20 December 2023 : Important Financial News in India


Source: Economic Times, “Today’s ePaper”

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Table of Contents

Ford Drives Out of Deal to Sell Tamil Nadu Plant to JSW

Ford Motor Company had plans to sell its factory in Tamil Nadu, India, to the JSW Group. However, they suddenly decided not to go through with this deal. This Tamil Nadu plant is Ford’s only remaining factory in India. The sudden cancellation of this agreement is unexpected, especially since it seemed like the deal was almost finalized.

No Sony Nod Yet to Extend Merger Date

The much-anticipated merger between Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) is still uncertain. SPNI has not yet agreed to extend the deadline for the merger, which was set for December 21. This leaves the future of this significant media consolidation in limbo.

FirstCry Set to File for IPO, Eyes $500-600m Raise

FirstCry, an omnichannel retailer, is preparing to go public. They plan to file their Initial Public Offering (IPO) documents soon, aiming to raise around $500-600 million. This move comes after they postponed their IPO last year. An IPO is a big step for a company, as it will allow them to raise capital from public investors and expand their business.

Tighter Norms for Investment by Banks in AIFs

India’s banking regulator is making it more difficult for banks and non-banking finance companies to invest in Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs). AIFs are funds that invest in non-traditional assets and are usually managed more aggressively. The new rules are intended to reduce the risk of banks and reduce the chances of dubious credit practices.

Open-hammer! IPL Drops a Bombshell

In a groundbreaking event for the Indian Premier League (IPL), the auction saw players like Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins being bought for amounts exceeding the previous cap of Rs 20 crore. This marks a significant change in the IPL auction dynamics, reflecting the league’s growing financial strength and popularity. Such high bids indicate the value and importance placed on these players in the competitive cricket landscape.

Clutch of Funds in Race for NIIF’s $1.2B Roads Portfolio

Infrastructure Funds Eye NIIF’s Road Assets

Infrastructure funds, including notable ones like KKR, are showing interest in acquiring road assets from India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). This movement reflects a growing trend in infrastructure investment, particularly in government-supported projects. It signifies a robust confidence in the long-term value and stability of such assets.

Bain Capital in Talks to Acquire Majority Stake in Vibrant Energy

Private Equity Firm Eyes Vibrant Energy

Bain Capital, a private equity firm, is in discussions to buy a majority stake in Vibrant Energy, a provider of green energy. This potential acquisition highlights the increasing interest and investment in renewable energy sectors, particularly in companies that supply sustainable power solutions to businesses, aligning with global trends towards environmentally friendly energy sources.

PE/VC Bets Plummet to 43-Month Low of $1.6 B in November

Private Equity and Venture Capital Investments Decline

Investments by private equity and venture capital in November fell to a 43-month low of $1.6 billion. This significant decline from previous years indicates a cooling in these investment markets, possibly due to economic uncertainties or market saturation. It raises questions about the short-term outlook of the private equity and venture capital sectors.

Onion Prices Halve in Less than 2 Weeks after Export Ban

Government Export Ban Impacts Onion Prices

The ban on onion exports by the government led to a rapid 50% drop in wholesale onion prices. This quick change demonstrates the direct impact of government policies on agricultural commodity markets. The price drop is likely due to increased local supply, highlighting how policy decisions can have immediate effects on market dynamics.

Realtors Laud UP Govt’s Approval for ‘Zero Period’ Benefit in Stuck Projects

Government Intervention Benefits Real Estate Developers

Property developers in Uttar Pradesh are praising the government’s decision to approve a ‘Zero Period‘ benefit for delayed housing projects. This decision is expected to revive over 200,000 stalled flats, showing the positive impact of government intervention in addressing real estate project delays and aiding in the completion of long-pending housing units.

CCI Clears Synthimed Labs Proposal to Buy ISLL, Essix Biosciences Businesses

Competition Commission Approves Synthimed Labs Acquisition

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved Synthimed Labs’ proposal to acquire certain businesses from Ind Swift Laboratories and Essix Biosciences. This approval reflects regulatory support for consolidation and growth in the pharmaceutical sector, and the decision is pivotal for Synthimed Labs’ business expansion strategies.

