18 January 2024 : Important Financial News in India


Source: Economic Times, “Today’s ePaper”
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Table of Contents

D-St Benchmarks Tank Over 2%, Most Since June 2022

India’s equity indices experienced a significant drop, exceeding 2% on a single Wednesday, marking the most substantial decline in approximately 18 months. This downturn was primarily driven by a sell-off in the banking and financial sectors. The trigger for this sell-off was the underwhelming third-quarter results from HDFC Bank, one of the country’s leading banks. This decline is notable as it reflects investors’ reactions to corporate performances and broader economic conditions. Such a substantial drop in key indices like D-St Benchmarks can impact investor confidence and may lead to a cautious approach in the short term in the stock market.

Mittal: India Story Occupying Centre Stage at Davos

Sunil Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Enterprises, highlighted the urgent need for capital infusion in Vodafone Idea, estimating a requirement of $7-9 billion. This funding is crucial for the survival of the company, requiring an investor ready to endure negative cash flows for several years. Mittal’s statement, made at the prominent international forum in Davos, puts the spotlight on the challenges faced by India’s telecom sector and the need for robust investments to sustain competitiveness and growth. Such large-scale investment requirements emphasize the scale of operations and the potential risks involved in the telecom industry.

FAME III may be Unveiled in Interim Budget

India is poised to introduce the third phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) incentive scheme in the upcoming interim budget. This new phase aims to expand the scheme’s reach, including support for mass transport and alternative fuels. The FAME initiative is a crucial part of India’s commitment to enhancing electric vehicle (EV) adoption, reducing carbon emissions, and moving towards sustainable transportation solutions. This expanded scheme, if implemented, could significantly impact the EV market, potentially accelerating the adoption of eco-friendly vehicles and alternative fuel technologies in India.

Foxconn Ties Up with HCL for Local Semicon Assembly

Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn has announced a partnership with India’s HCL Group to establish a semiconductor assembly and testing operation. This collaboration marks Foxconn’s second attempt to penetrate India’s burgeoning semiconductor market. Semiconductors are vital components in various electronic devices, and this move by Foxconn and HCL indicates a significant step towards self-reliance in semiconductor production for India. It could potentially reduce the country’s dependence on imports and strengthen its position in the global technology supply chain.

AB Group Bids for IPL Rights; Tata has Right to Match

The Aditya Birla Group (ABG) is competing with Tata Sons for the title sponsorship rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL), one of the most lucrative marketing properties in the world of cricket. The competition for these rights, which had their final submission date on January 12, underscores the IPL’s immense commercial appeal and its significance as a platform for brand promotion and visibility. The involvement of major conglomerates like ABG and Tata in this bidding war highlights the strategic importance they place on such high-profile sports sponsorships.

Brand Bazaar Lights Up Road to Ayodhya

Ayodhya, a city of immense religious significance in India, has recently become a focal point for corporate branding and advertising. Major companies like Coca-Cola, Reliance, ITC, Dabur, Adani Wilmar, Emami, and Parle Products are aggressively pursuing branding opportunities in the city, anticipating a surge in pilgrims and visitors. This trend reflects the evolving strategies of India Inc in leveraging cultural and religious events for brand visibility. Such initiatives also underscore the growing importance of regional and cultural nuances in the marketing strategies of major corporations in India.

Under-Repairs Delhi Runway to Resume Ops This Week: Scindia

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia announced that Delhi Airport’s runway 28/10, which has been under maintenance since September, is set to resume operations this week. The closure of this runway at India’s busiest airport, particularly during the winter, has significantly impacted its operations. The reopening of this runway is crucial as it will likely improve the airport’s capacity and efficiency, reducing delays and cancellations that have been prevalent during its closure. This development is significant for air travelers and airlines relying on Delhi Airport, as it may lead to better management of air traffic and schedules.

