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Google in talks to buy social media platform ShareChat

November 24, 2020 - 8:16am
Google is in preliminary talks to acquire regional language social media platform ShareChat, according to two people privy to the development. The Bengaluru-based startup, which also counts Twitter as an early backer, could be valued at about $ 1.03 billion, sources said.The internet giant is currently conducting a due diligence exercise after having signed a term sheet or non binding proposal with ShareChat, said the people cited above who also confirmed the appointment of bankers to oversee the negotiations.“The founders ( of ShareChat) may retain a small stake post the deal”, said one source, adding that all the existing investors in the five-year old startup will exit the company, if the sale negotiations with Google fructify.Earlier in September, ShareChat raised $40 million from a slew of investors taking its total funds raised to $264 million. People aware of the details told ET that the startup was last valued at about $650 million.79380014“More funds will be required if the company expands globally taking the platform to countries in the Middle East,” the source said.“It is a good time to sell since this is a money intensive business. There is a lot of capital required to get music licenses, influencers etc. Moreover, it is a very competitive market to be in with the launch of so many players,” the person added.ShareChat declined comment on the developments, while a representative for Google said, "we do not comment on rumours or speculation."Earlier this year, Alphabet-owned Google earmarked $10 billion for investments in India and began by putting in $4.5 billion investment in Reliance Jio Platforms for a 7.73% stake. The deal was recently approved by India’s competition watchdog the Competition Commission of India (CCI)For the American search giant, a successful buyout of ShareChat will provide an entry into the Indian social media space, especially the short-video format that has recorded phenomenal growth after China’s ByteDance-owned Tiktok galvanised the market triggering a spate of clones.ShareChat, founded by IIT Kanpur graduate Ankush Sachdeva along with Farid Ahsan and Bhanu Pratap Singh has gained enormously in the six months since the ban on TikTok by the Indian government. Its monthly active users has now catapulted to 160 million and it offers content in some 15 Indian languages. While Moj, the short video format that it launched in July has garnered about 80 million users according to industry estimates.Following the ban on Tiktok, there has been a spate of launches in the short video format space. This includes apps such as MX TakaTak by Times Internet’s MX Player and Josh by DailyHunt. Facebook brought in Reels, while Google introduced Shorts making this a hyper-competitive segment.ET had reported in August that ShareChat is looking to raise fresh funding of $150-200 million and is in discussions with investors and technology companies including Google and Microsoft along with existing investors.Subsequently, ShareChat raised a pre-Series E round of $40 million from investors such as Pawan Munjal, chairman of Hero MotoCorp, DCM Shriram Promoters Family Office, SAIF Partners, Twitter, Lightspeed Ventures and India Quotient. The funding was said to be earmarked to drive growth for Moj, the newly launched short video platform.Twitter had previously led ShareChat’s Series D funding round with additional backing by SAIF Partners, Lightspeed Ventures and India Quotient.Google has earlier said that it will invest in India through a mix of investments and partnerships over the next five to seven years as it aims to consolidate its position in the country, which is emerging as the largest Internet economy in the world with close to 700 million Internet users.
Categories: Business News

SII to focus on supplying vaccine to India first

November 23, 2020 - 11:14pm
The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, will first focus on supplying AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine to Indians before distributing it to other countries, Serum's Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said on Monday."It's very important we take care of our country first, then go on to COVAX after that and then other bilateral deals with countries. So I've kept it in that priority," said Poonawalla, referencing the global COVAX facility, which has been set up to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries.The company remains in discussion with the Indian government about inking a purchase agreement for the vaccine, Poonawalla said in an interview with CNBC-TV 18, adding that Serum should have quantities of it ready to sell into India's private market in the first quarter of 2021.Poonawalla's comments came shortly after AstraZeneca said on Monday its vaccine could be around 90% effective, giving the world's fight against the pandemic a new weapon, cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale up than rivals.Serum is hoping the data released earlier on Monday, along with preliminary data from the ongoing trial of the vaccine in India, will allow it to seek emergency use authorisation for the vaccine by year-end, before gaining approval for a full rollout by February or March next year, said Poonawalla.He said the vaccine in the Indian private market would be priced at 1,000 rupees per dose ($13.50), but that governments signing large supply deals would likely buy it at lower prices.Poonawalla also said that although Serum has the right to strike direct bilateral deals with more than five dozen nations, on the basis of its licensing deal with AstraZeneca, the company may include the government in some of these discussions.Poonawalla said the company will be able to produce 400 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine by July 2021 and scale up further from there.
Categories: Business News

