4 January 2024 : Important Financial News in India


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

SC Endorses SEBI’s Adani Investigation, Denies Other Probes

In a significant development, the Supreme Court has endorsed the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)’s investigation into the Adani Group, simultaneously rejecting requests for inquiries by other agencies, notably the Special Investigation Team (SIT) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). This decision comes as a major reprieve for the Adani Group, a prominent business conglomerate in India. The Supreme Court’s stance underscores its confidence in SEBI’s capability to conduct a thorough investigation, suggesting that the apex court sees no need for additional probes by other entities. This decision likely stems from a desire to maintain a streamlined and efficient investigation process, avoiding the complications and potential overlaps that multiple investigations might entail. The Supreme Court’s decision is not only a boost for the Adani Group but also a testament to SEBI’s standing and authority in handling significant financial inquiries.

“Fantastic Four” Lead Record-Breaking Year in Auto Sales

The automotive industry witnessed a remarkable year with record-breaking car sales, led by four major companies: Hyundai, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, and Toyota. These companies, often referred to as the “Fantastic Four” in the industry, achieved new sales milestones despite the overall weak demand in the lower segment of the market. This trend indicates a shift in consumer preferences, possibly leaning towards the offerings of these specific brands or higher-end vehicles in general. The success of these companies in a challenging market environment highlights their strategic marketing, robust product line-up, and the ability to resonate with the evolving needs of consumers. Their performance is particularly noteworthy given the broader economic context, where the lower end of the market is grappling with subdued demand, possibly due to economic headwinds or shifting consumer priorities. The success of the “Fantastic Four” is a positive sign for the industry and could potentially lead to increased competition and innovation in the sector.

Vi Director P Balaji Joins Air India in a New Role

P Balaji, previously the director of regulatory and corporate affairs at Vodafone Idea (Vi), has recently resigned from his position to embark on a new journey with Air India. He is set to assume a newly created role as the group head of governance, regulatory, compliance, and corporate affairs at Air India, a part of the Tata Group. This transition marks a significant career shift for Balaji and underscores the dynamic nature of the corporate world, where cross-industry moves are becoming increasingly common. His new role at Air India will involve crucial responsibilities, particularly in overseeing governance and regulatory matters, which are vital for the smooth functioning and strategic growth of the airline. This appointment reflects Air India’s commitment to strengthening its corporate governance and regulatory frameworks, a key aspect in the highly regulated and competitive aviation industry.

SpaceX Launches Innovative Direct-to-Cell Satellites

SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, has recently launched the first batch of Starlink satellites equipped with direct-to-cell technology, heralding a new era in satellite communication. This innovative capability will enable the satellites to provide direct broadband connectivity to mobile phones anywhere on Earth. This development is particularly significant for countries like India, where SpaceX plans to introduce satellite communication services. The direct-to-cell technology is a groundbreaking advancement, potentially revolutionizing global communication by ensuring connectivity in the most remote areas. This launch is a pivotal step towards fulfilling SpaceX’s ambition to provide ubiquitous internet coverage across the globe, enhancing connectivity and bridging the digital divide.

Isro’s Commercial Arm, NSIL, to Utilize SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket

NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is set to launch a high-throughput satellite using Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. This launch, scheduled for later this year from the United States, represents a significant collaboration in the space sector, showcasing the increasing global cooperation and commercialization of space exploration. The decision to use SpaceX’s Falcon 9 for the satellite launch reflects the growing trust and reliance on private space companies for cost-effective and reliable launch services. This collaboration between NSIL and SpaceX is a testament to the evolving landscape of the global space industry, where international partnerships are becoming more common, driving innovation and growth in the sector.

Delhi HC Upholds Bail for Vivo Executives, Rejects Stay Request

The Delhi High Court has recently refused to stay the bail granted by a lower court to three top executives of Vivo India, who were arrested in a money-laundering case against the handset maker. This decision highlights the judicial process in corporate legal matters and the importance of adhering to the principles of justice and fair trial. The refusal to stay the bail order implies the court’s satisfaction with the conditions of the bail and the proceedings of the lower court. This case sheds light on the legal challenges faced by corporate entities and underscores the significance of corporate governance and compliance with financial regulations.