Dense Fog Prevails Over North India

North and northwest India are currently experiencing dense to very dense fog conditions, impacting visibility significantly, sometimes dropping below 50 meters. This severe weather condition has led to serious consequences, including a bus accident in Punjab that resulted in the death of three police personnel. Dense fog in these regions poses a risk for transportation, causing delays and accidents, and it demands heightened caution and safety measures from both authorities and the public.

SpiceJet Passenger Gets Stuck in Lavatory Mid-air

In a SpiceJet flight, a passenger experienced a distressing situation by getting trapped inside the aircraft lavatory for about an hour due to a malfunctioning door lock. This incident raises concerns about the maintenance and safety standards of airline facilities. Such occurrences, while rare, highlight the importance of ensuring all aircraft components, including lavatory doors, are in proper working condition for passenger comfort and safety.

Mumbai Airport Tarmac Case: BCAS Slaps ₹1.2 cr Fine on IndiGo, ₹60L Penalty on MIAL

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) imposed fines totaling ₹1.8 crore on IndiGo and the Mumbai airport operator, MIAL, over an incident involving passengers having food on the airport tarmac. This penalty underscores the strict enforcement of aviation safety and security regulations. Incidents like this highlight the importance of maintaining stringent operational protocols at airports and by airlines to ensure passenger safety and compliance with regulations.

Air India, SpiceJet Fined ₹30L Each for Pilot Rostering Lapses

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) fined Air India and SpiceJet ₹30 lakh each for lapses in the rostering of pilots during flights operated in low visibility conditions. This action by the aviation regulator emphasizes the critical importance of adhering to safety norms and standards, especially in challenging flight conditions. Such fines serve as a reminder for airlines to strictly follow the guidelines for pilot rostering to ensure passenger safety.

Telecom Secy Meets US Deputy NSA to Launch OpenRAN Plan

Neeraj Mittal, India’s Department of Telecommunications Secretary, met with Ann Neuberger, the US Deputy National Security Advisor, to release the ‘US-India OpenRAN Acceleration Roadmap’. This initiative represents a significant step in collaboration between the US and India in telecommunications, focusing on Open Radio Access Network (OpenRAN) technology, which is pivotal for advancing 5G technology and services. Such international collaborations are key to fostering technological advancements and shared expertise in critical areas like telecommunications.

Adani to Invest ₹62,400 cr in Data Centres, Energy in 2 States

The Adani Group announced a massive investment plan of ₹62,400 crore over the next 10 years to establish data centres in Maharashtra and Telangana. This investment is a response to the rapidly growing demand for digital services in India. By setting up these data centres, Adani Group aims to provide essential infrastructure to support the digital economy’s expansion, signifying a major development in the tech infrastructure sector in India.

Adani Ent Subsidiary Hikes Stake in IANS

AMG Media Networks, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises, has increased its stake in the newswire service IANS India, following its acquisition of a 50.5% stake in the company last month. This move indicates Adani Group’s growing interest and investment in the media sector, reflecting the conglomerate’s strategy to diversify its business portfolio and influence in various industries, including media and information dissemination.

Six out of 10 IT Cos Opt for Hybrid Work: Study

A study by CIEL HR Services, conducted exclusively for ET, reveals that 60% of IT companies have adopted a hybrid work model, with employees working from the office 2-3 days a week. In contrast, only 23% of companies have completely withdrawn the work-from-home option. This trend underscores the lasting impact of the pandemic on work culture, highlighting the shift towards more flexible work arrangements in the IT industry. The hybrid model seems to be the preferred approach, balancing remote work benefits with the need for in-person collaboration.

ABG Shipyard Case: EY Partner, 21 Top Bank Officials Among ED Witnesses

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has listed 69 witnesses, including 21 senior bank officials and an Ernst & Young partner, to present evidence in India’s biggest bank fraud case involving ABG Shipyard. This case highlights the complexity and magnitude of financial fraud investigations, involving key figures from major banks and professional services firms. The involvement of such high-profile witnesses underlines the serious nature of the case and the ED’s commitment to thoroughly investigate and prosecute the alleged fraud.