Solar tariffs plunge by 15%, set record low at Rs 2.00 per unit

November 23, 2020 - 11:14pm
BENGALURU: Solar tariffs fell to a new low of Rs 2.00 per unit, about 15% lower than the previous record as foreign and Indian companies bid aggressively in Monday’s auction by the Solar Energy Corp of India.In the 1,070 MW solar auction, Singapore based Sembcorp Energy and Saudi Arabia based Aljomaih Energy and Water Company won 400MW and 200MW respectively at a tariff of Rs 2.00 per unit. The remaining 470MW was bagged by NTPC at a tariff of Rs 2.01 per unit.The Solar Energy Corporation of India is the nodal agency through which the renewable energy ministry holds wind and solar power auctions. It confirmed the results of the auction.The lowest so far had been Rs 2.36 per unit which was reached in an auction (also conducted by SECI) in July. Over 5700 MW of bids were received for the 1070 MW tender.This tender may have received an encouraging response because Rajasthan distribution companies have agreed to purchase the power. “The usual offtake uncertainty is not there,” Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director of renewable energy consultancy firm Bridge To India told ET earlier.The ministry has slowly been moving away from conducting auctions for plain solar and wind projects. The enthusiastic response for this tender could be attributed to the fact that developers prefer to participate in plain vanilla auctions over hybrid and storage based ones. “There is a stronger preference for (plain) solar tenders because of technical and execution simplicity,” he said.
Categories: Business News

Bharti Infratel-Indus Towers merger offers limited synergy savings: Analysts

November 23, 2020 - 11:14pm
New Delhi: The merger of tower company Bharti Infratel with Indus Towers will offer limited synergies in operating expenditure due to limited overlap in operations, brokerage analysts say."Given the limited overlap in the operations of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, synergies from the merger are likely to be limited to savings on administrative overheads," Jeffries said in a report.CLSA said only 4 out of 22 circles pan-India overlap in operations, but, even a 10% or so reduction in employee and other costs could lead to about 3% higher earnings.The brokerage also estimates an extraordinary dividend of Rs 4,800 crore, about 8% of the yield in next three months.The two year long merger deal between the two tower companies concluded last week, with UK's Vodafone group and Bharti Airtel now holding 28.1% and 36.7% stakes in the new company respectively. Vodafone Idea cashed in Rs 3760 crore by selling its 11.15% stake in Indus Towers.CLSA expects likely stake sales by telcos in the the tower company, coinciding with improving growth outlook, which could rerate the stock."With Bharti Airtel’s higher 37% ownership versus Vodafone’s 28% (Vodafone also owns 44% of Vodafone Idea) which is pledged, changes in towerco shareholding are likely," CLSA said."With a potential fall in telco ownership, the towerco EV/Ebitda multiple could rerate, as it also coincides with an improving growth outlook. Mobile operators are getting stronger while tariff hikes and active infra/5G are new opportunities," it said.The merged towerco as of 1HFY21 had 172,000 towers with tenancy of 1.83x, annualised revenue of Rs 25,400 crore, and Ebitda (earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortization) of Rs 12,500 crore, CLSA said.
Categories: Business News

