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Nandan Nilekani joins Bill Gates-led $500 million Co-Impact fund

Saturday, November 18 2017

Nandan Nilekani joins Bill Gates-led $500 million Co-Impact fund

Nandan Nilekani joins Bill Gates-led $500 million Co-Impact fund www.techgig.com | techgig.com Nov 18, 2017, 11.26 AM IST Leadership Image Credit Continue reading Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and his wife Rohini's EkStep Foundation has joined the formation of 'Co-impact'. The global model for collaborative philanthropy and social change is supported by the leading philanthropist from all over the world. Co-impact is committed to investing $500 million in three critical areas like health, education and economic opportunity. The collaborative philanthropy model is committed to improving the lives of underserved populations in developing nations. Nilekani's 'Ek Step Foundation' will serve as a technical partner for Co-Impact. The core partners of the global collaborative initiative include top philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates, Richard Chandler, Jeff Skoll, Dr Romesh, Kathy Wadhwani and the Rockefeller Foundation. The foundation has incubated co-impact's initial roadmap and helped the staff with operating funds. In the official statement, Rohini and Nandan Nilekani said, "At EkStep Foundation, we are investing in creating open digital public goods. Our intent is for it to benefit an ecosystem of innovators who can create contextual solutions for the development sector through the Societal Platforms approach. We support Co-Impact's visionary efforts of driving large-scale systemic development, and are glad to be their Technical Partner in this endeavor." Co-Impact plans to add additional core partners to the investor's group. The network of these core partners will help in reaching and improving the lives of millions of people. The expertise that the core partners bring to the table will help in advancing education, people's health, and economic opportunity. The collaborative initiative will make its first system change grants in 2018. The official statement said, "These grants will be informed by more than a year's worth of due diligence and field research. Systems change grants will be up to the US $50 million, flexibly structured, and will go to initiatives with proven leadership and results that are poised to scale even further." The foundational is also welcoming participation by government and the private sector. - Rajat Kabade

H-1B Visa: US Congressional committee votes to increase minimum salary

Saturday, November 18 2017

H-1B Visa: US Congressional committee votes to increase minimum salary

Hiring Image Credit Continue reading The US Congressional committee has passed a bill to increase the minimum salary of H-1B visa holder. The jointly voted bill passed on Wednesday changes the future of Indian IT professionals in the US. The new key legislation proposes to increase the minimum salary of H-1B visa holder to $90,000. The minimum salary limit was earlier $60,000. The bill now heads to the full House for necessary action. It needs to be passed by the Senate before it can be sent to the White House for US President to sign it into a law. New rules prohibit H-1B dependent companies to replace American workers with foreign employees. The new laws impose a number of restrictions on the work visa issued to IT professionals from India. The bill also extends to impose a no-layoff policy for H-1B dependent employers and their client companies. Which means as long as an H-1B employee is working at the company, the companies cannot layoff equivalent US workers. The Protect and Grow American Jobs act further imposes that if H-1B employer wants to be exempted from the requirement, the companies need to recruit the US workers first. According to the NASSCOM President R Chandrashekhar, the new bill threats thousands of US jobs. This could also lead to the marketplace disruption. Only a handful of companies used H-1B visas in FY of 2016. The adoption of new bill can even harm the US businesses. On the other hand, Bon Goodlatte, a congressman and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee believes that the new policy is designed to put American workers and nation's interest first. NASSCOM President, Chandrashekhar said, ""Unfortunately, this legislation is being driven by myths, not reality. US government data show very significant shortages of high skill talent around the country. The data show that the high skill visa programmes are not a major cause of US unemployment, and IT specialists working on temporary visas are not cheap labor." The new bill if passed and imposed will have a massive impact on the Indian IT professionals planning to move to the US. The IT employers in the US are already exploring other means to work with the Indian talent for their US clients. - Rajat Kabade

