QBiz: Jet Resignations Raise Questions on Airline Survival & More

1. Jet CEO, CFO Step Down, Raising Fresh Concerns

Jet Airways (India) Ltd lost its senior-most executives on Tuesday, raising fresh uncertainty on whether the airline, grounded for nearly a month, will ever take to the skies. Vinay Dube, chief executive officer, and Amit Agarwal, deputy CEO and chief financial officer, put in their papers, adding to the growing list of top-level exits at the carrier.

The resignations come amid efforts by the SBI-led consortium to scout for investors to revive the airline. The latest exits are likely to affect Jet’s stake sale plans and make it tougher for a potential buyer to take over the airline.

Later in the day, Kuldeep Sharma, company secretary and vice-president of global compliance, joined the list of exits, according to regulatory filings by Jet Airways.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. Vodafone Idea Looks to Cut Costs as Tariff War Squeezes Margins

India’s largest telecom operator Vodafone Idea Ltd is going back to the drawing board to find ways for cost reduction amid a brutal tariff war that has squeezed margins.

The telco is currently “questioning" all the practices it has adopted in this market yet, chief executive officer Balesh Sharma said in a post-earnings conference call on Tuesday.

Vodafone Idea posted a consolidated loss of Rs 4,881.9 crore in the March quarter, against Rs 5,004.6 crore in the December quarter and Rs 4,973.8 crore in the September quarter.

(Source: Livemint)

3. Suzuki Plans to Introduce Two More Brands in India

Suzuki Motor Corp. is exploring the possibility of having two more brands in India, taking a leaf out of its Japanese rivals Honda Motor Co. Ltd, Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd that sell vehicles under more than one brand name.

Toyota and Suzuki have a pact to sell each other’s cars in India. While Suzuki will supply its premium hatchback Baleno and compact sport utility vehicle Vitara Brezza to Toyota, Suzuki will source Toyota’s popular sedan Corolla and sell it through the dealership network of Maruti.

The Nexa chain of premium dealerships was formed by Maruti in 2015 to sell its premium vehicles such as the Baleno and the S-Cross crossover vehicle. Maruti garnered nearly 20% of its total sales volume in FY19 from Nexa dealerships.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

4. Staff, Sellers Colluded in Cashback Fraud: Paytm

The recent fraud at Paytm Mall, the e-commerce marketplace arm of Paytm, involved hundreds of sellers and tens of employees, said Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

The fraud, which involved fake transactions between merchants and employees to make undue gains from cashback offers, is estimated to be to the tune of ₹10 crore, Sharma said on the sidelines of a press meet in Mumbai on Tuesday. “I don’t know the (exact) amount but, it will be ₹10 crore for sure," said Sharma.

Since its inception in April 2017, Paytm Mall has raised $650 million from Alibaba, SoftBank and SAIF Partners, with Alibaba group arm Ant Financial holding a 42% stake in Paytm Mall. Alibaba also holds a large stake in Paytm’s parent, One97 Communications.

(Source: Livemint)

5. Sensex Breaks Nine-Session Losing Streak

Indian stocks advanced, snapping their longest stretch of losses since February, as some investors felt nine days of declines to be excessive.

The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.6%, or 227.71 points, to 37,318.53 in Mumbai after falling as much as 0.4% earlier in the session. That avoided the longest ever losing streak for the benchmark gauge. The NSE Nifty 50 Index gained 0.7%, or 73.85 points, to end the session at 11,222.05.

Stocks have been weighed down in recent days as investors weighed their positions ahead of next week’s national ballot results and fretted over the escalating US-China trade dispute.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

6. Nestle Profit Surges 9.2% to Rs 463 Crore; Brands like Maggi, Kitkat and Munch Deliver Strong Performances

Fast-moving consumer goods major Nestlé India, on Tuesday reported 9.2% y-o-y increase in its net profit at Rs 463.3 crore for the quarter ended March 31 2019 from Rs 424 crore in the year-ago quarter.

Nestlé which follows January to December financial year also announced plans to launch organic food products in the Milk Products and Nutrition category in the coming months.

The maker of instant Maggi noodles reported 9% year-on-year increase in revenues to `3.003 crore in the quarter. Ebitda margins contracted by 80bps y-o-y to 24.50%, compared with 25.30% in Q1 CY18. Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and ammortisation) rose by 5.90% y-o-y to `737.6 crore, against `696.8 crore in Q1 CY18.

(Source: Financial Express)

7. Dailyhunt in Early Talks to Raise Funds from Softbank

Regional language news aggregator Dailyhunt is in initial talks with Japan’s SoftBank to raise more than $150 million, according to two people familiar with the matter.

If this transaction goes through, it will mark SoftBank’s first independent investment in the content space, which has seen several startups coming up over the past few years.

“SoftBank’s interest in Indian content startups emerges from the larger theme of tapping into the next internet user wave in the country," one of the two people cited above said, requesting anonymity. “SoftBank has held talks with another regional content startup for a potential investment, but nothing has been finalized yet."

(Source: Livemint)

8. India May Again Extend Retaliatory Tariff Deadline on US Products by 30 Days

India is expected to again extend the deadline by a month to impose retaliatory import duties on 29 US products, including almond, walnut and pulses, an official said. The previous extension will end on May 16. The commerce ministry has asked its finance counterpart to issue a notification with regard to further extension of the deadline, the official added.

These deadlines were extended several times since June 2018, when India decided to impose these duties in retaliation to a move by the US to impose high customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.

This extension comes in the backdrop of the US decision to withdraw export incentives being provided to Indian exporters under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, which is expected to impact India’s exports to the US worth USD 5.6 billion under this scheme.

(Source: PTI)

9. Ex-NSE CEO Narain Gets Interim Relief by SAT in Co-Location Case

Former NSE chief executive Ravi Narain was Tuesday granted interim relief by the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) in the co-location case order by Sebi.

Granting the interim relief in the form of a stay, a division bench of SAT including presiding officer Justice Tarun Agarwala, member CKG Nair and judicial member Justice MT Joshi adjourned the case to July 22.

The capital markets regulator had earlier this month barred Narain and other NSE executives including former managing director Chitra Ramkrishna and others for their role in the co-location case.

(Source: PTI)

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