SpiceHealth launches RT-PCR test for Rs 499

November 23, 2020 - 8:14pm
In a move that is set to make Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests affordable, SpiceHealth today announced that it will conduct the test, known as the most decisive and crucial for Covid-19 testing, starting at Rs 499 per test. A RT-PCR test, currently, costs Rs 2,400 in Delhi and is the most commonly used and the most accurate COVID test worldwide.SpiceHealth, which is a subsidiary of SpiceJet, also said that the report would be available within just 6 hours from the time of sample collection.SpiceHealth’s first mobile testing laboratory at ICMR, AIIMS, was inaugurated by Home Minister Amit Shah, in the presence of Minister for health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan and Prof. Balram Bhargava, Secretary DHR & DG, ICMR. “India has found it challenging to scale up RT-PCR testing for the virus. By offering this test at a fraction of the current price, ensuring a much faster turnaround time of just six hours, and deploying mobile laboratories which are easily transportable to the remotest areas, we hope to significantly scale up testing across the country,” Avani Singh, CEO, SpiceHealth, was quoted in the release. Company said that the testing kits and laboratory facilities have been certified by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the mobile laboratories have been duly accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).The statement said that SpiceHealth has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ICMR for setting up testing facilities (laboratories) and collection centers across the nation. To begin, the first testing facility has been set up in Delhi. Each testing laboratory will have the capacity to process 3,000 test reports-a-day to start with.
Categories: Business News

Sweet Spot: India's top refiner IOC buys most crude since COVID-19 outbreak, say sources

November 23, 2020 - 8:14pm
SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI: Indian Oil Corp, the country's largest state refiner, has bought nearly 20 million barrels of spot crude from West Africa and the Middle East for delivery in early 2021, three trade sources said on Monday.The purchase is the largest by the refiner since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the world's third largest crude oil importer in second quarter.IOC's chairman said this month that the refinery has been operating at 100% capacity since early November as local fuel demand has recovered.IOC purchased the cargoes over three rounds of tenders this month for deliveries in January and February, the sources said.Low-sulphur crude from Nigeria and Angola made up the bulk of the supplies, the sources said, while IOC also bought 4 million barrels of high-sulphur Abu Dhabi crude.The grades included Erha, Forcados, Girassol, Upper Zakum, Das and Murban, they said."Most refineries are operating at 100%, some are even above 100%," a source with knowledge of IOC's operations said, adding that fuel demand is picking up while weather forecasts are pointing to a harsher winter.A second source said IOC mostly issue a tender seeking a mix of various types of grades."Lighter sweeter grades, mainly from west Africa are available at attractive rates as there is no demand for them in Europe," the second source said.A Singapore-based trader said IOC was covering short positions for prior months as it ramps up operations and it would likely buy less crude next month.
Categories: Business News

Analysts impressed by Motherson Sumi's Vision 2025, raise stock's target price

November 23, 2020 - 8:14pm
Shares of Motherson Sumi Systems rose to a 10-month high as analysts raised target price on the stock after the auto components maker detailed its Vision 2025 with a group revenue target of $36 billion and return on capital employed target of 40%. The stock gained 5.15 per cent on Monday after touching a high of Rs 148.25 earlier in the day.During its interaction with analysts, the company also laid out three other key targets under this vision. The company said no country, customer or component will account for more than 10% of the overall revenue and revenue from non-automotive will contribute to 25% of the total revenue. The company also targets dividend payout of 40% of consolidated profit. Here's what brokerages said after the analyst meet:JefferiesJefferies has retained hold rating on Motherson Sumi and raised target price to Rs 130 from Rs 120. Motherson Sumi has big growth ambitions but value creation will depend on inorganic opportunities and investment needs where visibility is low, said Jefferies.Kotak Institutional EquitiesThe brokerage has maintained add rating on the stock and raised target price to Rs 155 from Rs 140. Motherson Sumi is well poised to benefit from an increase in electronic content per vehicle in passenger vehicles, shift towards electric vehicles and consolidation of suppliers, especially in the plastic component industry globally, said Kotak. The company has been gaining market share in its business verticals through acquisitions and deepening relationship with its customers, the brokerage said.NomuraThe brokerage retained buy rating with a target price of Rs 162. The company’s track record to take risks without compromising on shareholder returns makes Nomura confident of maintaining Motherson Sumi as its long-term top pick amongst auto parts suppliers. The stock currently trades at 17.2 times FY23 estimated EPS which is quite attractive, said Nomura.MacquarieMacquarie has raised estimates on Motherson Sumi for FY22-FY23 by 15% to factor in better margin in the second quarter, and raised target price to Rs 154 from Rs 135. Macquarie, which has an outperform rating on Motherson Sumi, expects the company, to benefit from global auto recovery and bottom up margin improvement.
Categories: Business News