Ambanis richest in Asia; 18 more Indian families on Forbes list

Saturday, November 18 2017

Ambanis richest in Asia; 18 more Indian families on Forbes list

Ambanis richest in Asia; 18 more Indian families on Forbes list www.techgig.com | techgig.com Nov 18, 2017, 05.06 PM IST Leadership Image Credit Continue reading Mukesh Ambani's family has topped the list of Asia's richest families. With the net worth of $44.8 billion, Ambani family has crossed Less of Samsung Electronics. Forbes' has published the list of Asia's 50 Richest Families. The Ambanis are the only Indian family that has made it to the top 10 positions in this list. Mukesh Ambani's net worth rose to $44.8 billion from $19 billion this year. The Ambani family has replaced the Lees of Samsung empire and secured the first position. Korea's Lee family still secured the second spot. Lees family's net worth has increased by $11.2 billion in their wealth this year. Samsung Electronics's shares moved up by 75% this year, which helped the Lee family to record the net worth of $40.8 billion. However, no business family has ever recorded the surge of whopping $19 billion as Mukesh Ambani did this year. In the top 10 positions, Asia's richest real estate household that controls Sung Hung Kai properties secured the third position. Kwok family from Hong Kong owns Sun Hung Kai Properties, the family ranked three with the net worth of $40.4 billion. The owners of Charoen Pokphand Group, Chearavanont family secured the fourth rank with a net worth of $36.6 billion. According to the Forbes results, no family has highlighted the surge better than Ambanis of India. The family has been the biggest gainer in terms of net worth as well as the percentage of growth. Reliance Jio's success has helped Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate Reliance Industries to improve the margins. India has a significant presence on Forbes' list of Asia's Top 50 Richest Families. Collectively all the Indian families have a net worth of $699 billion, which is up by $200 billion as compared to the last year. A ticket entry for this year's list is $5 billion, which is $1.6 billion more as compared to 2016. Indian families that made it to the Forbes' list: Mukesh Ambani and family (1st rank, $44.8 billion) Premjis (11th rank, $19.2 billion) Hindujas (12th rank, $18.8 billion) Mittals (14th rank, $17.2 billion)5. Mistrys (16th rank, $16.1 billion) Birlas (19th rank, $14.1 billion) Godrej family (20th rank, $14 billion) Bajaj family (26th rank, $9.3 billion) Jindal family (32nd rank, $7.7 billion) Burman family (35th rank, $7.05 billion) Lals of Eicher Motors (36th rank, $7 billion) Bangur family of Shree Cements (37th rank, $6.7 billion) Sehgal family of Motherson Sumi Systems (41st rank, $6.2 billion) Wadias (42nd rank, $6.14 billion) Kushal Pal Singh family of DLF (44th, $6.1 billion) Patel family of Cadila (45th, $6 billion) Piramals (47th, $5.38 billion) Munjals (48th rank, $5.37 billion) - Rajat Kabade

Finding job becomes tough for private engineering college graduates

Saturday, November 18 2017

Finding job becomes tough for private engineering college graduates

Finding job becomes tough for private engineering college graduates www.techgig.com | techgig.com Nov 18, 2017, 05.26 PM IST The IT hiring and the fear of automation have highly affected the students of private engineering colleges in the country. The slowed down entry-level recruitments has affected the graduates from private engineering institutes. The dull recruitment lookout in the IT industry has also affected the compensation packages offered to new recruits. The colleges are exploring new methods to improve the placements scenario. While the premium colleges like IITs, BITS, NITs are getting outstanding pre-placement offers for students, the Private Engineering Colleges are really struggling in the campus placements. Indian IT industry, which is known for mass recruitment from the private engineering colleges have cut down on their hiring strategy. Companies are increasingly seeking skilled candidates and cutting down on mass recruitment. The annual compensation packages have come down to as low as Rs 1.5-2.8 lakh for entry-level jobs. Tamil Nadu College of Engineering has managed to place only 50% of its graduates in the ongoing campus placements. Apart from IT, even the manufacturing companies have slowed down their recruitment this year. The hiring budget of companies relying on the domestic sales is highly affected by GST. Soumya Kanti Das, placement officer at West Bengal-based Techno India Group said, "Requirement by the infotech industry has dropped by over 10% in recent years. However, major companies are still hunting for talent." The placement records of this group were 85% during 2010-2015, it has come down to 60% in last two years. The mass recruiters like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is expecting more from their new employees. These companies are adopting new methodologies like programming tests, writing skill tests and multi-layered interview process to make the final hiring decision. Automation is another reason why hiring has slowed down in the IT industry. Colleges are exploring new verticals like healthcare, hospitality, and e-commerce to place their graduates for back-office positions. Smaller towns are relying on emerging startups for jobs. While the entry-level jobs have reduced, there are ample of opportunities for graduates with skills in big data, IoT, cloud, and Hadoop related technologies. - Rajat Kabade