Court Allows Naresh Goyal to Undergo Medical Tests

A special court has allowed Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal, accused in a ₹538 crore fraud case at Canara Bank, to undergo medical tests at a private hospital. This decision reflects the legal system’s balance between ensuring the rights and health of the accused while they face charges. Goyal’s case is part of a broader issue of financial irregularities in the aviation sector, which has seen significant turbulence in recent years.

Fert Subsidy Bill Likely to Dip 30-34% to ₹1.8 L crore

India’s fertiliser subsidy bill is expected to decrease by 30-34% to ₹1.7-1.8 lakh crore this fiscal year, according to Fertilizer Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. This reduction is attributed to lower global prices and reduced urea imports. The statement also assures that tensions in the Red Sea region will not impact fertilizer availability in India. This development is significant for India’s agricultural sector, potentially reducing government spending and affecting farmers’ input costs.

Ships with Indians Aboard Asked to Alert Authorities

The Indian government has instructed shipping companies to inform authorities about vessels with Indian crew navigating the troubled Red Sea route. This measure is taken to ensure the safety of Indian seafarers amid increasing tensions and risks in the region. Additionally, the government plans to facilitate easier credit flow to exporters, acknowledging the impact of delays and rising cargo transport costs.

Byju’s Refers Payment Dispute with Cricket Board for Arbitration

Edtech giant Byju’s has moved its payment dispute with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to arbitration, as informed to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Bengaluru. This dispute highlights the challenges in high-value corporate sponsorships and partnerships, especially in high-profile sports contexts like cricket in India.

Despite India Push, US Avoiding Talks on Food Security Measures

The United States is reportedly avoiding discussions on food stock procurement measures at the World Trade Organisation ministerial, despite India’s push for it. The reluctance stems from a wide divergence in member views and time constraints. This situation underscores the complexities in international trade negotiations, particularly concerning crucial issues like food security.

NFRA Plans to Engage with Audit Panels of Big Cos to Curb Frauds

The National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) intends to engage directly with audit committees of large listed companies. This initiative aims to sensitize them about accounting standards and their roles to prevent corporate frauds. It represents a proactive approach by the regulatory body to enhance corporate governance and financial reporting standards.

Speedy Clearances, Transparency on Cards to Make BOT Attractive

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) plans to amend the model concession agreement for the built-operate-transfer (BOT) model. This move aims to attract investments by ensuring speedy clearances and transparency. The NHAI aims to bid out 53 projects worth over ₹2.2 lakh crore, covering 5,200 km, signaling significant development in India’s infrastructure sector.

Finmin Seeks Comments on Draft Indian Stamp Bill

The Finance Ministry is seeking stakeholder comments on the draft Indian Stamp Bill, 2023. This bill is intended to modernize the current law dating back to 1899, reflecting the government’s efforts to update and streamline legal frameworks in line with contemporary needs.

Natgas Demand Rises 9% in Dec

Natural gas demand in India increased by 9% in December, with liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports rising 12% year-on-year. The increase in demand, coupled with falling international LNG prices, indicates a shifting energy landscape and potential shifts in India’s energy strategy.

PLI Scheme Drew ₹1.03 L cr Investments till Nov

India’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme has attracted ₹1.03 lakh crore investments till November, with exports exceeding ₹3.2 lakh crore since its implementation. The government has disbursed ₹4,415 crore in incentives, highlighting the scheme’s success in boosting manufacturing and exports.

Rich Farmers can be Taxed: MPC Member

Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal suggested that the government could consider taxing rich farmers. This proposal, made after addressing the needs of poor farmers, aims to bring fairness to the taxation structure. It reflects ongoing discussions about agricultural income and tax policy in India.

55% Tehsils Clock 10%+ More Rains in a Decade

A new study reveals that 55% of tehsils in India have recorded over a 10% increase in southwest monsoon rainfall in the last decade due to climate change. This significant change has profound implications for agriculture, water resources, and overall climate patterns in the country.

