Hong Kong: The world’s largest restaurant company, McDonald’s Corp., plans to double its stores in India and open 125 outlets in China this year to tap the growing demand for fast food in Asia.
McDonald’s plans to open as many as 140 restaurants throughout India this year, focusing on drive-through outlets, Tim Fenton, president for its Asia-Pacific, West Asia and Europe business, said on Tuesday. The company has 135 restaurants across India.
Expansion spree: A Mc Donald’s outlet in Saket, New Delhi. (Photo: Madhu Kapparath/Mint)
The Asia-Pacific region was the chain’s fastest growing last year, with comparable-store sales advancing 12.6% on extended hours and new breakfast menus. McDonald’s is adding to the 31,000 restaurants it operates worldwide and promoting products that cater to locals tastes, such as spicy chicken and fish sandwiches in China and vegetarian products including McAloo Tikki and Shahi Paneer McCurry Pan in India.
“The popularity of McDonald’s and other such fast food restaurants is growing, particularly in the big cities, with people having more discretionary income and less time and inclination for cooking at home,” said Anand Shah, an analyst at Mumbai-based Angel Broking Ltd.
Half of McDonald’s menu in India is vegetarian-based products, catering to local tastes, Fenton said.
“We serve chicken and a lot of vegetarian products,” Fenton said. “We don’t serve any beef. We’ve adapted to the McDonald’s platform there, so we can serve the quality and the speed.”
McDonald’s will open another 150 restaurants in China next year and 175 in 2010, Jeff Schwartz, chief executive of McDonald’s China Co., said. “The majority of those (new restaurants) will be on the east coast and the bigger cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen,” Schwartz said. “Half the growth will be in the interior cities in the country.” McDonald’s will continue to serve Western-style meals in China because burgers and French fries still appeal to consumers, Schwartz said. The firm has 875 restaurants in China, he said.
Boeing goes ahead with research consortium
New Delhi: The second largest US defence firm, Boeing Co., will develop wireless and other network technologies for aerospace-related applications with Wipro Technologies, the software services arm of Wipro Ltd, HCL Technologies Ltd and Indian Institute of Science under a research consortium called Aerospace Network Research Consortium (ANRC), a Boeing statement said.
ANRC will work over the next four years to find applications that could be put to use for the booming aviation industry, the statement said. “We have a great need for advanced affordable aerospace network R&D,” Naveed Hussain, engineering and technology vice-president for Boeing in India said in the statement.
LIC offloads 2% stake in VSNL for Rs342 crore
Mumbai: State-run Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC) has offloaded 2% stake in Tata group firm Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) for Rs342 crore.
LIC has sold 5.7 million shares of VSNL through open market transaction on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), VSNL said in a disclosure to BSE.
‘Rural job seekers not keen on public projects’
New Delhi: A majority of the people in villages are not interested in job opportunities in public projects, the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) said. Among the people above 15 years in rural areas, nearly 88% did not even seek employment in public works, an NSSO survey said.
Govt set to raise price of gas by ONGC, OIL firms
New Delhi: The government is likely to raise the price of natural gas produced by Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) by 16% and index it to inflation rate, a move that would result in higher revenues for the two firms, officials familiar with the development said.
DRL to launch oncology products in US, Europe
Hyderabad: Drug maker Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd on Tuesday said it plans to roll out oncology products in the US and Europe, and expects to earn an annual revenue of $100 million (Rs394 crore) from it. At present, Dr Reddy’s revenue from oncology is $30 million with sales in India, Russia and Brazil.
Advani urges party to provide better option
New Delhi: In his concluding address at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) two-day national council meet in the Capital on Tuesday, L.K. Advani, BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s prime ministerial candidate lashed out at the Congress-led coalition government at the Centre and urged his party to provide a qualitatively better alternative to voters.
Advani focused on the three-pronged theme of good governance,development and security, and charged the Centre for having failed on all three parameters. He cited Narendra Modi-led Gujarat as a model alternative to the United Progressive Alliance rule at the Centre. “(Modi’s victory) was a triumph of good governance and development over vote bank politics,” he said.
