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PNB Housing-Carlyle deal in a regulatory fix

June 20, 2021 - 11:48pm
The Rs 4,000-crore Carlyle deal with PNB Housing Finance could be in a regulatory fix as the mortgage lender is likely to challenge a Securities & Exchange Board of India order that required an independent valuation of the business before the company sought shareholder approval for the transaction.Carlyle and Salisbury Investments, which are set to be the new promoters of the company, are also expected to support the PNB Housing plans to challenge the regulatory order.Making an appeal to the Securities Appellate Tribunal against the Sebi order is an option before PNB Housing Finance now, a person familiar with the matter told ET.“Carlyle and the other investors could be supporting PNB Housing's move to challenge the order. They have done a price discovery mechanism and thus arrived at the share price formula for the preferential offer as prescribed by the existing Sebi guidelines," said a source familiar with investors' plans.In a rare regulatory move, Sebi said the resolution related to the deal violates the company’s Articles of Associations and the company must undertake an independent valuation of the business before the resolution is taken up for further discussions. A shareholders' meeting was scheduled to be held on June 22 to approve the deal.The Punjab National Bank-promoted mortgage lender has invited American private equity company Carlyle to own a majority share in the housing business by selling shares in a preferential allotment and warrant issuance.The review petition is likely to be filed as early as this week.PNB Housing did not respond to ET’s mailed queries on the matter. A Carlyle spokesperson also declined to comment.The company and its board of directors continue to believe the pricing of the deal is in compliance with all relevant laws and rules, PNB Housing said in a regulatory filing on June 19.“Preferential allotment is in the best interests of the company, its shareholders and all relevant stakeholders,” it said.The deal has come under the lens of the regulators after certain sections of the investment industry, including a proxy advisory firm, raised doubts about the neutrality of the PNB board.The board of PNB Housing had approved placement of 82 million preferential equity shares and 20.5 million share warrants with Carlyle Group unit Pluto Investments, Salisbury, General Atlantic Singapore Fund FII Pte Ltd and Alpha Investments V Pte Ltd. Investors will get shares at Rs 390 apiece.PNB Housing’s share price doubled to Rs 880 per share in a span of a week after the deal came to light, before easing to Rs 740 on BSE Friday.The proposed takeover requires an open offer on behalf of the acquirers including Carlyle, and Salisbury Investments, a family investment vehicle of former HDFC Bank chief executive Aditya Puri. The former HDFC Bank CEO advises Carlyle on investment opportunities in Asia.Following the deal, PNB’s shareholding in PNB Housing Finance is set to fall below 21%, while PNB Housing said as late as January this year that the public-sector bank would continue holding over 26%, people protesting the deal said.
Categories: Business News

Yamaha Motor Company may introduce multiple products to double its share in local two-wheeler market

June 20, 2021 - 11:48pm
Japanese auto major Yamaha Motor Company is working on introducing multiple products in the premium motorcycle and scooter segments to more than double its share in the local two-wheeler market over the next five years.The company, which currently has a market share of 3.7%, is looking at bolstering its presence in the 125 cc scooter and 150cc and 250 cc motorcycle segments to draw in new-age customers. Overall, the aim is to increase market share to 8.7% by 2025.“In India, 51.6% of the total two-wheeler purchases comprise commuter segment models up to 125cc segment, and we feel that this section of buyers will aspire to own a premium product that’s exciting, stylish and sporty, eventually making a shift to the 150cc class, as for 150cc segment today, is the new age commuter segment”, said Motofumi Shitara, Chairman, Yamaha Motor Group India, adding, “Hence, we have set a target to achieve an 8.7% market share by 2025, for which our strategy for India is to strengthen our product portfolio in the 125cc scooter segment, and the 150cc & 250cc motorcycle segment, for young age customers.”India Yamaha Motor – which reported a decline of 9.35% to sell 524,186 two-wheelers in the last financial year - already has a market share of 19% in the 149-250 cc motorcycle segment. The company launched its latest product in the space, the Yamaha FZ-X priced upwards of Rs 1.17 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) Friday. Sales of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds in the overall market fell 13% to 15.1 million units last fiscal.Shitara said that even though two-wheeler sales in the domestic market have declined the past two years, the future of the Indian two-wheeler industry is “strong and reassuring”. “As markets open up again, we are expecting the industry to ride on a positive growth curve as the pandemic has brought about a drastic shift in consumer purchasing behavior and the need for personal transport has increased as people prefer personal mobility over shared and public transportation, to ensure social distancing and personal hygiene,” he said.Automobile retailers too have been innovating their tools of customer reach and engagement and resorting to various digital initiatives to make the most of the upcoming festive season, which will prove crucial to meeting this year’s industry targets.Yamaha, which resumed production earlier this month, is currently operating on a single-shift basis at both its manufacturing facilities. Efforts are on to vaccinate a majority of the company’s workforce at the earliest, post which it will ramp up production. The company now has dealerships functional in green zones with limited staff to ensure social distancing and is working closely with channel partners and suppliers to minimize the impact of this interruption and focus on the optimization of stock till production resumes at full capacity.“Since state governments have been directing lockdowns with a clear time frame, companies have been able to plan and channel their economic activities in a better way, so the economic condition isn’t as badly hit as it was before. Hence, we are expecting a fast-paced market recovery and stability”, said Shitara.As far as electric vehicles are concerned, Yamaha has a dedicated team at its headquarters in Japan working on an all-new electric vehicle platform for India and other global markets, Shitara said the company has been manufacturing electric vehicles, in association with Gogoro, the past two years. “So, the technology and the expertise to develop and manufacture EV models are already in place. But we are contemplating factors like pricing, performance, and infrastructure before rolling out any products for the Indian market”, he added.Yamaha Motor has a total installed capacity to produce 1.55 million two-wheelers. The company has invested Rs 1,600 crore since 2015 in India.
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Italy will call for tougher 'gig economy' rules

