The civil aviation sector was at the heart of the bond between India and the European Union (EU) in recent weeks. India clears aviation MoU with Poland The Union Cabinet of India, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Poland for the Promotion of Civil Aviation Cooperation. The MoU, which will be for a term of five years, will be signed on behalf of the two countries after its approval by the two governments. The objective of the MoU is to recognise the mutual benefit of Cooperation in the field of civil aviation, having particular significance in establishing and improving Regional Air Connectivity in India. Apart from this, both sides will recognise the mutual benefits of environmental testing or approvals, flight simulators monitoring and approvals, aircraft maintenance facilities approvals, maintenance personnel approvals and aircrew members' approvals. This MoU will promote and facilitate mutual cooperation by providing support in the civil aviation market by reviewing any legal and procedural issues which may adversely affect cooperation between India and Poland. It also looks at promoting exchange of information and expertise between the Ministries and respective civil aviation authorities related to aviation regulations, regional air operations, airworthiness requirements and safety standards to enhance safety and security of air transport, among other things. Aurobindo Pharma eyes Eastern Europe Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma is looking at inorganic growth opportunities in Eastern Europe and other geographies for deeper market penetration and to secure newer technologies. Apart from acquisitions, the company is also keen to expand its product portfolio in the US and Western European markets with high-value drugs. The high-value products that are in the pipeline include oncology, hormones, depot injections, peptides, inhalers, patches and films, vaccines and biosimilars. N. Govindarajan, Managing Director, Aurobindo Pharma, said: "Our acquisition strategy will be largely around two platforms. One is to penetrate markets deeper and the other to secure newer technologies and platforms. We always maintain that anything that can come across in Eastern Europe will be prioritised.” For FY18, it plans to spend about $130 million towards capex in vaccines and biosimilar. The company has launched eight products, including two injectables in the September quarter and witnessed growth of 37 per cent, driven by new product launches and higher volume. Govindarajan added: "Even though there is pressure, we still believe we would be able to grow our US business because there are lot of opportunities for growing the volume as well to launch some new products.” India, Greece to deepen energy, aviation ties India and Greece agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in a range of key areas including trade, investment and energy and inked a pact for launching the first direct flight service between the two countries. Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Greek counterpart, Nikos Kotzias, held extensive talks covering the entire expanse of bilateral relations during which they resolved to take steps to further expand the ties. Raveesh Kumar, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson, said an air services agreement and another pact on cooperation in the field of new and renewable energy were signed after the talks. He added that the discussions covered all aspects of bilateral relationship and that the two leaders reaffirmed commitment to further expand cooperation in mutually beneficial spheres. At present there is no direct air connectivity between India and the European nation. The air services agreement will allow Indian airlines to operate to Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion. Similarly, the Greek airlines will also be able to launch flight services to major Indian cities. India, Italy in medical infrastructure pact India and Italy signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for enhanced cooperation in the health sector by pooling in technical, scientific, financial and human resources to upgrade infrastructural resources, medical education and research in both countries. An official statement issued by the health ministry of India said the MoU recognises the potential for exchange in the health sector between the two countries, and the need to tap the capabilities and opportunities in a focused and comprehensive manner. The main areas of cooperation include exchange and training of doctors and other health professionals, assistance in development of human resource and setting up of health care facilities and regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics. It also includes promotion of business development opportunities in pharmaceuticals, procurement of generic and essential drugs as well as health equipment, collaboration in prevention of noncommunicable disease (NCD) and in the field of climate change impact on communicable diseases and vector borne diseases, among others, the statement added. LT Foods to invest $20mn for Europe expansion Indian rice milling company LT Foods will be investing $20 million for branding and expansion in Europe, as it eyes a six times increase in sales from the branded segment over the next four years. The company is extensively working on expanding its geographical footprint and product portfolio in these markets and plans to invest $20 million with increased sales from the current 5,000 tonnes to 30,000 tonnes. LT Foods, which sells basmati rice under Daawat brand, has been focusing on Europe as the next growth region and has recently opened a new plant in Rotterdam, Netherlands to cater to both Europe and UK. Vijay Kumar Arora, Chairman, LT Foods, said: “In the next two years, we are eyeing to gain 5 per cent market share in the branded segment of this region with distribution expansion and continuous brand investments. This will help to take the growth to the next level and achieve the aspired targets.” It will also introduce new packaging across all its Daawat rice variants for a fresh shelf presence by March 2018 in the region. Indian firms in Germany on a high Around 80 Indian companies in Germany employing a total workforce of 27,400 generated combined revenues of 11.4 billion in 2016, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said citing its joint study conducted on the matter. The study, done by the Bertelsmann Foundation, Ernst & Young (EY) and CII, showed that nearly 140 major investment projects by Indian companies have been initiated in Germany since 2010. This includes FDI (foreign direct investment) announcements as well as M&As (merger and acquisitions). Between 2010 and 2016, Germany was the second-largest recipient of Indian FDI in Europe with 96 projects. According to the study, the top sectors for investment include automobiles, metals and metal processing, professional, technical and scientific services, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, electrotechnics and machine building. Indian companies in Germany currently generate nearly 70 per cent of their turnover in the labour intensive sectors of metals (40 per cent) and automotives (29 per cent). CCI said the Indian IT industry accounts for a revenue share of 9 per cent. According to 80 per cent of the CEOs surveyed, access to innovation and technology are important factors that influence the decision to invest in Germany. Cipla to sell Croatian subsidiary to PharmaS Hyderabad-headquartered fast food chain Hello Curry and UK's FoodAdvisr announced a partnership and will jointly invest £2 million over the next two years. India drugmaker Cipla Ltd is selling indirect subsidiary Cipla Croatia to Zagreb-based pharmaceutical company PharmaS. The Netherlands-based Cipla Holding BV has entered into an agreement with PharmaS to sell its 100 per cent stake in Cipla Croatia for $1.1 million. According to the agreement, the buyer will pay $550,000 upfront and the remaining amount will paid in two tranches, on the first and second anniversary of the closing of the deal. PharmaS will also pay all outstanding liabilities and net working capital of Cipla Croatia as on the date of the closure, but will not exceed $2.5 million. Cipla has changed its business model in most countries across Europe, moving from direct-to-market to the partnership-led B2B model. The move has significantly improved profitability of its European businesses, which would support stronger growth. Cipla's European business contributes about 4 per cent to its overall revenues. The company has also been streamlining its other business units, while looking to acquire companies that complement its focus areas, especially in the US market.