QBiz: Reliance Industries Buys Hamleys for Rs 620 cr, And More

1. McDonald’s Settles with Former Partner Bakshi

Ending a six-year-long dispute between McDonald’s Corp and its estranged India partner Vikram Bakshi, the local unit of the US fast-food chain on Thursday said it has bought out Bakshi’s 50% stake in their joint venture Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd (CPRL).

The move marks an end to the fast-food chain’s association with Bakshi, who opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in the country in the mid-1990s and then expanded to more than 160 restaurants in north and east India.

McDonald’s India Pvt Ltd (MIPL), along with its affiliate McDonald’s Global Markets Llc, now wholly owns CPRL, the US fast-food chain said in a statement on Thursday. CPRL will now be headed by Robert Hunghanfoo.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. Reliance Brands Inks Pact to Buy Hamleys

Reliance Brands Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, acquired British toy retailer Hamleys for £67.96 million (about ₹620 crore) in an all-cash deal, the company said on Thursday. Reliance Brands signed an agreement to acquire a 100% stake in Hamleys Global Holdings Ltd from Hong Kong-based C banner International, Reliance Industries said in a statement. Mint reported on 18 April that Reliance Brands was in advanced talks with C banner to acquire the toy retailer.

Hamleys, founded in London in 1760, is one of the world’s oldest retailers of toys and has changed hands several times. It was bought in June 2003 by the Baugur Group, an Icelandic investment company. In the same year, Hamleys was delisted from the London stock market by Baugur Group, which had paid $68.8 million for the company. In 2012, it was sold for $78.4 million to France’s Groupe Ludendo. Hamleys reported losses of £12 million in 2017, when it last reported its financials.

(Source: Livemint)

3. 11.5 Lakh Jobs Likely to Be Added in First Half of FY20

Even as employment scenario remains weak, India may see the addition of 11.5 lakh jobs in the formal sector during the first half of FY20, a report said, adding travel, hospitality and BPO/ITeS are likely to be the top contributors. The positive job outlook is mainly on account of a stock market rally, rise in investments, the revised the FDI regulations and government policies across sector, the TeamLease Services report added.

The general elections and formation of the new government at the centre are expected to make the sentiment more conducive in the April-September period of fiscal year 2020, she added. Even as all the sectors in the economy are expected to gain, the fresh graduates would be the biggest gainers, Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President TeamLease Services, said. The freshers may find jobs in retail-Delhi (8,250 jobs), educational services-Bangalore (6,870 jobs), retail-Chennai (5,550 jobs), retail-Bangalore (4,960 jobs), educational services-Mumbai (4,180 jobs), FMCG/Delhi-Mumbai (4,210 jobs), the report noted.

(Source: Financial Express)

4. Data Row: Finance Panel Rechecks Data for Its Report

The 15th Finance Commission will reconcile data from several sources for its report as a matter of prudence, the commission’s chairman said on Thursday, amid a cloud over the credibility of India’s key economic statistics.

Mint reported on Tuesday citing a National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report that India used a database riddled with holes to estimate its gross domestic product. The NSSO study, conducted in the 12 months ending June 2017, said that as much as 38% of companies in the MCA-21 database could not be traced or were wrongly classified.

Finance Commission members led by chairman N K Singh were in Mumbai to meet the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, deputy governors and representatives of banks and financial institutions.

(Source: Livemint)

5. Snapdeal 2.0 Wooing Customers in Smaller Cities for Next Wave of Growth

Snapdeal, once a close competitor to Flipkart and Amazon in the battle for e-commerce supremacy, has been growing steadily in its new avatar of Snapdeal 2.0 (since its merger with Flipkart failed around mid-2017) focusing on its core e-commerce business that it is now eyeing to strengthen in tier-II and tier-III cities of India.

Snapdeal is on-boarding local sellers “who understand” customers in tier-II and tier-III cities and hence offer products “that is relevant” for such customers, PTI reported citing Snapdeal’s Senior Vice President – Corporate Affairs and Communications Rajnish Wahi as saying to reporters in Hyderabad.

(Source: Financial Express)

6. TCS Overtakes RIL to Become the Most Valued Indian Firm

Shares of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on Thursday ended down for the fourth consecutive session in a weak market, approaching a 10-week low.

Shares of RIL closed at ₹1,255.15 – a level last seen on 5 March, down 3.41% from their previous close, while India’s benchmark Sensex index closed down 0.61% at 37,558.91 points.

Since 3 May, RIL has fallen nearly 11%, losing nearly ₹96,000 crore in market valuation.

Domestic equities were down for the seventh session, having declined nearly 3.5% in this period due to fresh concern about a trade war between the US and China.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

7. Maruti Slashes Output for Third Month

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s largest passenger vehicle maker, has cut production for the third consecutive month in April underscoring tepid demand for automobiles.

The maker of Swift and Baleno cars reduced production by 9.6% to 163,368 vehicles in April, according to a regulatory filing.

Like most passenger vehicle makers, sales at the local unit of Suzuki Motor Corp. have remained subdued since September last year due to weak consumer sentiment caused by factors such as a liquidity squeeze and higher fuel as well as vehicle prices.

In March, the New Delhi-based company cut production by 21% to 136,201 vehicles, following on a 8.3% reduction in February to 148,959 vehicles. Maruti’s top management has guided for a sales growth of 4-8% in this fiscal year.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

8. L&T Acquires Crucial 26% Stake in Mindtree as Marquee Investors Exit

Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) has scooped up more shares of Mindtree Ltd on Thursday to raise its total ownership in the software services firm to 26%, two people aware of the transactions said, crossing the 25% mark that ensures L&T gets a board seat and the power to propose or block special resolutions.

Ever since L&T acquired a 20.32% stake in Mindtree from Café Coffee Day (CCD) founder VG Siddhartha and two of his affiliate firms, India’s largest engineering company has been buying up shares of Mindtree from the market, with a target of 15%. L&T has also announced an offer to buy 31% of Mindtree shares from public shareholders, starting Tuesday. If all share purchases go as planned, L&T will end up with more than 66% in Mindtree.

(Source: Livemint)

9. India Seeks Greater Access for Agri, Milk Products, Bovine Meat in Chinese Market

India has sought greater access for agricultural and animal husbandry products in Chinese market to boost exports and bridge trade deficit with the neighbouring country, an official said. Necessary documents for bovine meat, milk and milk products have been submitted to China’s General Administration of Customs of China (GACC).

China does not permit imports of Indian bovine meat due to fears over foot-and-mouth disease. The issues were raised during a meeting between Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan and GACC Vice Minister Li Guo here Thursday. India informed the Chinese side that it is exporting de-glanded and de-boned frozen meat to as many as 70 countries since several years. “China has stated that they would look into the issue,” the official said.

(Source: PTI)

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