ECONOMY - 2016 APRIL

April 1

India expects $500 million AIIB loan for solar power projects in 2016.
India is hopeful of receiving the first loan issued by the newly formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in the second half of the year, Reuters reported, citing Indian officials. The country is looking for funds on lower interest rates for its ambitious solar power project that intends to scale the capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022.
In about six months, funds could start flowing from AIIB.The loan amount is expected to be approximately $500 million. Interest on the loan would likely be around 2-2.5 per cent, linked to LIBOR, for a term of 15 years. LIBOR is a floating benchmark based on the rate at which commercial banks lend each other.
The AIIB, headquartered in Beijing, without specifically commenting on Indian loan, reiterated its president Jin Liqun statement that the lender bank was developing a project pipeline in a number of countries. Another official at the finance ministry, who liaisons with the AIIB,.
India needs $100 billion for its ambitious solar power projects over next six to seven years. The country hopes to increase its solar power capacity 100 gigawatts, roughly 17 times higher than the existing 5,800 megawatts capacity.
With an authorized capital of $100 billion, the AIIB is expected to start its operation in the second quarter of 2016 and lend up to $15 billion a year for the next half a decade.
India is the second biggest shareholder in the investment bank after China.
Earning more than Rs. 50 lakh Now declare your net worth.
If you earn more than Rs. 50 lakh a year, the I-T Department wants you to declare the break-up of your net worth. In the new set of ITR forms launched, the CBDT has added a new schedule - schedule AL to all ITR forms (including ITR 1).
Under this new section, individuals will have to declare all their assets and liabilities, as on end of financial year 2015-16. The section applies to all individuals and HUFs earning more than Rs. 50 lakh a year.
Under the section assets have been classified under two categories - moveable and immovable. One will have to declare any land or building (includes house property) under immovable assets. Movable assets list includes cash in hand (money in your savings account), vehicles (including yacht, boats and aircraft), jewellery, bullion and other valuable metals. Liabilities will include any outstanding loans you have.
While further instructions on how to value assets are awaited, taxpayers will find it challenging to value their assets themselves, especially jewellery and vehicles. Salaried individuals do not usually maintain fair market value of jewellery owned or written down allowance (depreciation) of vehicles owned by them.
The taxman also wants to know the details of the businesses you earn from, in case you have more than one. A new section has been added to the ITR-4S seeking code, nature and description of the three main businesses - activities or products that you earn from. This section earlier existed in only ITR-4 only, a much lengthier form compared to ITR-4S. Moreover, the new ITR-4S can now be filed by partnership firms too. All they have to declare is the salary and interest paid to the partners.
ITR-4S was earlier a succinct form, now with three additions - specifying nature of business, salary and interest paid to partners (applicable only to firms) and schedule AL,it will need a lot more efforts from those who preferred to file it.

Flipkart acquires mobile payment startup PhonePe.
Flipkart has acquired of PhonePe, a Bangalore based mobile payments company started by its former employees as it looks to build a payment business to catch up with local rivals Snapdeal and PayTM.
PhonePe will function as an independent business unit. The details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the deal is not cash transaction.
PhonePe's founders include Sameer Nigam, Rahul Chari and Burzin Engineer, all three of who earlier founded Mime360, digital media distribution firm. This is the second time the trio has sold a startup to Flipkart, as Mime360 was also acquired by Flipkart in 2011 to build its later aborted digital music distribution platform Flyte.
Phonepe is building a product where payments can be made by just using just mobile number. This is based on Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a new process in electronic funds transfer being launched by National Payments Corporation of India.
This was because closed wallets can only be used to purchase its own products and does not allow purchases from third party merchants, for which companies need a semi-closed wallet license from the RBI.
Flipkart had applied for license through its payment gateway business Payzippy, however it was unsuccessful to secure a license until the e-commerce major shut Payzippy.
The online retailer has started to build a business in this space again last year, with acquisition of Punjab-based FX Mart last year for over Rs. 48.5 crore. FX Mart, which holds a license from RBI for operating a pre-paid payment instrument.

April 2

Germany’s Development Bank KfW to provide loan assistance to metro system for Nagpur.
German Government’s Development Bank KfW will provide a loan assistance of EUR 500 million (about Rs. 3,750 crore) for the modern and sustainable metro system for Nagpur city being executed by Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited (NMRCL). An agreement in this regard was signed in New Delhi by the Department of Economic Affairs and KfW.
The loan period is 20 years with a moratorium of five years and disbursal will be based on the progress of the project over three years.
Costing Rs. 8,680 crore (EUR 1,240 million), Nagpur Metro is the first metro to be financed under the Indo German partnership for clean, socially inclusive and climate friendly mobility for people in cities.
Sanctioned by the Government of India 2014, Nagpur Metro Project envisages two corridors i.e 19.70 km North-South section from Automotive Square to Khapri and 18.60 km long line between Prajapati Nagar and Lokmanya Nagar. Physical works commenced and the whole Metro would be operational by 2019.

April 3

Nifty launches new index for mid and small cap stocks.
The National Stock Exchange (NSE) added a new index to its broad market indices - Nifty Mid Smallcap 400 to represent the mid and small market capitalization segments.
The new index will comprise of 400 companies which are the constituents of Nifty Midcap 150 and Nifty Smallcap 250 indices.
The Nifty MidSmallcap 400 is a well-representative index consisting of 150 midcap and 250 smallcap stocks across 18 sectors.
The new index joins the family of restructured broad-based Nifty indices, which will facilitate introduction of investment products.
IISL will initially publish value of the Nifty MidSmallcap 400 at end of the day's trade and subsequently disseminate it online along with existing indices.
Nifty MidSmallcap 400 index would be an appropriate benchmark for mutual fund schemes which predominantly invests in small-cap and mid-cap companies equity stocks.

April 4

PE investments up 24% in Q1 of 2016.
Private equity (PE) investment in India increased 24 per cent to $3.6 billion in the first quarter 2016, against $2.92 billion in the same quarter last year.
This was largely due to 12 mega deals ($100 million or more) across e-commerce, financial services, healthcare and infrastructure, according to data released by Venture Intelligence, a Chennai-based research service focused on private company financials, transactions and their valuations. The investment in the first quarter of 2016 was 9 per cent higher than in the preceding quarter, which saw investments of $3.32 billion across 152 transactions.
PE firms invested across 144 deals in the latest quarter, against 191 transactions in first quarter of 2015.
There were 12 PE investments worth $100 million or more during Q1 of 2016 compared to seven in the previous year period. The largest investment during Q1 2016 was the estimated $350-million buyout of the commercial lending business of GE Capital in India by Aion Capital Partners.

April 5

Blackstone To Acquire HP's 60% Stake In Mphasis.
Blackstone India, the Indian arm of global private equity fund Blackstone Group L.P. will buy 60.5% stake in Bengaluru-based information technology services provider Mphasis Ltd.
Blackstone will buy the shares from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) at Rs. 430 per share. This will be followed by a mandatory open offer for 26% more shares of Mphasis. Depending on the open offer subscription, Blackstone will spend between Rs. 5,466 crore and Rs. 7,071 crore (approximately $825 million - $1.1 billion) for the acquisition.
Mint had reported Blackstone’s plans to acquire a controlling stake in Mphasis Ltd by backing the existing management headed by chief executive Ganesh Ayyar.
Its deep relationship with marquee global customers has enabled Mphasis to deliver growth above the industry average in its Direct International segment. We see large potential going forward driven by Mphasis’ world-class delivery capabilities and its access to Blackstone’s portfolio of companies across the globe.