PFRDA Simplifies Point of Presence Regulations

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) notified the Point of Presence (PoP) Regulations 2023, simplifying the registration process. This move aims to ease doing business and encourage greater digital mode usage in the pension sector.

OFS for NHPC Opens Today at Rs66/share Floor

The government announced the sale of a 3.5% stake in power producer NHPC at a floor price of Rs66 per share. This sale is expected to garner Rs2,300 crore, contributing to the government’s disinvestment targets.

Unions, Farmers’ Body Call for Strike on Feb 16

Trade unions and farmers’ bodies have called for a nationwide general strike and rural shutdown on February 16. This action is to protest against policies perceived as anti-worker, anti-farmer, and anti-national.

China’s Population Declines by 2.08 Million in 2023

In 2023, China witnessed a population decline of 2.08 million, bringing its total to 1.4097 billion. This marks the second consecutive year of population decrease for the country. This demographic shift led to India surpassing China as the most populous nation globally. A declining population can have far-reaching implications, potentially affecting economic growth, labor markets, and social structures. The decline may be attributed to factors like aging population, low birth rates, and possibly policy impacts. Such demographic trends are crucial for planning future economic strategies and social policies.

Insurance Cover under Ayushman Bharat may be Doubled

The Indian government is considering a proposal to double the insurance coverage under the Ayushman Bharat health scheme to ₹10 lakh. This increase aims to provide better financial support for serious illnesses like cancer and organ transplants, which entail higher medical costs. Ayushman Bharat is a flagship health insurance scheme, and this potential increase in coverage reflects the government’s commitment to improving healthcare accessibility and affordability for its citizens, particularly for serious health conditions.

Geopolitical Conflicts Biggest New Hurdle to Climate Action

Achim Steiner, head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), emphasized at the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos that addressing climate change is a universal responsibility, transcending the developed-developing country divide. However, geopolitical conflicts have emerged as a significant new obstacle to climate action. Such conflicts can divert attention and resources away from climate initiatives, complicating global cooperation essential for effective environmental policies and actions.

Govt Targeting Power, Auto and Telecom Cos with 28nm Chip Focus

India is strategically focusing on producing 28 nm (nanometer) and above configuration semiconductor chips to cater to the automotive, telecom, and power sectors. This initiative, as mentioned by the electronics and information technology minister, is a step towards self-reliance in semiconductor technology, crucial for these industries. The move towards sub-7 nm chips is planned for the future. Developing indigenous chip manufacturing capabilities is vital for national security and technological advancement.

‘Indian Economy to Grow by 7% in FY25; Inflation to Avg Around 4.5%’

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das forecasts a 7% growth rate for the Indian economy in the fiscal year 2025, with an average inflation rate around 4.5%, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This projection suggests a positive outlook for the economy, balancing growth with manageable inflation levels. Such forecasts are essential for policy planning and investor confidence.

Less Optimistic on World Trade this Year Due to Red Sea Crisis: WTO

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the chief of the World Trade Organization (WTO), expressed concerns about global trade in 2024 due to tensions in the Red Sea region. The Red Sea is a crucial global shipping lane, and conflicts there can disrupt trade routes and global supply chains, affecting international trade and economic stability.

Apple Overtakes Samsung as World’s Top Phone Maker

Apple Inc. has surpassed Samsung Electronics to become the world’s largest smartphone seller in 2023, achieving a 20% market share. This shift ends Samsung’s 12-year dominance in the smartphone market and reflects the competitive dynamics in the global tech industry. Market share changes can influence consumer choices and industry trends.

Blinken: Israel Needs to Help Palestinian Authority

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Israel to support the Palestinian Authority, emphasizing that Israel’s long-term security depends on it. This statement highlights the ongoing complexities in Israeli-Palestinian relations and the role of international diplomacy in seeking peace and stability in the region.

OpenAI, US Army Working on Cybersecurity Tools

OpenAI, known for its artificial intelligence developments, is collaborating with the Pentagon on cybersecurity projects. This collaboration indicates the growing importance of AI in national security and cybersecurity, and represents a shift in OpenAI’s policy regarding military partnerships.