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
Italy will call for tougher rules governing 'gig economy' workers when it hosts labour ministers of the world's biggest economies in the Group of 20 next week. Italy's labour minister, Andrea Orlando, said countries should require big companies such as Amazon to take responsibility for working conditions at their suppliers, as part of reforms to ensure contractors are well-treated. "Large corporations must also take responsibility for small ones. They can no longer say that what happens outside their sheds does not concern them," Orlando was quoted as saying by Italian daily La Repubblica. Lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have increased demand for casual workers such as food delivery drivers, while cleaners and care workers have faced health and safety risks. The G20 summit in Sicily comes as the European Union is set to propose an EU-wide regulatory framework by year-end, and courts and regulators have sought to address perceived shortcomings in the gig economy. It will also take place amid public anger in Italy over the death of a trade unionist killed on Friday by a truck driver during a demonstration against job losses at U.S. logistics company FedEx. Trade unions blame outsourcing and the use of workforce management algorithms on international platforms for an erosion of rights and wages. Orlando said it was a challenge to enforce trade union rules on platforms based abroad, but this should not give companies an excuse to avoid employment standards. "It is no coincidence that it will be the subject of the G20," Orlando said.
Categories: Business News

UP govt's formula to evaluate class 10, 12 students

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
The Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday announced the new formula to evaluate students of classes 10 and 12, under the state board, amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Explaining the formula, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said to calculate the results of class 12 students studying under the Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Board (UPMSP), 50 per cent of marks obtained in class 10, 40 per cent of marks obtained in class 11's annual examination or half-yearly examination and 10 per cent of the marks obtained in pre-board of class 12 will be considered. For class 10, 50 per cent of marks obtained in class 9 and 50 per cent of marks obtained in pre-board of class 10 will be considered, he said. The minister also said that as many as 56,04,628 students have registered themselves for the board examinations in 2021. A total of 29,94,312 students have registered for the board examination for class 10, he said, adding that this includes 29,74,487 institutional examinees and 19,825 private examinees. "For class 12, a total of 26,10,316 students have registered for the board examination. This includes 25,17,658 institutional examinees and 92,658 private examinees," Sharma said. He said an 11-member committee was constituted to make the formula. The committee received as many as 3,910 suggestions this regard. The deputy CM also informed that there will be no merit list for the 2021 examination. Students (registered for 2021), who want to appear in the improvement examination, can appear in the next board examination without paying any examination fee, he added.
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India rejects criticism of new IT rules

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
India has dismissed criticism of its new IT rules relating to social media by three UN special rapporteurs on rights issues, saying the country's democratic credentials are well recognised and the right to freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed under its Constitution. "The concerns alleging potential implications for freedom of expression that the new IT Rules will entail are highly misplaced," India's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva said in a strongly worded response, asserting that the rules are "designed to empower ordinary users" of social media. The enactment of these rules had become necessary following widespread concerns about increasing instances of abuse of social media and digital platforms, it said. The Upper House of Parliament had repeatedly asked the government to strengthen the legal framework and make the social media platforms accountable under the Indian laws and the rules were framed after extensive deliberations, it noted. Also, the Supreme Court of India in two judgements had directed it to frame necessary guidelines to eliminate child pornography and related contents in online platforms and also said that it was imperative to frame proper regime to find out the persons, institutions, and bodies who were the originators of such content messages. "The Permanent Mission of India would also like to highlight that India's democratic credentials are well recognised. The right to freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed under the Indian Constitution," it said in a communication to the rapporteurs. "The independent judiciary and a robust media are part of India's democratic structure," it added. The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy had expressed concerns over India's IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. "The concern that the rules may be misused deliberately to make a large number of complaints so as to overwhelm the grievance redressal mechanisms created by social media platforms is also misplaced, exaggerated and disingenuous and shows lack of willingness to address the grievances of the users of these media platforms while using their data to earn revenues," the Indian mission said in its response. The Rapporteurs said the rules in their current form do not conform with international human rights norms and pressed for a detailed review. "We would like to recall that restrictions to freedom of expression must never be invoked as a justification for the muzzling of any advocacy of multiparty democracy, democratic tenets and human rights," the Rapporteurs said in a communication. Under the new rules, social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are required to appoint nodal officers and create mechanisms to remove offending posts and messages. US tech giant Twitter has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian authorities over the new rules. The government accused the company of failing to comply with the new rules which came into force late last month. The Indian mission also said that under the new rules, the social media companies are required to appoint India-based grievance redressal officers, compliance officers and nodal officers to address complaints of the users. "The enactment of new IT rules had become necessary due to widespread concerns about issues relating to increased instances of abuse of social media and digital platforms, including inducement for recruitment of terrorists, circulation of obscene content, the spread of disharmony, financial frauds, incitement of violence, public order etc," it said. The mission said that prior to the notification of the rules, the users had no opportunity to file a complaint in case of any misuse or abuse of social media platforms. Referring to a verdict by the Supreme Court, it said the government of India fully recognises and respects the right of privacy. It said the new IT rules seek information only on a message that is already in circulation that resulted in an offence, asserting that they have been framed in exercise of the statutory powers of the IT Act, fully taking into account the principles of reasonableness and proportionality. "The rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving and resolving complaints from the users or victims," the mission said. "Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer," it added. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) also issued a statement on India's response.
Categories: Business News

'Life insurers may see pressure on profitability'