Government releases Rs. 25,834 crore to FCI as Food Subsidy.
To ensure smooth procurement and distribution of foodgrains, the government released Rs. 25,834 crore as food subsidy to state-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI) for this fiscal.
The government has earmarked Rs. 1,34,834.61 crore as food subsidy for 2016-17 fiscal. The corporation is facing a subsidy arrear of Rs. 58,650 crore till 2016.
The government has released Rs. 25,834 crore to FCI as food subsidy.
In addition to this, the government will shortly release a wage and means advance of Rs. 10,000 crore. FCI is also raising short-term loans from banks up to a maximum limit of Rs. 30,000 crore. Recourse to these loans will be made by FCI as and when required.
Taken together these funds, there will be sufficient resources to manage Rabi (winter) procurement which has just started.
In the last fiscal, the government had initially allocated Rs. 97,000 crore to FCI, which was later increased to Rs. 1,12,000 crore at the revised estimate stage. This helped bring down subsidy arrear to Rs. 58,650 crore till 2016.
The bulk of the food subsidy is paid to FCI for buying foodgrains at support price and running the public distribution system (PDS).
India signs $100 million draft export pact with IDB.
India has signed an agreement with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for a possible USD 100 million line of credit to facilitate exports to IDB's member countries.
The MoU was inked between the IDB's private sector arm, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank), a specialized financial institution, wholly owned by the government of India to finance and facilitate foreign trade.
ICD's mandate is to support economic development and promote the development of the private sector in its member countries through providing financing facilities and/or investments which are in accordance with the principles of Sharia'a.
The MoU envisages cooperation to explore the feasibility of extending a commercial line of credit of USD 100 million to ICD with the aim of facilitating the export of goods and services from India to ICD's member countries.
Typically, the recipients of EXIM Bank's commercial lines of credit act as intermediaries and on lend to overseas buyers for the import of Indian goods and services. Under the agreement, co-operation will also be achieved through the exchange of information on trade-related matters and the identification of business opportunities for Indian companies to pursue in ICD's member countries.
Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Kuwait and Qatar are among the 56-members of the IDB.
EXIM Bank has been both a catalyst and a key player in the promotion of cross border trade and investment.

April 6

Union Cabinet allowed Oil PSUs to have independent crude import policy.
In a bid to improve operational efficiency, the government gave freedom to public sector oil firms to have their own independent crude import policy based on their commercial requirements.
State-owned firms like Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have traditionally been allowed to source crude only from national companies of oil-producing nations.The government permitted state refiners to buy oil from top 10 foreign firms.
It was long felt that the list of companies from whom the PSUs can buy crude on term contracts needs to be expanded to include global giants like Italy's Eni and Russian companies. This will provide a more efficient, flexible and dynamic policy for crude procurement, eventually benefiting consumers.
Oil PSUs shall be empowered to evolve their own policies for import of crude oil, consistent with CVC guidelines and get them approved by the respective boards.
This will increase operational and commercial flexibility of oil companies and enable them to adopt the most effective procurement practices for import of crude oil, it explained.
The existing policy for import of crude oil was approved by the Cabinet in 1979. In 2001, the Cabinet cleared amendments to permit state refiners to buy crude oil from top 10 foreign firms.

CCEA approved Andrew Yule proposal to convert Bank of Baroda’s loan into equit.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for conversion of Working Capital Term Loan (WCTL) amounting to Rs. 29.91 crore from Bank of Baroda (BoB) into equity by issuing requisite number of equity shares of Andrew Yule & Co. Ltd. (AYCL) as preferential issues to BoB as Qualified Institutional Buyer. The price will be based on market price determined as per Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Guidelines on the date of acquiring of shares by BoB with face value of Rs. 2/- per share.
Conversion of WCTL into equity will:
Bring down the cost of debt servicing by AYCL by Rs. 2.86 crore per annum, resulting in improved profitability and liquidity of AYCL in coming years and thereby providing an opportunity to finance working capital needs of existing and new businesses.
Result in improved Debt Equity ratio for AYCL. This along with substantial amount of Securities Premium will form part of net worth of Company and will enhance the strength of its balance sheet.
This is expected to increase growth and profitability of AYCL and in turn is likely to translate into better share price of AYCL at the time of further disinvestment of GoI shares of AYCL as per SEBI Guidelines. This will be implemented within a period of three months.
Background:
AYCL, established in 1863, became a Public Sector Enterprise in 1979 and is presently engaged in manufacturing of Industrial Fans, Ventilation Equipment, Air Pollution Control Equipment & Systems etc. Paid up capital of the Company is Rs. 66.73 crore in which GoI holding is 87.98%. AYCL shares (Face value of Rs.2/- each) are listed in Mumbai Stock Exchange.
As a part of implementation of Financial Restructuring Scheme, Bank of Baroda extended a loan of Rs. 52.49 crore to AYCL in 2009, out of which Rs. 29.91 crore was Working Capital Term Loan. With the approval of its Board of Company, AYCL has proposed for conversion of WCTL of Rs. 29.91 crore it has taken from BoBinto Equity. The conversion should take place at the price determined by SEBI guidelines on the date of acquiring of shares by BoB. This proposition has been agreed to by BoB.

Future Group Has Acquired FabFurnish.
Marking its first buyout of an internet store, Kishore Biyani-led Future Group is set to buy online furniture store, FabFurnish.com.
The Group may pay anywhere between Rs. 15 and Rs. 20 crore in cash and will be largely doing so for the brand FabFurnish, the report adds, citing two people aware of the development.
However, the net valuation would be much lower as the online furnishing firm has close to Rs. 10-15 crore in the bank.
Future Group will retain FabFurnish’s brand name and will be using this platform to sell products from its home and furnishing business brand HomeTown. FabFurnish’s management team and about 100 employees are likely to join the Future Group.
Meanwhile, the move will also help the Group to build a wall ahead of retail giant IKEA foray into India in 2017.
Gurgaon-based firm FabFurnish was founded in 2012 by MehulAgrawal, VikramChopra and VaibhavAggrawal. The company has, so far, raised over $30 million from Rocket Internet and Kinnevik.
The deal will see Berlin-based Rocket Internet’s making its first exit in India. The company has a portfolio of online companies which include FabFurnish, Foodpanda and Jabong.

Union Cabinet approved Funding of exports to Iran through Export Development Fund of Exim Bank.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for increasing the framework agreement between Exim Bank of India and a consortium of Iranian banks lead by Central Bank of Iran for financing the purchase of goods and services from India to Rs. 3000 crore from Rs. 900 crore.
This will be done by utilizing the Export Development Fund (EDF). The proposal provides for domiciling two contracts of export of steel rails by STC and for the Chabahar Port Development project previously approved by the Cabinet under EDF.
The proposal will promote the country's exports with Iran. It will also deepen India's relationship with Iran as a strategic partner.

