Newsletter: 3rd – 9th July 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

Foreign exchange reserves go up $4 billion, reach a record high

India’s foreign exchange reserves rose $4billion to reach a record high of $386.5 billion for the week ended June 30, said the Reserve Bank of India on Friday. This comes on the back of a continuing rise in forex reserves as the RBI is reported to be mopping up dollar reserves, utilising the suitable market conditions.

Government likely to pump more money into PSU banks

The government is likely to infuse more money in state-run banks amid crackdown on bad loans and increasing capital needs under Basel III guidelines. The exact amount will be decided after the first quarter results of banks are available, a senior finance ministry official said.

Net income tax collection rises 14.8 per cent to Rs 1.42 lakh crore in Q1

Net direct tax collection grew by 14.8 per cent to Rs 1.42 lakh crore at the end of first quarter on account of surge in advance tax payments. During April-June, the revenue department also issued refunds to the tune of Rs 55,520 crore. This was, however, 5.2 per cent lower than the refunds issued during the corresponding period last fiscal.

June services PMI soars to eight-month high on new orders

Activity in India’s services sector expanded at its fastest pace in eight months in June, as new business orders surged and demand improved, a private survey showed. The Nikkei/IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 53.1 in June from 52.2 in May. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Indian ‘shadow economy’ to shrink to 13.6 per cent of GDP by 2025: ACCA

The “shadow economy” in India will shrink to 13.6 per cent of the GDP by 2025, a study by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said. Shadow economy refers to the production of and trade in goods and services that are deliberately and often illegally concealed from public authorities. The shadow economy in India currently represents 17.22 per cent of GDP, totalling about Rs 26,15,800 crore in 2016.

BUSINESS

IDFC, Shriram Group enter 90-day exclusive talks for $10 billion mega merger

Even as IDFC and Shriram Group readied for a mega merger to create a large finance behemoth, the two groups received verbal clearance from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to go ahead with the deal, Cogencies reported. IDFC and Shriram Group announced brief contours of the merger to create a $10 billion conglomerate.

Cash-strapped Venezuela offers India’s ONGC oil stake

Cash-hungry Venezuela has offered Indian oil firm ONGC Videsh an increased stake in an oil field, as the country seeks to shore up its bruised energy industry and strengthen ties with New Delhi. State oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has proposed selling a 9 percent stake in the San Cristobal field to ONGC Videsh (OVL), a subsidiary of India’s state-owned top explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp.

LIC picks over 3% additional stake in Bank of India for Rs 451 crore

Insurance behemoth LIC has bought an additional stake of over 3 per cent in public sector Bank of India for about Rs 450.88 crore. The Bank of India sold 33,500,000 shares equivalent to over 3.12 per cent equity to LIC through an open market purchase on a preference shares allotment on June 28, 2017, as per bank’s regulatory filing.

Interested only in international biz of Air India: IndiGo

Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, founders of IndiGo, clarified Thursday that their primary interest in Air India is in the carrier’s international operations that include the lowcost Air India Express, and that they are not keen to partner the state in a joint venture for the flagship airline. Gangwal cited the example of United Airlines buying PanAm’s international operations and, later, its London routes.

NMCE, ICEX to merge creating 3rd biggest commodity exchange

National Multi Commodity Exchange (NMCE) will merge with Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX) creating the country’s third biggest commodity exchange, they said in a statement. The ICEX will hold a 62.8 per cent stake in the merged entity, while NMCE shareholders will own the rest, the companies said.

Tatas, Bharti on a call to explore joint front in telecom and DTH

The Tata Group and Bharti Enterprises have held exploratory talks to evaluate a mega alliance involving their telecom, overseas cable and enterprise services, and direct-to-home TV businesses. Discussions between both sides have revolved around a possible merger between unlisted Tata Teleservices and Tata Sky and the listed Tata Communications with the Sunil Mittal-owned Bharti Airtel, which includes its wholly owned DTH arm.

Reliance Jio may disrupt the market again with a Rs 500 4G VoLTE handset

Reliance Jio is likely to launch its much-awaited 4G VoLTE feature phone within this month, with brokerage HSBC putting the price at as low as Rs 500, a move which could bring in another wave of disruption in the telecom market. The launch could be announced at parent Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting on July 21— would follow Jio’s likely announcement of a new tariff plan with aggressive price-points over the next couple of days with its 84-day Dhan Dhan offer- announced on April 11- drawing to a close.

Microsoft CIO Jim DuBois quits amid layoffs

With Microsoft announcing job cuts as part of reorganising its global sales staff, the company’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jim DuBois has decided to move on, the media reported. Named CIO in 2013, DuBois had been with Microsoft since 1993 where he worked in several roles mostly focused to information technology. Senior Microsoft employee Kurt DelBene will replace DuBois as Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

Chairman of struggling Ericsson Leif Johansson to stand down

Leif Johansson, chairman of Sweden’s Ericsson, plans to quit before the company’s annual meeting in 2018 as the struggling mobile equipment firm tries to restore profitability. Cheaper Chinese rivals have ousted Ericsson as the biggest player in the mobile equipment market while its attempt to boost revenues by broadening its client base to include utilities, transport firms and media companies has been an expensive failure.

Axis Bank emerges the frontrunner to acquire FreeCharge

Axis Bank, India’s third-largest private sector lender, has emerged the frontrunner to acquire FreeCharge, the digital payments platform owned by troubled ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal. The payments unit has been seeking a buyer for several months now, even as its parent negotiates the terms for its own sale. Axis Bank is currently conducting due diligence on FreeCharge and could deliver a payout of up to $100 million to cash-starved Snapdeal.

Lenskart to launch IPO in 3 years, eyes Rs 600 crore business in 2017-18

Online eyewear firm Lenskart plans to launch its initial public offer within next three years to create value and provide an exit option to existing shareholders.

WORLD

Federal Reserve sees steady economy, only ‘moderate’ financial vulnerabilities

The U.S. economy continues to churn out jobs and grow at a steady pace, with investment and consumer confidence both healthy and only moderate signs of risk in financial markets, the U.S. Federal Reserve said in its semiannual report to Congress. The report gave detailed attention to whether the financial system and bond markets posed any particular threat to the country’s eight-year economic expansion.

Rupee devaluation in Pakistan? Currency drops most in 9 years

Pakistan’s rupee plunged the most in nine years, after the central bank was said to have devalued the currency as South Asia’s second largest economy showed signs of stress ahead of elections next year. The rupee fell 3.1 per cent to 108.1 against the dollar at 2:29 p.m. local time on Wednesday, the lowest level since December 2013.

