Today's top business news: Satya Nadella on Indian startups, SBI Cards IPO, Adani bid for Air India, and more

Satya Nadella is also likely to meet senior Indian industry leaders during his visit, the sources said

Satya Nadella is also likely to meet senior Indian industry leaders during his visit, the sources said   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

News updates from the world of economy, markets, and finance

3:30 PM

Nifty, Sensex end day with losses

After yesterday's huge losses, the benchmark stock indices opened in the green this morning making some notable gains.

But with concerns around the deadly coronavirus still looming, both the Nifty and the Sensex trended downwards through the trading session to end the day down close to 0.2%.

3:20 PM

Huawei unveils its refreshed line up of 5G products

Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) on Monday announced its refreshed line up of 5G products and its strategy that showcase the full capabilities of its all-scenario ecosystem at a virtual launch here.

The Chinese tech giant unveiled its Mate Xs -- an evolution of the foldable device featuring cutting-edge hardware and software, MatePad Pro 5G, a flagship 5G tablet that offers a premium all-scenario experience and Wi-Fi AX3 and 5G CPE Pro 2 -- two Wi-Fi 6+ enabled connectivity solutions that offer high-speed, and pervasive connectivity to consumers.

“We will continue investing into our edge technologies including chipsets, 5G communications, mobile AI, operating systems (OS), cameras and audio-visual solutions so as to build out our long-term competitive advantages,” Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said in a statement.

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3:10 PM

SBI Cards IPO to open on March 2

Ashish Rukhaiyar reports from Mumbai:

The initial public offer (IPO) of SBI Cards and Payment Services will open on March 2 with the shares priced in a band of ₹750 to ₹755, pegging the overall offer size at above ₹10,000 crore.

The issue will see existing shareholders State Bank of India and private equity major Carlyle diluting their stake in the card company. At the upper end of the price band, the company would be valued at around ₹71,000 crore post listing.

State Bank of India, which has a stake of 74% in the card company, would be offloading 4% stake by way of the offer while private equity major Carlyle will be diluting its stake by 10%. SBI Cards is the second-largest card issuer in the country with a market share of 18% on the back of around 10 million cards.

As per a company presentation, its number of cards has grown three times over the last five years while the spend has registered a six-fold rise in the period. SBI Cards is the largest co-branded card issuer having tie-ups with 12 retail and nine banking co-brand partners. The issue will close for subscription on March 5.

3:00 PM

Gold retreats from 7-year high, but virus fears limit losses

Gold prices fell on Tuesday as investors booked profits after the metal surged to a more than seven-year high in the previous session and as equities regained some footing, but a spike in coronavirus cases outside China capped bullion's losses.

Spot gold slipped 0.7% to $1,649.70 per ounce by 0847 GMT, having slipped 1.7% at one point earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures fell 1.5% to $1,652.

On Monday, the metal rose as much as 2.8% to $1,688.66, its highest since January 2013.

“People are taking profits. Gold has been severely overbought in the last two weeks because of Covid-19 and expectations for easy monetary policy,” CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang Yan said. Reuters

2:50 PM

SBI Cards aims to keep non-performing assets at 2.4-2.5%

SBI Cards aims to keep the proportion of non-performing assets at 2.4%-2.5% of its total assets, Chief Executive Officer Hardayal Prasad said on Tuesday while addressing the media ahead of the company's initial public offering.

Gross non-performing assets stood at 2.47% at the end of last year, down from around 2.9% in March 2018.

SBI Cards and Payments Services Ltd, the credit card subsidiary of the country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI), aims to raise nearly $1.25 billion via an initial public offering.

The company plans to issue new shares worth 5 billion rupees and will offer up to 130.5 million shares for sale, according to its prospectus released earlier this month. The price range for the IPO has been fixed at 750-755 rupees per share. Reuters

2:40 PM

Overseas investors from Mauritius eligible for FPI registration with enhanced monitoring: SEBI

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Tuesday said foreign investors from Mauritius will continue to be eligible for Foreign portfolio investment (FPI) registration with increased monitoring as per international norms.

The announcement comes after the tax haven was put on the ‘grey list’ of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental policy making body that sets anti-money laundering standards.

A significant percentage of FPIs investing in the Indian market is registered in Mauritius.

The island nation is the second largest source after the United States from which foreign portfolio investments come into the country.