April 7

Altico Capital invests Rs. 575 crore in real estate sector.
Altico Capital India, a company that lends to leading real estate developers, closed three transactions last week aggregating over Rs. 575 crore for projects in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru.
Altico continues to focus on its core strategy and looks to build a stable business deploying Rs. 2,500 crore in Tier 1 cities each year. We expect to close out similar amounts of disbursements of around Rs. 600 crore in this upcoming quarter.
In Pune, Altico has entered into a multi-project financing arrangement with Marvel Developers.
Altico now has a net worth over Rs. 2,000 crore and the asset quality remains in good health as it has zero NPAs and zero restructured assets. Going forward, it plans to gradually expand within its areas of expertise.
The Altico Capital board has approved raising of funds up to Rs. 2,000 crore through a mix of instruments and funding sources including bank lines, commercial paper and NCDs to support the asset growth plans.
Altico Capital India Pvt Ltd is a non-banking financial company backed by Clearwater Capital Partners, Varde Partners and Abu Dhabi Investment Council.

Union Cabinet approved recommendations of 14th Finance Commission on fiscal deficit targets.
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to Recommendations on Fiscal Deficit Targets and Additional Fiscal Deficit to States during Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) award period 2015-20.
FFC has adopted the fiscal deficit threshold limit of 3 per cent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for the States. Further, FFC has provided a year-to-year flexibility for additional fiscal deficit to States.
FFC, taking into account the development needs and the current macro- economic requirement, provided additional headroom to a maximum of 0.5 per cent over and above the normal limit of 3 per cent in any given year to the States that have a favorable debt-GSDP ratio and interest payments-revenue receipts ratio in the previous two years.
Since the year 2015-16 is already over, the States will not get any benefit of additional borrowings for 2015-16. However, the implications for the remaining period of FFC award, i.e., 2016-17 to 2019-20, would depend upon respective States’ eligibility based on the criteria prescribed by FFC.

April 8

$200 million Pact Inked To Study TAPI Project.
Shareholders of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline Company Limited signed an agreement to invest $200 million in studies and engineering for the $10 billion project to transport natural gas to energy-hungry countries like India.
The agreement signing ceremony was witnessed by petroleum ministers and senior government officials of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Asian Development Bank officials in Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan.
The agreement would pave the way for delivery of long-term natural gas supplies to Pakistan by addressing its energy shortages.
TAPI will help bring 13.8 billioncubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan to meet the growing energy demand.
It will boost Pakistan's energy security, bring economic benefits to the people through job opportunities, and upgrade the associated infrastructure.
TAPI will unlock economic opportunities and diversify the energy market for Turkmenistan by enhancing energy security for the region.
The ground breaking for the 1,814 kilometre-long TAPI pipeline, a project aimed at easing the energy deficit in South Asia.
The TAPI pipeline will have a capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd) gas for 30 years and is planned to become operational in 2018. India and Pakistan were originally to get 38 mmscmd each while the remaining 14 mmscmd was to be supplied to Afghanistan.
The pipeline will travel 773 km in Afghanistan and 827 km in Pakistan before ending at Fazilka (Punjab) in India.

April 9

Centre Releases Rs. 12,230 crore To States For MGNREGA.
Union Minister for Rural Development Birender Singh has released a central share of Rs. 12,230 crore to the states for implementation of its flagship programmes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
Singh also underlined that this fund release will take care of the pending wage liability of the states for the previous Financial Year (2015-16) and help them to run the programme during fiscal 2016-17.
He reiterated that the government is committed to ensuring the flow of adequate resources for fulfilling the objectives of the programme.
The ministry has also decided to maintain 60:40 wage-material ratio at the district-level now to ensure creation of good quality assets in the rural areas.
Rebutting the reports published in a section of media that there are arrears of wages of over Rs. 8000 crore under MGNREGA for the 2015-2016 financial year, the year 2015-16 has registered expenditure under MGNREGA to the tune of Rs. 41,371 crore, which is the highest expenditure under the programme since its inception.
Out of this expenditure Rs. 30,139 crore has gone towards payment of wages. This has allowed for the highest employment generation over the past three years and the best achievement on key parameters over the last three years such as works taken up, women participation (55 per cent) and 95 percent of payments through electronic fund management system.
The ministry expanded the entitlement from 100 to 150 days of work to households in drought affected regions of ten states. 20.48 Lakh households in these regions have availed this opportunity and completed more than 100 days of work.
At the national level 44 Lakh households have completed 100 days. To further bring down the delay in payment of wages, the Ministry in line with the Cabinet decision has introduced National electronic Fund Management System (NeFMS) in the current financial year.

Airtel Buys Aircel’s 4G Spectrum in 8 Circles For Rs. 3,500 crore.
Bharti Airtel will buy Aircel's 4G spectrum in eight circles for Rs. 3,500 crore through a trading deal, which would make India's No. 1 phone company a pan-India 4G player ahead of an expected clash for data consumers with newcomer Reliance Jio.
The deal will help Aircel pare debt and may fulfil a condition for its merger with Reliance Communications. Aircel needed to reduce some Rs. 4,000 crore of its Rs. 18,000 crore debt.
Airtel will acquire Aircel's 4G airwaves in Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Bihar, J&K, West Bengal, Assam, North East, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
The airwaves are valid till 2030. Bharti Airtel and its subsidiary Bharti Hexacom have entered into definitive agreements with Aircel Ltd and its subsidiaries Dishnet Wireless Ltd and Aircel Cellular Ltd to acquire rights to use 20 MHz of 2300 band 4G spectrum for eight circles for an aggregate consideration of Rs. 3,500 crore.
The transfer of the right to use (4G spectrum) for Andhra Pradesh and Odisha is subject to revision of spectrum caps with the upcoming auction to be conducted by the telecom department.
Airtel was the first to start 4G services, on the 2300 MHz band, in 2012. It stepped up the rollout in the past few months, expanding to more than 350 cities and towns, anticipating competition from Jio, which is expected to soft launch its 4G services shortly and start wider commercial operations.
Airtel has rolled out 4G in 15 circles, Vodafone India in five and No.3 carrier, Idea Cellular, in 10 circles. RCom has entered into spectrum sharing and trading deals with Jio, which will be effective even if RCom's deal to merge its wireless business with Aircel fructifies. Maxis-owned Aircel paid Rs. 3,438 crore to win airwaves in the 2300 MHz band in the 2010 spectrum auction.

April 10

Fairfax India To Invest $300 million in Sanmar Chemicals.
Fairfax India Holdings Corp would invest $300 million (Rs. 1,998. 29 crore) in privately-held Indian petrochemical major Sanmar Chemicals Group through a combination of equity and debt.
Fairfax India, a unit of Prem Watsa's Fairfax Holdings, will acquire a 30% equity ownership in Sanmar and generate a fixed return on its investment.
Fairfax India, which is currently limited to investing no more than 25% (about $250 million) of its total assets in any single investment, will fund an initial tranche of $250 million upon the closing of the transaction, and the second tranche of $50 million will be funded within 90 days thereafter by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited ("Fairfax") or another investor.
The first tranche is expected to be completed in second quarter of 2016 upon the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent, including the establishment of a term loan facility for $280 million between TCI Sanmar Chemicals Egypt, the Egyptian unit of Sanmar, and its lenders.
Sanmar, which is one of the largest suspension PVC manufacturers in India, is in the process of expanding its PVC capacity in Egypt from two lakh tonne per annum to four lakh tonne per annum.Once the expansion is completed, Sanmar will have a total PVC capacity of over 700,000 tonne per annum.