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
The domestic life insurance industry may see pressure on its profitability in the short-term as the coronavirus pandemic has cast doubt on the certainty related to morbidity and mortality in the country, ICICI Prudential Life said in its annual report. India became an epicentre with a spike in cases in the second wave of the pandemic, amidst shortage in medical supplies. There are concerns about the possibility of a third wave hitting the country, ICICI Prudential Life said in its annual report for 2020-21. In FY21, the life insurance industry reported a modest 3 per cent growth in new business premium, said the report, adding the industry continues to get a higher share of household savings because of the increased attractiveness of life insurance savings products, the unique proposition of protection and annuity products among others. "In the short-term, the profitability of the insurance industry is expected to be an area of concern given the increase in mortality and morbidity rates induced by the pandemic. Even more than a year after the pandemic first struck, there continues to be significant uncertainty regarding its absolute impact on mortality and morbidity experience," the insurer said. The pandemic has posed multiple challenges for the Indian life insurers. The onset of the pandemic saw a sharp fall in equity prices, while interest rates also declined. Insurers have exposure to equities in unit-linked and participating businesses. Thus interest rate movements impact their liabilities and guarantees based based schemes. While, a credit risk can impact their investments made incorporates. The sharp movements in markets, coupled with any asset liability mismatches that insurers may have, can impact the solvency position. The report said there are emerging risks related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues on the insurance industry of which climate change is a bigger challenge. Apart from climate change, there are emerging risks associated with public health trends such as increase in obesity related disorders and demographic changes such as population urbanisation and ageing, said the report. Industry's growth even during the pandemic shows a promising future for the domestic life insurance sector, however, the pandemic has also exposed the gap the protection gap in the country, said the report. The number of Covid-19 related death claims is fraction of the number of overall lives lost, highlighting the vulnerability of the families, ICICI Pru Life said. The insurer said it has become imperative for every working individual to add life insurance as a key ingredient of financial planning. During the year, the pandemic amplified the need for life insurance among people, leading to the category slowly moving from being a "push product" to a "nudge product", ICICI Prudential Life Insurance said. The company's total premium income during FY21 was Rs 35,733 crore of which Rs 13,032 crore was new business premium. "On the back of the risk-averse behaviour of our customers, there was considerable interest for traditional long-term savings products which grew by 61.2 per cent for the year. Similarly, annuity products registered a robust 120 per cent growth year-on-year. "With ULIPs (unit linked investment plans) at 48 per cent, traditional savings products at 31 per cent, protection at 16 per cent and group products at 5 per cent, we now have a well-balanced product mix which now insulates us better from market volatility," said the insurer. It has become imperative for every working individual to add life insurance as a key ingredient of financial planning. "We believe the lessons learnt from the pandemic will lead to a paradigm shift in the way businesses operate. We are already observing the pace of digital and technological adoption moving at a frenetic pace compared to the pre-Covid-19 era," said N S Kannan, Managing Director & CEO, ICICI Prudential Life in his message to shareholders. The under-penetration of life insurance in the country offers an excellent opportunity to life insurers with innovative product offerings and simplified processes, the insurer said.
Categories: Business News

PM to address Yoga Day programme on Monday

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Monday morning address a programme to mark International Yoga Day whose theme this year is 'Yoga For Wellness'."Tomorrow, June 21, we will mark the seventh Yoga Day. The theme this year is 'Yoga For Wellness', which focuses on practising Yoga for physical and mental wellbeing," Modi tweeted."Around 6:30 am tomorrow, will be addressing the Yoga Day programme," he said.The Ayush Ministry, which is the nodal ministry for International Day of Yoga (IDY), in a statement has said that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent restrictions on congregational activities, the lead event of the day will be a televised programme with Prime Minister Modi's address being the highlight.Scheduled to start at 6.30 am on all Doordarshan channels on Monday, the event will also include an address by Minister of State for Ayush Kiren Rijiju and a live yoga demonstration by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, the Ministry said in a statement.
Categories: Business News

Uttarakhand: Curbs extended for one more week

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
The Uttarakhand government on Sunday decided to extend the Covid lockdown in the state for another week from June 22 but allowed hotels, restaurants and bars to open at half their capacities. It also decided to open the chardham yatra for locals from July 1 and for people from the rest of the state from July 11, Cabinet minister and state government's official spokesperson Subodh Uniyal said. Bringing a negative RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test report, however, will be compulsory for the pilgrims, he said. "People of Chamoli district can visit Badrinath temple for a darshan from July 1 if they have a negative RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test report," he said. "Similarly, people of Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts can also visit Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri temples respectively from that date with a negative RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test report," the minister said. The yatra will be opened for people from the rest of the state from July 11 on the same condition, he said. The state government had decided to open the chardham yatra partially for locals last week too but had to withdraw the decision in view of the Covid situation. The decision to extend the curfew from June 22 to 29 with some important relaxations was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat, Uniyal said. The period of current lockdown in the state was to come to an end at 6 am on June 22. The famous four Himalayan temples in Uttarakhand though open since May for daily prayers are still not open for pilgrims. Bringing a negative RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test report will be compulsory also for people coming to the state from outside or those going to hill areas from the plains, Uniyal said. General stores and groceries will now be open for five days in a week closing only on Saturdays and Sundays, he said. Hotels, restaurants and bars can open with 50 per cent of their capacity till 10 pm, he added. All government, semi-government and private offices can also open with 50 per cent of their capacity. However, offices connected with essential services will open with full capacity.
Categories: Business News