Android 8.0 Oreo Adoption Rate Slower Than iOS 11 - iGyaan

Saturday, November 18 2017

Android 8.0 Oreo Adoption Rate Slower Than iOS 11 - iGyaan

Share on Facebook Even though we’ve almost reach the end of 2017, there is a constant flux of high-end phones launching week in and week out. We recently saw three high profile Android phones launching in November itself, the Razer Phone, HTC U11+ (a mid range variant called the HTC U11 Life was launched as well) and the OnePlus 5T. Excluding the HTC U11+, the OnePlus 5T and the Razer Phone have the best specifications you can ask for in an Android phone. Snapdragon 835, up to 8GB of RAM and umpteen amount of storage. But, these two phones have one thing in common which should not be acceptable in November of 2017. Both the devices run on an Android OS version which is more than a year old. Android 8.0 Oreo was launched back in August and it has been three months since it was made available for all these big smartphone companies to adopt and install in its new phones. When the OnePlus 5T was launched, the Chinese smartphone maker said it is due to the intensive testing programme that it has not yet introduced Android 8.0 Oreo in the latest OnePlus 5T. Razer gave a similar reason and said it will push out an update soon enough. But, is soon enough good enough? You’re paying close US $700 for the Razer Phone and the higher end OnePlus 5T has a price tag of US $549, at this price, a consumer at least deserved whatever the latest software is in the market. Yes, at the price these two phones have the best specifications in the market and the performance will be amazing enough to ignore what Android OS version these phones are running. But, won’t the latest and greatest Android OS match better with the latest and greatest chipset? With Android 8.0 Oreo, Google introduced faster boot speeds, tighter security and those notification dots along with a lot of under the hood improvements. That should amount to something more than just, “it looks great, it will great as well.” That is usually our defence for phones running older Android OS versions. An average consumer barely even notices what OS version their phone is running. But, it matters, because the latest version of any operating system means that it performs better than the previous one and will be better for the longevity of your phone. Android 8.0 Oreo On Pixel 2 XL Android 8.0 Oreo is currently available in only 0.3% Android phones, while iOS 11, which was launched in September is present in over 50% of iOS devices. For further context, here is the Android OS and the percentage of Android phones running it: Android KitKat (13.8%) – 2013, Marshmallow (30.9%) – 2015 Nougat (20.6%) – 2016 Android Lollipop, launched back in 2014 is more prevalent than Android Nougat that was launched in 2016. This tells you the story of Android’s adoption rate, especially when compared to iOS 11. Even iOS 10, which was launched in 2016 is available in 38% of the iOS devices currently out in the market. It is hard to believe that companies like Razer and OnePlus would bring out their marquee phones with dated software because of lack of effort. It may be because the difference between Android Nougat and Android Oreo from the look of it, isn’t much. An avrage consumer would not make out the difference unless the consumer is coming from KitKat or Gingerbread. Fragmentation of Android devices is also a reason why so many smartphones currently never see a major software upgrade through their lifecycle. Google’s Android One resurgence shows that the company wants more people to adopt to the latest OS and not wait for other OEMs to make a skin based on the latest Android OS and then push it out to consumers. Whether the Android One project will be a success is yet to be seen and how the adoption rate will change for Android 8.0 Oreo. Loading Which OS is running on your Android Smartphone? Thanks for voting! You have already voted on this poll! Please select an option!