April 11

Mytrah Energy gets $175 million ADB loan.
Renewable energy company Mytrah has secured a $175 million Asian Development Bank (ADB) direct loan facility, which will help it fund the development of a portfolio of new wind and solar projects.
With this loan facility, the company expects to reach its medium term capacity target of 1000 MW (One Giga Watt) in the coming 12 months.
The loan will be provided to the projects individually on a project finance basis and detailed documentation for each is currently under negotiation.
In addition, Mytrah has entered into a contract with Risen Energy Co Ltd, a company-based in Zhejiang province, China, for the purchase of up to 175 MW of Solar PV Modules. Risen is a global manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products and provider of total business solutions for power generation.
This is another significant milestone in the development of the company. The involvement of ADB is further evidence of the growing maturity and quality of our business, and our contract with Risen is an exciting development in our solar division. Together, these underpin our growth plan and we now expect our operating capacity to reach 1000 MW within 12 months.
Mytrah Energy, listed on AIM of London Stock Exchange, has a portfolio of 616.5 MW of wind power generation across 11 projects in six States. The company has 211 wind masts installed in the country. Mytrah has a pipeline of about 3500 MW of wind and 500 MW of solar capacity.

Over Rs. 70,000 crore loans sanctioned for renewable energy projects since Feb.
Banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) have sanctioned Rs. 71,201 crore to finance renewable energy projects and disbursed Rs. 29,529.57 crore.
The sanctioned amount accounts for 18.63 per cent of the total commitments made during the renewable energy investment summit Re-Invest 2015, hosted by the Ministry.
Monthly status reports
The loans have been sanctioned and disbursed by 40 major banks and NBFCs, which also gave a commitment to finance 78.75 GW or 78,750 MW of renewable energy projects over five years.
The Government has set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2022.
Achieving this target requires capital outlay of $160 billion, including equity of $40 billion. In addition, huge investment is required for transmission, upgradation of infrastructure in order to utilize power generated though renewable sources. Banks and NBFCs have to play a major role to provide low cost and long term financing for these projects.

April 12

Sun Life hikes stake in Birla venture to 49%.
Aditya Birla Nuvo (ABNL) announced that Canada-based Sun Life Financial has increased its stake in the life insurance joint venture, Birla Sun Life Insurance (BSLI) from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.
With the regulatory approvals in place, from Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and Competition Commission of India, ABNL sold approximately 437 million equity shares constituting 23 per cent of the issued and paid-up equity share capital of BSLI to Sun Life.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions in Canada, the principal regulator of the Canadian insurer Sun Life, has also approved of the transaction.
ABNL, which continues to hold the controlling stake in BSLI at 51 per cent, has received a sum Rs. 1,664 crore from the stake sale, valuing BSLI at Rs. 7,235 crore.
The proceeds will reduce the net debt of ABNL substantially. Coupled with the free cash flow generation from divisions, the standalone balance sheet of ABNL stands strengthened to support its growth plans.
BSLI is one of the leading private life insurers in India, with a market share of 6.9 per cent for the nine months ended 2015. Its assets under management, stood at Rs. 30,421 crore.

Gayatri Projects bags Rs. 340 crore Nagaland project.
Gayatri Projects Ltd has secured a Rs. 340 crore contract for the four-laning of a highway from Dimapur to Kohitna in Nagaland from the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).
The contract is to be executed on an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis. The company has taken a decision to focus on EPC contracts instead of Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) mode projects in tune with its asset-light model.
This order comes on the heels of several new projects from a wide set of industries, ranging from National Highways to water distribution and underground mining.

April 13

India to notch up to 7.5 per cent growth in 2016-17: IMF.
Retaining its 7.5 per cent GDP expansion forecast for India in 2016 and 2017, IMF asked the government to cut down subsidies, initiate labour reforms and dismantle infrastructure bottlenecks to sustain strong growth.
Sustaining strong growth over the medium term will require labour market reforms and dismantling of infrastructure bottlenecks, especially in the power sector.
In 2015, India's growth was 7.3 per cent, which would increase to 7.5 per cent in the next two years of 2016 and 2017, IMF had earlier forecast.
Retaining its last forecast, with the revival of sentiment and pick-up in industrial activity, a recovery of private investment is expected to further strengthen growth.
In India, growth is projected to notch up to 7.5 per cent in 2016-17, as forecast. Growth will continue to be driven by private consumption, which has benefited from lower energy prices and higher real incomes.
IMF pointed to lower commodity prices, a range of supply side measures and a relatively tight monetary stance resulting in a faster-than-expected fall in inflation in India, making room for nominal interest rate cuts.
IMF cut its 2016 global growth forecast for the fourth time in the past year to 3.2 per cent, citing China's slowdown, persistently low oil prices and chronic weakness in advanced economies. This was down from 3.4 per cent projected in January.
IMF, however, upgraded its China growth forecast by 0.2 percentage point for this year and the next to 6.5 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively.
China clocked 6.9 per cent growth in 2015 when India had recorded 7.3 per cent expansion.

April 14

Madhucon gets Rs. 248 crore for 74% stake sale in road project to Cube Highways.
Madhucon Group has completed the strategic sale of its majority stake (74 per cent) in Madhucon-Agra Jaipur Expressway Ltd to Cube Highways and Infrastructure Pte Ltd, formerly known as ISQ Asia Infrastructure I-A Pte Ltd.
This is the first major strategic sale in Madhucon’s Highway portfolio. Cube Highways emerged as the successful bidder in buying the majority stake in the highway project, which attracted interest from several major investors in the country and abroad.
Madhucon and Cube Highways signed a share purchase agreement for Rs. 248 crore. Upon receiving all necessary approvals the transaction was concluded with 74 per cent stake transfer. Divestment of stake has enabled Madhucon to pare down its debt by Rs. 212 crore.
The focus of the group continues to be on its core competence in EPC and the upcoming NHAI Hybrid model projects, as well as creating liquidity and on reducing the leverage for the benefit of all stakeholders.
The project is an operational BOT (build, operate and transfer) mode project of NHAI between Bhartpur and Mahua in Rajasthan connecting the two tourist cities of Agra and Jaipur. The project started commercial operation and toll collection in 2009.

Issuance of rupee denominated bonds capped at Rs. 5,000 crore.
Following the fixing of aggregate limit of foreign investment in corporate debt in rupee terms, the maximum amount that can be borrowed by an entity in a financial year, under the automatic route by issuance of rupee denominated bonds, will be Rs. 5,000 crore, and not $750 million.
Further, the minimum maturity period for rupee denominated bonds issued overseas has been reduced to three years from five in order to align with the maturity prescription regarding foreign investment in corporate bonds, through the Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) route.
The current limit of $51 billion for foreign investment in corporate debt has been fixed in rupee terms at Rs. 2,44,323 crore. Issuance of rupee denominated bonds overseas will be within this aggregate limit of foreign investment.
The proposals to borrow beyond Rs. 5,000 crore in a financial year will require its prior approval.
Modified eligibility
In order to have consistency regarding eligibility of foreign investors in corporate debt, the RBI has modified the criteria for investors and location for issuance of these bonds. Rupee denominated bonds can now only be issued in a country and subscribed by a resident of a country that is a member of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) or a FATF-style regional body.