Altman, Gates Weigh AI Risks in Big Election Year

Sam Altman and Bill Gates discussed the potential impacts of AI, like ChatGPT, on democracies, especially with many countries having elections in 2024. Their conversation at the WEF highlights concerns about AI’s influence on information and democratic processes, and the need for effective AI regulation by governments.

Govts, CEOs to Triple Clean Energy Investments in EMs

At the WEF, over 20 ministers and CEOs, including from India, formed an alliance to significantly increase clean energy investments in the Global South. The plan aims to mobilize an estimated $2.2-2.8 trillion, tripling the current annual investment. This initiative is critical for the global transition to clean energy, particularly in emerging markets.

China’s Debt-to-GDP Ratio Rises to Fresh Record

China’s debt-to-GDP ratio reached a new high of 286.1% in the fourth quarter, according to data from its central bank and statistics bureau. This rising ratio indicates an increasing debt burden relative to the size of the economy, which could have implications for economic stability and policy decisions.

HDFC Bank Drops 8.4% on Margin Worries

The stock of HDFC Bank, a prominent Indian financial institution, experienced a significant drop of 8.4% in a single day, marking its largest decline since March 2020. This downturn was driven by investor concerns regarding the bank’s future profitability. The term ‘margin’ in this context refers to the difference between the revenue a company earns and its costs, which is a key indicator of profitability. The worry about shrinking margins suggests that investors fear the bank might not sustain its current levels of profitability, which could impact its future growth and ability to generate returns for shareholders. Such a sharp decline in stock value can also affect the broader market sentiment towards banking stocks.

Margin Funding Touches New High in Step with D-St

Margin funding reached a record high this week, paralleling the broader market’s peak. In margin funding, retail investors buy stocks by paying only a part of their total value (25% in this case), while brokers finance the remaining amount for a period, often up to a year. This surge indicates a high level of investor confidence and risk-taking in the stock market. However, it also increases market exposure to volatility since a significant portion of stock purchases is leveraged, meaning borrowed funds are used. If market trends reverse, it can lead to substantial losses for investors and potentially impact market stability.

Govt’s Cash Surplus Tops ₹3.4 Lakh Crore

India’s banking system has been characterized by a persistent deficit liquidity condition, partly due to the government’s significant cash surplus, amounting to over ₹3.4 lakh crore. This surplus arises as the government slows down its spending, which means less money is circulating in the economy. Banks, in need of funds, face challenges due to this surplus. It can lead to higher interest rates as banks compete for available funds, impacting borrowers including individuals and businesses. This situation also reflects the government’s fiscal strategy and its implications on the broader economy.

‘Likely Recession, Cybersecurity and Geopolitics Major Concerns’

According to JP Morgan, Indian business leaders are primarily concerned with the prospects of a recession, global geopolitical unrest, and cybersecurity challenges. These concerns are significant as they impact decision-making in companies, especially regarding the adoption of artificial intelligence in critical business operations while balancing data privacy. A recession indicates a period of economic decline, which can lead to reduced consumer spending and business investment. Geopolitical unrest refers to international conflicts or instabilities that can affect global trade and market conditions. Cybersecurity issues pose risks to data privacy and business operations, becoming a key concern in an increasingly digital world.

ONGC Videsh Raises $420 m

ONGC Videsh, the international subsidiary of India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), successfully raised $420 million in funding from Singapore’s DBS Bank and the state-owned Bank of Baroda (BoB). This fundraising, completed earlier this month, benefits from the recent global decrease in interest rates. Lower interest rates can make borrowing more affordable, which is beneficial for companies looking to raise capital. This capital infusion will likely support ONGC Videsh’s overseas exploration ventures, indicating the company’s growth strategy and confidence in its future projects.