Earning per share could see a growth of up to 30% in 2021: Morgan Stanley

November 23, 2020 - 8:14pm
Mumbai: Earning per share (EPS) of global companies is set to jump by 25% to 30% in 2021 as global economies are likely to recover from Covid pandemic, a Morgan Stanley research said.The strong rebound of EPS for companies would enter into a new cycle the report said. We expect global EPS growth of 25-30% next year as befits the start of a new cycle, the report added.While the capital markets globally have grown in last few weeks, many analysts are concerned over the profit margins of companies. EPS – an indication of how much money company makes per share—is a crucial indicator taken by several analysts to determine capital market growths in a sector or a company.“Whenever economies move out of recession, there is always concern about the speed and strength of recovery, but the degree of uncertainty here is arguably higher than normal, given the combination of an unprecedented pandemic against record monetary and fiscal stimulus. Although the ongoing increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe and the US may lead to some near-term weakness in economic activity, this is very unlikely to derail a strong profit rebound over the next 12 months, in our opinion. Instead, strong nominal GDP growth next year implies a sizeable acceleration in revenue growth, which should be turbocharged by impressive operating leverage our top-down EPS growth forecasts for all regions are 25-30% for next year, with further double-digit growth expected in 2022 too,” Morgan Stanley report said.The report said that while the geopolitical uncertainties could also play a part, it may not have a long term impact. Although rising COVID-19 cases and recent geopolitical uncertainty can be unsettling for investors, they also have the benefit of muting investor sentiment and ensuring that the strong growth outlook that we envisage is not priced in to equity markets, in our opinion, the report added.
Categories: Business News

Momentum of reforms will continue, says FM

November 23, 2020 - 5:14pm
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday assured the industry that momentum of economic reforms will continue to make India a hotspot of global investment.India has turned the crisis created by COVID-19 pandemic into an opportunity to push the economic reforms, which remained pending for decades, she said while addressing the National MNC's Conference 2020 organised by the industry chamber CII."Even at the time (of) COVID pandemic, the Prime Minister has not lost an opportunity to take deep reforms, to undertake those kinds of reforms which have not seen the light of the day over the decades."The momentum for reform shall continue. Several more active reform-related steps are being taken up," Sitharaman said.The financial sector is being professionalised and the government will continue with disinvestment agenda, she added.
Categories: Business News

Airtel Digital TV, Vedantu team up to offer students 'affordable' access to quality education

November 23, 2020 - 5:14pm
NEW DELHI: Airtel Digital TV, the DTH arm of Bharti Airtel, and Vedantu, which offers live online learning, on Monday announced a partnership that aims to make quality education accessible to students across India. Vedantu Masterclasses DTH channels will air on Airtel Digital TV at Rs 4 per day to offer interactive learnings to Class 6 to 12 students, according to a release. "The channels will cater to students from classes 6 to 10 and classes 11 to 12, respectively and will cover maths and science," it said. This will be delivered by faculty that includes graduates from IIT and AIIMS with proven track records in teaching, the release said adding that the medium of teaching will be a mix of English and Hindi and plans are underway to add regional language content, where possible. Commenting on the partnership, Sunil Taldar, CEO and Director - DTH Business, Bharti Airtel, said: "The TV screen is evolving beyond entertainment to becoming a hub for interactive education and learning that can be delivered in a safe and affordable manner, especially in these unprecedented times." Taldar exuded confidence that the service will be well received by students and parents, and education on TV will become a permanent feature which will benefit millions of students. Vamsi Krishna, CEO and Co-Founder, Vedantu, said, "As a brand we are going the extra mile to make quality education accessible. Our partnership with Airtel DTH is in this direction and we are delighted to use our collective strengths to sustain India's learning needs in smaller towns and villages."
Categories: Business News