April 15

Electrosteel Steels posts 78% growth in sales.
Electrosteel Steels Ltd (ESL) has informed the stock markets that during 2015-16 financial year it recorded a 78 per cent growth in sales of steel products (in terms of weight).
The unaudited annual accounts of the company, according to sources, suggested that the gross turnover for 2015-16 stood at Rs. 2,800 crore.
The company had reported a gross audited turnover of Rs. 2,033 crore in 2014-15.
Based on this improvement, the company’s nine-member board of directors has approved an annual business plan for the financial year 2016-17.
The plan expected to achieve a gross turnover of around Rs. 4,500 crore in 2016-17.
ESL with a debt burden Rs. 10,500 crore and the monthly finance cost of Rs. 90 crore, made a net loss, but turned EBIDTA positive in 2015-16.
The board also approved, subject to lenders and shareholders, allotment of shares to Shandong Province Metallurgical Engineering Co Ltd of China against Rs. 159 crore arrear payable for supply of a number of project equipment.

Suzlon redeems FCCBs worth $28.8 million.
Wind energy major Suzlon has announced it has successfully repaid in cash, the Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCBs) worth $ 28.8 million in principal amount, along with the applicable 8.7 per cent redemption premium.
This was part of the 5 per cent April 2016 FCCB series which have now been redeemed in full and will cease to exist, and the repayment has been made in accordance with the terms and conditions of the FCCBs.
Suzlon had redeemed, in cash, $28.8 million of FCCBs through internal accruals. Further, most of our remaining debt maturity profile is back ended. This gives sufficient headroom to meet its operations and growth requirements. Its focused efforts towards debt reduction, liquidity optimization and business ramp up are bearing tremendous results. There is a visible ramp up in our execution volume, order inflow and resultantly the cash flows.
Suzlon had issued a five-year FCCB series in 2011 for $175 million with a five per cent coupon rate and April 2016 as maturity date.

April 16

US Jury Slaps $940 Million Fine on Tata in Trade Secret Case, TCS Denies Wrong doing.
An US grand jury has slapped a $940 million fine on two Tata group firms Tata Consultancy Services and Tata America International Corp in a trade secret lawsuit filed against them by Epic Systems.
The jury has asked the Tata firms to pay $240 million to Epic Systems for ripping off its software and also asked to pay $700 million in punitive damages.
Epic Systems had accused TCS and Tata America International Corp, in a lawsuit filed in 2014 in US District Court in Madison which was amended, of ''brazenly stealing the trade secrets, confidential information, documents and data'' belonging to Epic.
TCS acknowledged the receipt of the verdict, but denied any wrong doing.
The jury’s verdict on liability and damages was unexpected as it believes they are unsupported by the evidence presented during the trial.
The Company did not misuse or derive any benefit from downloaded documents from Epic System’s user-web portal. TCS plans to defend its position vigorously in appeals to higher courts. TCS appreciates the trial judge’s announcement from the bench that he is almost certain he will reduce the damages award.
The jury verdict would not have any impact on its Q4 and FY16 results to be announced.

Altico Capital India gets board nod to raise Rs. 2,000 crore.
Mumbai-headquartered non-banking finance company Altico Capital India has received board approval to raise Rs. 2,000 crore through a mix of instruments. The company will raise the funds through bank lines, and issue of commercial papers and non-convertible debentures (NCDs).
The company will use the proceeds to finance mid-income and affordable housing across tier-I cities.
The NBFC focuses on senior secured lending to residential projects in the real estate sector across tier-1 cities.
Altico Capital is well-positioned to capitalize on direct lending opportunities in India, with a focus on making senior secured loans to the real estate sector whilst retaining the flexibility to invest across multiple strategies.

April 17

Indian Railway used drone for the first time to inspect Dedicated Freight Corridor project.
Indian Railway has used drones for the first time for inspecting a mega rail project to assess the progress on the ground and the flying machine would now be used to monitor other under-construction schemes.
An unmanned aerial vehicle, also called drone, was used to inspect the ongoing work on the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project and, as per the plan, all ongoing projects will be monitored through aerial survey.
Besides, the public sector behemoth has also decided to use drones to assess the ground situation in the aftermath of train accidents.
A drone is essentially a flying robot which can be remotely handled through software-controlled flight plans embedded in its systems working in conjunction with GPS.
The drone was used for three days on a trial basis to cover the total 98 km on the DFC. The status report was prepared after the analysis of video recordings.
It becomes easier and faster to prepare the status report of an ongoing project through drone. Field work can be monitored from the office using the drone footage.
The drone was hired from a private operator and it cost Rs. 3,000 per km for undertaking the aerial survey.

April 18

NestAway raises $30 million in series C funding.
NestAway Technologies Pvt Ltd, the Bangalore-based leader in the ‘managed’ home rentals market, has raised $30 million in a Series C financing led by Tiger Global, Yuri Milner, the Russian billionaire investor/founding partner of DST Global and IDG Ventures India.
Earlier this year, NestAway had raised an undisclosed round from Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Group.
NestAway had previously raised more than $13 million in capital over two rounds from marquee investors including IDG Ventures India, Tiger Global, Flipkart, and Naveen Tewari & Kanwaljit Singh.
NestAway manages a house-owner’s rental property throughout the rental life cycle starting from showing the house to the prospects, closing the rental agreement to collecting rent on the owner’s behalf and assisting the tenant and owner during move-out.
The company charges a small percentage of monthly rent it generates from the house as commission; NestAway does not charge any brokerage or upfront fees to either the owner or the tenant.

April 19

India To Purchase 145 M777 Howitzers For US $750 Million.
The decision to buy ultra-light Howitzers produced by BAE Systems under the ‘Make in India’ program was discussed at a meeting between Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and his US counterpart Ashton Carter.
The artillery gun programme to equip the Mountain Strike Corps is being finalized as India and the US are in agreement on its ''make in India'' component.
The initial price notified by the US in 2012 was $694 million. The manufacturer has been seeking 10 per cent hike on the four-year-old price. The negotiation price is about $750 million.
The tender will be for associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support. The gun will come with laser inertial artillery pointing systems (LINAPS), maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services.
The Army intends to use the howitzers to modernize its forces and enhance its ability to operate in hazardous conditions.
In India, the BAE Systems had tied up Mahindra as its business partner for its proposed in-country assembly, integration and test (AIT) facility for the M777 Howitzer.

