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Universal Credit claimants may be able to unlock free NHS prescriptions – check now

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Universal Credit claims have surged in recent months, as Britons have felt the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The payment, which is overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is intended to help with households’ living costs. Those in receipt of Universal Credit can expect to receive a sum of money once a month, which is likely to be particularly valuable.

However, for those out of work or on a low income, there is also the opportunity to unlock additional benefits.

One such benefit is free NHS prescriptions, which certain claimants will be able to receive.

While a general perception is that all Universal Credit claimants will be automatically entitled to free prescriptions – this, in fact, is not the case.

Indeed, Britons will only receive the benefit if their earnings fall within a certain threshold.

However, many could find they are in fact entitled, if they take the opportunity to check. 

To qualify for NHS prescription support, a person must be eligible to receive Universal Credit, and either have had no earnings in their last assessment period, or net earnings of £435 or less.

Alternatively, a person could qualify if receiving Universal Credit including an element for a child.

And free prescriptions can also be gained if a Universal Credit claimant or their partner had limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA), and had either no earnings or net earnings of £935 or less in their last assessment period.

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Claimants who are part of a couple should note the net earning threshold will apply to combined earnings. 

Once a person finds out if they are eligible to receive NHS support, they will need to take action.

Britons are required to present a copy of their Universal Credit award notice to prove their entitlement. 

A claimant must have met the NHS’s eligibility criteria during their last completed assessment period, before their health costs arose. 

At the start of this year, new FP10 prescription forms were put into circulation, making things easier for claimants.

This is because the prescription now includes a ‘U’ tick box for exemption, specifically for those who meet the criteria for free prescriptions and claim Universal Credit. 

However, if a person does not come across the new form in their pharmacy, they should be ticking box K – based on income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance – if eligible for NHS support on Universal Credit. 

For those who are unsure if they meet the eligibility criteria laid out by the NHS, there are specific actions which are encouraged.

The NHS has told Britons to pay for any health costs they may incur up front in this circumstances.

But individuals should not worry if they later find they are entitled to support, as they may be able to claim a refund later down the line.

To gain a refund, claimants must have met the eligibility criteria in either the Universal Credit period before you paid, or in the same assessment period in which they paid. 

People who may be in this circumstance include those who are currently having their Universal Credit claim assessed, or individuals who are uncertain if their earnings are within the threshold.

To receive further clarity on the matter, claimants are encouraged to use the online eligibility checker.

The tool has been developed by the NHS Business Services Authority to help Universal Credit recipients receive the support to which they are entitled. 

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Business

Indian economy contracts for second quarter in a row, recovery seen next year

  • India's gross domestic product in July-September quarter contracted 7.5% on year, data released by the National Statistical Office on Friday showed, compared to a decline of 23.9% in the previous three months.
  • Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast an 8.8% contraction in the lastest period.

The Indian economy shrank for the second straight quarter through September, although it showed signs of a pick-up after the easing of pandemic restrictions that triggered a record contraction in the previous quarter.

India's gross domestic product in July-September quarter contracted 7.5% on year, data released by the National Statistical Office on Friday showed, compared to a decline of 23.9% in the previous three months.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast an 8.8% contraction in the lastest period.

Annual growth of 3.4% in farm sector and 0.6% in manufacturing during September quarter raised hopes of an early recovery as the government gears up to distribute coranavirus vaccines to a country with about 1.4 billion people.

Economists have marginally raised growth forecasts this month after a pick-up in consumer demand for autos, non-durables and rail freight during the festival season.

"The possibility of a release of several highly effective vaccines soon gives us hope that there is an end date to the pandemic Rumki Majumdar, economist at Deloitte India, while expressing confidence in a quick economic rebound.

India's tally of COVID-19 infections has crossed 9.3 million to stand as the world's second highest after the United States, with 135,715 deaths in the south Asian nation.