Kunal Singhal Appointed as Co-Chairman of PHD Chamber’s ICT and Electronics Committee

Saturday, November 18 2017

Kunal Singhal Appointed as Co-Chairman of PHD Chamber’s ICT and Electronics Committee

Email Print Kunal Singhal, Founder of EazyERP is Appointed as the Co-Chairman of ICT and Electronics Committee of PHD Chamber of Commerce. A Chartered Accountant by qualification and profession Kunal Singhal is committed towards MSMEs. Industry body PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has appointed Mr. Kunal Singhal , Managing Director, EazyERP , as the co-chairman of ICT and Electronics Committee. A Chartered Accountant by qualification and profession, Kunal is an IT enthusiast, founded EazyERP in 2007. Since then he has started his journey as an entrepreneur and focused on bringing technology among MSMEs . He has been working very closely with MSMEs and has achieved different levels of milestone in making MSMEs digitally equipped to enhance their business as well as to be at power to make a mark in the international market. “It is indeed a great opportunity to have been appointed in this position. I look forward to playing a meaningful role to further strengthen PHD Chamber’s quest of enhancing the Indian Industry, particularly the MSMEs, and help them adopt Information and Communication Technology (ICT). We will also work towards making the industry aware about various government initiatives and help them take benefit of the schemes,” stated Mr. Kunal Singhal, on becoming the co-chairman of ICT and Electronics Committee, PHD CHamber of Commerce. Believing in the potential of MSMEs and need of adopting digital technologies , Mr. Kunal added, “Today, the entire business ecosystem is moving towards simplification and transparency and great transformation is happening. Entire policy framework is committed towards this goal. Technology has proved itself as the preferred carrier or an efficient tool to facilitate this goal setting. MSMEs are the actual torch bearers of this transformation. There is a huge opportunity for every entrepreneur. Initiatives taken by PHD Chamber are committed towards ensuring MSMEs’ active contribution and participation in this transformation which involves ICT best practices.” Share on: Posted by SMEStreet Desk SMEStreet is fast growing platform dedicated to entrepreneurs from small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). Committed to facilitate Knowledge & Networking for Business Growth, SMEStreet offers value added content which shows the actual voice of Indian MSMEs. Tagged with

Intel to deploy Innovative Mobileye Technology, Sings MoU with Karnataka Govt

Saturday, November 18 2017

Intel to deploy Innovative Mobileye Technology, Sings MoU with Karnataka Govt

Email Print Intel acquired Mobileye for $15 billion recently and the technology is being deployed for its autonomous car project. The data repository from Mobileye could be used to develop and validate state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technologies which can learn and analyse data pertaining to road conditions and assist drivers to make informed decisions for higher safety, Intel said. Intel will deploy in Bengaluru its Mobileye technology system , including the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and collision avoidance technologies, to identify driving conditions, lanes, obstacles and junctions in the city. The technology will be implanted in test vehicles. Towards this, the company on Friday signed an MoU with the Karnataka government . The eventual objective is to enhance automotive safety by identifying accident-prone zones and develop innovative solutions to deal with other traffic and road issues. The test vehicles will collect data over the next nine months. “The data will be shared with everybody and will leverage government and Intel shuttles to begin with. However, we will enhance the scope as we move forward to potentially take taxi drivers on-board,” said Nivruti Rai , country head, Intel India, and vice president of the company’s data centre group. Intel acquired Mobileye for $15 billion recently and the technology is being deployed for its autonomous car project. The data repository from Mobileye could be used to develop and validate state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technologies which can learn and analyse data pertaining to road conditions and assist drivers to make informed decisions for higher safety, Intel said. This initiative can be actively leveraged by academia and technology ecosystem/ startups to build their capabilities and amplify their innovations which can enhance commuter, pedestrian and vehicle safety, it added. Share on: Posted by SMEStreet Desk SMEStreet is fast growing platform dedicated to entrepreneurs from small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). Committed to facilitate Knowledge & Networking for Business Growth, SMEStreet offers value added content which shows the actual voice of Indian MSMEs. Tagged with

