Crisil upgrades long-term debt rating of Muthoot Finance to AA positive - The Daily Guardian
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Crisil upgrades long-term debt rating of Muthoot Finance to AA positive

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Ernakulam (Kerala) [India], February 16 (ANI): Crisil Ratings has upgraded its ratings on long-term debt facilities of Muthoot Finance to AA positive with a stable outlook from AA.
The upgrade is driven by Muthoot Finance’s demonstrated ability to profitably scale up its core gold loan business while maintaining its strong financial risk profile.
The rating rationale said established track record and brand name in gold financing industry, strong capitalisation and profitability among the best in industry which is expected to remain healthy are the strengths of Muthoot Finance.
The change from AA to AA positive signifies reaching the highest standing in the category and the rating is just one level below AAA rating, which is the highest rating for long term debt instruments.
Muthoot Finance said the rating upgrade will enable it to raise more long-term debt funds as well as attract a wider set of investors. Moreover, the company will be able to raise funds at much more competitive rates.
“This upgrade can further attract investments from retail investors in the public issue of non-convertible debentures in which company has a track record of 24 issuances raising Rs 17,392 crore cumulatively.”
In FY20, the country’s largest gold financing company in terms of loan portfolio had reported 53 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit at Rs 3,018 crore.
“With this rating upgrade, Muthoot Finance has become one of the few non-banking finance companies which achieved this rating level on a standalone basis without any parental support factored in,” said Managing Director George Alexander Muthoot. (ANI)

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India Feb manufacturing sees new orders expand sharply: IHS Markit

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New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): February Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data showed further improvement in the health of Indian manufacturing sector as firms responded to increases in new work intakes by lifting production, input buying and stocks of purchases.
However, employment decreased further amid coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) restrictions related to shift work, according to the latest IHS Markit Manufacturing PMI released on Monday.
Strengthening demand for raw materials and semi-finished items exerted upward pressure on input cost inflation, which picked up to a 32-month high.
Factory gate charges also rose albeit at a modest and softer pace. Posting 57.5 in February, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing PMI highlighted a strong improvement in operating conditions that was broadly similar to that recorded in January (57.7).
The headline figure remained above its long-run average of 53.6. Better demand conditions and successful marketing campaigns reportedly underpinned a further increase in new orders during February.
Although easing from January, the pace of growth remained sharp in the context of historical data. New export orders also rose halfway through the final quarter of fiscal year 2020-21 albeit at a modest rate that was softer than in January.
The Covid-19 pandemic restricted international demand for Indian goods. In response to another robust increase in total new orders, production was raised again in February.
The pace of expansion eased from January but was nevertheless sharp and among the quickest seen over the past nine years. February data pointed to the strongest increase in input inventories in the survey history as firms reacted to rising production needs by lifting purchasing activity.
The expansion in input buying was the fastest in almost a decade. In turn, robust demand for inputs led suppliers to hike their fees.
“Once larger parts of the population are immunised against Covid-19 and restrictions start to be lifted, companies expect a gradual improvement in economic conditions which they hope will translate into output growth,” said Pollyanna De Lima, Economics Associate Director at IHS Markit.
“The overall degree of business optimism was the joint-highest for three months,” she said adding the upbeat mood supported the fastest increase in input buying for almost a decade as companies focused on rebuilding theirs input stocks to fulfil demand growth.
The IHS Markit India Manufacturing PMI is compiled from responses to questionnaires sent to purchasing managers in a panel of around 400 manufacturers. The panel is stratified by detailed sector and company workforce size based on contributions to GDP.
IHS Markit is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government. (ANI)

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Air passenger traffic still down, cargo continues to climb: AAPA

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Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], March 1 (ANI): Preliminary January air passenger traffic figures released on Monday by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed that airline operations are still depressed as the spread of Covid-19 variants resulted in tighter border restrictions in international as well as domestic markets.
Meanwhile, air cargo demand keeps improving as world trade starts to gain renewed momentum.
Asia Pacific airlines carried a combined total of 1.3 million international passengers in January, just 3.9 per cent of the same month last year when 33.5 million passengers flew on the region’s carriers.
Offered seat capacity was 12.1 per cent of the January 2020 volume while the international passenger load factor averaged 27 per cent for the month, a significant 54 percentage point decline from the 81 per cent achieved in the corresponding month last year when traffic volumes were still relatively unaffected by Covid-19 pandemic.
Growth in e-commerce sector in the midst of further recovery in global manufacturing sector lent support to air cargo markets.
In January 2021, air cargo demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres recorded a marginal increase of 0.3 per cent, the first year-on-year growth in many months, partly boosted by higher demand for air shipments ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations.
Offered freight capacity fell by 25 per cent year-on-year, reflecting the prevailing capacity crunch as a result of the decline in passenger bellyhold space. The international freight load factor averaged 71.6 per cent, an 18 percentage point increase compared to the same month last year.
“Renewed efforts to contain Covid-19 through lockdowns and border restrictions have again affected international passenger demand which remains close to a standstill,” said AAPA Director General Subhas Menon.
“The uneven roll-out of vaccinations across the world will only delay the full reopening of borders. In this extremely challenging operating environment, airlines are struggling to survive,” he said.
While some airlines are receiving financial support, further assistance will be needed for most airlines to stay afloat, given that international borders remain largely shuttered, said Menon.
Meanwhile, the industry is working with several stakeholders to prepare the ground for sustained resumption of air travel, notably on contactless digitalised tools and passenger facilitation protocols to ensure a safe and seamless journey for travellers.
“The Asia Pacific aviation industry is committed to playing its part in the Covid-19 pandemic through the carriage of time-sensitive cargo supplies especially vaccines and safe repatriation of residents,” said Menon.
Collectively, the region’s airlines carry 1,623 million passengers and 23 million tonnes of cargo, representing over one-third of global passenger and air cargo traffic. (ANI)