Zurich Airport sells 5% in BIAL to Fairfax for $49 million.
Zurich Airport has inked an agreement to sell its 5 per cent minority shareholding in Bengaluru International Airport Ltd (BIAL) to the Prem Watsa-backed Fairfax Holdings for $48.9 million.
Subject to customary regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to be completed within the third quarter of 2016. While there has been no word on the agreement from Fairfax.
BIAL owns and operates Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (KIAB) under a 30-year concession agreement from the Indian Government, with an option for a further 30-year extension.
KIAB, which began operations in 2008, is among the first Greenfield airports in India built under a public-private partnership. It is now India’s third largest airport.
Ownership pattern
The GVK Group, which had acquired a 29 per cent stake from L&T and Zurich Airport and 14 per cent from Siemens Project Ventures in the past, recently divested its 33 per cent stake in the airport to Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd for Rs. 2,149 crore, to pare its corporate debt.
GVK’s stake is now 10 per cent, while Fairfax is the largest shareholder with a 38 per cent stake (including the Zurich Airport stake). Siemens has a 26 per cent stake, while the Airports Authority of India and the Karnataka government hold 13 per cent each.

April 20

Suzlon Energy buys 5 firms.

Suzlon Energy has acquired five small solar companies for an undisclosed sum to implement various renewable energy projects across the country.
The company has acquired Gale Solarfarms, Tornado Solarfarms, Abha Solarfarms, Aalok Solarfarms and Shreyas Solarfarms to implement various renewable energy projects across the country, including the recently won solar projects in Maharashtra of 70 MW.
These companies, which have been acquired at face value, do not have any operations or assets currently and have been acquired primarily to be used as SPVs for the proposed solar project.
Shares of the company were trading 4.80 per cent up at Rs. 15.28 apiece on BSE.

JK Tyres acquired Cavendish Industries for 2200 crore rupees.
JK Tyre & Industries has completed acquisition of Cavendish Industries which houses three tyre business undertakings of Birla Tyres at an enterprise value of Rs 2200 crore.
The plants are located at Laksar (Haridwar), which manufactures a range of tyre, tubes and flaps.
The acquisition has been funded through a combination of internal accruals and debt.
With this acquisition JK Tyres will have 12 manufacturing units across India and Mexico.

April 21

MUDRA Bank invests Rs. 50 crore in MSME loan portfolio.
The Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency Bank (MUDRA Bank) has invested Rs. 50 crore in the A (-) rated senior tranche of securitized MSME loan portfolio of Janalakshmi Financial Services, a Bengaluru-based micro-finance company.
This will be a short-term transaction with a tenure of 1.5 years, according to a press release from IFMR Capital, which facilitated this transaction. Through this deal, MUDRA Bank, which provides low-cost loans to micro-finance and non-banking financial institutions, will have exposure to over 100 micro-finance and NBFCs.
This is also the bank’s maiden exposure to securitization. IFMR Capital also participated as an investor through its investment in the subordinated tranche.

Muthoot Capital net up 11.5% in fourth quarter.
Muthoot Capital Services’ loan book has crossed the Rs. 1,000 crore mark on the back of aggressive two-wheeler financing and diversification into corporate lending.
For the quarter ended, net profit grew 11.53 per cent to Rs. 6.87 crore from Rs. 6.16 crore. Total income rose to Rs. 63.41 crore from Rs. 51.98 crore, registering a growth of 22 per cent. Interest expenditure increased to Rs. 22.34 crore from Rs. 19.62 crore.
The full-year results too showed impressive growth with total income increasing to Rs. 228.49 crore in 2015-16 from Rs. 191.29 crore in the previous year, a growth of 19.44 per cent. The net profit for the year, at Rs. 22.85 crore, was up 2.5 per cent, compared with Rs. 22.29 crore in the previous year.
The improved performance was the direct result of a substantial growth in loan disbursements. The company’s foray into corporate and other business loans also helped boost the loan disbursements. The total loan sanctioned for the quarter was Rs. 314.65 crore. This comprised two-wheeler loans totalling Rs. 234.76 crore, and corporate and other business loans worth Rs. 79.89 crore.

Airtel to sell 5% stake in Bharti Infratel.
Bharti Airtel, the country’s biggest operator by revenue and subscribers, has initiated talks to sell more than 5 per cent of its telecom tower subsidiary Bharti Infratel through open market sales.
The move would result in the New Delhi-based telecom firm getting more than Rs. 3,700 crore.
Airtel, which owns a 71.7 per cent stake in the tower unit, intends to use the proceeds to pare debt and for further rollout of 3G and 4G infrastructure.

Tide Water Oil acquires UK firm for £9.59 million.
Tide Water Oil (India), controlled by state-owned Andrew Yule & Co Ltd, has acquired British lubricant firm Price Thomas Holdings Ltd (PTHL) for £9.59 million.
PTHL, a lubricant manufacturing unit in UK, will lend it space in the competitive European market.
Tide Water is expanding market for its branded lubricant Veedol in Europe. As the target company has a manufacturing facility in the UK, the proposed acquisition is envisaged to result in competitive product pricing of the acquirer for the European market.
PTHL’s gross revenue as on 2014 was £10.92 million with a corresponding PBT of £0.87 million. PTHL is a manufacturer and supplier of lubricants and car care products in the UK and in overseas automotive markets such as Ireland, Sweden and Bulgaria. Tide Water, which signed the share purchase agreement, will not require any Government permission for the acquisition as it falls within the automatic overseas investment route.

April 22

Cyient posts Rs. 815 crore revenue in fourth quarter.
Cyient Ltd (formerly InfoTech Enterprises) posted revenues of Rs. 815 crore in the fourth quarter ended 2016 a 4.4 per cent growth quarter on quarter. The net profit for the quarter was at Rs. 66 crore.
For the financial year 2015-16, the firm registered a turnover of Rs. 3,096 crore, a growth of 13 per cent over last year. The net profit for the year stood at Rs. 326 crore.
The revenue for the year was lower than what originally committed. As a result of these challenges, the last financial year was a disappointing year.

Hindustan Zinc net profit rises 8% in Q4.
Vedanta Group firm Hindustan Zinc reported an 8 per cent increase in net profit to Rs. 2,149 crore for the fourth quarter of 2015-16, aided by mark to market gains on its investment income. In the same quarter last year, net profit was at Rs. 1,997 crore.
However, net revenues during the quarter fell 25 per cent to Rs. 3,070 crore (Rs. 4,073 crore).
The decrease was on account of lower zinc volumes and prices on the London Metal Exchange, The lower volumes were partly offset by higher volumes of lead and silver as well as the depreciation in the value of rupee as compared to the US dollar. Cost of zinc metal production was Rs. 58,044 per tonne or $853 per tonne, which was 4 per cent higher in US dollar terms and 14 per cent higher in rupee terms.

