost as-good-as-new product with a 30-day service warranty. It also offers extended warranty plans.
Since its launch in April, YNew has assisted 120-odd sellers including a select group of agents and refurbishers and has sold 350-odd gadgets. From a sale of Rs 1 lakh in its first month, YNew clocked Rs 14-15 lakh in September. No prizes for naming the fastest-moving gadgets -- smart phones and laptops.
Expansion Plans
Encouraged by the response, YNew is looking at increasing its footprint via the franchisee model. Franchisees will gave to invest Rs 15 lakh, which includes a sign-up fee, lease hire of real estate, store set-up costs and other supporting infrastructure. Nutakki has chalked out plans to launch nine franchise stores by the end of 2013 in Hyderabad and Bangalore.
 
While YNew has made its mark in Hyderabad and has ambitious plans to expand, it remains to be seen whether the rest of the country warms up to the idea of owning refurbished lifestyle gadgets.

Radisson Signs Cincinnati North CoCo Key Water Resort owned by VijayaKumar Vemulapalli

Ohio: The 257-room, full-service, water park hotel is expected to open November 15, 2013.

Radisson announced the signing of the Radisson Cincinnati North CoCo Key Water Resort, Cincinnati. The 257-room, full-service, water park hotel is expected to open November 15, 2013.

"The signing of this hotel reinforces one of our development goals to expand Radisson in key suburban markets," said Javier Rosenberg, chief operating officer, Radisson, Americas. "This addition plays a key role as we continue developing the Radisson brand as a powerful, globally consistent, first-class brand complemented by the Radisson 'Yes I Can!' service spirit."

"We are thrilled to begin a relationship with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and its family of brands. We are confident that the consistency, value and leadership of this brand and the Carlson Rezidor system will result in a successful future for this hotel," said Vijayakumar Vemulapalli, owner of the Hotel Resort.

Located minutes from downtown Cincinnati, the hotels' amenities feature complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access throughout the hotel, an indoor and outdoor seasonal pool, a fitness center, a 24-hour business center, and meeting space to accommodate meetings from 10 people to 300 people. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Satya Nadella in Microsoft CEO shortlist

A short profile of Satya Nadella who could be the next top boss at Microsoft

Hyderabad born , Executive Vice President of 's Cloud and Enterprise Group is the man responsible for building and running the "Cloud OS' - Microsoft's next generation cloud computing platform. He is more importantly, now on the shortlist with 7 others to replace Microsoft CEO , who is expected to hang up his boots in the next few months. Nadella will be competing with 5 external candidates including Ford Motor Co chief  and former Nokia CEO , and at least three internal candidates including former Skype CEO , for the top job at the iconic silicon valley software giant.
 
Nadella's journey, from being a  boy to possibly helming one of the world's biggest technology companies is what dreams are made of. Born in the city of the Nizams, Nadella earned an engineering degree from Manipal University before heading off to the US to pursue his computer science masters from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Nadella was a member of the technology staff at Sun Microsystems before he joined Microsoft in 1992.
"I cannot vividly recall him as he didn't figure in either ends of the spectrum. Records show he was a first-class student who achieved distinction." MIT director Vinod V Thomas, who taught Satya 25 years ago, told the Times of India a few months ago when his name cropped up as one of the forerunners for the post.
 
Nadella's credentials may not have been immediately obvious in college, but at Microsoft he worked his way up the ladder, functioning closely under the leadership of founder and CEO Bill Gates and assuming several important positions across divisions including as senior vice president of R&D (Online Services Division), vice president of Microsoft Business Division and president of Microsoft's $19 billion server and tools business.
 
He has been in his current role for the past 3 years, overseeing the transformation of the Server and Tools Business from client-server software to cloud infrastructure and services and his group is "coming to the fore as the company struggles to catch up in online and mobile computing" according to Reuters.
 
Speaking to the Economic Times earlier this year, Forrester Research Analyst James Staten had this to say about Nadella's strengths.
 
"Coming from the Bing (Microsoft's search engine) part of the business, Nadella recognized that for Microsoft to go faster and innovate it needed to accelerate the cadence of its development cycle...Nadella also recognized the power and greater customer value that came from delivery over the Internet (SaaS and clud) and thus pledged to move Heaven and Earth to get the staid Server and Tools Group to move to this new development model. And for the most part, he has done it.
Nadella also worked to break down the silos within software technology group and other product groups..."
 
When asked what Nadella's weaknesses were, Staten said "he (Satya) does not have patience for dissent from the path forward but does have time to listen to tweaks in the strategy and when he sees a good plan change he empowers those who bring it to him."
 
Beyond his high profile job at Microsoft, Nadella and his wife, both of whom attended  says he still remains "deeply" connected to Hyderabad where his parents reside. And in an interview with Deccan Chronicle earlier this year, Nadella spoke of how playing cricket for his school gave him valuable leadership lessons.
 
"There was this one particular incident in a match where my school captain noticed I was bowling some really ordinary stuff. He took over the next over himself, got our team the much-needed breakthrough and then threw the ball back to me in the next over! I will never forget that. What made him do that? Is this what they call leadership? These are the kind of questions I have since reflected on as I approach many of the things I do today leading teams."
 
Doug Begum - Founder of Great Plains, Jeff Raikes - CEO of The Gates Foundation and Steve Ballmer are some of the people Nadella considers as his mentors.