Delhi government allows bars to operate

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
More restaurants will open in Delhi from Monday as the state government allowed bars to operate and extended the dining timings till 10 pm. Serving of alcohol was not allowed in restaurants so far and the bars have been allowed to operate till 10 pm.Rahul Singh, founder and CEO of The Beer Cafe said his nine outlets will open in Delhi from Monday. “We could not open so far as alcohol was not allowed. We had already made preparations as we had an inkling that this might happen. Covid does not choose you based on the beverage you have," he said and added: "We will also get the jobs back. Yes, bars have to make sure they don’t get into trouble with dances etc. The government has to be strict. If somebody is breaking the law, then action should be taken,” he added. Zorawar Kalra, managing director of Massive Restaurants that runs brands such as Farzi Café and Made in Punjab said the move will ensure that more and more restaurants open up as the viability of opening a restaurant no longer remains a question mark. “The new relaxations help all stakeholders: the patrons, employees, restaurants and the government. Longer operating hours means reservations can be spread out over a longer time thereby making social distancing even easier. We had opened three restaurants in Delhi over the weekend. This week after the new relaxations, we will open two more taking our total tally to five,” he added. Akshay Anand, said he will open his Ophelia bar at The Ashok from Wednesday. “It’s a pleasant move that they have started opening up gradually. 60-70% of our revenues is from alcohol and we had not opened so far. This will help in getting our business back on track,” he added.Anurag Katriar, president, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) said the extension of dining timings till 10 pm was a ‘fairly positive’ move. “It’s a good beginning. Pubs and bar owners also have to realise that this is the new reality and opening till 1 or 2 am cannot happen for now. Bars in the city might open earlier than usual,” he added. Saurabh Khanijo, managing director of the Kylin chain of restaurants in the capital said it will make more sense for restaurants to operate now. “Restaurants should make sure the 50% rule should not be violated. Timings have been extended by two hours and alcohol is also allowed now which makes it more feasible,” he added. As per the new orders, restaurants are allowed upto 50% of the seating capacity from 8 am to 10 pm, while bars are allowed upto 50% of the seating capacity from 12 noon to 10 pm. The owners of the bars and restaurants shall be responsible for the strict adherence to the prescribed SOPs and all instructions issued by the government from time to time as well as compliance of Covid appropriate behavior to contain the spread of Covid-19. Strict criminal/penal action shall be taken against the restaurant and bar owners in case of violations according to the order dated June 20.
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Emirates to fly from India again after ban

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
Aviation giant Emirates said Sunday it will resume flights from India from next week, after Dubai lifted a ban imposed when coronavirus cases spiked. The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, suspended all flights from India -- including for transit passengers -- in April in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. "We will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India... from June 23," Emirates said in a statement. Dubai said on Saturday that only passengers from India "with a valid residence visa and who have received two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine" would be allowed to travel to the emirate. They would also need a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure, a rapid test four hours before departure, and another PCR test on arrival with "institutional quarantine" required until the results are received. Dubai authorities did not specify the rules for transit passengers and Emirates did not say whether transit passengers were allowed to fly through Dubai en route to third nations. Some 300 flights a week were operating between the UAE and India before the ban was announced in April, according to local media, making the air corridor one of the busiest in the world. The UAE is home to some 3.3 million Indians who make up a third of the population -- most of them in Dubai. Some Indians who had been stranded in their homeland during a coronavirus surge had hired private jets to take them back to the UAE, which had exempted private jets from the ban.
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PMC Bank depositors should get back deposits without any condition: NCUI

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
Cooperative body NCUI has welcomed the RBI's in-principal nod to Centrum Financial Services for the takeover of PMC Bank, but said all depositors should get back their deposits without any condition. Paving the way for the takeover of crisis-ridden Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank (PMC), the Reserve Bank of India on Friday granted in-principle approval to the Centrum Financial Services to set up a small finance bank. Centrum Financial Services was one of the applicants for the takeover of the PMC Bank. Reacting to RBI's in principle approval to Centrum Financial Services, NCUI President Dileep Sanghani in a statement said, "This is indeed welcome. However, it should be ensured that all the depositors should get back their deposits without any conditionality." However, he said it would have been better if all the big UCBs should have mobilised the funds together to revive the bank. National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies Ltd (NAFCUB) President Jyotindra Mehta said, "This is in accordance with the wishes of the sector, and the depositors. This will no doubt boost the image of the sector. However, the culprits who committed the fraud in the bank must be punished." GH Amin, Chairman, Cooperative Bank of India, and Chairman, Gujarat State Cooperative Union welcomed the move. "It is a good gesture, of taking over a crisis-hit bank by a small finance bank, and reviving it. The depositors will get an assurance of getting back their deposits." National Federation of State Co-operative Banks Ltd (NAFSCOB) MD Bhima Subrahmanyam said, "The move is indeed appreciable. However, all the depositors should get back their deposits without any conditionality". Large urban cooperative banks should have taken over PMC Bank and started a small finance bank, as the PMC had an excellent image before the fraud happened, he added. Subrahmanyam is also President International Cooperative Banking Association. On Friday, the RBI gave ''in-principle'' approval to the Centrum Financial Services Limited's offer of February 1, 2021, for the takeover of PMC Bank Ltd. The PMC Bank had invited Expression of Interest (EoI) from eligible investors for investment/ equity participation for its reconstruction and had received four proposals. In September 2019, the RBI had superseded the board of PMC and placed it under regulatory restrictions, including cap on withdrawals by its customers, after detection of certain financial irregularities, hiding and mis-reporting of loans given to real estate developer HDIL. The restrictions have been extended several times since then. PMC's exposure to HDIL was over Rs 6,500 crore or 73 per cent of its total loan book size of Rs 8,880 crore as of September 19, 2019. Initially, the RBI had allowed depositors to withdraw Rs 1,000 which was later raised to Rs 1 lakh per account to mitigate their difficulties. In June 2020, the RBI had extended the regulatory restrictions on the cooperative bank by another six months till December 22, 2020. As of March 31, 2020, PMC Bank''s total deposits stood at Rs 10,727.12 crore and total advances at Rs 4,472.78 crore. Gross non-performance assets of the bank stood at Rs 3,518.89 crore at end-March, 2020.
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Marico to strengthen Saffola brand positioning as healthy lifestyle-advocating brand