April 23

Reliance Ind Q4 net jumps 16% to Rs. 7,398 crore.
Record refining volumes and strong petrochemical margins helped Reliance Industries report a nearly 16 per cent jump in net profit to Rs. 7,398 crore in the three-month period ending 2016. For fiscal 2015-16, RIL reported its highest ever consolidated net profit of Rs. 27,630 crore, up 17.2 per cent from FY15.
However, revenue fell 8.9 per cent for the quarter to Rs. 64,569 crore and for the full year, which the company attributed to a ''sharp fall in feedstock and product prices''. Instead, RIL focussed on volumes and operating margins - refining throughput stood at 17.8 million tonnes for the quarter, a capacity utilization rate of 115 per cent at the flagship Jamnagar refinery.
Gross refining margins - the difference between the cost of crude oil and final selling price of refined products - were $10.8 a barrel, marginally higher than the $10.1 rate reported in the corresponding period of the previous year.
RIL is expected to have the highest annual profit among the top 10 companies in the country.
The upstream oil and gas exploration business continued to languish due to lower crude oil price. Segment revenue fell 34.8 per cent for the quarter to Rs. 1.638 crore. Production in US shale volumes remained largely flat.
Revenue for organized retail - Reliance Retail has stores which sell grocery, consumer electronics and apparels - continued to grow at a blistering pace, at 20.7 per cent year-on-year to Rs. 5,781 crore this quarter.

Reliance Defence to raise Rs. 1,200 crore.
Anil Ambani Group Company Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd will soon raise Rs. 1,200 crore through rights issue.
The proceeds will be used for increasing long-term resources and exiting from corporate debt restructuring.
The price, entitlement ratio and the date for the rights issue will be decided in due course and in consultation with the advisors and bankers to the issue.

April 24

Licious raises $3 million from Mayfield India.
Bengaluru-based consumer food brand start-up Licious has raised $3 million in Series A funding from Mayfield India II Management, a global fund that has made investments in start-ups like Simplilearn and Amagi.
The money will be used to spur product innovations by partnering with Executive Chefs with over 30 years of experience in five-star hotels, and to expand reach to other parts of the country. The start-had up raised seed funding of $1 million last year from marquee investors.
Licious was conceived with the idea of building India’s largest meat brand that delivers fresh meat to consumers, thereby solving the perennial problem of finding safe, hygienic and high quality fresh meat.
Expansion plans
The start-up began operations in Bengaluru, with a range of fresh chicken, lamb, and seafood products. It is grossing 15,000 orders a month at an average order value of Rs. 600.
It targets 1, 00,000 orders a month. Plans are on to take the brand to Delhi-NCR over the next six months.

April 25

Rs. 30 crore Series B to juice up RAW Pressery expansion.
Cold-pressed fresh juice company RAW Pressery will launch its largest plant in Mumbai in mid-May.
The Mumbai-based company, which produces a range of high nutrition juices, also plans to reach out to 1,500 points of sale by the end of this fiscal, from 450 at present.
Armed with a recent Rs. 30 crore Series B funding from Sequoia India, Saama Capital and DSG Partners, the company expects to strengthen its management team and step up brand building and digital marketing exercises, along with expanding its capacity increasing the range of flavours.
Quality-centred
The clean label company, with a production plant in Thane, near Mumbai, has entered Hyderabad with trade retail outlets. It plans to enter the direct home delivery and corporate segments in the city. It will add eight juices and smoothies to its range and expand to 12 cities by end of the year, from seven at present. The company’s prime target groups are 18-49-year-olds, urban, health conscious people on the move. It is eyeing a 300 per cent growth in turnover this fiscal, from Rs. 7.5 crore last year.
What’s fuelling the confidence is a perceptible preference shift from carbonated drinks, growth in health consciousness and the product’s stated advantages of being nutritious with no added sugars, chemicals, preservatives, etc. It is also an early entrant in the sector.

April 26

Government to sell its 11.36% stake in NHPC.
In the first disinvestment of current fiscal, the government will tomorrow sell 11.36 per cent equity shares in electricity generator NHPCLtd at Rs. 21.75 apiece to raise about Rs. 2,700 crore.
The issue price of Rs. 21.75 a share is at a discount of 5.6 per cent to NHPC's closing price of Rs. 23.05 on BSE.
The government holds 85.96 per cent in NHPC and selling of over 125 crore shares or 11.36 per cent stake would help it comply with the minimum public shareholding norm.
A minimum of 20 per cent of the shares on offer have been reserved for allocation to retail investors.
No single bidder other than mutual funds and insurance companies shall be allocated more than 25 per cent of the offer size.

Patanjali to invest Rs. 1,150 crore in 2017.
Patanjali Ayurved, the FMCG venture promoted by yoga guru Ramdev, will invest over Rs. 1,150 crore in the current fiscal to set up six processing units and one R&D center as it chases a turnover of Rs 10,000 crore this year.
These units will come up in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Patanjali Ayurved, which reported a turnover of Rs 5,000 crore in the last fiscal, is also looking at entering the highly competitive dairy segment this year.
It has a network of over 4,000 distributors, 10,000 stores and 100 Patanjali mega marts pan India.
He further added Patanjali would spend around Rs. 500 crore on cow protection and research center and setting up world class universities for vaidik education.

Videocon d2h Ties-up With Vodafone m-pesa.
NASDAQ-listed Indian direct-to-home (DTH) player Videocon d2h has partnered with Vodafone, a move that will its subscribers recharge their d2h service using Vodafone m-pesa.
The 120,000+ Vodafone m-pesa cash in points will also accept recharge for Videocon d2h.
Videocon d2h, which claims to be India's fastest growing DTH service provider, offers over 550 channels and services.
It is soon going to launch HD Smart Connect Set top Box (connected STB), which converts existing normal TV into a Smart TV. The Connected set top box allows one to browse content from Facebook, Twitter, Daily Motion, video on demand sites, news sites, weather sites, etc through applications residing on STB.

April 27

Union Railway Ministry to set up Rs. 1 lakh crore Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh.
The Union Railway Ministry has decided to create a 1 lakh crore rupees safety fund named Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh to strengthen safety measures on the rail network to prevent accidents.
It was announced by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the Lok Sabha.
The Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh will be a non-lapsable fund which will be utilized for safety measures. The fund will help Indian Railways to accomplish its zero-accident mission by strengthening the safety measures on the rail network in a comprehensive way.
Under this fund, envisaged works like track renewal and upgradation, bridge rehabilitation, elimination of level-crossings, construction of road over bridges/road under bridges will be under taken. It will be also used for replacement and improvement of signaling system, improvement and upgradation of rolling stock, replacement of electrical assets and human resource development.

India may surpass China in attracting FDI: Nomura.
India may surpass China this year in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), as the gap in inflows between the two has been narrowing with the reforms being implemented by India, according to Japanese financial services firm Nomura.
FDI inflows to India (as a percentage of GDP) can surpass those into China in 2016, as India already has large investment commitments from MNCs in sectors like electronics, solar energy, auto, defence and railways.
The trend of rising inflows to India and moderating inflows to China are likely driven by a mix of pull and push factors like divergent growth outlooks, ongoing FDI liberalization and economic reforms in India, compared to rising labour costs in China.
Rising FDI inflows not only provide a stable source of financing the current account deficit (CAD), but also bring in technical know-how, which can boost India's productivity growth in the near future.
FDI inflows to India touched a record level of $51 billion during the April-February period of the last financial year.