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2:30 PM

Adani mulls bidding for Air India

Billionaire Gautam Adani’s energy and infrastructure conglomerate is considering bidding to buy Air India and is pouring into bid documents before finalising a plan, sources said.

The government is offering to sell its entire holding in the loss-making carrier along with its entire interest in its low-cost arm and 50 per cent in the ground handling unit.

Sources with knowledge of the development said the mergers and acquisition (M&A) team of Adani Group is scrutinising Air India bid documents and the interest was at a preliminary stage.

Bidding, they insisted, would depend on the due diligence. PTI

2:15 PM

Explained: Will Trump visit serve as an India-U.S. trade booster?

The story so far: United States President Donald Trump’s first foreign trip after his acquittal in an impeachment trial in the Senate will also be his first ever official visit to India. The 45th American President will be in India on February 24-25, spending time in Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s home State of Gujarat, and in New Delhi. At stake during Mr. Trump’s visit is the prospect of more cooperation on trade and tariffs, the possibility of major defence deals and the optics of a mass welcome at the just-constructed Motera/Sardar Patel stadium in Ahmedabad, which would hope to mirror the success of the “Howdy Modi!” event in Houston, Texas, in September 2019.

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2:00 PM

Trump to seek Indian cos business expansion in US

US President Donald Trump will ask the Indian companies with business interests in his country to expand their current capacity with local resources, and use America as a gateway to access other markets when he meets Indian industrialists on Tuesday.

He is likely to exhort the industrialists to invest more in their US subsidiaries, and create jobs there, sounding an economic revival there.

“The US President especially will be focussing on Indian manufacturing companies pitching US as a win—win situation for them and America as well,” said a senior executive of a leading Indian Industry chamber. IANS

1:45 PM

Ashok Leyland plans to resize operations

Commercial vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland Ltd. (ALL) has decided to scale down its operations to the level that prevailed three years ago to make it a much more resilient company.

“The idea is to see that we don’t get into shrinking more because next year, the first quarter and second quarter is not going to be really great,” Gopal Mahadevan, whole-time director and CFO, Ashok Leyland, said in an earnings call.

“We’re going to use this opportunity to scale down the operations of the company even further. What we are trying to do is instead of doing something like cutting ourselves to the bone...why don’t we resize the organisation to the level it was possibly three years ago,” he said.

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1:30 PM

Price band for SBI Card IPO fixed at Rs 750-755 per share

The IPO Committee of SBI Card has set the price band for its initial public offering (IPO) in the range of Rs 750—755 per equity share.

In a regulatory filing, State Bank of India late on Monday evening said that a discount of Rs 75 per share will also be offered to the “eligible employees”.

“State Bank of lndia has been informed by SBI Cards that the IPO Committee of SBI Cards in consultation with the Book Running Lead Managers have finalised the price band to range between Rs 750 and Rs 755 per equity share. An employee discount of Rs 75 per equity share will be offered to eligible employees in accordance with the terms and conditions stipulated in the Red Herring Prospectus dated February 18, 2020,” it said. IANS

1:15 PM

TVS stock plummets over 6% on supply chain disruption

Shares of TVS Motor Company slumped over 6 per cent after the firm said the supply chain disruption due to coronavirus outbreak in China has affected 10 per cent of its planned production for this month.

On the BSE, the stock lost 6.34 per cent to a low of Rs 409.75 in early hours of the trading session. Later, it was trading at Rs 430.90, down 1.51 per cent over previous close.

On the NSE, it fell 6.64 per cent to hit a low of Rs 409.45. Later, it was trading lower by 1.76 per cent to Rs 430.90.

The Chennai-based company on Monday said the coronavirus outbreak has impacted the supply of certain components thereby affecting about 10 per cent of its planned production for February. PTI

1:00 PM

Apple reopens 29 stores in China for limited hours

Apple has started reopening its retail stores in China and according to the company’s regional Chinese website, 29 out of 42 stores were open for business on Monday, though under limited hours.

Apple Seven Treasures in Qibao is open from 11 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. until March 1, while other outlets like Apple Hong Kong Plaza, will adhere to the restricted schedule until further notice, Appleinsider reported on Tuesday.

Due to an ‘abundance of caution’ as the coronavirus threat loomed, Apple closed all retail stores, corporate offices and contact centres in Mainland China.

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12:45 PM

Indian startups emerging as innovation leaders: Satya Nadella

Mini Tejaswi reports from Bengaluru:

Indian businesses and startups are emerging as innovation leaders, signalling how state of the art technology can drive growth, enhance customer experience and tackle some of India's most pressing societal and environmental issues, says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to apply technology to drive economic growth that is inclusive, trusted and sustainable everywhere, including in India." he said.