Airtel’s Subscriber Base Declines, Jio Gains in October 2023

Bharti Airtel has experienced a decline in its user base, losing approximately 1.2 million active users in October 2023. This decrease in subscribers for Airtel might be attributed to the hike in its base prepaid tariffs, making its mobile services costlier. This situation contrasts with the growth of its competitor, Jio, indicating a shift in consumer preference possibly due to pricing strategies. The analysis of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) latest data provides insights into the competitive dynamics of the telecom sector, highlighting the impact of pricing on customer retention and market share. This development suggests a need for Airtel to reassess its pricing strategy to maintain competitiveness in the market.

Xiaomi Announces a 3-Year Strategy Focused on Premiumisation and AIoT

Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone company, has unveiled a three-year plan starting from 2024, aiming to become India’s leading brand in the smartphone and Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) sector. This strategy indicates Xiaomi’s focus on premiumisation, which involves enhancing the quality and features of its products, and expanding into the AIoT domain. The company’s renewed emphasis on these areas reflects its ambition to regain lost market foothold and adapt to the evolving technological landscape. Xiaomi’s strategic pivot towards high-end products and AIoT solutions is a response to changing consumer preferences and the increasing integration of AI technologies in everyday devices.

Torrent Power to Invest ₹47,350 Crore in Gujarat through 4 MoUs

Torrent Power, the integrated power utility of the diversified Torrent Group, has signed four non-binding Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Gujarat state government. These agreements, part of the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, involve a substantial investment of ₹47,350 crore. This move signifies Torrent Power’s commitment to enhancing its presence in Gujarat and contributing to the state’s energy sector. These investments are expected to bolster Gujarat’s power infrastructure and align with the state’s objectives of sustainable and efficient energy use. The MoUs reflect the growing focus on renewable and sustainable energy solutions in India and the role of private enterprises in this transition.

VinFast Plans to Establish EV Battery Plant in Tamil Nadu

Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) maker VinFast is set to establish its first manufacturing facility in India, in Tamil Nadu. This facility will focus on producing batteries for electric vehicles. This move is part of VinFast’s broader strategy to expand its global footprint and indicates the growing importance of India in the EV market. The plant in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, will bolster VinFast’s capabilities in the EV sector and is separate from its plans to assemble vehicles shipped in parts from Vietnam. This investment by VinFast highlights the increasing interest of global EV manufacturers in the Indian market and underscores the potential of India as a hub for EV production and innovation.

Adani Ports to Raise ₹5,000 Crore through NCDs

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited has announced plans to raise ₹5,000 crore by selling non-convertible debentures (NCDs). This fundraising is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to secure capital for its operations and expansion plans. The decision to raise funds through NCDs, which are fixed-income instruments, indicates Adani Ports’ strategy to diversify its funding sources and strengthen its financial position. This move is crucial for supporting the company’s growth initiatives and enhancing its capacity to undertake large-scale projects. The fundraising through NCDs reflects the company’s proactive approach to financial management and its commitment to long-term growth and development.

Religare Enterprises Clarifies on Share Issuance

Religare Enterprises, amidst a contest for corporate control, announced that its non-bank lending arm, Religare Finvest, has not issued any shares to its chairperson, thus not violating any norms on the issuance of securities to key managerial personnel. This clarification addresses concerns over corporate governance and adherence to regulatory requirements.

Shift in Consumer Preferences: From E-Commerce to Brick-and-Mortar for Electronics

Consumers are increasingly favoring brick-and-mortar stores over e-commerce platforms for purchasing high-value items like smartphones and televisions, while the trend is reversed for daily necessities. This shift suggests a change in consumer buying behavior and confidence in physical retail.