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SmarterBiz Technologies launches VOIZ – voizworks.com, India’s first remote workforce marketplace for customer support & telesales

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 1 (ANI/PRNewswire): SmarterBiz Technologies is a leading provider of technology and solutions for the future of remote work in the CX space.
SmarterBiz provides large and medium enterprises with its SaaS-based suite of products defining technology segment called Next Generation CX as a Service (NGCXaaS) for omnichannel customer interaction management.
The SmarterBiz suite of products use a set of IPR led technology capabilities that include AI-enabled Intelligent classification and distribution workflow management, advanced vision and audio processing, analytics and dashboarding.
SmarterBiz is announcing today the official launch of VOIZ an additional offering in the CX space focussing on the gig economy. Built on the innate capabilities of the SmarterBiz suite of products. VOIZ brings together companies, contact centres and remote workforce for CX delivery related to customer support, technical support, chat support, email support, telesales and telemarketing.
VOIZ – The enabler for the gig economy and job creation
The post-pandemic business landscape looks considerably different. Now, organizations understand that having a remote workforce alongside their mainstream workforce offers immense benefits both functionally and economically plus a range of possibilities to scale their business. Through 2020, several companies launched gig/remote workforce platforms for white collared jobs such as designing, software development, digital marketing, content writing, accounting, teaching, etc.
While these platforms have found reasonable success, they are restricted to only certain job categories that require specialised skill sets. The broader and more widely available generic talent pool, like the stay-at-home mom/dads, people amid career breaks, retired professionals, moonlighters, students etc., remains unemployed. They do not possess one of the ‘specialised skills’ required to land work on these platforms.
This is the exact talent pool, VOIZ is looking to bring on board by offering them ‘easy to do’ customer support and telesales jobs in the CX (customer experience) industry.
Freshers to retired, across any educational qualification and domain experience, anyone with English proficiency can be upskilled in no time to land a CX job. VOIZ is bringing this segment into play via short format jobs related to customer support, technical support, chat support, email support, telesales and telemarketing. VOIZ connects businesses and contact centres with a remote workforce that is skilled and readily employable for customer support and telesales work.
VOIZ, the first to launch a marketplace for CX (customer experience) could potentially offer remote work to thousands of people and transform the entire white-collared gig economy space.
Unique Capabilities of VOIZ
VOIZ has evolved to handle the bigger challenges in the remote workforce models such as team collaboration, performance monitoring and governance by implementing technology and tools blended into one seamless, powerful remote workforce platform, the very constraints because of which the entire CX industry was indecisive on adopting remote work.
With VOIZ, companies can now hire, onboard, train, manage productivity, audit quality and the entire lifecycle of the gig workforce in a single platform through a self-service or a managed service model. In the former, companies manage their CX process in-house and in the latter, companies can have one of the VOIZ pre-approved contact centres manage their CX process. VOIZ enables companies to cut the contact centre operations costs by up to 40 per cent, increase scalability by up to 10X, manage seasonal demand and business continuity plans seamlessly.
“CX delivery at VOIZ is completely commoditized with the help of technology. A remote CX professional on VOIZ can resolve a customer issue working from the comfort of their home or anywhere else. Companies and contact centres can now hire a highly scalable and quality workforce that costs less, is easy to manage and delivers an outstanding customer experience. I am happy to be at the forefront of this democratization,” said Vineet Patil, the Chief of Business.
This story is provided by PRNewswire. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/PRNewswire)

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FlowerAura launches special Women’s Day gifts for 2021