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
Marico Industries is pushing to strengthen the positioning of its Saffola brand as a preventive, healthy lifestyle advocating food product, not just an edible oil, by introducing health and wellness products under the range, according to a senior company official. Marico has been on product offensive after the pandemic and has introduced several products under its Saffola brand such as honey, instant noodles, immunity-boosting products. "Saffola today has been able to successfully migrate from just being an edible oil to a preventive, healthy lifestyle advocating food product brand. This is the space, where we want to take the brand," Marico COO- India Sales and CEO- New Business Sanjay Mishra told . It has now moved away from the "zone of being a curative and a medicinal product, to a preventive and healthy food", he added. According to him, Saffola now is a synonym of healthy and premium food products. While talking about Saffola's edible oil business, which is its core, Mishra said it has done well and has seen double-digit growth over the last 7-8 quarters. Even the new launches under the Saffola brand have done well, he added. "Saffola Honey, in the shortest possible time, has become synonymous with a good quality honey available in India and now is having a significant market share," said Mishra adding that he expects Saffola Honey to be Rs 100 crore brand this year. According to him, Saffola Honey progress would be a yardstick for any FMCG brand to attain such a scale within a year time frame. "We will keep playing it. It is not that we are only leveraging Saffola and extending it. There are spaces where we would have to create new food brands, but at the same time it is an asset which you have," he said Similarly, Marico had entered into the Oats with Saffola brand and it has now around 90 per cent market share in the 'masala oat' segment. "When we brought Saffola Oats to the market, people knew that Saffola was offering a food, which would be quality food," said Mishra. He added that "it has given us enough confidence to believe that our understanding of Saffola of having healthy food and quality product has been accepted and completely endorsed by our consumers." New products roll out such as honey, soya, instant noodles called as 'Saffola Oodles' all are inspired by the success of Saffola Oats, he added. When being asked whether Marico would continue to add more products under Saffola brand in the food segment, Mishra said our priority is to scale the newly launched products. "We have got into some exciting categories and tasted initial success. Our priority and focus would be to make them significant in the scale, consolidate position and take up a significant share," he said. Marico is now scaling its Saffola Soya Nuggets to nationally after having success in the pilot markets. Demand for immunity boosters products is going to stay for some time, even after the pandemic. Marico has launched two products into the segment under Saffola ImmuniVeda such as Kadha Mix Golden Turmeric Milk Mix.
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EPFO net new enrolments rise 13.73 per cent to 12.76 lakh April

June 20, 2021 - 8:48pm
Defying the trend of job losses during the lockdown, more formal jobs were created under the Employees Provident Fund Organisation in April, which had seen local lockdowns in several states. EPFO added 1.27 million net new subscribers in the month, a growth of 13.7% compared to March at 1.12 million, shows the payroll data of EPFO on Sunday. Net new subscribers under the scheme had declined by 0.28 million in April last year during the nationwide lockdown. As per the labour ministry’s provisional payroll data, of the 1.27 million net subscribers added during the month, around 0.68 million new members have come into the social security coverage of EPFO for the first time. Further, around 5.86 lakh net subscribers exited and then rejoined EPFO by changing their jobs within the establishments covered by EPFO and hence chose to retain membership through transfer of funds rather than opting for final settlement, it said in a statement.The net new subscribers added in April have been highest since April last year. So far, the highest addition of net new subscribers was in September 2020 at 1.21 millon. “The payroll data is provisional since the data generation is a continuous exercise as updation of employee record is a continuous process. The previous data hence gets updated every month,” the labour ministry said in a statement. Highest number of jobs were registered in the 22-25 years age group with 0.32 million net new additions in April followed by 0.27 million additions in the 29-35 years age group. “The members of 18-25 age-groups, usually first timers in the job market, have contributed around 43.35% of total net subscriber additions in April, 2021,” it said.Data shows females constituted 22% of total net subscribers added during the month at 0.28 million additions in April compared to 0.24 million in March. In addition to this, the number of female subscribers who have come under the ambit of EPFO for the first time has also increased to 0.19 million in April, 2021 compared to 0.18 million in March, 2021.As per the data, states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamilnadu and Karnataka remained in the forefront in formal job creation and added approximately 0.75 million subscribers during the month, which is around 59.41% of total net payroll addition across all age groups. The north-eastern (NE) states have shown above average growth in terms of net subscribers addition as compared with the previous month, it said . The ‘expert services’ category (consisting of manpower agencies, private security agencies and small contractors) constituted 45% of total subscribers addition during the month. Since April, 2018 EPFO has been releasing payroll data covering the period September 2017 onwards. Establishments with 20 or more employees are covered under EPFO and provide social security net to employees with salary up to Rs 15000 per month. The benefits under EPFO include provident fund, pension and deposit linked insurance cover to its over six crore beneficiaries.
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Monsoon over Delhi likely to be slow: IMD