FMCG Companies Rush to Ayodhya for Ram Temple Event

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and food chains are heading to Ayodhya in anticipation of the Ram temple consecration, expecting a significant increase in tourism and business opportunities in the region.

Go First Creates New Company for Dealing with Aircraft Lessors

Bankrupt airline Go First has established a new company comprising former employees to manage interactions with aircraft lessors, following legal challenges over non-disclosure of plane documents.

India’s TV and Digital Video Revenue Projected to Reach $17 Billion by 2028

Media Partners Asia forecasts that India’s video market, including TV and digital, will grow from $13 billion in 2023 to $17 billion by 2028, indicating robust growth in the sector.

IT Kanpur Achieves Milestone in Intellectual Property Rights

IIT Kanpur has set a new record by filing 122 Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in 2023, showcasing the institute’s commitment to innovation and research.

Central Medical Services Society Orders 350 Million Condoms

The Central Medical Services Society (CMSS) has placed an order for 350 million condoms, aiming to streamline the procurement process for these essential health products.

Fed Sees Rates Staying High for a While

The Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, has indicated that it plans to maintain higher interest rates for an extended period. This decision reflects their belief that they have reached the peak of rate hikes. However, they are considering a potential reduction in rates starting in 2024. This stance is part of their broader strategy to manage the economy, particularly in controlling inflation and stabilizing financial markets.

Vedanta Resources’ Debt Rejig Plan Gets Bondholder Nod

Vedanta Resources, a prominent metals company, has successfully received approval from more than 97% of its bondholders for a debt restructuring plan. This plan involves reorganizing the company’s debt instruments, some of which are due to mature soon. This approval is a significant step for the company, led by Anil Agarwal, as it prepares for multiple listings of its operational companies in India, aimed at unlocking the value of these entities.

Adani Group Shares Surge Up to 11.4%

Shares of the Adani Group, a large Indian conglomerate, witnessed a significant surge, increasing by up to 11.4%. This increase came amidst a generally weak market, following the Supreme Court’s rejection of a demand for an investigation into allegations made by the US-based short seller, Hindenburg, against the Adani Group. This decision bolstered investor confidence in the group’s companies.

Bajaj Auto to Consider Share Buyback, Second in Less Than 2 Years

Bajaj Auto, a major automobile manufacturer, announced its plan to consider a proposal for a share buyback. This would be the second buyback in less than two years. The decision will be discussed in their upcoming board meeting. Share buybacks often indicate a company’s confidence in its financial health and a commitment to enhancing shareholder value.

Metal Cos Plunge as China Growth Worries Deepen

Shares of metal companies experienced a significant drop due to growing concerns about China’s economic prospects. As one of the world’s largest consumers of commodities like steel, aluminium, and copper, any negative economic indicators from China can have a substantial impact on global metal markets. This situation led traders to reduce their investments in these commodities.

Jio-BlackRock JV Applies for Mutual Fund Licence

A joint venture between Jio Financial Services and BlackRock has officially applied for a mutual fund license. This application is currently under the scrutiny of the market regulator, as per an update from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). This move marks a significant step for the joint venture in expanding its financial services offerings.

SBI Likely to Raise Up to ₹5,000 cr More, via AT-1 Bonds This Month

The State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, is likely to raise up to ₹5,000 crore through the issuance of additional tier-1 (AT-1) bonds. This initiative is scheduled for the third week of January and aims to gather long-term funds to meet the robust demand for credit. AT-1 bonds are a type of perpetual debt instrument used by banks to strengthen their capital base.

Govt may Amend IT Act to Add New Rules for AI, GenAI Models

The government is considering amending the Information Technology (IT) Act of 2021 to introduce new regulations for companies involved in artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI models. This move aims to provide a regulatory framework for the rapidly evolving AI sector, ensuring responsible and ethical use of AI technologies while fostering innovation and growth in this field.