India A Paradoxical Economy- A Sharp Edged Analysis

Saturday, November 18 2017

India A Paradoxical Economy- A Sharp Edged Analysis

India A Paradoxical Economy- A Sharp Edged Analysis India A Paradoxical Economy- A Sharp Edged Analysis Devendra Kumar Editor November 18, 2017 50 India is a country of sharp economic inequalities. The situation in rural areas and the urban slums is really stark. Extreme poverty and inequalities on one side and impressive growth rate and positive structural reforms on the other bring us to push our reasoning a bit further. Economists predict that by 2050, India would become the third largest economy in the world. However, although there was sharp improvement in economic performance, India faced a growth paradox. The contrast was evident as even basic amenities were not provided to a large proportion of its citizens. The benefits did not trickle down to the majority of the population. Crumbling infrastructure and social impoverishment were becoming major obstacles for the future development of India. In such a contradictory situation, whether the Indian growth is sustainable or not is the question that needed to be answered. The richest one percent of Indians own 53 percent of the country’s wealth, the richest 5 percent own 68 percent of the country’s wealth, while the top 10 percent have 77 percent. At the other end of the pyramid, the poorer half of our countrymen jostles for four percent of the nation’s wealth. Income inequality in India may be at its highest level – a ratio that has risen rapidly over the last three decades. In the 1990s there were no Indians on Forbes’ list of billionaires; today there are more than 100. Economic growth has mostly benefited the wealthiest 10 per cent of India’s population. The middle 40 per cent are somehow managing their both ends meet and social status and the rest 50 percent are have-nots. In fact, inequality, poverty, unemployment, growth and happiness index are interrelated. Since sufficient employment could not be created, it is not possible to increase the income levels of most people. High population growth rate is another major reason of poverty. Centre and State Government’s budget outlay is approximately 50 lakh crore, which largely comes from the scanty tax payers of the country – leaving them over-burdened and fuming over tax structure that prompt them to tax evasion and corruption – resulting in non-cooperation in country’s growth. Another significant setback is that Government spending is rising, deficits are chronic, and accumulated debt is reaching dangerous levels. Hefty salaries and pensions is a burden on Government exchequer. Indian government’s approach towards solving the problem is far from reality – for example mid-day-meal scheme may be any-thing but the ‘primary education’. Hundreds of government’s welfare schemes are just for the sake of it without achieving the desired goal. Several lakh crore is going in drain in the name of welfare. The series of reforms initiated by the Narendra Modi government like demonetization and the goods and services tax can put the Indian economy on stronger track provided the people of India pay taxes honestly and the government levy the taxes rationally. Moreover, Government should initiate the program favoring honest tax payers and give them certain privileges as Indian citizens so that more and more people may join the tax payer list. India’s growing inequality is a ‘big problem’ and that economic growth and human development can be pursued simultaneously. To solve this issue, further reforms should be implemented. A surgical strike is a must – where by Government need to formulate policies on the basis of the financial level of the people of India and not otherwise. Political maneuverability and populist economy should be defied at all levels or else India will take another decade to understand what went wrong. TAGS

Deutsche Messe and SingEx Exhibitions Comes Up for Advanced Manufacturing Tradeshow and Conference in Singapore

Saturday, November 18 2017

Deutsche Messe and SingEx Exhibitions Comes Up for Advanced Manufacturing Tradeshow and Conference in Singapore