IIFL Finance Q3 Net Profit at Rs545.2 cr

IIFL Finance reported a consolidated net profit of Rs545.2 crore for the quarter ending December 31, marking a 3.7% increase from the previous quarter. This profitability indicates the company’s financial health and operational efficiency. A consistent increase in profits over quarters is a positive signal to investors and can reflect well on the company’s management and business model. This financial performance can influence investor confidence and the company’s ability to attract further investment and growth opportunities.

Medi Assist IPO Subscribed 16.25 times

The Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Medi Assist, a Third-Party Administrator (TPA) service provider, was exceptionally well-received, being subscribed 16.25 times on the final day of its offering. The IPO aimed to raise ₹1,172 crore, with shares priced between ₹397-418. The high subscription rate indicates strong investor interest and confidence in the company’s future prospects. An IPO is a significant milestone for a company, providing it with access to capital markets for raising funds and offering a chance for early investors to exit or reduce their stakes.

Nova Agritech IPO to Open on January 22

Nova Agritech, a Telangana-based company, has announced its IPO to open on January 22, aiming to raise Rs140.81 crore, with the price band set at Rs39-41 per share. The IPO is a critical event for the company, providing it with an opportunity to raise capital from the public market. The funds raised can be used for various purposes like expansion, debt repayment, or working capital requirements. The success of this IPO will depend on investor interest and market conditions, which can be influenced by the company’s performance, prospects, and overall market sentiment.

Federal Bank Raises Deposit Rates

Federal Bank has increased its interest rates on deposits by 25 basis points, effective from Wednesday. The new rates are 7.75% for residents and non-residents (up from 7.5%) and 8.25% for resident senior citizens (up from 8%). This increase indicates the bank’s response to the prevailing economic conditions, possibly to attract more deposits or to align with the overall interest rate environment. Higher deposit rates can be attractive to savers but can also increase the bank’s cost of funds, impacting its profitability. The move reflects the bank’s strategy in managing its assets and liabilities amidst changing economic scenarios.

ICICI Pru Life Posts 3% Rise in Q3 Net Profit

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance reported a net profit increase of 3% for the third quarter ending December 2023, amounting to ₹227 crore, compared to ₹220 crore in the same period last year. This growth is primarily driven by a 5% year-on-year increase in net premium income, which reached ₹9,928 crore. The growth in net premium income, particularly in first-year premiums, indicates a positive response to the company’s insurance products and services. An increase in net profit and premium income is a healthy sign of a company’s financial strength and market position, reflecting its ability to attract and retain customers in a competitive insurance market.

Lock in to Long-Duration Debt Funds to Profit from Rate Cuts

Investors seeking high returns from fixed-income portfolios might consider long-duration debt funds, especially in anticipation of interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Fund managers anticipate a reduction in interest rates by 50-75 basis points in the latter half of 2024, influenced by global rate trends. This anticipated rate cut could lead to capital appreciation in long-duration funds, offering potential double-digit returns. Long-duration debt funds invest in securities with longer maturities, which tend to benefit from falling interest rates as they lead to an increase in the value of existing bonds held by the fund.

How to Avoid Falling Into a Credit Card Debt Trap

Credit card companies often charge very high-interest rates, which can go up to 42% annually, on transactions including unpaid Equated Monthly Installments (EMIs). If cardholders fail to repay the full outstanding bill amount, these high rates can quickly lead to a debt trap. This situation underscores the importance of responsible credit card usage and the need for consumers to be aware of the high costs associated with partial or delayed payments. It’s crucial for credit card users to understand the terms and conditions, interest rates, and fees associated with their cards to avoid falling into a cycle of debt.

RBI Approves Praveen Kutty as DCB Bank

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the appointment of Praveen Kutty as the CEO of DCB Bank for a three-year tenure starting from April 29. This announcement, as communicated to the stock exchanges, marks a significant leadership change at the bank. The appointment of a new CEO is a critical event for any bank, as it can influence the bank’s strategic direction, operational efficiency, and overall performance. The RBI’s approval indicates a regulatory endorsement of Kutty’s capability to lead the bank, which could have implications for the bank’s future growth and stability in the competitive banking sector.