Rotterdam port sees India expansion soon
Kuala Lumpur: The Dutch port of Rotterdam expects to expand into India this year, a senior executive said on Tuesday, but he denied media reports that the port was close to a tie-up with India’s largest engineering and construction firm, Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T). “We are investigating several possibilities, more than one possibility,” chief operating officer Pieter Struijs said on the sidelines of a port seminar in Malaysia. Asked when the port authority expected to finalize its investment plans, he added: “Hopefully this year.”
Cabinet to take up SBI merger plan next week
New Delhi: Undeterred by a countrywide banking strike on Friday, the Union cabinet is likely to take up next week a proposal for the merger of State Bank of Saurashtra (SBS) with its parent State Bank of India (SBI), finance ministry officials familiar with the development said.
While boards of both the banks had approved the merger plan, bank employees went on a day-long strike protesting against the move.
AC Mahajan tipped to head Canara Bank
Bangalore: Chairman and managing director of public sector Allahabad Bank A.C. Mahajan is tipped to take over as chairman and managing director of Canara Bank after current chief executive M.B.N. Rao retires in June this year. However, Rao and Mahajan refused to comment on the issue, saying they had not received any notification about the appointment.
Rao, who is also chairman of Indian Banks’ Association, is one of the five candidates shortlisted for interview for the post of the Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman.
The chiefs of as many as nine banks and an equal number of executive directors are due to retire in 2008. These include Bank of Baroda (BoB) chairman, A.K. Khandelwal, who is due to retire in March. Bank of Maharashtra chief M.D. Mallya is tipped to succeed him at BoB.
Bhel plans Rs810 crore boiler expansion
Mumbai: Power equipment maker, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) plans to invest Rs810 crore to expand its boiler and generator capacity to help plug a power shortage.
The boiler capacity at a factory in Trichy will be more than quadrupled to 481,000 tonnes at Rs736 crore, New Delhi-based Bhel said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.
The remaining amount will be used to upgrade generator and defence equipment factories.
‘GE may sell India consumer finance unit’
Mumbai: The world’s third largest company by market value, General Electric Co., plans to sell some or all of the Indian arm of its consumer finance company, GE Money, ‘The Economic Times’ newspaper said on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the transaction.
“GE Money remains committed to India as a market for growth and investment. Driving strategic partnerships and JVs (joint ventures) are a key strategic pillar of growth for GE Money, and in line with this objective, we will be seeking a strategic partner,” a GE Money spokesperson told the paper.
Morgan Stanley had been appointed to find a buyer, and foreign and local firms, including Reliance Capital Ltd and Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd had already expressed interest, the paper said, citing senior industry officials.
Magazine, Chishti quit NewsX channel
New Delhi: NewsX, the upcoming English news channel from INX News Pvt. Ltd, on Monday saw the exit of two top editorial hands, apart from its chief executive officer Vir Sanghvi, a person close to the situation, who did not want to be quoted, said.
Associate editors Pradeep Magazine and Seema Chishti quit the channel on Monday, and the person said more editorial hands were expected to leave.
Magazine and Chishti declined to comment on where they were headed. Prior to joining NewsX, Magazine was an associate editor with ‘Hindustan Times’ and Chishti was associate editor at ‘The Indian Express’. When contacted by ‘Mint’, other editors at NewsX refused to comment.
The ‘Hindustan Times’ is published by HT Media Ltd, which also publishes Mint.
No plans to cut import duty on edible oil: Pawar
New Delhi: India has no plans to reduce import duty on edible oils, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday. The government had cut the import duty four times in 2007 to boost domestic supplies and curb inflation.
No duty cuts: Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.
Edible oil imports rose 7% to 4.72 million tonnes (mt) in the year ended October from 4.42mt a year earlier, according to the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India. Purchases totalled 624,102 tonnes in the two months ended December from 619,630 tonnes in the year-ago month. Wheat production will exceed 75mt in the March-April harvest, compared with 75.5mt a year ago, Pawar said, likely lowering the need to import the grain.