Deutsche Messe and SingEx Exhibitions Comes Up for Advanced Manufacturing Tradeshow and... Deutsche Messe and SingEx Exhibitions Comes Up for Advanced Manufacturing Tradeshow and Conference in Singapore November 18, 2017 16 Deutsche Messe AG and SingEx Exhibitions Pte Ltd signed a contract of partnership to stage Industrial Transformation ASIA PACIFIC – a HANNOVER MESSE event, which will take place from 16 to 18 October 2018 at the Singapore EXPO Convention and Exhibition Centre. The first event of its kind in Asia Pacific, the new tradeshow will expand its focus beyond the local landscape with state-of-the-art solutions and an international line-up in the conference component. It is expected to welcome more than 150 exhibiting companies and 5,000 visitors as well as 25 speakers and 500 participants at the conference. Industrial Transformation ASIA PACIFIC focuses on topics ranging from advanced manufacturing, smart factory and intelligent supply chain management to R&D, technology transfer and workforce development. The event will address the needs of industry sectors such as electronics, marine and offshore, aerospace, automotive, biomedical sciences, precision engineering, chemicals, oil and gas and consumer goods manufacturing. “HANNOVER MESSE is the global hotspot for Industry 4.0. We are pleased to launch in Singapore a HANNOVER MESSE event that is tailored to the needs of the fast-growing Asia Pacific market,” said Marc Siemering, Senior Vice President, Deutsche Messe AG. “Industrial Transformation ASIA PACIFIC presents not only cutting-edge Industry 4.0 products, technologies, and services, but also provides numerous opportunities for knowledge and technology transfer. Visitors from all over the region will find at one time and place all the tools and information they need to be competitive in today’s rapidly changing industrial landscape.” “Advanced manufacturing is identified as a key driver of future economic growth for major economies, including Singapore,” said Aloysius Arlando, CEO, SingEx Holdings. “Industrial Transformation ASIA PACIFIC supports the effort by showcasing how advanced manufacturing is transforming production and logistics through an experiential ConfEx format. In addition to the tradeshow and conference, participants benefit from a curated selection of workshops, open-session learning, networking events, and thematic zones that present innovative solutions, new knowledge and best practices in fields such as design, engineering, operations, production, and smart supply chains.” In November this year, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Deutsche Messe to hold Industrial Transformation ASIA PACIFIC in Singapore for the next three years. In line with the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) its vision of developing Singapore to become a globally-competitive manufacturing hub, the event has garnered support from Singapore government agencies including the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, SPRING Singapore, STB and the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR). “We are pleased to partner with Deutsche Messe and SingEx to launch this new industrial event in Singapore. It will bring together leading manufacturers and technology providers to co-innovate and showcase the latest advanced manufacturing solutions,” said Lim Kok Kiang, Assistant Managing Director, EDB. “Deutsche Messe’s decision to introduce the HANNOVER MESSE brand in Singapore is testament to our reputation as a hub for high- value manufacturing with deep engineering and innovation capabilities. We look forward to the event and the role that it will play in increasing the vibrancy of the industrial ecosystem in Singapore and the region.” Besides support from five Singapore government agencies, this partnership has brought a sense of excitement and enthusiasm to the industry ecosystem and is welcomed by both associations and the private sector. “The mission of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation is always to strengthen Singapore as a manufacturing hub, and to champion local manufacturers in the pursuit of manufacturing excellence in an increasingly digital world. With this exciting new platform, I strongly believe the key stakeholders will benefit through increasing business opportunities, building capabilities as well as transforming businesses with new business models and technology.” said Mr Douglas Foo, President of Singapore Manufacturing Federation”. SHARE