Big banks fail to clear climate test

The world’s biggest banks are continuing to fuel climate change through the financing of “extreme” fossil fuels at a rate that will push the planet beyond the climate change limit agreed upon at the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015. In the three years ending December 31, 2016, as many as 37 international banks financed 158 companies $290 billion for their “extreme” fossil fuel activities, said the Banking on Climate Change: Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card 2017.

Donald Trump pledges $639 mn in aid to four countries at G20 summit

U.S. President Donald Trump promised $639 million in aid to feed people left starving because of drought and conflict in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen. Trump’s pledge came during a working session of the G20 summit of world leaders in Hamburg, providing a “godsend” to the United Nations’ World Food Programme, the group’s executive director, David Beasley, told Reuters.

Donald Trump wins key climate, trade concessions at stormy G20

Trump won key concessions on climate and trade from world leaders at the most fractious G20 summit to date, in exchange for preserving the unity of the club of major industrialised and emerging economies. In a final statement agreed by all 20 economies, they acknowledged Trump’s decision to go his own way on taking the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Qatar bans residents, citizens from leaving the country as Saudi deadline nears

After Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar for its support to terror networks, the Qatari government is struggling to tackle the blockade on the country which threatens to disrupt its economy. It has banned its citizens and residents from leaving the country. The ban is part of several drastic measures taken by the government to save its economy.

Newsletter: 5th March – 11th March, 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

Karnataka may build new city to decongest Bengaluru 

Call it an over-ambitious or non-implementable project, the Karnataka government is thinking of developing a new city in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) to decongest Bengaluru. The plan is to relocate at least 20 lakh of the state capital’s population to the new city. Urban development minister R Roshan Baig that the city will be developed on 11,000 acres of abandoned mining land in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), around 100 km from Bengaluru.

IIP bounces back in January, expands by 2.7% 

Industrial production bounced back in January expanding by 2.7 per cent year-on-year mainly due to better performance by the capital goods segment, a barometer of investment activities. The factory output, measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP), had contracted by 0.1 per cent in December on account of cash crunch following demonetisation of high value currency notes.  Continue reading “Newsletter: 5th March – 11th March, 2017”

FinTech in India – The Road Ahead

Over the last few years, the way payment is done in India is similar to way it occurs in global markets with a small time lag. India now represents one of the largest market opportunities for payments. With a population of over 125crs being pushed to go digital, India is poised to make the most of digital developments transforming the payments space. Continue reading “FinTech in India – The Road Ahead”

Newsletter: 26th February – 4th March, 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

Goldman Sachs expects IT sector growth to slow down 

Goldman Sachs said it expects India’s technology industry to witness a slowdown going ahead due to cloud computing, rising protectionism and weak exposure to high-end businesses. The revenue of top five Indian IT services companies is likely to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8% against the 11% they saw during the FY11-FY16 period.

Digital payments slump in February as cash flow eases 

According to data released by the Reserve Bank of India on electronic payments for February, card payments on point of sale devices fell 28.2% over January. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) declined 9.5% while that of Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) hosted by National Payments Corporation of India slid 12.5%. However the data is for 28 days of February against 31 days of January.

Impact of demonetisation showing to be transient: Naushad Forbes on the recent GDP figure 

With GDP growth rate at 7%, the impact of demonetisation is showing to be transient, Naushad Forbes, president, Confederation of Indian Industry, CII, said. “The impact of demonetisation is showing to be transient and we are likely to reach higher growth levels in the coming quarters. Most large businesses have made efforts to integrate their supply chains into cashless payment systems and this will soon yield benefits in terms of higher efficiency and productivity of the economy,” Forbes said.

States’ fiscal deficit will rise to 3.3% in 2017-18: India Ratings 

Even as the centre has managed to contain its fiscal deficit, state governments still remain profligate. A report by ratings firm India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) estimates that aggregate fiscal deficit of Indian states will increase marginally to 3.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in FY’18 from its forecast of 3.2% for FY;17. It expects states’ debt/GDP ratio may increase marginally to 24.3% in FY’18 from 24% forecasted for FY’17.

India should cut corporate tax, go for inheritance levy: OECD 

India should bring down corporate tax rate to 25 per cent, introduce inheritance tax and provide certainty in rules, global think-tank OECD said today, taking the line that demonetisation will benefit the economy in the long run. In its Economic Survey of India, the OECD said comprehensive tax reforms, especially the goods and services tax, “would lift all boats” and raise revenue helping the government effectively deal with high poverty rate.

Services rebound after four months, PMI rises to 50.3 in February 

India’s services activity bounced back into expansion mode for the first time in four months in February, a private business survey showed on Friday, providing further evidence that the effects of demonetisation may be fading. The Nikkei/IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.3 in February from 48.7 in January, marginally above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction. The PMI manufacturing survey had showed a similar recovery.

GDP growth rate plays down note ban worry, 7% growth recorded in Q3 

India seems to have braved the effects of demonetisation with the economy growing at an unexpectedly robust 7% in what was deemed to be the worst hit October-December quarter. It’s now forecast to achieve 7.1% growth in the year to March. Going by these projections, India will retain its tag of being the fastest-growing major global economy that it was at risk of surrendering to China going by some estimates.

BUSINESS

IDBI Bank freezes lending & branch expansion plans 

The government-owned IDBI Bank has decided to freeze lending and branch expansion plans after it posted a historic loss of Rs 2,255 crore in the third quarter in an effort to conserve capital, a buffer that banks keep as a cushion against loan defaults. Instead, it has decided to focus on bad loan recoveries which are almost a fifth of its loan book.

ONGC may acquire HPCL in $6.6 billion deal 

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) may acquire India’s third-biggest fuel retailer HPCL in an about Rs 44,000 crore (USD 6.6 billion) deal as part of the government’s plan to create an integrated oil giant. Following up on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget announcement of creating an integrated oil company, India’s biggest oil and gas producer ONGC may buy all of the government’s 51.11 per cent stake in HPCL.

Finance ministry official Ajay Tyagi to take charge of Sebi 

Finance ministry official Ajay Tyagi takes over as Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman with two likely priorities – developing the country’s commodity and corporate bond markets and shoring up corporate governance. Tyagi will also inherit from outgoing SEBI Chairman UK Sinha critical regulatory decisions, including whether to penalise National Stock Exchange, over potential trading violations and whether to adopt tougher rules against high frequency traders.

Axis, ICICI Bank bring back cash charges, HDFC Bank hikes fee

Private sector banks such as Axis Bank and ICICI Bank restored their charges on cash transactions to discourage use or hard currency for business, which were suspended after the government demonetised high-value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 last November. While Axis Bank and ICICI Bank returned to their pre-demonetisation charges, HDFC Bank has increased some fees.

Big leap for Snap as messaging app debuts on Wall Street 

Snapchat owner Snap Inc rode a wave of euphoria in its Wall Street debut Thursday as investors sent shares of the popular messaging app soaring. Snap jumped 44 per cent to close at $24.48 in its inaugural trading day, after raising $3.4 billion in the richest US tech company listing since Facebook in 2012.