Post trial results, AstraZeneca CEO says smaller first dose in COVID-19 vaccine is 'big plus'

November 23, 2020 - 5:14pm
LONDON: AstraZeneca's chief executive officer Pascal Soriot said on Monday that the lower first dose of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine meant more people can be vaccinated more quickly, as the British drugmaker unveiled interim late-stage trial results. "Being able to vaccinate more people faster is a really a big plus," he told a briefing. The British drugmaker said on Monday its vaccine for the novel coronavirus could be around 90% effective without any serious side effects. The vaccine developed by Oxford University was most effective when it was administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least one month apart, rather than as two full doses at least one month apart.
Categories: Business News

Indian pharma industry’s pandemic response

November 23, 2020 - 2:13pm
How has the Indian pharma industry fared in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic? To help you understand it better, we are organising an e-conference on November 24 at 4 pm. In case you haven’t registered yet, click here to reserve your seat.The Covid-19 outbreak has shaken the world, with over a million deaths. India is facing a tough time, and the most crucial role is being played by the healthcare industry. While at its peak, the country’s hospitals struggled hard to handle the surge in the flow of patients, and the pharmaceutical industry had a tough time staving off supply challenges of raw materials. Then, there were shortages of key drugs used to treat Covid-19. How did the industry manage the crisis, and what are the lessons for the future? Will the pharmaceutical industry emerge stronger?An esteemed panel, comprising some of the who’s who of the pharma industry, will answer these questions and give their valuable insights.The e-conference will be hosted by Vikas Dandekar, editor, pharma and healthcare, ET Prime.Here’s a brief profile of our panelists for the event:Pankaj R Patel, chairman, Zydus CadilaWith over 40 years in the pharma industry, Pankaj Patel has both research and techno-commercial expertise. He is on the board of the Indian Institute of Science for 2018-21 and the boards of Invest India and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.Samina Hamied, executive vice-chairperson, CiplaSamina Hamied represents the third generation of the founding family of Cipla. She has incubated and shaped Cipla Health Limited; spearheaded Cipla’s foray into the US; and built a top-class leadership pipeline for the company. In her current role, she focuses on board and governance issues, global partnerships, corporate culture, hiring, and public advocacy.Satish Reddy, president, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, and chairman, Dr. Reddy’s LaboratoriesSatish Reddy has led the transition of Dr. Reddy’s from an API manufacturer to a company with a diverse product portfolio of finished dosage formulations. As a member of industry associations and governmental panels, he has played a key role in shaping policies on patent law, drug pricing, and amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.Sudarshan Jain, secretary general, Indian Pharmaceutical AllianceSudarshan Jain has a rich healthcare-business experience of over 40 years, including stints at Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, and leading Indian companies. He has helped shape healthcare policy and improve access to healthcare. Jain is a certified executive coach.You can also check out a handpicked collection of our rich body of work on the contagion.MNCs are in awe of Serum Institute’s clout in vaccines. It’s now on the cusp of raising the bar.A calamity and series of slip-ups: how ICMR took decisions aimed at building a façade and false hopeIntas is betting on an antibody booster shot to fight the virus. The best part: it’s not for profit.India readies to fight Covid-19 with vaccine, but immunising a huge population will be an uphill taskWhy the race to find an antidote against this wily virus goes beyond labs, research, and trialsAs wary patients skip hospitals, Portea, et al. get cure to homes. We’ll pay for it, say insurers.After countries united to fight the virus, vaccines threaten to drive a wedge between themIgnoring pressure and sparse knowledge, doctors think on their feet to valiantly battle a wily virusFavipiravir has limited efficacy data, but doctors still go for Glenmark's drug to cope with a crisisPlasma therapy to fight the virus: throwing everything at the wall to see what sticksThe vaccine race: India should revisit its animal-testing rules to be Atmanirbhar in pandemic fightHow to cap the virus in the current situation: cast the testing net wider and act fast on the dataForget Baba’s magic pill. Kaadha to favipiravir, pandemic has given a new meaning to repurposed drugs.From opportunity to ordeal: how the contagion turned into a testing time for diagnostic labsVaccine development takes years. But one for the pandemic by early 2021? Here’s a reality check.How the virus gave the Maximum City a big black eyeA tale of clinical and other trials: Gilead’s anti-virus drug has a long battle to fight — beyond the labA pandemic-busting drug will come at a price. Here’s how differential pricing can ensure access.Gasping for breath: As caseload rises, rational use of ventilators becomes critical in the virus warWhere there’s a pill, there’s a way: In health crises, Indian pharma can play its global trump cardViruses have always breached human defence. Nothing suggests the future will be any different.We have to save our doctors, nurses, and paramedics. They are our only hope against this wicked enemy.Three waves of the deadly virus and Kerala’s inspiring fightback: a story in eight graphicsClutching at straws, policymakers back hydroxychloroquine use in contagion battle. Safety, see you later.The coronavirus danger nobody is talking about: the big holes in India’s testing systemsIndia restricts drug exports, but without Chinese supplies, stocks may dry up anywayKill, escape, strike again: how wily viruses are becoming a nightmare for vaccine companiesThe coronavirus effect: Dependence on Chinese raw materials puts Indian drug makers at riskJust a sneeze away, coronavirus could put India’s health-emergency readiness to its toughest test
Categories: Business News