The Reserve Bank of India, which has slashed its benchmark repo rate by a total of 115 basis points since March to cushion the shock from the crisis, is expected to keep rates on hold at its policy review meeting next week due to growing concerns about inflation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose party won elections this month in the eastern state of Bihar, expects the recent easing of farm and labor laws, along with tax incentives, to bolster manufacturing and lure more foreign investment.

But critics say the economy, which must grow at more than 8% a year to create jobs for millions of young people entering the workforce, faces a prolonged slowdown, thanks to a delay in resolving a banking crisis and inadequate stimulus measures.

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Business

These Are The States The Most People Could Be Evicted Due To COVID-19

There is a line that traces from people who lost jobs due to COVID-19 to those who received government aid, to those who did not get new jobs, to the expiration of aid, to the end of a moratorium on evictions from their homes. That line of events has reached its conclusion. The Centers for Disease Control eviction control ends at the close of the year. Soon, millions of people can be legally evicted from where they live. In some states, the situation is much worse than in others.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has just published a study, “Cost of COVID-19 EVICTIONS”. One of the points of the study is to look at a range of academic data to determine how many people, in this case who are renters, could lose their homes in the next few months. Its researchers looked at information from consultancy Stout Risius Ross, data from the Federal Reserve, and from the Census Household Pulse Survey. With information from each, the NLIHC came up with a national eviction total which showed “6.7 million renter households will be unable to pay their rent and at risk of eviction if rent payments remain consistent among renters with no or slight confidence in their ability to pay rent.” Granted, the number could be called into question because of the number of qualifications in the calculations.

One conclusion from the study is correct. People who are evicted likely have poor enough financial circumstances that they will need government aid. The figure could be well above $100 billion, and perhaps much more. The problems eviction can cause include “emergency shelter, inpatient medical care, emergency medical care, foster care, and juvenile delinquency.”

And, those evicted will cease to be consumers, almost certainly. This, in turn, is a drag on the American economy.

The NLIHC had to make a decision as to which information to use from a number of sources. Their figures could be wrong, although they are likely to be directionally correct.

On top of their national estimates, they presented a range of evictions based on both cost and eviction numbers. Three measurements were presented. The first was based on a Federal Reserve model. The other two were based on models from Stout.

24/7 Wall St. took the lowest numbers which were from the Federal Reserve model. These are the number of households at risk for eviction, based on that data:

United States
6,656,340

Alabama
86,536

Alaska
12,562

Arizona
121,372

Arkansas
54,864

California
823,5112

Colorado
79,862

Connecticut
66,273

Delaware
19,330

District of Columbia
16,285

Florida
456,833

Georgia
220,963

Hawaii
25,893

Idaho
22,168

Illinois
279,410

Indiana
100,019

Iowa
52,206

Kansas
51,763

Kentucky
82,720

Louisiana
141,678

Maine
16,888

Maryland
131,116

Massachusetts
150,601

Michigan
181,047

Minnesota
76,066

Mississippi
77,596

Missouri
134,912

Montana
11,300

Nebraska
33,165

Nevada
76,525

New Hampshire
21,126

New Jersey
152,491

New Mexico
30,759

New York
636,843

North Carolina
200,555

North Dakota
13,291

Ohio
224,521

Oklahoma
81,251

Oregon
70,218

Pennsylvania
309,027

Rhode Island
22,236

South Carolina
92,216

South Dakota
15,983

Tennessee
139,255

Texas
603,426

Utah
33,516

Vermont
9,136

Virginia

161,170

Washington

106,708

West Virginia
23,559

Wisconsin
97,475

Wyoming
8,115

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World News

3 questions you should ask yourself before becoming a manager, according to a social scientist who's spent 2 decades studying leadership and empathy

  • Social scientist and leadership expert Brené Brown has some advice for leaders during the pandemic: let down the armor and seek out advice. 
  • During the pandemic, Brown said that there are a few traits that leaders will need to adopt in order to weather unforeseen challenges. 
  • The leaders who will emerge from the pandemic most successful are those who can exercise bravery and self-awareness, and focus on their teams, according to Brown. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Leaders shouldn't be afraid to admit they are struggling. 