Saudi Arabia is all set for the world’s biggest IPO 

Saudi Arabia is going to break a Chinese record. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, a Chinese Internet retailer, raised $25 billion in 2014, which made it the biggest IPO of the world. Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, is preparing for an IPO next year that would beat Alibaba’s record. he share sale would be worth $100 billion, four times the world’s biggest IPO of Alibaba. The share sale will value the company at $2 trillion.

Asian currencies hit by heightened prospects of Fed rate hike 

Most emerging Asian currencies fell against the dollar on Friday and were also on track for weekly losses, pressured by growing expectations for a US Federal Reserve interest rate hike this month. Leading the losses were the South Korean won and the Taiwan dollar, the two emerging Asian currencies that have seen the biggest gains against the greenback so far in 2017.

Tata, Docomo agree to settle $1.17-billion payment dispute 

Tata Sons and NTT Docomo proposed aresolution to the Delhi High Court on settling a dispute over the $1.17 billion due to the Japanese telco for exiting their joint venture, Tata Teleservices, ending two years of public acrimony. The two sides, which filed a joint petition in the court on Tuesday, said they will not oppose RBI’s intervention in the matter, leaving the resolution in the hands of the court.

Tata Global Beverages and Keurig announce multi-year expansion 

Tata Global Beverages and Keurig Green Mountain, Inc announced a multi-year expansion of their successful partnership for the manufacturing, sales, licensing and distribution of the Eight O’Clock coffee and Tetley tea brands in K-Cup pods for use in Keurig brewers. The renewed long-term agreement allows for the continued success for the brands through in-home and away-from-home channels, as well as on Keurig’s consumer direct websites, throughout the US and Canada.

Nestle, Coca-Cola to end tea joint venture: Nestle 

Nestle and The Coca-Cola Company have agreed to dissolve their tea joint venture Beverage Partners Worldwide (BPW) as of the start of 2018, Nestle announced.  Created in 2001, BPW offers ready-to drink tea, in particular Nestea, in Canada and Europe. “The ready-to-drink tea market has evolved, and Nestle believes the time is right to develop Nestea independently,” it said in a statement.

Hershey expects to cut 15 per cent of global workforce 

Hershey Co. says it expects to cut its global workforce by about 15 per cent, with the layoffs coming mostly from hourly employees outside the United States. The Pennsylvania-based chocolate company also lowered its forecast for long-term sales growth to between 2 and 4 per cent, down from the previous 3 to 5 percent.

WORLD

China will allow more IPOs to lure capital 

China will allow more companies to list on its stock market to boost support for its economy, the nation’s top securities regulator said, dismissing concerns that more supplies of shares can depress the market. The capital market’s recovery from a 2015 rout has been stronger than expected and is now ready for “appropriately” larger supplies of initial public offerings, China Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman Liu Shiyu said.

With rocketing population, Pakistan to conduct first census in 19 years 

Fast-growing Pakistan will conduct its first census in 19 years in March, the statistics bureau said, hoping to end years of wrangling by politicians concerned about how a survey would affect the makeup of their local electorates. Changes could be significant in a country where 60 per cent of the population is under the age of 30. In 2015, the World Bank estimated Pakistan’s population at 188.9 million but the country still uses the official 1998 figure of 134.7 million.

Trump’s office on immigrant crime is dramatic overhaul 

President Donald Trump is spotlighting violence committed by immigrants, announcing the creation of a national office that can assist American victims of such crimes. He said during his address that the Homeland Security Department’s Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement office will provide a voice for people ignored by the media and “silenced by special interests.”

Janet Yellen points to March rate hike and confidence of more this year 

The Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates this month and is on track to lift them further later this year, Fed Chair Janet Yellen signalled, evidence the fears that forced the Fed to keep borrowing costs near zero for so many years are firmly on the wane. Yellen’s strongly worded message barely budged markets, which had reset earlier this week to price in a March rate hike after several of Yellen’s colleagues in recent days also put a rise at the next rate-setting meeting firmly in view.

China dismisses speculation over mega stimulus package to spur economy 

China will not resort to heavy stimulus package to halt slowdown of its economy, a planning body official said, dismissing concerns over reports of $6.54 billion fixed-asset investments plans for this year. “Instead, China will focus on supply-side reform for a modest expansion of aggregate demand,” Li Pumin, secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission, told media answering a question on whether China would roll out a major stimulus plan like in 2008.

Budget 2017

With the recent uproar on Demonetization and restructuring in the political frameworks of the Indian administration, the economy was waiting with bated breath for the Union Budget 2017-2018 to be unveiled. During his Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, spoke at length about certain primary areas of concern and they were:

  • Farming sector
  • Rural Population
  • Youth
  • The poor and the underprivileged
  • Infrastructure
  • Financial structure for stronger institutions
  • Digital Economy
  • Public services
  • Prudent fiscal management
  • Tax administration

Continue reading “Budget 2017”

Newsletter: 19th February – 25th February, 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

Finance Ministry kickstarts listing process of IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON 

Within three weeks of Budget announcement, the Finance Ministry started the process of listing three rail PSUs – IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON. The government is considering divesting a portion of the paid-up equity share capital through an IPO and has sought Expression of Interest (EoI) from merchant bankers by March 16.

IIP to stay muted in January; will grow by 0-0.5%: D&B 

Index of Industrial Production (IIP) will remain weak and may only grow up to 0.5 per cent during January, on account of various constraints, including subdued domestic demand and an uncertain external demand, according to Dun & Bradstreet’s latest economic forecast.

GST adoption could raise India’s GDP to over 8%: IMF 

The adoption of the GST could help raise India’s medium-term GDP growth to over eight per cent and create a single national market for enhancing the efficiency of the movement of goods and services, the IMF said. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also expressed concerns over the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST).

Monetary policy committee unanimously agrees to focus on 4% inflation target 

The Reserve Bank of India’s six-member monetary policy committee cited concerns about inflation in holding rates in February, with three of them specifying the need to shift the policy stance to “neutral” from “accommodative,” according to minutes from the meeting. The minutes were released on Wednesday after the RBI voted 6-0 to hold the repo rate unchanged at 6.25 percent at its Feb 7-8 meeting, while stunning markets by changing the stance to “neutral.”

‘India aims to bring broadband to every village by 2018’ 

“India’s Department of Telecom, under the Universal Services Obligation (USO) fund, is working to bring high-speed broadband to every village in the country by 2018,” Telecom Secretary J.S. Deepak said at the global conference organised by the Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC). The government is working to bring the game-changing impact of technology to all our six lakh villages and the optical fibre network to all rural areas.