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Gurgaon (Haryana) [India], March 1 (ANI/PRNewswire): FlowerAura aligns with the message of women empowerment and acknowledges their impact through gifts.
FloweAura’s Women’s Day gifts are the epitome of thoughtfulness, grandeur, and emotion, which cannot be described in words.
International Women’s Day is celebrated to honour every woman for her achievements, no matter how big or small. This day commemorates the hard work and sacrifice made by women in their day-to-day lives. FlowerAura is a reputable online store that offers a vast array of Women’s Day gift ideas that will make every woman feel special.
International Women’s Day is around the corner and this is time to pay honour and respect for the persistent efforts and contributions provided by women in all areas of the workplace and business.
Whether one buys a present for a mother, wife, sister, friend or daughter, it should be beautiful and extraordinary just like a woman. Gorgeous women’s day cake flower arrangements, luscious women’s day cake cakes, fancy hampers, air-purifying plants, one will find everything on the website.
FlowerAura has a large personalised gift collection. From Mugs, cushions, kitchens, lamps, photo frames to watches, clocks, fridge magnets, plants, accessories, caricatures, calendars, and an endless list of options. Thus, FlowerAra has something for everyone.
FlowerAura has added a new dimension to the culture and tradition of celebrating special occasions. The increasing participation of women in the corporate world has not only to broaden their horizons but has also helped them to secure their place among others and fight for their rights.
Celebrating Women’s Day in offices and business places makes women feel appreciated for their efforts and their status and contribution to the development of the organization is valued. Gift women at the workplace with unique business gifts and branded corporate gifts from FlowerAura and bring a big smile to their faces.
“A woman is a game-changer in every aspect so let’s celebrate her by giving her a gift that makes her feel that you respect her empowerment and value her in your life. This Women’s Day, make your women happy and honoured by giving them something close to their heart and which enhances their daily lifestyle,” said Himamshu Chawla, CEO.
So, there is no more website hopping. Stop by FlowerAura’s website to shop and send Women’s Day gifts online across India. It doesn’t matter in which state she resides, FlowerAura will reach their doorstep with the chosen gift. FlowerAura delivers Women’s Day flowers, cakes, and gifts in 400 plus Indian states and approximately in 160 plus hyperlocal cities.
This story is provided by PRNewswire. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/PRNewswire)

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Equity indices trade firm, auto stocks surge

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 1 (ANI): Equity benchmark indices traded firm during early hours on Monday on the back upbeat global sentiment and India getting technically out of recession with Q3 GDP data showing 0.4 per cent growth.
At 10:15 am, the BSE S&P Sensex was up by 735 points or 1.5 per cent at 49,806 while the Nifty 50 edged higher by 210 points or 1.45 per cent to 14,739.
All sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in the green with Nifty auto up by 2.2 per cent, financial service by 2 per cent, private bank by 1.8 per cent and IT by 1.5 per cent.
Among stocks, Hero MotoCorp surged by 3.7 per cent to Rs 3,334.40 per share and Mahindra & Mahindra by 3.5 per cent to Rs 835.30.
Power Grid Corporation ticked up by 3.5 per cent, ONGC by 3.3 per cent and Titan by 2.9 per cent. However, Bharti Airtel fell by 2.3 per cent, SBI Life by 0.6 per cent and Hindalco by 0.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, Asian shares rallied as some semblance of calm returned to bond markets after last week’s ride. Progress in the huge US stimulus package underpinned optimism about the global economy also sent oil prices higher.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan edged up by 0.8 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei rallied by 2.1 per cent while Chinese blue chips added 0.5 per cent. (ANI)

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Reliance acquires majority equity stake in skyTran Inc

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 28 (ANI): Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited (RSBVL) announced that it has acquired an additional equity stake in its investee company skyTran for a consideration of USD 26.76 million increasing its shareholding to 54.46 per cent on a fully diluted basis.
skyTran is a technology company incorporated under the laws of Delaware, United States of America (USA) in 2011. skyTran has developed breakthrough passive magnetic levitation and propulsion technology for implementing personal transportation systems aimed at solving the problem of traffic congestion globally.
RSBVL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, in a statement said that the technology has been developed by skyTran to create smart mobility solutions.
The firm said that the proposed skyTran transportation systems would consist of computer-controlled passenger pods running on its state-of-the-art, patented passive magnetic levitation technology and would use cutting edge IT, telecom, loT and advanced materials technologies to transport passengers in a fast, safe, green, and economical manner. It is also supported by notable global venture capital investors such as innovation endeavors.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said, “Our acquiring majority equity stake in skyTran reflects our commitment to invest in building futuristic technologies that would transform the world. We are excited by skyTran’s potential to achieve an order of magnitude impact on highspeed intra and inter-city connectivity and its ability to provide a high speed, highly efficient and economical ‘Transportation-As-A-Service’ platform for India and the rest of the world.”
“We firmly believe that non-polluting high speed personal rapid transportation system will help facilitate environmental sustainability through efficient use of alternative energy and make an impactful reduction in air and noise pollution,” he added. (ANI)

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