"We are partnering with leaders in every industry across the country to help them build their own digital capability, transform their organizations and achieve more in this new era," he further added.

"I want to know who is doing interesting things in India in technology, development, cloud and digital twin and hybrid computing. That's the reason I am here in India."

Mr. Nadella is delivering a key note on "Future Decoded" here in Bengaluru.

12:30 PM

Airtel, Jio gain revenue market share, Vodafone Idea lags: Report

Telecom majors Bharti and Jio further gained Revenue Market Share (RMS) while Vodafone Idea continued to lag on AGR basis, according to a report by EMkay Research.

VIL’s AGR logged a healthy 5% qoq growth, driven by growth in some of the key circles. However, RMS contracted further to 26.2% (—102bps qoq).

Clarity on ongoing AGR issue is key, along with other operational targets like 4G coverage and network integration. AGR for the industry (including NLD revenues) rose 9% qoq and 13% yoy to Rs 363 billion in Q3FY20. This sequential rise was driven by healthy growth in the revenues of Bharti and Jio, sequential revenue growth by VIL after 13 quarters of losses, and a 21% qoq rise in BSNL’s revenues.

VIL continued to lose market share with a 102bps contraction in RMS, the report said. IANS

12:15 PM

Bharti Infratel puts off merger with Indus Towers

Bharti Infratel on Monday further extended the deadline for its merger with Indus Towers by two months to April 24.

The final call will be taken after assessing the impact of the ‘current crisis’ in the telecom sector on various stakeholders, it said.

“The Board of Directors of the Company met earlier today and took note of the FDI approval for merger of Indus Towers Limited with Bharti Infratel Limited received late evening on February 21, 2020,” the company said in a communique to bourses.

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12:00 PM

Saudi Aramco launches largest shale gas development outside US

Saudi Aramco is launching the biggest shale gas development outside of the United States to boost domestic gas supply and end the burning of oil at its power generation plants, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser told Reuters on Monday.

The world's top crude oil exporter has for years battled for market share with rapidly expanding shale oil producers in the United States, which in just a decade have developed capacity to pump millions of barrels per day of oil from rock formations that were previously too costly to tap.

Saudi Arabia fought a price war aimed at putting the U.S. shale industry out of business just six years ago, which ultimately failed. Now, the country has adopted the techniques developed in U.S. fields - which started with gas - for the huge $110 billion Jafurah shale gas field project. Aramco said it received the go ahead for the project on Saturday. Reuters

11:40 AM

HUL to form wholly owned subsidiary

Hindustan Unilever Limited, the country’s largest pureplay fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, has decided to form a wholly-owned subsidiary.

“The Board of Directors of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) today approved a proposal to form a new 100% subsidiary of Hindustan Unilever Limited,” a stock exchange statement said on Monday.

“This company will be incorporated with an authorised share capital of ₹2,000 crore. This new subsidiary has been formed to leverage the growth opportunities in a fast-changing business environment and will help HUL in becoming more agile and customer-focussed,” it added.

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11:20 AM

SEBI tweaks margining system

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has tweaked the margining framework for stocks in the cash and derivatives segment.

Margin refers to the minimum fund — in cash or security form — that an investor needs to pay upfront before executing a trade.

“With a view to keeping up pace with the changing market dynamics and to bring more efficiency in the risk management framework, a comprehensive review of the margin framework was done in consultation with the Risk Management Review Committee (RMRC) of SEBI,” the regulator said in a stated a SEBI circular issued on Monday.

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11:00 AM

India's economy likely grew 4.7% in December quarter

Indian economic growth likely accelerated a touch in the October-December period after its weakest expansion in over six years in the previous quarter, a Reuters poll showed, with a small rebound in rural demand and private consumption expected.

Annual gross domestic product growth likely rose to 4.7% in the last quarter of 2019 from 4.5% the previous quarter, when the growth rate appears to have bottomed out, a Feb. 18-24 Reuters poll found.

About 90% of economists in the poll forecast growth for the October-December quarter at 5% or below. Reuters

10:45 AM

Banks’ profitability remains fragile, says Das

While the Indian banking sector may be slowly turning around on the back of improvement in asset quality, its profitability remains fragile, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

He also said that banks continued to face challenges like the present crisis in the telecom sector.

