Indian Bike Maker Royal Enfield to Expand After Obama Thumbs-Up
Fresh from an endorsement by US President Barack Obama, India's motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield announced it was speeding up expansion and production to meet booming demand for its British-origin bikes. The company, based in southwestern India but rooted in British biking history, will spend five billion rupees (USD 80 million) this year on building two factories as well as other expansion plans. "Royal Enfield will be investing Rs 500 crore in 2015 towards product development, capex and other development areas," chief executive Siddhartha Lal said in a statement posted on its website. "With a view to become the leader in the global mid-sized motorcycling, Royal Enfield will build two new technology centers."
The centres will be located in the southern Indian city of Chennai and the English county of Leicestershire and be completed by the second quarter of 2016 and the end of 2015 respectively. The US president gave the iconic bikes a nod of approval after he saw India's Border Security Force officers perform daredevil stunts on their shiny Royal Enfields during a trip to New Delhi last month. "I saw the Republic Day daredevils on Royal Enfield motorcycles," Obama said during the visit, describing the stunts as a highlight of the military parade to mark India's Republic Day. "The secret service doesn't let me ride motorcycles, especially not on my head," he added with a smile at the audacious manoeuvres. Lal said Royal Enfiel continued to grow at a "phenomenal pace" last year, selling 300,000 units and had plans to manufacture a total of 450,000 in 2015.
2022 World Cup: Fifa Rules Out Compensation for Unhappy clubs
Fifa says it will not pay compensation to clubs and leagues unhappy about plans to play the 2022 Qatar World Cup in November and December. It also said no apology was necessary for the scheduling of the tournament, which will disrupt a number of leagues. A Fifa taskforce has recommended the 2022 World Cup take place in winter to avoid Qatar's hot summer temperatures. "There will be no compensation," said Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke. "There are seven years to reorganise." Fifa's executive committee will meet in Zurich next month to ratify the taskforce's recommendation. Valcke also suggested that a 2022 World Cup final on 23 December was looking increasingly likely.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore says a final that close to Christmas will cause havoc with the traditional festive club programme, while Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce wants it played a week earlier. But Valcke says European governing body Uefa and other confederations are keen on Friday, 23 December, although 18 December is also a possibility. Valcke also confirmed the 2022 World Cup will be four days shorter as a "concession" to leagues and clubs - 28 days instead of the usual 31 or 32 - and that the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will move to June from January.
JPMorgan Chase to Cut Nearly USD 5 billion in Expenses
US banking giant JPMorgan Chase on Tuesday, 24th February, unveiled plans to eliminate hundreds of retail branches and some USD 100 billion in deposits as it announced nearly USD 5 billion in cost cuts in the next three years.
The biggest US bank by assets, JPMorgan projected USD 2.8 billion in expense reductions in its corporate and investment bank division through 2017 and another USD 2.0 billion in expense cuts in its consumer and community banking segment. The move comes as large banks continue to face major challenges from regulators that have resulted in large legal settlements and raised the cost of riskier business lines.
JPMorgan said the rise of digital banking permits it to cut its physical footprint, enabling fewer retail locations and smaller staffs at those that remain. The bank will cut its branch count by about 300 through the end of 2016, according to slides it presented ahead of an investor day. JPMorgan's corporate and investment banking segment plans USD 2.8 billion in savings through 2017, with the bulk, USD 1.5 billion, coming from business simplification. The bank expects to reduce the amount of firm-wide non-deposits by up to USD 100 billion by the end of this year, according to a slide.
China's Luxury Products Market on Decline: Study
Demand for China's much talked about luxury product market is declining for the first time in 8 years as Chinese tourists are opting to buy them abroad at cheaper prices and due to fear stoked by the anti-corruption campaign that netted thousands of officials. Growth of luxury goods on the Chinese mainland was down one per cent to 115 billion yuan (USD 18.7 billion) in 2014, with watches, men's wear, and luggage and bags being hardest hit, the January report of the consultancy firm Bain & Co's 2014 China Luxury Market Study said.
China's luxury market has experienced a negative trend for the first time after eight years of consecutive growth, the study said. Sales of Swiss luxury giant Richemont dropped four per cent in the third quarter (3Q) of 2014, an epitome of the poor performances of some prestigious names including Montblanc, Rolex, Armani and Ferrari, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the report. Hugo Boss shut seven mainland shops in 2014, followed by six shops from Ermenegildo Zegna and four from Burberry.
Greece won't Get 'a Single Euro' Till Pledges Met: Germany
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stressed on Wednesday, 25th February, that Greece, having won breathing space in its debt talks, will not receive "a single euro" until it meets the pledges of its existing bail-out programme. If the conditions are not met and the Greek reform plans presented to creditors this week are not substantiated with figures, no more money will be paid, he said on SWR public radio, stressing that the commitments Athens agreed with creditors the EU, ECB and IMF remain valid. "If they fulfil those, then they can still receive the outstanding payments. And if they don't fulfil those, there will be no payments," Schaeuble said.
He added that "not a single euro will be paid before then". Greece's new left-wing government has secured a four-month extension to its lifeline bailout programme with promises of ambitious reforms and a pledge to stick to its financial commitments. The breathing space beyond a Saturday deadline prevents the immediate worst-case scenario of national bankruptcy, a run on banks and even a chaotic exit from the eurozone.