June 20, 2021 - 5:48pm
The southwest monsoon is expected to move slowly into the remaining parts of Delhi, Rajasthan, west Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, and Punjab.On Sunday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a forecast based on large-scale features that showed no favourable condition.The numerical models' wind patterns do not indicate any favourable conditions for sustained rainfall over the region during the forecast period, according to the IMD.The weather department said fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy falls is very likely over east Uttar Pradesh and Bihar during the next 24 hours, with significant reduction in rainfall activity thereafter, due to the influence of a low-pressure area over southeast Uttar Pradesh and its surroundings.The weather department also predicted widespread rainfall with isolated heavy falls over Uttarakhand during next 24 hours and significant reduction in rain fall activity thereafter. IMD further said moderate to severe thunderstorms accompanied by frequent cloud to ground lightning is very likely over east Uttar Pradesh and Bihar during next 24 hours."This may cause injuries leading to casualties to people and animals staying outdoors," warned the IMD.
Categories: Business News

Scale up health infra to prevent Covid surge: WHO

June 20, 2021 - 5:48pm
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday called upon countries in its south-east Asia region to scale up public health infrastructure, rigorously implement social measures and make efforts to accelerate vaccination to prevent another COVID-19 surge.This week, Maldives and Myanmar confirmed the transmission of coronavirus variants of concern. Earlier, variants of concern have been confirmed in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste, the global health body said.The coronavirus variants of concern along with the opening of economies and societies contributed to the recent surge in cases globally."We need to continuously strengthen our efforts to test, trace and isolate. Physical distancing, hand hygiene and proper wearing of masks need to be stringently implemented."These measures should be in full force and for longer periods in areas reporting more transmissible variants of concerns," said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia.Even as countries scale up vaccination against COVID-19, they need to implement public health and social measures in a tailored and agile manner, she said.Singh, in a statement, said a risk-based approach is needed for public health and social measures and these measures should be implemented by the lowest administrative level and adjusted to the intensity of transmission and the capacity of health systems.A number of countries are currently at different phases in the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and are facing varying epidemiological situations. Though the region is now witnessing an overall decline in cases mainly due to a dip in cases in India, in some other nations are still seeing a spike in cases."We must not forget that the pandemic is still around and must guard against complacency at any level. We must continue to implement combinations of public health and social measures until globally there is high vaccine coverage among health workers, and high-risk and vulnerable groups," Singh said in the statement. PTI PLBNSD NSD 06201530 NNNN
Categories: Business News

Trade setup: Market may open in negative on Monday

June 20, 2021 - 5:48pm
For the third day in a row, the Indian stock markets traded with a corrective intent though it closed flat on the last trading day of the week. The Nifty opened on a modestly positive note and marked its high point of the day in the early minutes of the trade. Soon after that, the Index slipped into negative territory. The selloff intensified as Nifty went on to test the levels of 15450 by middle of the session. However, the markets saw a short covering led recovery from that point. By the end of the session, Nifty managed to recover nearly all its losses. The headline index finally closed with a negligible loss of 8.05 points (-0.05%). On the technical perspective, the markets almost achieved a throwback as it tested the levels from where it originally broke out. Given this technical behavior, there are greater chances that Nifty will retest these levels again. The coming week has weekly derivatives expiry coming up; we will see the coming sessions staying dominated with rollover centric activities. The concerning factor is that the volatility continues to remain at its lowest levels. The INDIA VIX declined once again by 3.21% to 14.7975. This keeps room open for spikes in volatility which may not work out well with the markets. Monday is likely to see a negative start to the day. The levels of 15700 and 15765 will act as resistance points; the supports will come in lower at 15580 and 15475 levels. The 83686858Relative Strength Index (RSI) on the daily chart is 60.09; it has marked a fresh 14- period low which is bearish. RSI, however, is neutral and does not show any divergence against the price. The daily MACD is bearish; it remains below the signal line. A Hanging Man occurred on the candles. The emergence of such a candle near the high point hints at continued disruption of the present uptrend. The pattern analysis reveals that if Nifty tests 15,450 levels again, it would have a classical throwback as such a move will take Nifty back to the levels from where it broke out. The zone of 15400-15450 is the nearest crucial support zone for the markets. All in all, this is the time where market participants must continue focusing more on protecting profits at current levels. Rather than aggressively buying even in the short covering led rallies, emphasis should be more on vigilant protection of profits. Traders must keep their strict trailing stop losses in place to optimally achieve this. We recommend keeping fresh purchases at modest levels and adopt a cautious outlook on the markets. (Milan Vaishnav, CMT, MSTA, is a Consulting Technical Analyst and founder of Gemstone Equity Research & Advisory Services, Vadodara. He can be reached at milan.vaishnav@equityresearch.asia)
Categories: Business News

DLF ties up with Bajaj foundation to vaccinate mall visitors

June 20, 2021 - 5:48pm
DLF has tied up with Bajaj foundation and Fortis Escorts to vaccinate mall visitors. The vaccination drive will start from June 20 and will be on till June 27, 2021 between 11 am to 6 pm at DLF Avenue, Saket where both doses of Covishield and 2nd dose of Covaxin will be administered to any walk-ins for 18 years and above. The entire vaccination process is being held in the presence of a team of medical experts including doctors and a medical ambulance service.The drive aims to normalise the vaccine experience with the comfort of visiting the mall with your loved ones.“Our vaccine drives aim to support the vaccine ecosystem in getting India vaccinated faster. Malls are a happy place for people so this drive creates comfort for visitors and encourages them to get vaccinated. We are normalizing the vaccination experience in an endeavor to steer clear of the third wave. The vaccine centre is now operational at DLF Avenue Mall in Delhi with Fortis Healthcare administering the vaccinations,” said Pankaj Bajaj, Founder-Bajaj Foundation.
Categories: Business News

Godrej Properties tops in sales bookings for FY21 among listed entities; overtakes Macrotech