Indian GenAI Firms Raised $700m in 3 Yrs, says Nasscom

According to Nasscom, Indian startups specializing in generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) have raised a significant $700 million in the past three years. Despite the global funding downturn, these firms secured $566 million in 2022 and $144 million in 2023. This trend indicates strong investor confidence in the potential of GenAI technologies in India.

‘Adidas Eyes First Asia GCC Outside China in Chennai’

Adidas plans to establish its first Global Capacity Centre (GCC) in Asia outside of China, located in Chennai. Led by Akhil Kapoor, this center will focus on key business processes. This move by the German sportswear giant highlights its commitment to expanding its global operations and enhancing its presence in the Asian market.

MobiKwik Board Clears ₹880-cr Public Issue

MobiKwik, a digital payments and financial services company, has been approved by its board to raise ₹880 crore through a public share sale. This decision reflects the company’s growth ambitions and its strategy to capitalize on the expanding digital payments market in India.

Ex-Infosys CHRO Richard Lobo Joins TechM as CPO

Richard Lobo, the former Chief Human Resources Officer of Infosys, has been appointed as the Chief People Officer at Tech Mahindra. This strategic hire signifies Tech Mahindra’s focus on strengthening its leadership team and underscores the importance of human resources in the tech industry.

Captain Fresh Nets Rs110cr in New Fundraise

Captain Fresh, an online meat and seafood company, successfully raised ₹110 crore in its latest funding round. The investment was led by seafood exporter Nekkanti Sea Foods and Shakti Finvest, showcasing the growing investor interest in the online fresh produce sector.

Wipro’s Case against Ex-CFO Dalal Referred for Arbitration

A local court has referred Wipro’s case against its former Chief Financial Officer, Jatin Dalal, to arbitration. This legal development under the Arbitration Conciliation Act, 1996, highlights the complexities of corporate disputes and the increasing reliance on arbitration for resolution outside of court proceedings.

Gurnani Appointed to upGrad’s Board

CP Gurnani, former MD and CEO of Tech Mahindra, has been appointed to the board of directors of upGrad, an online upskilling startup. His appointment as an independent non-executive director is a strategic move to enhance the company’s governance and guide its growth trajectory.

Myntra’s FY23 Revenue up 25% to ₹4,375cr, Loss Widens 31%

Myntra, a fashion platform owned by Flipkart, reported a 25% increase in revenue, reaching ₹4,375 crore in FY23. However, the company also experienced a 31% increase in losses. This financial performance reflects the competitive and challenging nature of the online fashion retail sector.

Stage Set for Samsung’s AI Phone Reveal

Samsung Electronics is poised to unveil its latest flagship device, likely the Galaxy S24, featuring advanced AI capabilities. The launch is scheduled for January 17 in San Jose, California, and will be live-streamed, showcasing Samsung’s commitment to innovation in the smartphone market.

Front desk Just Fired All Staff Over Meet Call

Front desk, an online rental platform, laid off its entire workforce of 200 employees via a Google Meet call. This drastic move, marking the first major tech startup layoff of 2024, highlights the volatile nature of the tech industry and the challenges companies face in maintaining financial stability.

Metros Drive Consumption in H1, Rural and Semi-Urban Areas Closing In

Metro cities led the way in retail consumption growth during the first half of the fiscal year, outpacing semi-urban and rural areas. This growth was significantly driven by the aviation and hospitality industries, particularly during the festival season and the cricket World Cup, as per a report by CMS Info Systems.

India’s No Longer ‘Fragile’, Can Weather Global Market Volatility

India’s financial stability has strengthened, making it more resilient to global market volatility. This improvement is noteworthy given the country’s past vulnerabilities, particularly in terms of currency fluctuations and its high current account deficit.

Future Enterprises’ Lenders Appoint PwC as Sale Advisor

Lenders to Future Enterprises have chosen PwC as an advisor to assist in finding buyers for the debt-laden company. This decision comes after the first attempt to sell the company was scrapped due to low valuations, indicating the challenges in resolving complex corporate debt issues.

