QBiz: Six Airports To Be Privatised; Fortis CEO Quits

1. Fortis CEO Quits Ahead of Board Makeover

With Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Bhd set to take control of Fortis Healthcare Ltd, Bhavdeep Singh, chief executive of the troubled hospital operator, resigned on Thursday, 8 November, citing personal reasons.

The Fortis board is expected to meet next week to appoint representatives from IHH on the board, two people aware of the matter said.

Singh’s resignation clears the way for IHH to bring in its own candidate to run Fortis Healthcare once the Malaysian group formally takes control.

(Source: LiveMint)

2. 6 Airports Get Govt Nod for Privatisation; AAI to Hold a Minor Stake

The government on Thursday, 8 November, decided to privatise six airports. The ones chosen for operation, management and development through a public-private partnership (PPP) model are Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati.

This comes 12 years after Delhi and Mumbai airports were privatised in 2006. The decision was taken at a Union Cabinet meeting. “After the modernisation of airports in Delhi and Mumbai through the PPP model, we saw a great improvement in the quality of the airports. Tourist flows also increased. So we have decided to develop six more airports under this model,” said Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad.

(Source: Business Standard)

3. GST Refund of Rs 827 Bn to Exporters Cleared, Rs 54 Bn Pending as on 31 Oct

The Finance Ministry said on Thursday, 7 November, that GST refund of Rs 827 billion to exporters has been cleared as on 31 October, which is 93.8 per cent of the total such claims with the tax authorities.

In a statement, the ministry said Rs 54 billion worth GST refund is still pending with the government and that is being "expeditiously processed".

(Source: Business Standard)

4. India's Economic Growth to Slow Down to 7.3% in 2019, 2020: Moody's

Indian economy will expand 7.4 percent in 2018, but the growth will slow down to 7.3 percent in the next year as domestic demand tapers on higher borrowing cost due to rising interest rates, Moody's Investors Service said Thursday, 8 November.

In its report titled Global Macro Outlook 2019-20', Moody's said the economy grew 7.9 percent in the first half (January-June) of 2018, which reflects post demonetisation base effect.

Stating that borrowing costs have already increased on higher interest rates, Moody's said it expects the Reserve Bank will continue to steadily raise the benchmark rate through 2019, which will further dampen domestic demand.

(Source: PTI)

5. Amazon, Flipkart Not Violating Competition Norms, Says CCI

Competition Commission of India has concluded that the business practices of Flipkart and Amazon were not in violation of competition norms, and rejected allegations of abuse of market dominance made by a grouping of online vendors.

Amid concerns expressed in various quarters about alleged unfair business practices in the fast-growing online marketplace, the CCI also made it clear that any intervention in the evolving e-commerce market place needs to be "carefully crafted" to ensure that innovations are not stifled.

The latest ruling from the fair trade regulator is a result of a complaint filed by the All India Online Vendors Association, a grouping of over 2,000 sellers on various e-commerce market places.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

6. Mastercard, Visa Losing Market Share to Local Rivals: Arun Jaitley

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, 8 November, Mastercard and Visa were losing market share to domestic payments networks, months after Mastercard complained to the US government that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using nationalism to promote a local rival.

Jaitley spoke about the surging growth of RuPay and Unified Payment Interface (UPI), which allows swift inter-bank fund transfers, on the second anniversary of Modi’s shock decision to replace high-value bank notes in a bid to flush out untaxed wealth.

(Source: LiveMint)

7. RBI Relaxes ECB Norms For Infrastructure Companies

The Reserve Bank of India has liberalised the norms governing foreign borrowings for infrastructure creation "in consultation with the government.”

The minimum average maturity requirement for external commercial borrowings in the infrastructure space raised by eligible borrowers has been reduced to three years from five years earlier, a notification said.

Additionally, the average maturity requirement for mandatory hedging has been reduced to five years from ten years earlier, the central bank announced.

(Source: PTI)

8. After a Selling Spree, FIIs Make a Return to India’s Debt Market

Foreign investors have returned to India’s debt markets after several months of aggressive selling, prompted by falling crude oil prices and the central bank’s move to ease a liquidity squeeze.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have bought nearly $1.26 billion in debt over the last nine trading sessions (between 24 October and 5 November) and have been buyers in all sessions except one during this period, according to Bloomberg data. To be sure, FIIs have remained net sellers of Indian debt for the year, offloading $7.76 billion in domestic bonds.So far in November, they have bought $700.6 million in debt, the highest monthly purchase since January.

(Source: LiveMint)

9. India to Allow Foreign Companies to Store Oil in Padur Reserve

India on Thursday, 8 November, approved a plan to allow foreign oil companies to store oil in the Padur strategic petroleum reserve, law minister RS Prasad said, as the world’s third biggest oil importer seeks to cut storage costs.

Global oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, have shown interest in investing in India’s strategic oil storage, which the country uses to hedge against energy security risks as it relies heavily on oil imports.

India has built emergency storage in underground caverns at three locations to hold 36.87 million barrels of crude. The underground 2.5 million tonne Padur strategic reserve in southern Karnataka state has four compartments to hold about 18.5 million barrels of oil.

(Source: Reuters)

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