Dr.D. Jayavarthanavelu, Dynamic Entrepreneur


Late. Dr.D. Jayavarthanavelu (1940 - June 12, 2010) was Chairman and Managing Director of Lakshmi Machine Works Limited (LMW), Coimbatore, son of founder of LMW, the late G. K. Devarajulu.

After his schooling in Coimbatore, Mr. Jayavarthanavelu studied B.S. Textiles at Philadelphia University, U.S.

He has been conferred with Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by various universities. He was also selected for the “Vivekananda National Award for Excellence” by the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya on the occasion of its platinum jubilee celebrations in February 2006.

Mr. Jayavarthanavelu was a member of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India and of the Development Council for the Textile Machinery industry constituted by the Government of India.
He was honorary vice-consul of Italy with jurisdiction over Tamil Nadu. He was chairman of the Textile Machinery Manufacturers Association, India. He was granted the Status of Companion of the Textile Institute, Manchester, in May 1995, and was world president of the Textile Institute for 1998-2000, the first Asian to hold this high office. He was also the past chairman of the Indian National Office of the Textile Institute.

Mr. Jayavarthanavelu was the former president of the Kuppuswamy Naidu Charity Trust, which runs a 600-bed multispeciality hospital, a higher secondary school and a feeder school in Coimbatore, a high school at Palladam and an arts college at Kovilpatti.

He was a trustee of the Coimbatore Masonic Charity Trust, which runs a children's hospital and a working women's hostel. He was vice-president of the Coimbatore Zoological Park and Conservation Centre.

He  is survived by his wife, son Sanjay Jayavarthanavelu, Chairman and Managing Director, and two daughters

Friday, November 1, 2013

busIndia.com plans to raise Rs 200 cr from PE funds

busIndia.com currently sells about 50,000 tickets daily and has revenues of about Rs 100 crore.
BANGALORE, OCT. 1:  busIndia.com, the largest bus ticketing portal in the world and at least two times larger than redbus.in, is planning to raise over Rs 200 crore from private equity funds.
The Chairman and CEO of busIndia.com’s parent, the Bangalore-based Radiant Info, Venu Myneni told that the exact amount of funding is being worked out currently though several PE funds have already shown interest in the company.
Myneni, however, did not say how much stake he was willing to sell in return of funds. redbus.in was valued at slightly over $100 million after the South African group, ibibo acquired it.
busIndia.com currently sells about 50,000 tickets daily and has revenues of about Rs 100 crore while parent Radiant Info has revenue of about Rs 400 crore. Radiant Info has offices in the US. While its Indian office operates busIndia.com and work from State transport corporations, the US offices carry out work in the area of IT services. The group has about 1,000 employees.

EYES ACQUISITION

Myneni said the funds will be used to acquire smaller bus ticketing companies and for setting up operations in other Asian countries as well as in Africa.
Radiant was the first Indian company to start bus ticketing portal but confined itself to selling tickets of State road transport corporations. It also operates ticketing platforms of several State transport corporations on a transaction-based commission basis that ranges between Rs 5 and Rs 10 per ticket sold. Usually, the contract with RTCs is for five years and is renewed through fresh bids.
Myneni said busIndia.com has now started selling tickets for private operators and offers bookings for taxi service and hotels. “We will soon be covering 80 per cent of bus inventory in the entire country,” he said. 

FLIGHT TICKETS

The portal will also start selling flight tickets very soon and set up offline counters in Government offices such as post offices and even in shopping malls.
“Any business entity can become our agent to offer our services and it can even include those who run Internet parlours,” Myneni said.

Sri Talluri Sunil Chowdary sworn in Additional Judge of AP High Court


ప్రకాశం జిల్లా  కారంచేడు గ్రామానికి చెందిన న్యాయకోవిదులు శ్రీ తాళ్ళూరి సునీల్ చౌదరి గారు రాష్ట్ర హై కోర్ట్ అదనపు న్యాయమూర్తిగా నియమితులయ్యారు. గతంలో హైకోర్ట్ పరిపాలనా, విజిలెన్స్ రిజిస్త్రార్ గా పనిచేసిన సునీల్ గారు రాష్ట్ర హై కోర్ట్ రిజిస్త్రార్ జనరల్ గా కూడా వ్యవహరిచారు. న్యాయ శాస్త్రంలో విశేష అనుభవమున్న సునీల్ గారు గతంలో గుంటూరు, కర్నూలు జిల్లాల్లో ప్రిన్సిపాల్ జడ్జి గా సేనలందించారు. 1998లో నేరుగా జిల్లా జడ్జి గా నియమితులయ్యారు. హై కోర్ట్ లో గవర్నమెంట్ ప్లీడర్ గా కూడా పనిచేసిన అనుభవం ఆయనిది. 24.10.2013 తేదీన హైకోర్ట్ ప్రధాన న్యాయమూర్తి జస్టిస్ కళ్యాన్ జ్యోతి సేన్ గుప్తా, అదనపు న్యాయమూర్తిగా శ్రీ సునీల్ గారిచేత ప్రమాణం చేయించారు. వీరికి భార్య, ఇద్దరు కుమార్తెలు వున్నారు. పెద్ద అమ్మాయి CA చదువుతుండగా , చిన్న అమ్మాయి B.Tech చదువుతున్నారు. సునీల్ గారి సతీమణి శ్రీమతి శైలజ కూడా న్యాయవాదిగా పనిచేస్తున్నారు. వీరి చేరికతో ఆంధ్ర ప్రదేశ్ హై కోర్టులో కమ్మ జడ్జిల సంఖ్య మూడుకు చేరింది.