UBI only after withdrawal of present schemes: Arvind Subramanian 

Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian said Universal Basic Income (UBI), as proposed in the recent Economic Survey, can be put in place only after withdrawal of the existing welfare projects. The cost of this programme (UBI) is so huge that it cannot be an add-on to the existing programmes (welfare schemes) as the government cannot afford it and the government’s finances will go bust.

Bharat QR code launched to push less-cash economy 

BharatQR code, the world’s first interoperable payment acceptance solution, was launched as part of efforts to move towards less-cash economy at an “insignificant cost”. Over the past few months, the government has been aggressively pushing for higher usage of digital payment mechanisms, including launching BHIM app and increasing penetration of PoS machines.

BUSINESS

MetLife may not get to exit India that soon 

US insurer MetLife’s plan to exit its Indian joint venture may have hit a roadblock, as state-run Punjab National Bank has decided to stick on with its ownership in the company. With nearly half-a-dozen other stake holders also dragging their feet, finding a buyer for just a 26% stake that MetLife owns in Metlife may be difficult, as a potential buyer will seek a larger holding and control.

Bharti Airtel to acquire Telenor India 

Bharti Airtel, the largest domestic telecom operator by subscriber base, said that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Telenor South Asia Investments to acquire Telenor India Communications that will give it an access to seven circles including Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP East and UP West.

D-Mart owner Avenue Supermarts to launch Rs 1,800 crore IPO on March 8 

The much-awaited initial public offering of Avenue Supermarts, which operates a retail chain under the D-Mart brand, is set to open on March 8, according to the Red Herring Prospectus uploaded on Friday. The issue is likely to be priced in the range Rs 290-325, said a banker to the issue. D-Mart own chain of around 120 retail stores across 45 cities, most of them in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Proposed Voda-Idea joint entity to be a ‘co-managed company’: Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao 

Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao told senior executives at its India unit that the proposed combined entity with Idea Cellular would “truly be a co-managed company”, likely to be modelled along the lines of the British carrier’s joint ventures in the Netherlands and Australia. Vodafone has equally owned JVs with Liberty Global and Hutchison in the Netherlands and Australia, respectively.

Oriental Insurance, National Insurance and United India Insurance likely to be merged to fetch better valuations 

India’s state-owned general insurance giants Oriental Insurance, National Insurance, and United India Insurance, who together have 34 per cent of the total market share and underwriting total direct premium of over Rs. 33,000 crore, are likely to be merged to create a stronger entity to fetch better valuations at the time of listing. In January the government formally approved to list five state run general insurers while announcing its intent to pare its stake in these firms to 75% in one or more tranches.

Reliance Jio will charge customers from April 1, but it won’t burn a hole in your pocket 

After six months of offering all services for free, a plan that helped Reliance Jio net 100 million subscribers in a record time, chairman Mukesh Ambani said that Reliance Jio would not levy fees on calls. For the next financial year beginning April 1, the company’s existing users and those coming on board this March will continue to get 1 GB of data a day and all of Reliance Jio’s apps for Rs 303 a month and a one-time cost of Rs 99.

Kraft Heinz withdraws offer to merge with Unilever 

US food company Kraft Heinz Co withdrew its proposal for a $143-billion merger with larger rival Unilever Plc, the companies said on Sunday, raising questions about whether Kraft will turn its focus to another target. Kraft had made a surprise offer for Unilever to build a global consumer goods behemoth that was flatly rejected on Friday by Unilever, the maker of Lipton tea and Dove soap.

Google’s Waymo sues Uber over ‘theft’ of self-driving technology 

It took Alphabet Inc’s Waymo seven years to design and build a laser-scanning system to guide its self-driving cars. Uber Technologies allegedly did it in nine months. Waymo claims in a lawsuit that it was possible because a former employee stole the designs and technology and started a new company. Waymo accuses several employees of Otto, a self-driving startup Uber acquired in August for $680 million, of lifting technical information from Google’s autonomous car project.

Alibaba forms partnership with supermarket operator Bailian Group 

Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd has formed a strategic partnership with supermarket operator Bailian Group, extending its push into bricks-and-mortar retail as online growth slows. Alibaba has also struck a recent deal for a stake in retailer Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd and is seeking to take a controlling stake in Intime Retail Group Co Ltd .

Axis Bank doesn’t need a merger to grow, says CEO Shikha Sharma 

Axis Bank doesn’t need a merger to grow and has a blueprint for expansion in place, chief executive Shikha Sharma said. The stock has surged 17% in a month amid speculation that potential suitors such as Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank are eyeing it with view to a merger or an acquisition. All the banks mentioned have denied or declined to comment on the matter.

Five associate banks to merge with SBI from April 1 

The merger of State Bank of India’s five associate banks with the parent will become effective in the new fiscal year, the government said. In gazette notifications, the government said the entire undertakings of these five banks shall stand transferred to and vested in State Bank of India from April 1, 2017. The merger will create a bigger SBI that will account for nearly a quarter of all outstanding loans in the country.

Airtel buys stake in fintech company Seynse Technologies

Bharti Airtel has bought a stake in Seynse Technologies, valuing the fintech company at over Rs. 100 crore, in a bid to add teeth to its financial operations platform including the payments bank. The acquisition of the “strategic stake” in Seynse was made through subsidiary Bharti Airtel Services, according to a statement. Both companies did not disclose the amount invested or the equity stake taken.

WORLD

Russia overtakes Saudi Arabia as world’s largest crude producer

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude producer in December, when both started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers to curb the worst glut in decades. Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December, down 29,000 barrels a day from November, while Saudi Arabia’s output declined to 10.46 million barrels a day from 10.72 million barrels a day in November, according to the website of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative in Riyadh.

HSBC warns of risks to world economic growth as profit dives 

London-based bank HSBC reported that annual profit slumped by more than 80 percent following a year of “unexpected economic and political events” that contributed to volatile markets and influenced investment activity. Europe’s biggest bank that net profit for 2016 tumbled 82 percent to $2.5 billion from $13.5 billion a year ago.

Boko Haram violence leaves over 7 million facing starvation

Over 7 million people are starving in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria as a result of violence by the Boko Haram terror group, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported. The number of people affected by severe food insecurity has doubled to more than seven million, compared with 3.4 million in June 2015.

Donald Trump revokes Barack Obama’s guidelines on transgender bathrooms 

President Donald Trump’s administration revoked landmark guidance issued to public schools in defence of transgender student rights, reversing course on a signature initiative of former Democratic President Barack Obama. Obama instructed public schools in May 2016 to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms matching their chosen gender identity, threatening to withhold federal funding if they should force transgender children to use bathrooms against their will.