Mumbai Businessman, Wife to Invest ₹1,100 crore in SpiceJet

Mumbai Businessman Invests in SpiceJet

Mumbai businessman Harihara Mahapatra and his wife Preeti are investing ₹1,100 crore in SpiceJet, acquiring a 19% stake. This investment signifies a strong belief in the potential growth and recovery of the airline industry, despite its recent challenges. It also reflects the increasing interest of private investors in the aviation sector.

Airline Ordered to Pay ₹3.74 cr to Lessors by Jan 3

Delhi High Court Orders SpiceJet to Pay Lessors

The Delhi High Court has ordered SpiceJet to pay ₹3.74 crore to aircraft engine lessors. This ruling emphasizes the financial obligations airlines have towards their lessors and highlights the legal and financial challenges that airlines may face in maintaining their operations and fleet.

CBI, DRI Told to ‘Meticulously’ Probe Alleged Over-invoicing

Delhi High Court Directs Investigation into Allegations

The Delhi High Court directed an in-depth investigation into allegations of over-invoicing in coal imports and equipment by various companies, including major groups like Adani and Essar. This directive underscores the judiciary’s role in ensuring corporate transparency and accountability, and the importance of fair business practices in large-scale industrial operations.

Peak Power Demand Likely to be 230 GW in January

India’s Peak Power Demand Projection

India’s peak power demand is projected to increase by 6-9.5% year-on-year, reaching around 230 GW. This rise indicates a growing energy requirement, reflecting the country’s economic growth and the need for a robust and reliable power infrastructure to meet the increasing demands of both industry and consumers.

Cybersecurity Agency on Anvil to Safeguard Telecom Networks

National Cybersecurity Agency to Protect Telecom Networks

The government’s plan to establish a national cybersecurity agency aims to protect telecommunication networks. This move highlights the increasing importance of cybersecurity in the digital age, recognizing the need to safeguard critical digital infrastructure against growing cyber threats and ensuring secure and reliable communication networks.

An Umbrella Legislation

Telecommunication Bill 2023’s Scope

The Telecommunication Bill, 2023, aims to regulate the telecom sector while excluding OTT platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram. This legislative approach distinguishes between traditional telecom services and modern digital communication platforms, acknowledging the unique nature of OTT services and the need for tailored regulatory frameworks.

‘Satcom Won’t be a Threat to Terrestrial Telecom Services’

Government Perspective on Satellite Communication

Government officials believe that satellite communication (Satcom) services will complement, rather than compete with, terrestrial telecom services. This perspective sees Satcom as a niche part of the telecom market, likely to play a supportive role in enhancing overall communication services without disrupting existing terrestrial networks.

No Decision Yet on Having Similar Rules for OTTs and Telcos

Government Clarifies Regulation of OTT Platforms

The government clarifies that the Telecommunications Bill 2023 will not regulate OTT platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram. This decision maintains a distinction between traditional telecom services and internet-based communication platforms, ensuring that the latter continue to operate without the regulatory constraints applicable to telecom operators.

Telco Execs say Telecom Bill Ensures Predictability, Availability of Spectrum

Telecom Executives Applaud Telecom Bill

India’s top telecom executives view the Telecommunications Bill 2023 as a significant reform. They believe it will streamline the licensing process and provide greater predictability regarding spectrum availability. This legislation is seen as a positive step towards modernizing the regulatory framework of the telecom industry, fostering growth and innovation.

Multinational Capital Goods Companies Benefit from Government Initiatives

Multinational capital goods companies are attracting investor interest, driven by government plans for infrastructure and capital expenditure. This shift suggests a brighter future for these stocks, as government spending in infrastructure typically boosts demand for capital goods. For example, a company making construction equipment may see increased sales due to new government projects.

