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Announcing a partnership between Mahindra Insurance Brokers Ltd. and LeapFrog Investments are (l-r): Ramesh Iyer, managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd.; Anand Mahindra, chairman, Mahindra Group; Andrew Kuper, president and founder, LeapFrog Investments; Bharat Doshi, chairman, Mahindra Finance; Jaideep Devare, managing director, Mahindra Insurance Brokers Ltd.; and Stewart Langdon, director, investments, LeapFrog Investments.
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    Mahindra-LeapFrog Venture

    Mahindra Insurance Brokers Ltd., an insurance broker catering to rural and semi-urban India, has formed a venture with LeapFrog Investments, a U.S. for-profit investor focused on financial services for under-served consumers. LeapFrog’s investment of nearly $15 million will enable consumers to protect assets and loans on tractors and vehicles. MIBL is a subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd. The investment will give LeapFrog a 15 percent stake in MIBL. “This partnership is a perfect alignment between our philosophy of driving positive change and LeapFrog’s socially conscious investment strategy,” said Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra. Andrew Kuper, president and founder of LeapFrog added, “LeapFrog invests in innovative companies that bring critical financial services to the next billion rising consumers.” LeapFrog claims to be the “world’s largest investor in inclusive insurance and related financial services.” Launched with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the fund invests in companies serving the “untapped market of emerging consumers in Africa and Asia.”

    First Solar’s Rajasthan Deal

    Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar, Inc., Kiran Energy Solar Power Pvt. Ltd. and Mahindra Solar One Pvt. Ltd. have signed a deal to supply First Solar’s thin-film solar modules to two solar photovoltaic power plants totaling 50 megawatts to be built in Rajasthan. The two adjacent projects are part of the second batch of utility-scale solar projects concluded under India's Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which aims to install 20,000 MW of new solar electricity generating capacity by 2022. First Solar will supply more than 585,000 of its solar modules for the two projects of 30 MWDC and 20 MWDC. Construction on both projects is expected to begin this year and be completed in the first quarter of 2013. “First Solar looks forward to working with two leading companies like Kiran and Mahindra Solar One to support India’s renewable energy goals, and we are pleased they selected our technology as the best solution for the high ambient temperatures and diffuse sunlight conditions here," said First Solar India country head Sujoy Ghosh.

    OPIC Supports India Funds

    The Overseas Private Investment Corp., a U.S. development finance institution, has approved $135 million for two investment funds in India. OPIC granted $35 million for the BanyanTree Growth Capital II fund to invest in small and medium sized businesses, mainly in sectors overlooked by investors. The fund has a target capitalization of $175 million. The OPIC also funded $100 million to IndoSpace Logistics Parks II, which is designed to address India’s demand for quality logistics parks by investing in warehouses, distribution centers, cargo handling facilities and infrastructure. The fund has a target capitalization of $350 million.

    India Expands Vaccines

    India’s vaccine production sector is seen expanding from $350 million in 2011 to $871 million by 2016, according to a new GBI Research report. Emerging economies of India and China will provide growth opportunities for vaccines, the research firm said. Exports accounted for 65 percent of the Indian vaccines market in 2011, GBI said. In 2008, the Indian government cancelled licenses of three vaccine-producing units — the Central Research Institute, the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin Vaccine Laboratory and the Pasteur Institute of India — due to non-compliance with good manufacturing practices, PTI reported. But in April 2011, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched a national vaccine policy that stressed the significance of the vaccine industry.

    Infosys Wins Oracle Awards

    Oracle in San Francisco Oct. 4 presented Infosys with the “Oracle Excellence Award for Specialized Partner of the Year - North America,” in both the financial management and the human capital management categories. It also recognized Ricoh, an Infosys business partner, for an “Oracle Excellence Award: Eco-Enterprise Innovation.” “Oracle and Infosys are strategic partners that help clients like Ricoh transform their businesses," said Ravi Kumar S., VP and global head, Oracle practice, at Infosys. “These awards show just how hard we work to help our clients build tomorrow's enterprises.”

    TEKsystems Adds Frontline

    Hanover, Md.-based TEKsystems, a provider of IT staffing and talent management, has acquired Charlotte, N.C.-based Frontline Consulting Services, an integration services firm with expertise in Oracle technologies. FCS will join TEKsystems’ global services TM unit. Terms were not disclosed. FCS has a development center in Hyderabad and operations in the U.K., the Netherlands and South Africa. “Our clients will continue to receive the innovation FCS has become known for while TEKsystems global services brings additional strengths and capabilities to the relationship,” said FCS president and CEO Vikas Handa.

    India Bromine Acquisition

    Philadelphia, Pa.-based Chemtura Corp., a manufacturer of specialty chemicals, agro-chemicals and pool, spa and home care products, has acquired the assets of Solaris ChemTech Industries Ltd., an India maker of bromine and bromine derivatives. Terms were not disclosed. The acquisition includes an R&D center and a multi-products facility in Gujarat. The new subsidiary will be based in New Delhi.

    Grant Helps Poor in Nepal

    U.S.-based nonprofit Nyaya Health placed 8th in the annual Chase Community Giving contest. The group, which provides free health care to the poor in rural Nepal, is one of 10 groups receiving a $100,000 grant. More than 7,000 organizations vied for awards and 196 received prizes. The grant is about a tenth of Nyaya’s annual operating budget.

    SAJA-Wharton Scholarships

    Maneet Ahuja of CNBC/NBC Universal and Devin Banerjee of Bloomberg News have won scholarships for business journalism from the South Asian Journalists Association-Knowledge@Wharton. The grants, worth about $1,995, fund tuition, course materials and meals to attend the Wharton seminars for business journalists in Philadelphia, Pa.

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