Newsletter: 12th February – 18th February, 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

An integrated oil behemoth, big-bang PSU mergers are in pipeline 

The government plans to merge 13 government oil companies (to name a few ONGC, IOC, HPCL, BPCL, GAIL, MRPL, Chennai Petroleum, Numaligarh Refinery and Oil India), would not only give these companies capacity to bear higher risks, benefit economies of scale and take higher investment decisions, giving much stronger bargaining power with suppliers, and greater financial clout to secure oil resources.

GST council clears draft compensation bill 

“The Draft Compensation Bill has been approved in the GST Council meeting. The government will present the Bill to Parliament in next session,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the GST council meeting. Next GST meeting will be held on March 4-5 in Delhi and the government is expecting to clear IGST and SGST bills in this meeting. It will also discuss slabs for commodities in next meeting.

Trai floats paper to plug loopholes 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has kickstarted a process to address certain loopholes in rules around contentious issues such as predatory pricing and promotional offers, which have led to a bitter battle between Reliance Jio Infocomm and incumbents — Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India — that has already landed in court.

India’s sugar deficit widens to 15% from 10% on January 31, says ISMA 

India’s sugar deficit increased to 15% as on February 15 from 10% on January 31, according to the estimate of trade body Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) as sugarcane crushing season in Karnataka has almost come to an end, while that of Maharashtra is at its fag end. As on February 15, 2017, sugar mills in the country have produced 146.72 lakh tonnes of sugar, as compared to 173.34 lakh tonnes produced as on 15th February 2016.

Jharkhand attracts over Rs 3.1 lakh crore worth of investment 

Jharkhand attracted over Rs 3.1 lakh crore worth of investment at the end of it’s maiden global investment summit, ‘Momentum Jharkhand’. A majority of these proposals, 121 out of a total of 210, were in mines and geology sector. While the mines sector topped the list by attracting some Rs 2.1 lakh crore worth of investments, it was followed by urban development & housing at Rs 38,320 crore and energy which saw proposals worth Rs 37,150 crore coming in.

India, UAE trade to hit $100 billion by 2020: CII 

Trade between India and the UAE is set to hit USD 100 billion by 2020, up from the current USD 60 billion, the Confederation of Indian Industry has said. “This is evident in the growing interest by the Indian companies towards the Middle East markets and in particular the UAE and efforts made by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and CII to further strengthen the trade and investment ties,” Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said in a statement.

Government gives green signal to merger of SBI and its five associate banks 

The Cabinet approved a proposal to merge the five subsidiaries of State Bank of India with the parent, kick-starting consolidation among public sector lenders. The merger will bring nearly a quarter of all outstanding loans in India’s banking sector to SBI’s books. The combined entity will have a mammoth network of nearly 23,000 branches, further increasing the dominance of the nation’s largest bank.

BUSINESS

Vodafone India may surrender payments bank licence 

One of the casualties of the Idea Cellular-Vodafone India merger could be a payments bank. The merged entity could lead to Vodafone surrendering its payments bank’s in-principle approval as it cannot compete with another group company Aditya Birla Nuvo which also has a similar approval from the Reserve Bank of India.

BSE Q3 net profit drops 17% to Rs 64 crore 

Leading stock exchange BSE has reported a 17 per cent decline in consolidate net profit to Rs 63.73 crore in the October-December quarter of the current fiscal. The exchange had posted a net profit of Rs 76.73 crore in the third quarter ended December 31, 2015-16.

SBI takes lead in blockchain, to use it to prevent fraud 

State Bank of India has taken the lead in bringing lenders and tech companies together for using blockchain technology to share information among banks. The SBI’s initiative, christened Bankchain, is in partnership with IBM, Microsoft, Skylark, KPMG and 10 commercial banks. It has also tied up with a startup firm Prime chain Technologies for this exercise.

Kotak-Axis merged entity to be among largest private banks: CLSA 

Amid market talk of a merger between Kotak Mahindra Bank and Axis Bank, global brokerage firm CLSA has released a note saying that if they do merge, the combined entity would be among the largest private sector banks with $120 billion in assets and a 6% share of loans and CASA.  “Its combined market cap would be US$40bn; we see a share-swap ratio of 0.6:1 for Axis,” said CLSA.

FIIs make big deposit in HDFC Bank 

Foreign investors made the biggest single-day purchase of shares in nearly two years on Friday, helping private sector lender HDFC Bank rise to a record high and overtake energy behemoth Reliance Industries as the second-most valuable company on the market. Broader market indices rose to levels not seen since September last year as RBI allowed FII purchases in HDFC Bank late on Thursday evening after a temporary freeze.

Havells likely to buy Lloyd Electric’s consumer business for Rs 1500 crore, to get toehold in room AC segment 

Havells India is in advance negotiations with Lloyd Electric and Engineering Limited to acquire its consumer durables business for around Rs 1200 -1500 crore, to get a toehold in the fast growing Indian air conditioners market that is dominated by global brands. In a market crammed with about two dozen brands, Lloyd is third largest player in the room AC segment after Voltas and LG.

Idea Cellular posts consolidated net loss of Rs 385.6 crore because of Jio 

Idea Cellular posted a consolidated net loss and an on year revenue fall – both a first ever for India’s No. 3 telco since listing – as a brutal price war triggered by the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm hit both its voice and data business in the fiscal third quarter. For the quarter ended December 31, Idea posted a consolidated net loss of Rs 385.6 crore compared with a consolidated net profit of Rs 655.6 crore a year ago, and Rs 90 crore in the previous quarter.

Reliance Communications to finalise 3 deals, including merger with Aircel, by mid-2017 

Reliance Communication (RCom) expects to complete three proposed deals, including a merger with Aircel, by the middle of 2017. The Anil Ambani-led telecom company agreed to sell a 51% stake in Reliance Infratel, the company’s tower unit, to Canada’s Brookfield Group for Rs 11,000 crore.

Vodafone-Idea combine to outshine Airtel & Jio: Credit Suisse 

A potential merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular would make the combined entity the biggest spectrum holder in India and knock off Reliance Jio Infocomm from the top slot on the overall network capacity market share metric, analysts at Credit Suisse said. If Vodafone and Idea were to merge, the combined entity would have 35% network capacity share, displacing Jio, which would have 31%.

Tata Communications completes sale of Neotel for Rs 3,200 crore 

Tata Communications and Nexus Connexion announced that they have completed sale of their South African communications network operator, Neotel, to Liquid Telecom, a privately owned, pan-African telecoms group, majority owned by Econet Wireless Global. On June 28, 2016, the shareholders of Neotel entered into an agreement with a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is 70 per cent owned by Liquid Telecom and the remaining 30 per cent by Royal Bafokeng Holdings.