Optimistic Outlook for Indian Public Sector Banks

Motilal Oswal Financial predicts that Indian public sector banks’ shares may see further positive revaluation. This optimism is based on their earnings growth, stable loan margins, and controlled credit costs. Top picks like SBI, Canara Bank, and Bank of Baroda could benefit from this trend. For instance, improved loan performance might lead to higher stock prices for these banks.

Wall Street Rises on Rate-cut Expectations

Wall Street’s main stock indexes have been rising, fueled by optimism that the Federal Reserve might cut rates next year. This optimism indicates that investors expect a more favorable borrowing environment, which generally leads to increased business investments and economic growth.

Blackstone’s Planned Stake Sale in Embassy Office Parks REIT

Blackstone’s SPVs plan to sell their entire stake in Embassy Office Parks REIT at a notable discount. This sale might attract buyers looking for real estate investments, potentially impacting the REIT’s market valuation.

Vedanta’s Fundraising Strategy with Non-Convertible Debentures

Vedanta Ltd. aims to raise ₹3,400 crore through non-convertible debentures (NCDs). This fundraising method, involving debt instruments, indicates Vedanta’s strategy for capital raising without diluting equity. It suggests confidence in their ability to repay this debt.

White Iris Investment’s Significant Stake Sale in Apollo Tyres

White Iris Investment has sold a significant stake in Apollo Tyres. Such large transactions can influence the stock’s market price and indicate changing investor sentiment towards the company.

Nabard and ADB Collaborate on Climate Action in Agriculture and Rural Development

Nabard and the Asian Development Bank’s initiative for climate action in agriculture and rural development signals a growing focus on sustainable practices in these sectors. This initiative could lead to new opportunities and innovations in environmentally friendly agriculture and rural development.

Rupee Weakens Against the Dollar

The rupee’s decline against the dollar, partly due to concerns over oil supply routes, reflects the sensitivity of currency markets to global trade dynamics. A weaker rupee can affect import costs and economic stability, impacting both businesses and consumers in India.

Vivo India Back in the Black in FY23

Vivo Mobile India achieved profitability in FY23 after addressing alleged financial law breaches. This turnaround reflects effective inventory management and operational adjustments in a challenging legal and competitive environment.

‘Domino’s Focuses on Quality, Speed to Trump Local Rivals’

Facing strong competition from local gourmet pizzerias, Domino’s Pizza in India, managed by Jubilant FoodWorks, prioritizes quality and speed to maintain its market leadership. This strategic shift responds to evolving consumer preferences and intensified competition in the food services industry.

Supriya Life to Bet on R&D, Expansion to Grow Revenues

Supriya Lifescience plans to double its revenue within three years through research and development (R&D) and expansion, according to director Saloni Wagh. This strategy underscores a commitment to innovation and market expansion to enhance financial performance.

Varun Beverages to Buy Pepsi’s S Africa Bottler for ₹1,320 cr

Varun Beverages, a prominent PepsiCo bottler, will acquire Pepsi’s South African bottler, BevCo, for ₹1,320 crore. This acquisition marks a significant step in VBL’s global beverages market growth strategy.

TBO Tek Buys Jumbo’s Online Biz to Expand Global Footprint

In preparation for its IPO, TBO Tek has acquired Jumbo Tours Group’s online business, expanding its global presence. This strategic move enhances TBO’s travel distribution platform and aligns with its growth through acquisitions strategy.

‘Repeated Infections of Covid Certainly Not Good for Health’

Despite an increase in Covid cases, experts do not anticipate a health system overload in India. However, Anurag Agrawal, former head of Insacog, emphasizes that repeated infections are detrimental to health. This underscores ongoing Covid-related health risks and the importance of continued vigilance.

‘New Strain Poses Not Much Threat’

The WHO has categorized the JN.1 Covid strain as a low-threat variant. This assessment suggests limited public health risk associated with this strain, emphasizing the need for ongoing monitoring but not alarm.

RIL Pays Rs254 cr to Metro for Using its Brand Name in India

Reliance Industries has disbursed ₹254 crore to Metro AG for the use of its brand name in India, following the acquisition of Metro’s wholesale chain. This payment reflects the cost associated with leveraging a brand name in business acquisitions.