June 20, 2021 - 5:48pm
Godrej Properties has become the country's largest listed real estate developer in terms of sales bookings during the last fiscal year as it clocked a record pre-sales of Rs 6,725 crore despite the COVID pandemic. In terms of market capitalisation, Delhi-NCR based DLF remains the country's largest real estate developer with a market cap of over Rs 70,000 crore. When it comes to operational performance, Mumbai-based Godrej Properties, which is part of business conglomerate Godrej group, achieved highest sales bookings during the 2020-21 fiscal year, surpassing Macrotech Developers', erstwhile Lodha Developers, numbers. According to an analyst presentation, Godrej Properties reported 14 per cent rise in sales bookings to record Rs 6,725 crore during the last fiscal as against Rs 5,915 crore in the 2019-20 financial year. Macrotech Developers, on the other hand, reported a 9 per cent decline in its sales bookings at Rs 5,968 crore in FY21 as against Rs 6,570 crore in the previous financial year. Mumbai-based Macrotech launched its Rs 2,500 crore IPO in April to get listed on the stock exchanges. Most of the real estate developers, which are listed on the stock exchanges, report their sales bookings numbers on quarterly and annual basis. Unlisted companies generally do not disclose their numbers. Among other large listed realty firms, Bengaluru-based Prestige Estates Projects sales bookings rose 20 per cent year-on-year to a record of Rs 5,460.8 crore in the last fiscal year. Sobha's sales bookings grew by 9 per cent to Rs 3,137.2 crore in FY21 from Rs 2,880.6 crore in the previous year. DLF recently reported sales bookings of Rs 3,084 crore during the last fiscal, up 24 per cent from the previous year. In its analyst presentation, Oberoi Realty said 1.7 million square feet of saleable area were sold in FY21 with a gross sale value exceeding Rs 3,425 crore. Brigade Enterprises' sales bookings rose to Rs 2,767 crore last fiscal from Rs 2,377 crore during the 2019-20 fiscal year. Indiabulls Real Estate said in its presentation that the total new sales in FY 21 stood at Rs 1,988 crore. Mahindra Lifespace Developers, which is a real estate arm of the Mahindra group, achieved sales of Rs 695 crore in residential business. Mumbai-based Sunteck Realty's sales bookings declined to Rs 1,022 crore last fiscal from Rs 1,221 crore in the 2019-20 financial year. Pune-based Kolte-Patil Developers's sales booking fell to Rs 1,201 crore during the last fiscal from Rs 1,330.9 crore in the previous year. When asked about Godrej Properties' reporting higher sales bookings of Rs 6,725 crore in FY21, Macrotech Developers MD and CEO Abhishek Lodha had said last month: "I do not want to comment on the competition". He, however, did highlight that the company in the last eight financial years sold properties worth around Rs 57,000 crore, way ahead of its competitors. On housing demand consolidating towards trusted builders, Dhruv Agarwala, group CEO, Housing.com, Makaan.com and Proptiger.com, said, "Since project delays are likely to get longer because of a restriction on construction activities, disruption in material supply and labour shortages due to COVID-19, homebuyers are being doubly cautious with regard to the project developer they choose." In a scenario where real estate developers are facing a liquidity challenge, he said developers with a strong consumer brand, deep pockets and a consistent track record of delivery are becoming a buyer's logical first choice. "This lowers the risk of delays and other issues from a buyer's point of view," Agarwala said. The housing market has evolved in the past one year and home buyers are becoming increasingly wary of fancy offers, he observed. "A solid developer track record has emerged as probably the most important criteria for making a choice. This is one reason why the overall slowdown in the property market has had little impact on sales bookings of listed builders," Agarwala said. Among unlisted companies, major players across seven big cities include Tata Housing, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, Embassy group, Hiranandani group, Piramal Realty, Kalpataru group, K Raheja group, Shriram Properties, Salarpuria Sattva, RMZ group, Panchshil Realty, Aparna Construction and Estates, My Home Constructions, M3M India, Gaurs group, ATS group and Signature Global.
Categories: Business News