Kraft Heinz to pursue merger despite Unilever rejection

Kraft Heinz signaled it will press ahead with a campaign to acquire Dutch-British consumer products giant Unilever after an initial bid worth about $143 billion was spurned. A deal would create a giant in global food, joining the maker of Kraft cheese and Heinz ketchup to its European counterpart, whose products include Q-tips, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Apple tops Fortune’s most admired companies list

Tech giant Apple has been named the most admired company in the world, followed by Amazon and Starbucks in a list compiled by Fortune magazine, but no Indian firm could make the cut. Others in the top ten include Berkshire Hathaway, Disney, Alphabet, General Electric, Southwest Airlines, Facebook and Microsoft.

Telenor to roll out Google’s new messaging service in Asia, Europe 

Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Thursday it partnered with Telenor ASA to roll out Rich Communications Services (RCS), an upgraded messaging service, to the Norwegian telecommunications company’s subscribers in Asia and Europe. The messaging service includes features such as group chats, photo sharing and read receipts among other things, Google said in its official blog.

Verizon close to Yahoo deal, price cut of $250-350 million 

Verizon Communications Inc is close to a revised deal to buy Yahoo Inc’s core internet business for $250 million to $350 million less than the original agreed price of $4.83 billion, according to a source. Since last year, Verizon had been trying to persuade Yahoo to amend the terms of the acquisition agreement to reflect the economic damage from two cyber attacks.

Apple topples Samsung as No 1 in smartphone market 

Apple toppled Samsung as numero uno player in the global smartphone market with 17.9 per cent share in the December quarter, research firm Gartner said. The October-December quarter of last year — which clocked 7 per cent year-on-year growth in overall sales to 432 million units — saw Samsung finish second with a market share of 17.8 per cent.

Toshiba chairman quits after $ 6.3 billion nuclear write down 

Toshiba, the embattled technology conglomerate, said it would take a financial hit of more than $6 billion and its chairman would step down as the impact of its disastrous bet on American nuclear power continued to rock an icon of corporate Japan. The announcement of the planned write-down and resignation, which came after a day of uncertainty as Toshiba equivocated on whether it would release the news, reflected intense pressure on Toshiba executives over the writedown.

WORLD

China launches anti-dumping probe against Indian manufactures 

China launched anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigations against some Indian manufactures for allegedly exporting a chemical product – widely used in dyes and pharmaceutical – to the country at an artificially low price. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce had received requests from domestic producers, who accused Indian manufacturers of dumping Ortho Chloro Para Nitro Aniline, a type of dye intermediate, on the Chinese market and called for an inquiry, the ministry said.

Pak Senate passes landmark Hindu marriage bill 

The much-awaited landmark bill to regulate marriages of minority Hindus in Pakistan is set to become a law with the Senate unanimously passing it. The Hindu Marriage Bill 2017, which is the first elaborate Hindu community’s personal law, was adopted by the Senate on the 17th.

Donald Trump calls five media organisations ‘enemy of American people’ 

US President Donald Trump on Friday slammed the country’s five major media organisations by calling it “the enemy of the American people”. “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people!” he tweeted after arriving at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday.

Former PM Tony Blair says Brexit not inevitable, urges revolt 

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair launched a new campaign to persuade Britons to change their minds about leaving the European Union, arguing that those who want to remain should rise up and have their voices heard. Blair urged voters to speak out against the government’s drive to exit the EU at any cost. He argued last year’s vote to leave was “based on imperfect knowledge,” and that Britons voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit.

India, China to discuss Masood Azhar, NSG next week 

Amid marked strain in bilateral ties, India and China are likely to discuss a host of issues, including Beijing repeatedly blocking a UN ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar and stymeing India’s NSG membership, when Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar meets the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui next week in Beijing. Jaishankar will attend the first India-China Strategic Dialogue to be held in Beijing on February 22.

Newsletter: 5th February – 11th February, 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

Govt looking to include PSU banks in future CPSE ETFs 

Government is looking to include public sector banks in its new CPSE Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that it plans to float in the next fiscal, as it is looking to lower its stake in banks, whose valuations have been under pressure due to bad loan problems.

RBI disappoints market, keeps repo rate unchanged 

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on kept the short-term lending rate, called repo rate, unchanged at 6.25 per cent. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF remains unchanged at 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 6.75 per cent.

Government appoints IAS officer Ajay Tyagi as Sebi chief for 5 years 

Senior Finance Ministry official Ajay Tyagi was appointed as chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). He will succeed U K Sinha, whose extended tenure ends on March 1. Tyagi, a 1984 batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, is at present Additional Secretary (Investment) in the Department of Economic Affairs and handles capital market, among others.

Rs 6.78 lakh crore remonetised, Rs 9.1 lakh crore in circulation: Government 

In the ongoing process of remonetisation, banknotes worth Rs 6.78 lakh crore returned to the formal banking system between November 10 and January 13, taking the total currency in circulation to Rs 9.1 lakh crore, the government said.

Note-ban takes toll on IIP; output shrinks 0.4% in December

 Demonetisation took a toll on industrial activity as output contracted to four-month low of 0.4 per cent last December with consumer durables taking the worst hit, plummeting by over 10 per cent due to cash crunch. The factory output had contracted 0.9 per cent in December 2015.

Government to make all ration shops Aadhaar-enabled by June 

Government is planning to make all ration shops under the public distribution system in the country Aadhaar-enabled by June 30 this year, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. He said that already all ration shops in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have been made Aadhar-enabled.

Tata Sons removes Cyrus Mistry from the board

Tata Sons removed former chairman Cyrus Mistry from its board on Monday, bringing to a close another chapter in the battle for control at India’s oldest and largest conglomerate that erupted with his dramatic ouster as chairman on October 24 last year. The 80 per cent vote in favour of the decision put the seal on the founding Tata family’s control of the group holding company after Mistry had rebelled against his ouster.

10 NBFCs surrender registration certificate 

Reserve Bank said 10 Non Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs), including Supreme Securities and Island Leasing, have surrendered their registration certificate. The other NBFCs, which surrendered their registration certificate, are Pinnacle Trades and Investments, Kalyani Mfg and Leasing, Sahyog Credits, M CT M Global Investments, Sree Sankari Benefit Funds, Wham Investments, M K W Finance and Shasun Leasing and Finance.

Mobile payments to overtake physical card spends in 2017 

Mobile and digital payments will overtake physical card payments as the predominant non-cash payment mode in India in 2017, driven by demonetisation. The possibility has been expressed by Deloitte India in its report titled ‘Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions 2017’.

BUSINESS

ITC moves past HDFC Bank and RIL to No. 2 spot in market-cap 

Cigarette maker ITC emerged as the second-most valuable company in India, with a market capitalisation higher than that of Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank. Software giant Tata Consultancy Services has the highest market-cap while HDFC Bank -one of the most expensive banking stocks ­ now occupies the third slot followed by Reliance Industries, the country’s largest private sector company by profits.