AstraZeneca/Oxford say Covid vaccine shows 70% efficacy

November 23, 2020 - 2:13pm
British drugs group AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on Monday said their jointly-developed vaccine against Covid-19 has shown "an average efficacy of 70 percent" in trials."This vaccine's efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against Covid-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency," AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement.However the vaccine has produced lower average efficacy compared with coronavirus vaccines produced by rivals Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna which have come in above 90 percent.
Categories: Business News

Strides Pharma Science gets USFDA nod for Prednisone tablets

November 23, 2020 - 2:13pm
Strides Pharma Science Ltd on Monday said it has received approval from the US health regulator for its generic version of Prednisone tablets, prescribed for a variety of conditions, including allergies, respiratory illness and arthritis. The approval for Prednisone tablets by the US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) granted to the company's step-down wholly owned subsidiary, Strides Pharma Global Pte Limited, Singapore, is for multiple strengths of 2.5 mg and 5 mg, Strides Pharma Science said in a regulatory filing. The product is bioequivalent and therapeutically equivalent to the reference listed drug (RLD), Deltasone tablets, 2.5 mg and 5 mg, of Pharmacia and Upjohn Co, it added. Citing IQVIA MAT September 2020 data, the company said the US market for Prednisone Tablets USP, 2.5 mg and 5 mg is approximately USD 30 million. "The product will be manufactured at the company's flagship facility at Bengaluru and will be marketed by Strides Pharma Inc in the US market," it added. The company has a total of 127 ANDA (abbreviated new drug applications) filings with USFDA of which 93 have been approved and 34 are pending approval.
Categories: Business News