In fact, the best leaders are open about their weaknesses. They're not afraid to learn and grow from others, even if they're in a position of power. 

That's according to prominent social scientist and leadership expert Brené Brown, who said leaders shouldn't be afraid to have honest conversations, even if it means revealing their imperfections. 

Brown is a research professor in social work at the University of Houston and has authored five New York Times best-sellers, including "Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts." and "Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone." She has also consulted companies including Pixar and IBM. Her Ted Talk on vulnerability has more than 50 million views. 

Last month, Brown launched a new podcast, "Dare to Lead," which explores her research on what a courageous leader looks like in the workplace. Ahead of the podcast launch, Business Insider spoke with Brown about what it means to have courage and the skills anyone can use to become a better leader.

Here are the three questions Brown said you should ask yourself before taking on a new leadership role. 

Am I brave? 

While researching courage, shame, and vulnerability, Brown interviewed 150 leaders from a range of industries. She said that nearly every single one pointed to the same finding: companies need braver leaders. 

"Courageous leadership is the primer and the top coat for any other strategy that you want to implement in your organization," Brown said. 

But Brown's definition of bravery doesn't necessarily look like the heroic, bold act we might expect. According to Brown, brave leadership can be as subtle as the willingness to give and receive difficult feedback, or bouncing back after a setback or failure.

This holds true now, as leaders are faced with a number of different challenges during the pandemic. While it might be tempting to let fear to inform your decisions, Brown said, remember to stay vulnerable and be willing to learn. 

"I think the question is, during a time of great uncertainty, have you been able to build and maintain a culture where armor is neither rewarded or required?" Brown said. 

The "armor" Brown refers to can mean many things: it can look like resisting constructive feedback or pretending to have complete knowledge of a particular subject. 

Armor can prevent leaders from growing on a personal and professional level, and cause their teams to stagnate. That's why having the bravery to set that armor aside and have tough conversations is crucial for an organization's success. 

Do I put my team first? 

Most organizations will tell you they are taking good care of their team, but in reality, their main focus is the client, Brown said. To be a good leader, you have to put your team first. 

"Our primary focus has to be on taking care of the people we work with so that they, in turn, can do their jobs," Brown said. 

And this doesn't just mean making sure they complete their tasks; it also involves ensuring that they're able to manage stress. 

It's important to check in with employees regularly. In a recent Harvard Business Review study with Qualtrics and SAP, nearly 40% of global employees said that no one at their company asked them how they were faring. Those respondents were also more likely to report poorer levels of mental health. Caring for a team can take many forms, but it can even be as simple as a manager asking an employee if they're doing okay. 

"People are weary, burnt out, scared, and uncertain; we need to attend to fears and feelings in a meaningful, empathic way," Brown said. 

What are my flaws? 

Becoming self aware requires an understanding of how you respond in moments of fear.

"I have never worked with a truly transformational leader who does not have an exceptional level of self-awareness," Brown said. 

Brown said leaders should ask themselves what kinds of armor they are using to keep themselves safe — for example, resorting to perfectionism, or insisting on having knowledge on things instead of soliciting help. 

Those are questions you should ask yourself all the time. Self-examining questions might mean that you uncover weaknesses or vulnerabilities, but these will ultimately you grow. For example, they might find that you're experiencing feelings of fear — and that's okay. 

Fear is a common experience right now, but it's possible to feel fear while still acting with courage. 

"We can make choices that keep us aligned with our values and keep us intentionally centered in bravery. That's the call of a leader." 

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Business

U.S. stocks will be outpaced by Europe next year, strategist says

  • Parker expects non-U.S. markets to outperform the U.S. over the next 6-9 months.
  • Spain's IBEX 35 index has soared nearly 24% since the beginning of November, while Italy's FTSE MIB has jumped 21%.

Growth and stock market gains in the U.S. will be overshadowed by most other global regions during 2021, according to Bob Parker, an investment committee member at Quilvest Wealth Management. 

"We're actually at a very interesting time in markets, whereby I think non-U.S. markets over probably the next six months to nine months will outperform the U.S.," Parker explained on CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" Friday. 

