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Britannia plans Rs 1,000 cr plant in Maharashtra

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Kolkata, Aug 7 : FMCG major Britannia Industries plans to set up its largest plant at Ranjangaon Food Park in Maharashtra with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore, its chairman Nusli Wadia announced on Monday.

“The company is planning to set up its largest plant at the Ranjangaon Food Park…,” Wadia told shareholders at the 98th Annual General Meeting here.

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Addressing a press conference later, Managing Director Varun Berry said: “We have made an application to Maharashtra government and we are looking at a mega food park.

“It (plant) would be made with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and the investment would go for four to five years.”

To start with, the plant will have six biscuits lines, one cake line and one filled croissants line, Berry said.

The biscuit maker is also looking at putting up a plant in Nepal and Rs 55 crore would be invested in the Himalayan country, he said.

The company entered into a joint venture agreement with Chipita S.A., a Greek company, for the manufacture and sale of ready-to-eat filled croissants which is a very large category in certain countries demographically similar to India.

According to the company’s latest annual report, it will continue to scout for many such profitable growth opportunities to ensure that it stays ahead of the market while transforming itself into a total foods company.

Wadia said that the focus of the company would be on investments on new products and cost reduction.

As he also said that the company was planning to set up a dairy project, Berry said progress in this was to the tune of 85 per cent. “If we have dairy back-in, it is going to be Ranjangaon,” he said adding that the belt is known as the highest cow milk producer across the country.

According to Berry, the company acquired 96 acres of land for the Ranjangaon project and is looking at another 48 acres.

Meanwhile, the report said that the company remains committed to the strategy of strengthening its position in bastion categories – biscuit, cake, rusk and bread.

Wadia said the company has the higher ratio for own manufacturing as compared to third party manufacturing. Presently, own manufacturing constitutes about 55 per cent and in two years’ time, it is expected to be 65 per cent.

The report also said a greenfield plant was underway in Assam.

To improve the company’s competitiveness in the international market, a greenfield project in the Mundra Special Economic Zone was being put up and was expected to be commissioned in the coming year, it added.

The company is in the process of consolidating its brands and claimed to have around eight power brands, but it is looking to invest largely on its top five brands.

“Our investments were fragmented on a lot of brands. Money will now be spent on Top 5 brands”, Berry said.The company is also looking to consolidate its cream biscuit category, where it has three brands such as Pure Magic, Treat and Bourbon.

“We are looking to consolidate this category further,” said Vice President, Marketing, Ali Harris Shere.

The premium cream category market is of Rs1,800 crore and Britannia has 35 per cent market share in this space, Shere said.

The biscuit maker’s consolidated net profit in the June quarter declined by 1.4 per cent to Rs 216.12 crore as against to Rs 219.21 crore in the year-ago period.

Berry said the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax has had short term impact in June and July.

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New WhatsApp Terms of Service reveals close collaboration with Facebook

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New Delhi, Feb 22: In an apparent hint that Facebook is set to monetise its WhatsApp operations, a new Terms of Service (ToS) spotted in the Google Play Beta Programme says that WhatsApp will work with Facebook companies over the next year to help businesses connect with its 1.5 billion users.

WABetaInfo, a website that tracks WhatsApp Beta programmes, said that in the latest 2.18.57 version, WhatsApp has laid down plans to work closely with Facebook companies.

“For example, you might see Facebook options to start a conversation with a business on WhatsApp,” the new ToS read.

“If you use Facebook Company Products, we will ask Facebook to use the information it has about you and your interests to help us provide you a way to connect with businesses in a relevant and personalised manner through informational and marketing messages, business directory listings, [and other sponsored content/ads] on WhatsApp,” it added.

WhatsApp will also work with Facebook to measure the effectiveness of these connections for itself and the businesses.

“Once we start to work with Facebook on these relevant and personalised experiences, you’ll be able to manage the experience in your [Facebook ad settings and ad preferences] [and we will tell you when these are available],” the Facebook-owned messaging service said.

It, however, said added: “When we share your personal information with other Facebook companies, it will only be used to provide services to WhatsApp on our behalf in accordance with our instructions and terms or to help ensure the safety, security, and integrity of WhatsApp and other Facebook company products.

“Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your phone number, will be shown on Facebook or any of the Facebook company products, unless you choose to show it,” the company said in the new ToS.

In the latest Beta version, WhatsApp said it is working to find useful ways for its users to connect with businesses on WhatsApp so they can receive things like order, transaction and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, marketing messages, business directory listings to discover businesses on WhatsApp, and other sponsored content/ads from these businesses.

To help businesses communicate better with their customers in India, WhatsApp last month officially rolled out “WhatsApp Business” — a free-to-download Android app for small businesses — in the country.

The new app, available on Google Play Store, will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for its users to chat with businesses that matter to them.

The app will help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses and website.

It will also save time with smart messaging tools like quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.

IANS

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Key Indian equity indices open on negative note

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Mumbai, Feb 22: Taking a cue from global markets, the key Indian equity market indices on Thursday opened lower ahead of futures and options (F&O) expiry.

The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 33,844.86 points on Wednesday, opened lower at 33,817.09 points.

Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 33,726.79 points, down by 118.07 points, or 0.35 per cent.

At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 51-scrip Nifty, which had closed at 10,397.45 points on Wednesday, was quoting at 10,341.60 points, down by 55.85 points or 0.54 per cent.

On Wednesday, bargain hunting by investors lifted the key Indian equity indices ahead of the F&O expiry, snapping a three-day losing streak.

According to market observers, healthy buying in IT, technology, media and entertainment and banking stocks added to the upward trajectory of the benchmark indices.

The Sensex was up by 141.27 points or 0.42 per cent at the Wednesday’s closing. In the day’s trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 33,911.36 points and a low of 33,702.50 points.

The Nifty too, was up by 37.05 points or 0.36 per cent.

On Thursday, Asian indices were mostly showing a negative trend.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was trading in red, down by 0.91 per cent, Hang Seng down by 0.97 per cent while South Korea’s Kospi was also down by 0.49 per cent.

China’s Shanghai Composite index was the only quoting in green, up by 1.91 per cent.

Nasdaq closed in red, down by 0.22 per cent while FTSE 100 was up by 0.48 per cent at the closing on Wednesday.

IANS

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Jio to invest Rs 10,000 crore in 3 years in UP: Mukesh Ambani

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Lucknow, Feb 21: Reliance Jio will invest another Rs 10,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh over the next three years, Reliance Industries Limited Chairman Mukesh Ambani said here on Wednesday.

“Today I am happy to inform this audience that Jio is one of the largest investors in Uttar Pradesh with investments of over Rs 20,000 crore. Jio is providing the highest quality data at the lowest price in the world to over 2 crore citizens of Uttar Pradesh,” Ambani said while addressing the Uc.

“I have come to Lucknow to assure the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister that Jio’s Digital Revolution is here to make the maximum contribution to UP’s development revolution,” he added.

While talking about affordable handsets, JioPhone, Ambani said: “Jio will make available over two crore JioPhones in UP within the next two months on a priority basis.”

He mentioned that Jio has already created over 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state.

“Jio will establish a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the campus of a reputed university in Uttar Pradesh,” Ambani added.

IANS

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