Ujjivan Posts Its Highest Growth in Affordable Home Loans

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank has reported its highest-ever quarterly disbursement in the affordable housing loan segment. This reflects the bank’s strategic focus on expanding its secured portfolio, catering to the growing demand for affordable housing in India.

GMR Airports Raises ₹800 cr from StanC, AB Fund & Varde

GMR Airports secured a ₹800 crore debt facility from Standard Chartered Bank, Varde Partners, and Aditya Birla Special Situation Fund for a tenure of two years and eleven months. This funding is a significant boost for GMR Airports, underlining the confidence of financial institutions in the aviation sector.

Employers Get 5 More Months to Upload Details for Higher Pension

The Indian government has extended the deadline by five months for employers to submit wage details online for employees seeking a higher pension. This extension till May 31, 2024, is a significant relief for employers and employees navigating the pension system.

Local Production Push: Ban on Import of Screws Below ₹129 a kg

In a bid to boost local manufacturing, the government has prohibited the import of certain types of screws priced below ₹129 per kg. This move is part of a broader strategy to protect domestic industries and reduce dependency on imports.

Green Light to Build New Roads on Hold for Longer

The awarding of new road projects in India remains subdued into the third quarter of FY24, continuing the trend from the previous fiscal year. This slowdown indicates challenges in the infrastructure sector, particularly in road development.

Quality Control Norms Eased for ACs & Parts for Ease of Business

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has relaxed quality control norms for air conditioners and related parts for a year. This measure, aimed at easing business operations, signifies the government’s effort to balance regulatory requirements with industry growth.

Factory Activity Hits 18-mth Low in Dec on Weaker Order Growth

India’s manufacturing activity fell to an 18-month low in December due to a weaker increase in factory orders and output. This decline, as reported in a private survey, reflects the challenges facing the manufacturing sector amidst fluctuating demand and economic pressures.

Bank Assurance Sought to Curb Misselling of Insurance Products

The government is seeking input from banks on measures to prevent the misselling of insurance products through banking channels. This initiative aims to enhance the regulatory oversight of the bancassurance model, ensuring ethical and transparent practices in the sale of insurance.

Nomura Sees Rural Demand Gathering Steam in 2024

Nomura predicts a surge in rural demand in India in 2024. Factors contributing to this expected growth include moderated inflation, replenishment of rural savings post-Covid, increased liquidity due to pre-election spending, and a likely stable political regime.

Scheme in Works for Greening of Inland Waterways Vessels

The Indian government is planning an overhaul of the country’s inland waterways, focusing on adopting green vessels. Guidelines for transitioning existing vessels to clean energy will be prepared, aligning with environmental sustainability goals.

Green H2 Tender: 2 Cos Seek Zero Incentives

In the government’s tender for green hydrogen, two companies, UPL Ltd and CESC Projects Ltd, have not requested any incentives. This contrasts with other participants, including a Reliance Industries arm, which bid for the lowest incentive at ₹18.9 per kg.

OALP-Round 8: ONGC Wins Seven Blocks

ONGC, along with the Reliance Industries-BP consortium, Oil India, and Sun Petrochemicals, won oil and gas exploration blocks in the eighth round of the Open Acreage Licensing Policy. This development is significant for India’s energy sector.

Jaishankar Bats for Made in India Goods; Goyal says India not Against Imports

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar emphasized the importance of buying Made in India products to protect the country’s markets from cheap or subsidized imports. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal added that India is not against imports but encourages conscious consumer choices.

Barclays: 12% Exports Growth Target by 2030 more Realistic

Barclays has suggested that a 12% growth target for India’s exports by 2030 is more realistic than the country’s ambitious goal of $2 trillion or 15% growth. This revised target would still significantly increase India’s global export share.

FCI: No Outstanding Short-term Loans

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) announced that it has no outstanding short-term loans, indicating strong financial management. The statement highlighted that out of a potential ₹50,000 crore loan, only ₹3,200 crore was utilized.



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