National Stock Exchange names IDFC’s Vikram Limaye as CEO 

India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE) named Vikram Limaye, the CEO of infrastructure lender IDFC Ltd, as its new chief executive as the country’s largest bourse gears up for a much-awaited initial public offering this year.

HDFC Bank goes live on Bharat Bill Payment System 

Private sector lender HDFC Bank said that it has gone live on Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) for HDFC Bank’s Net Banking for customers. BBPS is a centralized system created by National Payments Corporation of India involving banks and non-banks, which allows agents to access bill payments services in an interoperable manner.

SBI Q3 net profit up 71% on spurt in other income 

State Bank of India (SBI) reported a 70.88 per cent rise in consolidated profit at Rs 2,152.23 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2013, thanks to a rise in other income and a drop in provisions for NPAs. This was boosted by Rs 1,755 crore other income that the company generated on the sale of 3.9 per cent stake in its subsidiary SBI Life Insurance Company.

Former Rolls-Royce CEO John Rose questioned in bribery investigation 

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) questioned former Rolls-Royce chief executive John Rose in a bribery investigation the company settled last month. The newspaper said Rose, who was chief executive from 1996 to 2011, was one of many former Rolls-Royce executives questioned under caution in the investigation, which was the largest ever undertaken by the SFO.

Havells India enters into personal grooming space; aims to capture 25% market share 

Havells India announced entry into the personal grooming space with an aim to capture 25% market share in next three years, while drawing up plans to enter the baby care segment by June. As part of this, it has already forayed into baby hair clippers for the first time in the country. Havells personal grooming products include electric shavers, beard trimmers, grooming kit, hair straighteners and dryers.

WORLD

Japan logs biggest current account surplus since 2007

Japan attained its second-biggest current account surplus on record in 2016, Ministry of Finance data showed, just days before the US and Japanese leaders meet for talks with trade surpluses and currency valuations expected to be high on the agenda. The 20.6 trillion yen ($183.63 billion) surplus reflected the trade balance swinging into surplus on cheaper oil, rising foreign tourists arrivals creating a record travel surplus, and hefty foreign income from overseas investments.

Beijing vows 30% cut in coal use in 2017 to fight smog 

China’s smog-hit capital Beijing plans to slash coal consumption by a further 30 percent in 2017 as part of its efforts to combat air pollution. Beijing has promised to implement “extraordinary” measures this year in a bid to tackle choking smog from traffic congestion and the heavy use of coal.

China’s population to touch 1.42 billion by 2020 

China’s population, the largest in the world, is expected to reach about 1.42 billion by 2020, according to the country’s National Health and Family Planning Commission. As of the end of 2015, China had a population of about 1.37 billion. The annual natural population growth rate will be around six per thousand while China’s gender ratio at birth is expected to be reduced to 112 boys for every 100 girls by 2020.

Brexit bill set to clear major parliamentary hurdle 

MPs look set to approve a bill empowering Prime Minister Theresa May to start Brexit negotiations, in a major step towards Britain leaving the European Union. Seven months after the historic referendum vote to leave the 28-nation bloc, the House of Commons is expected to grant its approval for May to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

3-0: Judges reject US travel ban 

President Donald Trump suffered a legal blow on Thursday when a federal appeals court refused to reinstate his executive order temporarily banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Trump administration failed to offer any evidence that national security concerns justified immediately restoring the ban, which he launched two weeks ago.

Donald Trump, Shinzo Abe pledge to strengthen US-Japan relationship 

US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to work together to strengthen the relationship between the two countries in defence, strategic ties and agreed to make their bilateral trade more fair. Trump said the two countries face numerous challenges and bilateral cooperation is essential to address them.

Newsletter: 22nd – 28th January, 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

Currency-to-GDP ratio to reach 9 per cent by March end: Nomura 

Money in circulation is rising again in India post demonetisation and at the current rate, currency-to-GDP ratio will reach about 9 per cent by March — sufficient to stabilise economic activity, says a report. According to Japanese financial services major Nomura, from 11.8 per cent of GDP on November 4, 2016, currency in circulation dropped to all-time low of 5.9% on January 6; since then, it has risen for two straight weeks to 6.5% as of January 20.

UID debuts on BHIM, Aadhaar Pay to be launched soon 

The government has enabled the Bharat Interface for Mobile (BHIM) app with Aadhaar and plans to launch the biometric based Aadhaar Pay payment module in the coming weeks, minister for electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Aadhaar Pay service will enable people to make and receive payments using their Aadhaar number and biometrics.

India Innovation Index to measure performance of Indian states 

The World Economic Forum, NITI Aayog, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Cornell University will work together to develop an India Innovation Index that will provide impetus to Indian states to drive the innovative spirit. The first ranking is expected to be released at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi on October 4-6, 2017.

Germany to finance strategic infrastructure projects in India 

Germany is set to finance long-term strategic projects in India particularly in the railway, infrastructure and smart cities sectors as part of efforts to support India’s “growth story”, a top German official has said. In a meeting with the CII delegation, German Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said that Germany is committed to working with India for mutual benefit.

RBI prohibits investments in ‘non-cooperative countries’ 

Reserve Bank today prohibited Indian entities from making direct investments in any entity located in ‘non co-operative countries and territories’, as identified by the inter-governmental body FATF. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) currently comprises two regional organisations and 35 member jurisdictions, including India, US, UK, China and the European Commission.

IndiaPost becomes 3rd entity to receive licence to start payment bank operations 

IndiaPost has become the third entity to receive a final license last week from the Central Bank to start its payment bank operations. Country’s largest telcom service provider Bharti Airtel and digital payments firm Paytm are the other two to have received the license while only Airtel has started operations so far.

BUSINESS

NTPC’s euro notes oversubscribed 4.5 times 

NTPC successfully issued its first Euro denominated bond worth EUR 500 million. The 10 year bond has been issued at a coupon of 2.75% with a yield of 2.814% and was oversubscribed 4.5 times and saw participation from more than 125 accounts globally. This is the first ever 10 year Euro denominated bond issued by an Asian utility and also first ever 10 year Euro transaction by an Indian Issuer. The bonds will be listed at Frankfurt & Singapore stock exchanges.

Barclays names Jaideep Khanna, Reid Marsh co-CEOs for Asia Pacific 

Barclays has appointed Jaideep Khanna and Reid Marsh as co-chief executive officers for Asia Pacific, replacing Andy Jones who will return to Britain, according to an internal memo. Khanna will continue to oversee Barclays’ business in India, while Marsh will continue to lead its banking operations in the region.

Moody’s downgrades Reliance Communications ratings to B2 from B1 

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Reliance Communications (RCom) corporate family rating and senior secured bond rating to B2 from B1 on fears that its debt levels and consequent leverage will remain high for the next six to nine months amid continuing financial pressures.