In a research note emailed to CNBC, Parker noted that investors will start to focus on markets and sectors which will recover rapidly after the coronavirus has been curtailed, "where growth prospects are the most durable and where valuations are less stretched." 

A key theme for next year, he believes, is for European equities to outperform the U.S. with markets in the U.K., Spain and Italy to lead that charge. Spain's IBEX 35 index has soared nearly 24% since the beginning of November, while Italy's FTSE MIB has jumped 21%.  

"Positive expectations on vaccines has meant that people have gone back into what was a very unloved, under-owned market," Parker told CNBC. He also believes that euro zone and U.K. growth will either outpace or be equivalent to that in the U.S. next year, underlying those stock market gains. 

Tech trade 

Parker explained that up until this month, much of the movement in stock markets this year had been driven by U.S. equities outperforming most other markets, with the tech sector seeing the most gains. However, throughout November "tech-heavy" markets had underperformed, he added. 

Month-to-date, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has risen close to 10%, according to Refinitiv data. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index, which is skewed toward stocks with a greater reliance on a cyclical economic recovery, has climbed around 13%. 

Announcements about effective Covid-19 vaccines from pharmaceuticals giants Pfizer and Moderna, in particular, have driven the Dow's outperformance, as a sign that economies may soon be able to re-open fully and begin to recover from the crisis. 

Parker also highlighted that the same trend had played out with China's tech-heavy CSI 300 index, which has underperformed other Asian markets in the last month. The CSI 300 has risen nearly 6% since Nov. 1, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, which contains a bigger mix of sectors, has added 10%. 

"So I think theme one has been this very crowded trade in tech both in China and in the States, that we've seen their profit taking," Parker said.

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World News

VW Speeds Up Work on Small Electric Car, Culls Combustion Models

Volkswagen AG is accelerating development of a compact electric car that will cost less than 30,000 euros ($35,800) as tightening emissions rules and generous subsidies bolster sales of battery-powered vehicles, according to people familiar with the matter.

The VW-branded car may be introduced as early as 2023, flanking the ID.5 crossover to be sold from next year as well as an electric iteration of the iconic hippie-era minibus slated for 2022, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal plans.

VW is also working on a fully electric station wagon, dubbed Aero, with a battery range of as much as 700 kilometers (435 miles) to be sold from 2023, the people said.

The world’s best-selling automaker rolled out the ID.3 hatchback in Europe in September, its first vehicle based on underpinnings designed purely for battery-powered vehicles. The German manufacturer’s EV push will go global with the ID.4 SUV sibling next year, which will be produced in Europe, China and North America.

To free up funds for the industry’s biggest electric-car offensive, VW will take more steps to shrink its portfolio of combustion-engine cars after already culling models including the Beetle and the Scirocco.

It will discontinue the mid-sized Passat sedan in the U.S. and sell only the station-wagon version in Europe, the people said. VW may also phase out the upscale Arteon coupe, they said.

Cost Cuts

The VW brand, which accounts for roughly half of the group’s deliveries, is stepping up efforts to cut costs and capital expenditures, including a fresh round of job reductions in Brazil. The business plans to reach break-even in South America and the U.S. next year.

Even as the Covid-19 pandemic still weighs on several markets, VW’s order intake has been high, helped by surging demand for the hybrid versions of the high-volume Golf and Passat models.

The brand expects to gain market share during the fourth quarter and in 2021, according to the people. VW lifted its internal global market share target for next year to 8.6%, from 8.1% previously.

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World News

Donald Trump spent Thanksgiving night railing against Section 230 on Twitter as the #DiaperDon hashtag went viral

  • President Donald Trump attacked Twitter Thanksgiving night for making "false trends" and demanded again that Section 230 should be "terminated."
  • Twitter users mocked the president using the hashtag #DiaperDon after he sat at a small table during a news conference and posted frustrated tweets.
  •  There are more than 230,000 posts using #DiaperDon on Twitter.
  • Trump also echoed his previous claims that Twitter is biased against conservatives.
  • Amongst his 14 tweets Thursday, he also targeted Fox News, Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, and NFL players kneeling.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Most American families enjoyed a humble Thanksgiving this year. But not President Donald Trump.