Retailers in a Fix as Discounts Fail to Draw Buyers

Retailers offering lifestyle products and apparel are facing challenges as significant discounts of up to 65% during their End Of Season Sales (EOSS) fail to attract customers. This situation indicates a possible shift in consumer behavior or a broader economic trend where discounts alone are not sufficient to drive sales. It could reflect a range of factors, including reduced consumer spending power, market saturation, or changing preferences. This trend poses a dilemma for retailers who rely on discount strategies to clear inventory and generate revenue, highlighting the need for more effective marketing strategies or a reevaluation of consumer demand.

Samsung Won’t Get Incentive for Smartphone Production in FY22

Samsung is unlikely to receive production-linked incentives (PLI) for smartphone manufacturing in fiscal 2022 due to its failure to meet production targets. The PLI scheme, designed to boost domestic manufacturing, offers incentives for achieving certain production goals. Samsung’s inability to meet these targets suggests operational or market challenges. This development can impact Samsung’s production strategy in India and possibly affect its competitive positioning in the smartphone market, where incentives play a crucial role in cost management and pricing strategies.

Warehouse Leasing in India Rises to 25 m sq ft in 2023

India’s industrial and warehousing sector showed a marginal annual growth of 2% in 2023, with a total of 25 million sq ft in gross leasing across the top five cities, as reported by Colliers. This growth, though modest, demonstrates the sector’s resilience and ongoing demand for warehousing space. The increase in leasing activity can be attributed to various factors, including the growth of e-commerce, manufacturing, and supply chain operations. This trend is crucial for businesses reliant on logistics and supply chain efficiency, and it signals a steady demand for warehouse spaces.

Telcos may go Easy on Spectrum Bidding

Telecommunication companies are expected to approach the upcoming 5G spectrum auction with less intensity, as analysts predict a lack of fierce bidding wars. This anticipation stems from the fact that major telcos have sufficient airwaves from previous auctions and a significant portion of these remains unused. This scenario suggests a strategic shift in spectrum acquisition, possibly due to evolving market conditions, technological advancements, or regulatory factors. The outcome of this auction will have implications for the pace and nature of 5G rollout in the country.

Pvt Hospitals Likely to Add over 30k Beds in 4-5 Years

According to Icra’s latest report, private hospitals in India are expected to add over 30,000 beds in the next 4-5 years, with an estimated investment of ₹32,500 crore. This expansion reflects the growing demand for healthcare services and the private sector’s role in meeting this demand. Such investments indicate confidence in the sector’s growth prospects and the commitment to enhance healthcare infrastructure. This expansion could improve healthcare access and quality, catering to the needs of a growing population and increasing health awareness.

Tata Motors Looks to Double its EV Sales to over 1 L Units by FY25

Tata Motors plans to double its electric vehicle (EV) sales to over 100,000 units by the fiscal year 2024-25, building on the 50,043 units sold in 2022-23. This ambitious target is supported by new launches and a deeper understanding of the market. This growth projection underscores Tata Motors’ commitment to the EV sector and reflects the increasing consumer interest and governmental push towards electric mobility. Successful achievement of this goal could position Tata Motors as a leader in the EV market and contribute significantly to reducing vehicular emissions.

Health Cos Show Appetite for Growth, Hiring

New-age health and wellness companies are demonstrating a strong inclination towards growth and hiring, despite a challenging funding environment. Companies like MediBuddy, 1to1help, BeatO, Lissun, and Onsurity are creating job opportunities across various domains, including product, technology, data science, and specialized areas like counseling and customer training. This trend indicates the health sector’s resilience and its recognition as a critical and evolving industry, with potential for innovation and impact in the current socio-economic landscape.

DMI Group Acquires ZestMoney in Fire Sale

DMI Group has acquired ZestMoney, a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) startup, in a fire sale. This acquisition grants DMI exclusive rights to all Zest brands and positions its non-banking financial company (NBFC) arm, DMI Finance, as the preferred lender on Zest’s platform. The term ‘fire sale’ suggests that ZestMoney was in financial distress, making it an opportunistic acquisition for DMI Group. This move reflects the growing interest in the BNPL sector and the consolidation trends within the financial services industry.

