QBiz: Govt to Borrow Rs 3.72 Lakh Crore; Airtel Sells 10% Stake

Update in the death of Pallavi Vikramsey and more stories from the city of Mumbai.

1. Govt to Borrow Rs 3.72 Lakh Crore in First Half of FY 2018

The government will borrow Rs 3.72 lakh crore from the market in the first six months of the next fiscal beginning April. The borrowing represents 64 percent of the full-year borrowing target.

The April-September borrowing is slightly more than previous year because the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India expect spending to pick up pace early.

The redemption pressure of the previous year’s borrowings will also be more in the first half. The government had advanced the budget presentation by a month this year, allowing the process to be completed before the start of the new fiscal. This will allow spending to continue seamlessly as opposed to a lull earlier when the budget process used to be completed well after the start of new fiscal.

(Source: Economic Times)

2. Airtel Sells 10.3% Stake in Bharti Infratel to KKR, CPPIB for Rs 6,194 Cr

Leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel has offloaded a 10.3 per cent stake in its tower infrastructure arm Bharti Infratel for Rs 6,193.9 crore to a consortium of global private equity firms KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). The move is expected to help reduce the telco’s nearly Rs 1-lakh crore debt, besides strengthening its cash reserves to invest in infrastructure amid market consolidation.

With this, KKR has returned as an investor in Bharti Infratel. It had earlier invested in Bharti Infratel in 2007 but subsequently divested in public markets in three tranches between December 2012 and June 2015, making returns of around 1.5 times.

The Sunil Bharti-led company on Tuesday announced completing secondary sale of over 190 million shares of its subsidiary Bharti Infratel, executed at a price of Rs 325 per share. The company said the proceeds from the sale would enable it to cut its debt of Rs 97,395 crore as on December 31, 2016.

(Source: Business Standard)

3. Truecaller Gets Into Mobile Payments in India

Swedish startup Truecaller has become the newest entrant in India’s busy digital payments space, via a tie-up with ICICI Bank Ltd. to offer a local mobile-payments service.

The caller-ID service and spam-filtering startup announced on Tuesday that users can send and receive money through its smartphone app without passwords or banking codes. The service links bank accounts and sits atop Truecaller’s mobile-identity service, which was the third-most downloaded app in India last year.

“We want to take digital transactions to the masses in India,” Alan Mamedi, Truecaller co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a phone interview from New Delhi. “India is going to leapfrog many other markets in mobile payments.”

Stockholm-based Truecaller, backed by Sequoia Capital, Atomico and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, has more than 150 million users in India.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

4. FII Investments Into India Hit a Record $6.37 Billion in March

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have pumped a massive $3.6 billion (Rs 23,435 crore) into the stock markets on a net basis so far in March, the highest in a month since February 2013. They have made net investments of $6.37 billion (Rs 41,442 crore) into India on an aggregate basis (debt and equity) in March (till 28th), the highest ever for a month.

The surge in FII investments has propelled key stock indices close to their life-time highs hit in March 2015. The benchmark Sensex and the broader Nifty indices are now trading only about 2 percent lower than their all-time highs.

FIIs have pumped nearly $5 billion (Rs 32,160 crore) into Indian stocks and about $8.3 billion (Rs 53,808 crore) on an aggregate basis so far in 2017, data with share depository NSDL showed.

(Source: Times of India)

5. SBI to Complete Merger of 6 Banks in Three Months

State Bank of India, which would start merger process of five associates and Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) from 1 April, expects integration to be completed in three months.

“SBI has sought three-month time from RBI for merger. It should be done by that timeframe,” SBI managing director (national banking group) Rajnish Kumar said.

“The merger has to be done in phases. As data are integrated, the new passbook and cheque books would be issued. The complete integration of various banks should take three months,” he said.

Post merger, he said about 1,500 branches to be shut because of duplication.

“There are many duplication and they need to be rationalised. About 1,500-1,600 branches have to be rationalised. The closure could be of SBI or associate bank depending on location,” he said.

(Source: Times of India)

6. ED Attaches Rs 263 Cr Assets of Deccan Chronicle Group

The Enforcement Directorate Tuesday attached assets worth Rs 263.10 crore of Hyderabad-based Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL) in a bank loan fraud case.

The properties, including movable and immovable assets, shares, bank balances, foreign currency receivables and luxurious cars, were attached under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)

These properties are other than the properties pledged to banks by DCHL, the ED said in its provisional order.

The bank loan fraud caused a loss of Rs 1,161.93 crore to 6 public sector banks – Canara Bank, Andhra Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank and IDBI Bank.

The ED had booked a case under the PMLA against the company and others based on a FIR and chargesheet by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Source: Business Standard

7. Flipkart Plans Several Sales Events Ahead of 10th Anniversary

India’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart plans to hold more sale events over the course of the next 6-9 months, engage more with disruptive, new startups and push into more verticals as part of its private label push, as it gears up to celebrate its 10th anniversary amid broader discussions to close a mammoth round of funding.

In an interview on Tuesday, Flipkart chief operating officer Nitin Seth said it was launching a new campaign called the Big 10 to mark its anniversary, as part of which the online retailer plans to host a slew of events for its customers, home-grown start-ups and other stakeholders.

“The Big 10 theme is very much going to be part of our sale events this year,” said Seth, who in an earlier interview in March had projected that Flipkart would grow sales by at least 50-60 percent in the next financial year.

(Source: Livemint)

8. Tata Ties up With Alibaba to Sell Tetley Tea in China

About 300 years after the British East India Company introduced tea plantations in India to kill Chinese monopoly on its trade, the Indian owners of a classic British tea brand are introducing it in China.

Tata Global Beverages Ltd has entered a tie-up with e-commerce firm Alibaba to sell Tetley tea bags through the latter’s TMall business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace. They were introduced late last year, said the company’s chief marketing officer Adil Ahmed.

“Alibaba and e-commerce is the beachhead to land the product in the market and create market awareness,” he said.

Tata Global Beverages is bringing Tetley to new markets such as China and Malaysia to cover what Ahmed calls “white spaces”– tea consuming markets where it has not been present. The firm has ambitions of making revenue of $1 billion (Rs6,508 crore) from the Tetley brand, he said, without specifying a timeline.

(Source: Livemint)

9. Government Brings Back 10% Tax on Wheat Imports

The government on Tuesday imposed 10 per cent import duty on wheat and tur dal with immediate effect in a bid to protect farmers’ interest, amid projection of a record crop this year. On 8 December, the government had reduced customs duty on wheat to zero from 10 per cent to boost domestic availability and check retail prices. There has been nil duty on tur dal.

Announcing the decision in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said a notification dated 17 March 2012 has further been amended so as to “impose basic customs duty of 10 per cent on wheat and tur, with immediate effect.” The estimated revenue implication of this decision is about Rs 840 crore at the current levels of imports, he said.The move will help curb sharp fall in the wholesale prices of these two commodities and ensure support price to farmers who are expecting a good crop.

(Source: Financial Express)

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