LANXESS on Course for Record Year After Excellent Third Quarter

Saturday, November 18 2017

LANXESS on Course for Record Year After Excellent Third Quarter

LANXESS on Course for Record Year After Excellent Third Quarter LANXESS on Course for Record Year After Excellent Third Quarter · Sales up 25 percent to EUR 2.4 billion · EBITDA pre exceptionals increased significantly by 35 percent to EUR 347 million · EBITDA margin pre exceptionals increased to 14.4 percent · Net income pre exceptionals grew by EUR 29 million to EUR 106 million · Guidance for the full year 2017 refined and lower end of range lifted: EBITDA pre exceptionals between EUR 1.25 billion and EUR 1.3 billion expected Following an excellent third quarter of 2017, specialty chemicals company LANXESS is still on course for the highest earnings in its history. Global sales increased by 25.1 percent or EUR 483 million to EUR 2.4 billion. A year earlier, they amounted to EUR 1.9 billion. EBITDA pre exceptionals improved by 35 percent to EUR 347 million, compared with EUR 257 million in the prior-year quarter. The contributions from the acquired Chemtura businesses as well as higher volumes had a particularly positive effect. The EBITDA margin pre exceptionals in the third quarter of 2017 stood at 14.4 percent, which was considerably above the value of 13.4 percent reported in the prior-year period. “LANXESS is in full swing. Our clear strategic focus on high-margin specialty chemicals is increasingly paying off, and in operational terms, we are performing very well in our new setup. It is particularly pleasing that all regions and all our specialty chemicals segments are seeing considerable earnings growth,” said Matthias Zachert, Chairman of the LANXESS Board of Management. Due to one-time exceptional charges, net income was EUR 55 million, after EUR 62 million in the prior-year quarter. These one-time effects resulted primarily from the consolidation of the production of lubricant precursors and the associated discontinuation of production at the Ankerweg site in Amsterdam (Netherlands). Net income pre exceptionals increased by 37.7 percent to EUR 106 million, compared with EUR 77 million in the prior-year quarter. After the strong figures of the third quarter, the Group is refining its earnings forecast for 2017 and lifting the lower end of the range by EUR 25 million. LANXESS now expects EBITDA pre exceptionals of between EUR 1.25 billion and EUR 1.3 billion. This would be a record for the Cologne-based company, as its highest operating result to date is the roughly EUR 1.2 billion achieved in 2012. Continuous portfolio management After the consolidation of production of chrome chemicals and lubricant precursors, LANXESS drives the announced optimization of its portfolio. The Group sold the non-core business with chlorine dioxide disinfectant solutions to the Canadian Superior Plus Corp. The chlorine dioxide business, with its headquarters in North Kingstown, USA, and around 40 employees, was part of the Clean & Disinfect division acquired from Chemours in August 2016. Sales substantially higher year on year across all segments Sales of the Advanced Intermediates segment in the third quarter of 2017 were EUR 479 million, 10 percent or EUR 44 million above the prior-year figure of EUR 435 million. EBITDA pre exceptionals increased by nearly 5 percent or EUR 4 million to EUR 87 million, compared with EUR 83 million a year earlier. Higher volumes in the Advanced Industrial Intermediates business unit had a particularly positive effect. The EBITDA margin pre exceptionals was 18.2 percent, against 19.1 percent in the previous year. Sales in the new Specialty Additives segment climbed by a very significant 124 percent or EUR 265 million to EUR 478 million, compared with EUR 213 million in the previous year. EBITDA pre exceptionals amounted to EUR 77 million up EUR 42 million or 120 percent on the prior-year level of EUR 35 million. This substantial earnings increase was mainly due to the integration of the Chemtura additives business. The EBITDA margin pre exceptionals of 16.1 percent was slightly below the prior-year level of 16.4 percent. Sales in the Performance Chemicals segment rose by 11 percent or EUR 36 million in the third quarter of 2017 to EUR 364 million, against EUR 328 million a year earlier. EBITDA pre exceptionals advanced by EUR 9 million or 16.1 percent to EUR 65 million, compared with the prior-year level of EUR 56 million. All business units increased their sales volumes. The Clean and Disinfect specialties business acquired in the previous year made a significant contribution to the good earnings. The EBITDA margin pre exceptionals increased to 17.9 percent from 17.1 percent previously. In the Engineering Materials segment, sales increased by 36.6 percent or EUR 94 million to EUR 351 million, up from EUR 257 million a year earlier. EBITDA pre exceptionals increased by a considerable EUR 22 million or 52.4 percent to EUR 64 million, compared with EUR 42 million a year earlier. In the High-Performance Materials business unit, the positive earnings development resulted from higher volumes and the trend toward higher-margin products. The high-margin urethane business acquired as part of the Chemtura acquisition also contributed to the earnings increase. The EBITDA margin pre exceptionals was 18.2 percent, up from 16.3 percent in the prior-year quarter. In the ARLANXEO segment, sales increased by around 6 percent or EUR 42 million to EUR 717 million, up from EUR 675 million a year earlier. EBITDA pre exceptionals amounted to EUR 76 million, 17 percent or EUR 15 million down on the comparative figure of EUR 91 million. The decline in earnings was due to the significant volatility of raw material prices and a weak US dollar. The EBITDA margin pre exceptionals was therefore 10.6 percent, against 13.5 percent a year earlier.