“In terms of recent progress, the Indian banking sector is slowly turning around on the back of improvements in asset quality with enhanced resolutions through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Despite the recent decline in impaired assets and a significant improvement in provisioning, profitability of the banking sector remains fragile,” Mr. Das said at an event.

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10:30 AM

Sensex, Nifty open on volatile note amid global selloff

Market benchmarks Sensex and Nifty opened on a volatile note on Monday tracking tepid cues from global markets amid concerns over the impact of coronavirus epidemic on world economy.

After opening over 150 points higher, the 30-share index pared all gains, trading 34.62 points, or 0.09 per cent, lower at 40,328.61.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty was trading down by 17.15 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 11,812.25.

HCL Tech was the top loser in the Sensex pack, followed by Sun Pharma, Titan, Tech Mahindra and Bajaj Auto.

On the other hand, NTPC, ONGC, HUL, Asian Paints and Tata Steel were trading with gains. PTI

10:15 AM

Gaming could be RIL’s next big move

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani hinted at his next big bet ‘gaming’, during his fireside chat with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Monday.

During the ‘Future Decoded’ summit, Mr. Nadella asked, “In fact, one thing that Akash was sort of really beyond me if I don’t mention is even gaming. I think in the next decade, you may become a gamer.”

To this, Mr. Ambani replied, “That’s difficult, but I think Akash is very excited in terms of India, like gaming doesn’t really exist in India, and with everything that we’re doing.. and broadband connectivity. I think there is a huge potential.”

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10:00 AM

$5 trillion economy too idealistic: Niti Aayog committee official

The government’s target of achieving a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024-25 sounds “too idealistic”, a Niti Aayog committee official said on Monday.

The target has been so set to raise the bar of India’s economic performance, she said.

“For now, the ambitious USD 5 trillion economy target is a statement of intent, which sounds too idealistic,” said Bindu Dalmia, chairperson of the National Committee on Financial Inclusion and Literacy at Niti Aayog.

India is “trapped” within a range-bound GDP growth of 5-6 per cent, she said at an MCCI-organised session here. PTI

9:45 AM

DoT asks telcos to submit supporting documents

The Department of Telecom is in the process of sending out written communication to telcos, including Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices, to submit supporting documents for self-assessment of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR)-related dues.

“We have asked all operators who have said they are doing a self-assessment of their statutory dues to give us supporting documents. We will then get these test checked in a time-bound manner,” a government official, who did not want to be named, said.

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9:30 AM

NCLAT sets aside insolvency proceeding against Flipkart

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Monday set aside the insolvency proceedings against e—commerce major Flipkart.

CloudWalker, an operating creditor, which imported and retailed LED TVs on Flipkart’s platform, dragged the company to the NCLT last year over alleged default of Rs 26.95 crore towards procured imported televisions as per the supply agreement. On October 24, the tribunal admitted the its application for initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) against Flipkart, which moved the NCLAT.

The three judge NCLAT bench said that the the operational creditor failed to submit any documents to prove in existence of the operational debt and the amount in default. IANS

9:15 AM

Dow drops more than 1,000 points as coronavirus outbreak threatens economy

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped more than 1,000 points on February 24 in the worst day for the stock market in two years as investors worry that the spread of the viral outbreak that began in China will weaken global economic growth.

Traders sought safety in U.S. government bonds, gold and high-dividend stocks like utilities and real estate. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to the lowest level in more than three years.

Technology stocks accounted for much of the broad market slide, which wiped out all of the Dow’s and S&P 500 gains for the year.

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9:00 AM

Slowing credit growth critical challenge for bank: RBI Guv

Slowing credit growth is one of the most critical challenges for the banking industry and there is a need to focus on prudent lending by the banks, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Monday.

So far this year, credit growth in the country has moderated to 7-7.5 per cent.

“The most critical challenge today for banks not just in India but also elsewhere is slowing credit offtake. It affects the profitability of banks,” Das said at the Mint annual banking conclave here.

To facilitate the flow of credit, the RBI has taken several steps like reducing repo rate, facilitating bank refinance to NBFCs for onlending to priority sector and providing long-term repo operation (LTRO), among others, he said.

With such measures already in place, banks need to focus on credit offtake and flow of credit.

“While doing all that the focus should be on doing prudent lending and also to improve the operational efficiency of the banks,” he said. PTI

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 9:26:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/businesslive-25-feb-2020/article30910048.ece

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