The US president spent most of his Thanksgiving night ripping into Twitter for making "false trends" when the #DiaperDon hashtag was trending on the social media site. The hashtag has more than 230,000 tweets attached to it.

He also demanded an end to Section 230, which is part of a law that means tech platforms are allowed to set their own rules about how they regulate content on their platforms.

The hashtag followed a news conference Thursday evening in which Trump snapped at White House correspondent Jeff Mason, who asked the president if he would concede once the Electoral College votes to officially make Joe Biden the winner of the US election.

"I'm the President of the United States. Don't ever talk to the president that way," Trump told Mason. "You're just a lightweight."

In his tweet after the conference, Trump attacked "fake news media" for its coverage of the event and reiterated false claims that the US election was "rigged" and that he won against Joe Biden.

Amid Trump's frustration at reporters and constant tweets about election fraud, Twitter users began to mock the president using the hashtag #DiaperDon after he sat at a small table during the press conference.

In response, Trump tweeted: "Twitter is sending out totally false "Trends" that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world. They make it up, and only negative "stuff.""

He also echoed his previous claims that Twitter discriminates against conservatives. 

But he didn't stop there.

In the same hour, Trump tweeted that Section 230 – one of Big Tech's biggest shields – should be "terminated" for "the purposes of national security."

 

This isn't the first time Trump has called for a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In May, the president signed an executive order seeking to empower federal regulators to amend Section 230. 

In recent months, Trump has escalated this repeal as both Twitter and Facebook fact-checked and put labels next to his posts to prevent voter misinformation and premature declarations of victory during the election period.

Both Republicans and Democrats have said Section 230 needs to be updated.

But this became more of a reality October 15 when Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said he'd issue guidance redefining the law.

Read more: Republicans sold out democracy to appease Trump's loser tantrum

Trump posted and shared a total of 14 tweets on Thanksgiving holiday, including tweets from conservative commentators, such as David J Harris Jr, who falsely suggested that Trump could still win the election. 

Other tweets targeted Fox News, Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, and NFL players kneeling to protest against racial injustice before their game Thursday.

His flurry of tweets spurred on Twitter users to include #DiaperDon in their posts.

 

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World News

Trump snapped at a reporter quizzing him about his election defeat and said: 'Don't ever talk to the president that way'

  • President Trump snapped at a White House reporter on Thursday, calling him a 'lightweight' after he was asked if he would concede to President-elect Joe Biden.
  • 'Don't talk to me that way. You're just a lightweight. Don't talk to — I'm the president of the United States. Don't ever talk to the president that way,' Trump told the reporter Jeff Mason.
  • During the exchange, the president said that it would be a "very hard thing to concede" to Biden, but said he would "certainly" leave the White House in January if the Electoral College voted for Biden next month.
  • Trump tweeted on Monday that he had told the General Services Administration to begin the formal process of transition, but said afterwards that he would "never concede."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Trump snapped at a White House reporter and called them a "lightweight" after they asked him whether he would concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden.

"Don't talk to me that way. You're just a lightweight. Don't talk to — I'm the president of the United States. Don't ever talk to the president that way," President Trump told Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason on Thursday.

 

It came after a heated exchange at the White House during which Mason asked the outgoing president whether he would concede if the Electoral College voted for Biden after winning the election earlier this month.

During the exchange, the president also said that it would be a "very hard thing to concede" to President-elect Biden, but said he would leave the White House in January if the Electoral College voted for Biden on December 14.

"Certainly I will. Certainly I will, and you know that," Trump told a reporter who asked him if he would leave the White House.

 

Trump tweeted on Monday that he had told the General Services Administration to begin the formal process of transition, but said afterwards that he would "never concede."

The president has consistently refused to concede the election to Biden, citing conspiracy theories and false information which suggests the election was rigged against him.