Hyd’s Aragen Lines Up Rs2k cr for Expansion

Aragen Life Sciences, a Hyderabad-based Contract Research Organization (CRO), announced an investment of Rs 2,000 crore for expansion. This investment is targeted towards drug discovery, development, and manufacturing services for the global life sciences industry. Such significant investment highlights the company’s growth strategy and its commitment to enhancing its capabilities and capacity. This move is likely to bolster Aragen’s position in the global CRO market and contribute to the overall growth of the life sciences sector.

Asian Paints’ Q3 Profit Surges 35%

Asian Paints reported a 35% surge in its consolidated net profit for the December quarter, reaching Rs 1,447.7 crore. This impressive growth was supported by double-digit volume growth and lower raw material costs boosting operating profit. The significant increase in profits reflects strong market demand and efficient cost management. Asian Paints’ performance is a positive indicator of the health of the consumer goods sector and suggests robust consumer demand for home improvement products.

SoftBank Fully Exits Policybazaar Parent with $650m Returns

SoftBank, a Japanese technology investor, has completed its exit from PB Fintech, the parent company of insurance marketplace Policybazaar. This move is part of SoftBank’s ongoing strategy to divest its portfolio of listed companies. The exit, resulting in $650 million returns, signifies a significant shift in SoftBank’s investment strategy and may have broader implications for the technology investment landscape. It reflects the dynamic nature of venture capital investments and the constant rebalancing of portfolios by major investors.

Accenture, TCS, Infosys Rise in Brand Value While Wipro Dips

Global IT giants Accenture, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and Infosys have seen an increase in their brand value despite challenges such as slow growth environments and disruptive technologies. Conversely, Wipro experienced a dip in its brand value. This differentiation in brand performance among leading IT firms highlights the importance of strategic adaptability and innovation in maintaining and enhancing brand value in a competitive and rapidly evolving technology sector.

Nazara Lands ₹250 cr from ICICI Prudential, Nikhil Kamath, Others

Nazara Technologies, a listed gaming and media firm, announced that it has raised ₹250 crore through a preferential share issue. Key investors include ICICI Prudential and Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath. This funding round demonstrates investor confidence in Nazara’s business model and growth potential in the gaming and media industry, sectors that are experiencing rapid expansion and innovation.

IBC Closes First Raise with $35m

International Battery Company (IBC), specializing in lithium-ion cells for electric vehicles, has successfully closed its first funding round at $35 million. This round, led by RTP Global, will support IBC’s plan to set up a factory in Karnataka, India. The investment underscores the growing interest in the EV sector and the critical role of battery technology in this industry’s development.

LTIMindtree’s Q3 Net Profit Climbs 17% to ₹1,169 crore

LTIMindtree, a mid-sized IT services firm, reported a 16.9% year-on-year increase in net profit, reaching ₹1,169 crore, driven by a 4.6% rise in revenue. This growth, particularly in the manufacturing and resources vertical, indicates robust business performance despite challenges like seasonal furloughs and cautious client spending. The company’s success reflects the strength and adaptability of the IT services sector.

Jeh Aerospace Gets $3m from General Catalyst, Others

Jeh Aerospace, a Hyderabad-based aerospace and defense manufacturing startup, raised $2.75 million in seed funding. This round, led by General Catalyst, highlights the potential and growing interest in India’s aerospace and defense sectors, particularly in startups bringing innovative solutions to these industries.

Quantum Computing to Spark ‘Cybersecurity Armageddon’, says IBM

An IBM executive warned that governments and businesses are not adequately prepared for the disruptive impact of quantum computing on cybersecurity. Dubbed a ‘Cybersecurity Armageddon’, this statement underscores the urgent need for developing quantum-resistant encryption methods to protect against the advanced capabilities of quantum computers.

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