AI in investing is about human empowerment, not displacement

June 20, 2021 - 5:48pm
Artificial Intelligence (AL), a branch of computer science, enables machines to imitate intelligent human behaviour towards solving intricate problems. It is called artificial intelligence, as human intelligence is considered real intelligence. Machine Learning (ML), a powerful subset of AI, helps devices learn and improve from past experiences without the need for explicit programming. ML processes large amounts of data to extract actionable information that helps create a competitive edge, and it has proved to be a game-changer for the business world, steering aggressive growth, innovation and sustainability agendas across different verticals. Given the blurred definitions of AI and ML in practice, it is not easy to accurately measure their progression in quantifiable terms. However, various surveys and studies from time to time have given us a fair idea of their rapid strides in business and industry. 83685849Machine Learning & Business Intelligence The increasing volume and complexity of business data drives the commercial adoption of ML in business analytics, which has progressed by leaps and bounds from the glory days of the conventional Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) tools. ML has greatly enhanced business intelligence by processing and analysing large, complex datasets to identify patterns that otherwise stay undetected.Simply put, ML-enabled pattern recognition is a ‘machine way’ of identifying data regularity – which is about its stability, consistency and symmetry- and classifying events based on input data. Thus, more than merely monitoring behaviour, analysing users’ actions reveals actionable insights about their behaviour which is invariably complex and varied. The importance of predictive ML can be gauged from its success in different sectors. Today, many retailers are creating personalised product recommendations in line with buying patterns. Healthcare insurance providers are developing information-rich consumer profiles. Digital media houses are predicting the success of entertainment shows to make intelligent airing decisions. Food tech companies are personalising every customer’s landing page in line with their granular food preferences, which prompts the buyer towards a ‘buy’ based on the sheer delight of finding the desired recipe, ingredients, and cuisine style. Machine Learning Applications in Financial services ML opportunities abound in the financial space. ML can help provide banking customers, as also stock market investors, with curated pages highlighting the offerings suited to their needs or with the sectors and stocks of their choice; more importantly, it can guide them towards better banking and investing decisions through prudent choices in the light of prevalent market trends, realities and need of the customer.It is pertinent to note the potent dual use of ML in trading and investing. It can be used for analysing stocks, as also for analysing investing behaviour of investors. For stock analysis, AI ensures tremendous value addition: it collates clean data and crunches and classifies it to draw intelligent inferences through pattern recognition. In stock trading, it also helps minimise the post-execution impact on stock prices by splitting orders into smaller chunks, besides identifying arbitrage opportunities across diverse markets. This snapshot of popular AI trading and investing tools gives an idea of a burgeoning market in the making.KavoutBrainchild of ex-Google executives, has developed “K Score” – an AI-enhanced stock rating system using pattern recognition technology and a price forecasting engine.AuquanPlatform for asset managers to dig non-obvious connections, news, lookahead bias affecting investment decisions.EquBotAI platform integrated with IBM Watson enabling faster data crunching, AI-made portfolios and sentiment analysis. Blackbox StocksComes with a pre-market scanner to spot most active stocks and their degree of volatility.NeurensicNow part of Trading Technologies, enables a continuous assessment of the compliance risk associated with complex trading behaviours.SigmoidalUnearths actionable patterns between securities and capital market expectations.For investor behaviour analysis, AI goes beyond mere personalization to forecast how the said behaviour will influence business decisions. This churn brings to light invaluable information like, for instance, the actionable segmentation of customers into different groups (and thus targeted for different product offerings) based on their spending and saving patterns.Today, many tech firms are studying tons of unstructured data sets and mining invaluable insights and patterns to evaluate the reliability of company guidance disclosures, the correlation between projections and performance, and the likelihood of growth upswings and downfalls. In addition, digital assistant providers are enabling guided conversations that simulate the “why” and “how” questions that a knowledgeable financial advisor is adept at asking and answering. AI and ML in India…and the road aheadAccording to a 2020 study by Analytics India and AnalytixLabs, 16% of the analytics revenues across all enterprises are attributed to advanced analytics, predictive modelling, and data science. Although this share is impressive, the fact remains that the AI market space in India is still at a nascent stage.Undoubtedly, there is humungous scope for the use of AI in the future, beyond Behavioural Analytics, Robo Advisory, Stock Scoring, and Portfolio Diagnostics. Prospective areas include both stakeholder-specific (such as customer onboarding, self-service offerings, vendor management) and system-specific (such as risk management, anti-money laundering, fraud detection.) As more and more users join the AI bandwagon, data will only grow in volumes, velocity, veracity, variety and value. The chart below (courtesy: German market data platform Statista) gives a fair idea of the big data revolution in the making, which will soar higher on the wings of AI and ML. 83685910AI and ML in investing: about human empowerment, not displacement The capital market is enormously complex. Given that market data, feeds are the principal inputs for an algorithm; machines can miss scores of elusive opportunities that only the human brain is adept at spotting. AI has a serious limitation of not offering a long-term strategy purely based on the status quo or past information. Humans can enhance the probabilistic AI results, validating them in the light of intuition and discretion, like how a doctor studies an ultrasound image. AI and ML are key enablers for enhancing trading and investment decisions. Competent financial advisors make intelligent use of the actionable AI and ML input which provides a comprehensive analysis of stocks/sectors and investor behaviour to create long-term wealth for different clients. This ultimate goal is achieved only through disciplined and diversified investments, in line with respective income profiles, risk appetites, available market opportunities, and applicable incentives like tax deductions and exemptions.(This article is authored by Gopinath Natarajan, Head Investments & Products, Yes Securities. The views are his own)
Categories: Business News

FPIs invest Rs 13,667 cr in India so far

June 20, 2021 - 2:47pm
New Delhi: Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) pumped in a net Rs 13,667 crore so far in June as Indian markets continued to remain attractive to overseas investors. However, market experts noted that FPIs withdrew money from Indian equities this week. According to depositories data, FPIs invested Rs 15,312 crore in equities between June 1 and June 18. "The US Federal Reserve has signalled that it will start raising interest rates in 2023. This caused a sell-off on a global level that caused some money to be withdrawn from Indian equities," said Harsh Jain, co-founder and COO at Groww. However, India is not a destination where investors put in money based on short-term trends. India has always been an attractive spot for FPIs and these short-term trends will have short-term effects only, he added. In the longer horizon, India will continue to get investments as its economy continues to expand, Jain further said. "Of late, INR depreciation is attracting incremental buying interest in IT stocks," noted VK Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services. During the same period, overseas investors withdrew Rs 1,645 crore from the debt segment. The total net inflow stood at Rs 13,667 crore. Prior to this, they had pulled out Rs 2,666 crore in May and Rs 9,435 crore in April. "The US Fed's hawkish statement that it might raise interest rates much earlier than assumed could further adversely impact flows into Indian debt markets," said Himanshu Srivastava, associate director - manager research, Morningstar India. Regarding other emerging markets, Shrikant Chouhan, executive vice president, equity technical research at Kotak Securities, said that most of them have seen FPI inflows this month to date except for Taiwan and South Korea. Indonesia received USD 331 million and Philippines USD 112 million. On the other hand, Taiwan witnessed highest FPI outflows of USD 744 million, followed by South Korea USD 29 million, he added. "FPI flows are expected to be in positive trajectory this month given the pickup in vaccinations and buoyancy in tax collections," said S Ranganathan, Head of Research at LKP Securities. SRS ANS ANS
Categories: Business News

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