April 28

Government approves BPCL's Rs. 3000 crore investment in Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd.
The Cabinet has given its approval to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) to enhance its investment in Bharat Oman Refineries Limited (BORL) - a joint venture between Oman Oil Company Limited (OOCL) and BPCL – to Rs. 3000 crore. The investment amount could be enhanced upto a maximum of Rs. 3000 crore by way of subscription of convertible warrants/ other instruments giving right to convert it into equity shares to be issued by BORL, beyond DPE guidelines.
The infusion of funds by the BPCLs will enable BORL to overcome the implications on account of the erosion of the net worth. Besides, it will enhance the availability of petroleum products in the Northern and Central parts of the country, industrial development of Madhya Pradesh and substantial increase in employment and tax earnings in the state.
The BORL commissioned the 6 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA) or 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery at Bina in Madhya Pradesh. At a project cost of about Rs. 12,754 crore. Currently, the refinery is operating at 100 percent of its installed capacity.
BORL is now planning to undertake a debottlenecking project at the refinery to further increase the capacity from 6 MMTPA to 7.8 MMTPA. The estimated project cost is Rs. 3,072 crore, with an overall implementation schedule of 36 months from date of receipt of environmental clearances (Zero Date).
BPCL board has decided to infuse funds to the tune of Rs. 3,000 crore for funding the debottlenecking project and for meeting the extraordinary losses suffered on account of the sharp fall in the prices of crude oil and finished products.

BSE inks pact with Korea Exchange to list Sensex-based derivatives.
BSE Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Korea Exchange (KRX) of South Korea, for listing S&P BSE Sensex-based derivatives contracts on the latter.
The agreement is expected to further the development of derivatives markets in India and South Korea. It will encourage the sharing of information, and foster new opportunities for the exchanges and their respective issuers.
The MoU also includes information sharing by both parties to promote each other’s understanding of a product’s listing process and the market’s functioning.
The two exchanges will also support each other for investor relations activities of cross-listed products and assist with cross-border supervision and enforcement.
BSE and KRX have also agreed to conduct joint research in the area of derivatives markets and to support the development of new products, experience sharing and cooperation on IT system.

April 29

First time direct tax details published by CBDT.
In a first, CBDT has made public a host of hard data on the total number of taxpayers in the country, income disclosed in IT returns by various categories of taxpayers and number of PAN holders in the country for a chosen period of time.
The objective of publishing these statistics was to encourage wider use and analysis of Income Tax data by departmental personnel and academicians.
Under the 'time series' data, between 2000-01 to 2014-15 financial years, discloses the actual direct taxes collection made by the department, direct tax to GDP ratio, the cost of collecting the revenue for the government kitty, number of effective assesses and workload and disposal of IT cases.
The department has also published statistics filed by taxpayers in their return of income for Assessment year 2012-13.
It also discloses the Permanent Account Number (PAN) allocation across various categories and gender by the end of 2013-14 fiscal.

SBT Q4 net shrinks 67.6%.
A 217 per cent rise in provisions over the year-ago quarter brought down the Q4 net profit of State Bank of Travancore (SBT) by 67.63 per cent to Rs. 62.13 crore. This is despite the good control on total expenditure, which helped it post a 16.91 per cent growth in operating profit to Rs. 547.47 crore.
A 11.57 per cent growth in other income partially compensated for the muted (2.3 per cent) growth in interest earnings.
The mega provisioning also took away the gains made in tax expenditure (-73.51 per cent) and distorted the rest of the figures, leading to the significant slide in net profit.
The bank has provided additional prudential provisions over and above RBI stipulations.
This resulted in a 92 per cent increase in provisions during the year. Thus, the provision-coverage ratio has improved to 61.49 per cent.
Annual figures
The operating profit for the full year rose 31 per cent to Rs. 1,798 crore (Rs. 1,372 crore in FY15), while net profit growth was almost flat at Rs. 337.73 crore. The operating profit was driven by a 12 per cent hike in net interest income and a 28 per cent surge in fee income.
The board of directors declared 50 per cent dividend (Rs. 5 per share of face value Rs. 10). The bank has been consistently replacing high-cost and bulk deposits with retail deposits to cut interest costs.

April 30

Centre approves Rs. 9,005 crore investment for affordable housing in three states.
Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has approved an investment of Rs. 9,005 crore for construction of 73,205 more houses for Economically Weaker Sections in urban under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana in the States of Maharashtra, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir.
An inter-ministerial Central Screening & Monitoring Committee chaired by Dr. Nandita Chatterjee, Secretary (HUPA) approved the first batch of housing proposals during the current financial year. These were also the first affordable housing proposals of these three States sanctioned under PMAY (Urban).
Maharashtra has been sanctioned a total of 71,701 houses in 10 cities at a total project cost of Rs. 8,932 crore with Central Assistance of Rs. 1,064 crore. Houses sanctioned include -61,946 under Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP), 7,399 for Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) and 2,356 for In-situ Slum Redevelopment.
Houses sanctioned city-wise in Maharashtra are: Virar - 61,946, Kalyan - 30,378, Thane - 8,184, Gothegar - 3,822 and the rest in Mumbai Metropolitan Region areas of Wave, Palghar, Pen, Nilaje Pada, Raygad and Kelawali.
For Punjab, construction of 1,280 houses for In-Situ Slum Redevelopment in Bhatinda was approved with a total investment of Rs. 57 crore for which central assistance of Rs. 12.80 crore was sanctioned.
For Jammu & Kashmir, construction of 224 houses under Beneficiary Led Construction component of PMAY (Urban) has been approved with a total investment of Rs. 16.07 crore with central assistance of Rs. 3.36 crore. This includes construction of 141 houses in Udhampur and 83 in Baramullah.

Cigna to hike stake in insurance JV with TTK to 49%.
The US-based global health-service leader Cigna Corporation has initiated the process of increasing its stake in CignaTTK Health Insurance (CignaTTK).
Cigna is committed to increasing its stake to 49 per cent from 26 per cent now. The process has started.
This standalone health insurer, which started its journey two years back, is now aiming at cash-flow breakeven by 2019.
Currently, CignaTTK is capitalised at close to Rs. 400 crore. In 2015-16, the health insurer had recorded new business premium of Rs. 144 crore.
Online business accounts for 9-10 per cent of new business premium.
Insurance regulator IRDAI had recently amended bancassurance regulations to allow banks to expand the number of tie-ups with insurers.

IndiGo profit soars 53% in fiscal 2016.
IndiGo, the Gurgaon-based low-cost airline, has reported a profit after tax of Rs. 1989.72 crore for the fiscal 2016, an increase of 52.6 per cent. The board has recommended a final dividend of Rs. 15 per share.
This is the eighth consecutive year of profitability with highest-ever yearly profits.
The airline reported a profit after tax of Rs. 579.31 crore for the quarter ended 2016 against Rs. 577.33 crore. The total income from operations during the quarter ended 2016 stood at Rs. 4090.67 crore an increase of 7 per cent.
Total revenues for the quarter ended 2016 were Rs. 4247.58 crore an increase of 7.5 per cent over the same period in the previous year, while passenger revenues were Rs. 3534.56 crore an increase of 5.4 per cent. During the quarter ended March 2016, ancillary revenues increased 17.6 per cent to Rs. 532.17 crore.
For the full year the total revenues saw an increase of 15.9 per cent at Rs. 16601.30 crore, while passenger revenues for the full year were up 14.4 per cent at Rs. 14062.42 crore and ancillary revenues grew by 27.3 per cent to touch Rs. 2001.99 crore.



<--Back