Toro Plans Rs1,600-cr Realty Fund, First from GIFT City

Toro Investment Managers is raising a ₹1,600 crore real estate fund, the first of its kind in GIFT City’s special economic zone. This initiative underscores the growing interest in real estate investments and highlights GIFT City’s potential as an offshore financial hub.

India’s Passenger Vehicle Sales Set to Gain Further Momentum

India’s passenger vehicle sales are expected to grow by 6-8% in the current fiscal year. This growth is driven by an expanding middle class, rising disposable incomes, and low vehicle penetration. Shally Seth Mohile observes this trend as indicative of a vibrant automotive market.

Razorpay, Cashfree Get RBI Nod to be Payment Aggregators

Razorpay and Cashfree, digital payment startups, have obtained RBI approval to become payment aggregators. This clearance ends a year-long wait, enabling them to onboard new merchants and potentially boost their growth in the digital payments sector.

BharatPe to Take Unlisted NCD Route to Raise ₹500cr

BharatPe, a fintech startup in New Delhi, plans to raise ₹500 crore through unlisted non-convertible debentures (NCDs). This debt-raising strategy indicates a growing trend among startups to explore diverse funding avenues beyond equity financing.

Blume Sees Five-fold Gain from First Fund

Blume Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, reported over five times return on its first investment fund. This significant gain showcases the potential high returns in venture capital, particularly in early-stage investments.

How Small Language Models Offer Clues on Customer Psyche

Local companies are developing small language models (SLMs) tailored to specific domains. These models, trained on smaller datasets, are cost-effective and efficient for understanding customer behavior in niche markets.

SaaS Startup Kapture Gets $4 million

Kapture CX, a SaaS-based customer support platform, has raised $4 million from India Alternatives, a private equity fund. The funding highlights the growing interest in SaaS solutions globally, with Kapture expanding operations in several countries.

Insurance Firm Finhaat Scores $3m

Finhaat, an insurance distribution startup, secured $3 million in its first major funding round. This investment, led by Omnivore and Kettleborough VC, underscores the burgeoning interest in the insurance tech sector.

Zephyr Leads in BatX’s $5m Fundraising

BatX Energies, a lithium battery recycling startup, raised $5 million in a round led by Zephyr Peacock and LetsVenture. This funding signifies the increasing focus on sustainable and eco-friendly energy solutions.

Google, Namma Yatri, ONDC Forge 3-way Tieup

Google Maps, Namma Yatri, and ONDC have formed a partnership to offer comprehensive mobility solutions. This collaboration aims to provide users with an integrated experience, showcasing the trend towards cooperative digital solutions.

ONDC, Meta Partner to Upskill Small Business

Meta and ONDC have teamed up to enhance the skills of small businesses. This partnership aims to utilize Meta’s resources for improving conversational buyer-seller experiences on WhatsApp, reflecting the growing importance of digital platforms for small businesses.

HealthKart’s FY23 Revenue Grows, Loss Nearly Halves

HealthKart, an omnichannel nutrition products retailer, reported a near 50% reduction in net loss in FY23, with a 70% revenue increase. This financial improvement, amidst slower expense growth, highlights the company’s growing market presence and operational efficiency.

Tailwinds Propelling India; Bullish About Prospects, says Punit Renjen

Senior officials from SAP SE emphasize India’s critical role in their global strategy, expressing optimism about the country’s prospects. This view reflects the increasing significance of India in the global tech and software market.

Jailhouse Rock: How Imran Khan Used AI ‘Voice Clone’ from Jail

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan used an AI voice clone to address a virtual rally, a novel application of AI technology in political communication, highlighting the diverse and innovative uses of AI in various fields.

McAfee Warns of Rising AI Frauds in 2024

McAfee predicts an increase in AI-generated frauds, including deepfakes, in 2024. This forecast points to the potential misuse of AI in identity theft and cybercrimes, emphasizing the need for advanced cybersecurity measures.

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