BSE IPO sees bids 51 times shares on offer 

An initial public offering from BSE Ltd, the country’s second-biggest stock exchange, was well oversubscribed on the last day of the sale, helped by attractive valuations and expectations of robust growth for stocks in the coming years. The strongest demand came from high net-worth individuals, who bid for 159 times the shares on offer, followed by institutional investors who bid for 48.6 times the shares allotted to them.

Sebi to bar Vijay Mallya from securities market 

India’s capital market regulator has barred Vijay Mallya and six former senior officials of United Spirits Ltd (USL) from buying, selling or dealing in securities either directly or indirectly for allegedly indulging in fraudulent activities. SEBI, in an interim order, has also restrained Mallya and Ashok Capoor, former managing director of United Spirits from holding position as directors or key managerial persons of a listed company.

Kotak Mahindra Bank reports 39% jump in Q3 net profit at Rs 880 crore YoY 

Private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank reported a standalone net profit of Rs 880 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2016, which was higher than Rs 818 crore that was predicted by analysts. The net profit for the quarter jumped by 38.58 per cent, as the company had posted a profit of Rs 635 crore in the year-ago period.

Sebi allows Delhi Stock Exchange to exit stock bourse biz 

SEBI allowed Delhi Stock Exchange (DSE) to exit the stock bourse business following a request from the exchange. DSE made a request to Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in May 2014 for exiting the stock exchange business. The regulator in November 2014 withdrew the recognition granted to DSE citing “serious irregularities” in the functioning of the bourse.

Bharti Airtel considering exits, stake sales at some Africa operations 

Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s largest mobile-phone operator, is considering mergers or stake sales at some of its Africa operations as it looks to cut debt and make its biggest overseas acquisition profitable. The moves would pare the size of operations in the continent and could be completed within a year, Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said in an interview.

Idea Cellular likely to report a Rs 448 crore Q3 loss for the first time since listing 

Idea Cellular is likely to report a net loss of Rs 448 crore for the first time since its listing, weighed down largely by demonetisation and the impact of tariff war triggered by Reliance Jio. Even though the subscriber base could increase by 1.4 per cent sequentially, lower Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) and higher amortisation and interest costs are likely to lead to Rs 448 crore loss.

Colgate-Palmolive Q3 net drops 22.5% to Rs 128 crore 

FMCG major Colgate-Palmolive India Ltd (CPIL) posted a 22.58 per cent fall in standalone net profit at Rs 127.82 crore for the quarter ended December 31, hit by liquidity crunch post demonetisation. The company had a net profit of Rs 165.11 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Airtel Africa Q3 net loss widens to $93 million 

Bharti Airtel’s Africa net loss widened to $93 million in the fiscal third quarter to December from $74 million a year ago, dragged down by a mix of finance costs, taxes, depreciation & amortisation (D&A) charges and devaluation of the Nigerian currency, although underlying revenue was the highest in the last nine quarters.

Essar Group mulls selling stake in The Mobile Store to strategic investor 

Essar is evaluating options to sell a stake in The Mobile Store to a strategic investor, as funds dry up for the cellphone retail chain due to the group’s debt crisis and as online competition takes a toll on sales. The Mobile Store has shut 400-odd stores in the past 18 months and several brands have stopped supplies to it due to outstanding payments, with inventory levels at the stores dwindling and the retailer moving to an asset-light business model by focussing online

Microsoft’s market value tops $500 billion again after 17 years 

Microsoft Corp’s market capitalization topped $500 billion for the first time since 2000, after the technology giant’s stock rose following another quarter of results that beat Wall Street’s expectations. Shares of the world’s biggest software company rose as much as 2.1 percent to $65.64, an all-time high, in early trading, valuing the company at $510.37 billion.

L&T posts 39% rise in net profit at Rs 972.47 crore 

Larsen & Toubro on Saturday reported 38.86 per cent rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 972.47 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2016 against Rs 700.34 crore reported in the corresponding quarter last year. Consolidated gross sales of the company advanced 1.66 per cent to Rs 26,018.15 crore for the quarter under review.

Sanjiv Puri to Replace YC Deveshwar as ITC CEO 

ITC named Sanjiv Puri its chief executive with effect February 5, when chairman YC Deveshwar will move to a non-executive role. ITC had earlier announced that Deveshwar will step down into a non-executive role from February 5, and that he will mentor the successor. Puri was subsequently appointed as the firm’s chief operating officer.

WORLD

Donald Trump meets Theresa May in first summit with foreign leader 

US President Donald Trump met British Prime Minister Theresa May in his first summit with a foreign leader since inauguration, hours after she called on the US and the UK to again “lead together”. Ahead of the meeting with Trump, May, while speaking at the Republican Retreat in Philadelphia, said with the emergence of non-state actors, it is time that the countries like the US and Britain assert their leadership role.

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto cancels US visit after Donald Trump comments about wall 

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he had scrapped plans to meet Donald Trump next week after the U.S. president tweeted Mexico should cancel the meeting if it was not prepared to pay for his proposed border wall.

More than half Chinese cities plagued by air pollution 

More than 330 Chinese cities monitored by the government, especially capital Beijing and in northern China, reported air pollution despite claims by officials to cut down use of coal and regulating polluting factories. Nearly 58 per cent of Chinese cities monitored, including Beijing, reported varying degrees of air pollution, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said.

US economic growth slowed to 1.9 per cent rate in Q4 

The US economy lost momentum in the final three months of 2016, closing out a year in which growth turned in the weakest performance in five years. The Commerce Department says the gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of just 1.9 percent in the October-December period, a slowdown from 3.5 percent growth in the third quarter. GDP, the broadest measure of economic health, was held back by a jump in the trade deficit.

India to become the fastest oil consumer by 2035 

Having pipped Japan to become world’s third largest oil consumer, India’s oil consumption growth will be the fastest among all major economies by 2035, BP Statistical Review of World Energy said. India, Asia’s second-biggest energy consumer since 2008, had in 2015 overtaken Japan as the world’s third-largest oil consuming country behind US and China.

Trump win pushes recession back five months, says Deutsche Bank 

According to Deutsche Bank AG Chief International Economist Torsten Slok, at least one important measure shows the election of Donald Trump pushed the odds of a recession back an additional five months, to more than two years from now. This measure is crucial, since interest rates should continue to climb as long as expansion continues. Once things cool off, that’s when the market would expect the Fed to start loosening policy again.

Donald Trump suspends US refugee program, suspends entry from seven countries 

President Donald Trump on Friday put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred visitors from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries, saying the moves would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks. The order limiting entry on visitors from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries is for 90 days. The six other countries are: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.