Trump repeated those claims on Thursday, falsely saying that "massive fraud has been found" in the voting process and likening the US to a "third-world country."

Biden won the election by 306 electoral college votes to Trump's 232 and is also projected to have won the popular vote by a margin of more than 6 million.

He reportedly allowed the process of transition to begin after he was assured by aides that he would never formally have to concede defeat to Biden.

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World News

Dad who lost his wife to breast cancer wins £1m house after entering £10 charity draw

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Ian Garrick won the first Omaze Million Pound House Draw, which supported the Teenage Cancer Trust. The civil servant, who said he “shoved a tenner” on 15 entries, lost wife Julie five years ago. He said the 3,000 sq ft, four bedroom home in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, is a fresh start for him and his three sons, who “needed a boost to carry on”.

The property has four bathrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen, landscaped garden, spacious living areas and a hot tub – a far cry from his old terraced home.

Ian, 56, from Mablethorpe, Lincs said: “I saw the draw on Facebook and I saw that it was for a cancer charity. I thought ‘Why not?’, shoved a tenner in and didn’t think any more of it.

“Since my wife died, we’ve basically been in limbo. Our house has been falling down around us. We’ve just been trying to hold each other together.

“If I’m honest, we needed some sort of boost to carry on,” he added. “My dream when entering the draw was to get away from here for a fresh start – and it’s happened. I still can’t get my head around it. I feel quite teary.”

Ian and sons James, 30, Callum, 22, and Nathan, 19, are moving in for a memorable Christmas.

Kate Collins, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “The funds raised will help ensure our nurses and youth workers can continue providing exceptional care to young people.”

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Markets

Burger King IPO to open on December 2; price band fixed at ₹59-60 per share

The company has reserved up to 10% portion of IPO for retail investors, up to 15% for non-institutional investors and up to 75% for qualified institutional investors

Quick service restaurant (QSR) chain Burger King will hit the capital markets on December 2, and the price band of the initial public offering (IPO) has been fixed at ₹59-60 per share.

The proposed IPO will see the Indian subsidiary of the U.S.-based Burger King raise ₹810 crore, comprising a fresh issue of shares amounting to ₹450 crore, the company said at a virtual road show. Promoter entity QSR Asia Pte Ltd will sell up to 6 crore shares, aggregating to ₹360 crore at the upper end of the price band, it added.

The company had undertaken a pre-IPO placement, by way of rights issue, of ₹58.08 crore at a price of ₹44 per share to promoter and preferential allotment of ₹91.92 crore at a price of ₹58.50 per share.

Hence, as a result, the fresh issue size has been reduced to ₹450 crore from ₹600 crore earlier, Burger King India CEO and member of board Rajeev Varman told PTI.

The funds raised will mainly be utilised for expansion of company-owned stores across the country and paying off of debts.

Mr. Varman said that under the Master Franchise and Development Agreement, the company is required to develop and open at least 700 restaurants (including company-owned Burger King Restaurants and Sub-Franchised Burger King Restaurants) by December 31, 2026.

It has been recently extended by one year from December 31, 2025, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Currently, we have 268 stores, of which 8 are franchise mainly located at airports and the rest are company-owned. The expansion will mainly consist of company-owned stores,” Mr. Varman said.

Currently, Burger King has a strong presence in the north, followed by west, south and the eastern parts of the country.

This expansion will be focussed on strengthening the existing markets, he added.

By extrapolation, Burger King, which employs an average 20-25 people per store, is likely to generate an employment opportunity for additional 8,640-10,800 persons with this expansion.

Currently, the QSR chain employs 4,836 people, including its restaurants and corporate office.

Bids can be made for a minimum of 250 equity shares and in multiples of 250 equity shares thereafter, which means that retail investors can apply for maximum up to 3,250 equity shares at higher price band.

The company has reserved up to 10% portion of IPO for retail investors, up to 15% for non-institutional investors and up to 75% for qualified institutional investors.

Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, CLSA India, Edelweiss Financial Services and JM Financial are the book running lead managers to the issue. Equity shares are expected to debut on bourses around December 14.

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