Ashish Kacholia’s top picks jumped up to 400% since March

November 23, 2020 - 2:13pm
Ashish Kacholia, known for his ability to pick quality midcaps and smallcaps, witnessed 150 per cent growth in his net worth in the ongoing rally in the domestic equities since March lows.With a 405 per cent growth, insurance technology firm Majesco emerged one of the top grossers in his portfolio. The stock has jumped to Rs 934 as of November 20 from Rs 185 on March 24, when the equity benchmark Sensex hit its 52-week low of 25,639. Kacholia cut his holding in the company to 2.32 per cent as of September 30 from 3.11 per cent at the end of March.The 30-share Sensex scaled a record high of 44,230 on November 19 on the back of robust inflows from foreign institutional investors and liquidity measures taken by RBI as well as the government. Going ahead, analysts said the broader market would outperform the narrow indices.Global financial firm Morgan Stanley expects the broader market to beat the largecaps in 2021, as concentration of market-cap and profits may have peaked with the return of the growth cycle.Among other stocks, Birlasoft (up 238 per cent) and Vaibhav Global (228 per cent) have pushed Kacholia’s portfolio significantly higher during this period. Kacholia held 2.35 per cent in Birlasoft and 1.54 per cent in Vaibhav Global as of March 31.With a 1.03 per cent holding, Kacholia’s name emerged among key individual shareholders of HLE Glascoat at the end of the June quarter. The stock has gained 215 per cent since the beginning of this financial year.Among others, shares of Shaily Engineering, Apollo Pipes, KPIT Technologies, Acrysil, Apollo Tricoat Tubes, NIIT, Religare Enterprises, Poly Medicure, Vishnu Chemicals, Paushak and DFM Foods have rallied between 100 per cent and 220 per cent since March lows. On the other hand, his other stock pick in the luggage space, Safari Industries, gained 62 per cent to Rs 546.25.Safari Industries reported weaker-than-expected revenue and profit for the September quarter, as sales were marred down by weakness in the travel and tourism industry. The company posted a consolidated net loss of nearly Rs 9 crore on November 10 against Rs 9 crore profit reported for the quarter ended June 30. Revenue from operations declined 63 per cent YoY to Rs 20 crore.Kacholia’s latest picks including ADF Foods, Astec Lifesciences, Marksans Pharma, Mastek, Mold-Tek Packaging and Neuland Laboratories have advanced between 15 per cent and 90 per cent since July. He was not among the key shareholders in these companies as of March 31 and June 30.Overall, the robust performance of his top picks took Kacholia’s net worth to Rs 940 crore in November from Rs 376 crore at the end of March 2020, latest data available with Trendlyne showed.
Categories: Business News

Investing in US stocks? Here’s how the tax math works & how you can save some

November 23, 2020 - 2:13pm
NEW DELHI: Data from brokerages and financial institutions show more and more Indians are now investing in US stocks, some to seek diversification across regions and others lured by the splendid rally in technology stocks.Shares of Apple, Tesla and Zoom have risen manifold this calendar, thanks to a rise in people’s dependence on technology as they were forced to live and work from homes. This rally has also drawn mutual funds, PMS strategies and individuals to raise their bets on US stocks.While the gains on such investment may have been eye-popping, one should not lose sight on the taxation aspect: such capital gains and dividend income do attract sizeable taxation.At ETMarkets.com, we talked to industry executives and tax experts to try and figure out the tax implications.The following explainer is based on our discussions with Vinay Bharathwaj, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, Stockal; Archit Gupta, CEO & Founder, Cleartax; Swastik Nigam, Founder & CEO, Winvesta, and Saakar Yadav, Managing Director of myITreturn.com. Read on...Let’s start with the basics. What are capital gains in the context of investment made in US stocks?Indian citizens are allowed to invest in shares of US-listed firms, exchange-traded funds and listed fixed income securities, but are not allowed to dabble in derivatives. So any profit booked on such investments will be capital gains. Dividends are not considered capital gains, but are part of your regular income.Let’s start with the dividends. Where and how are they taxed?Dividends are paid out by companies from their profits. Under the US law, Indians need to pay 25 per cent tax on their dividend income instead of 30 per cent, thanks to a tax treaty between the US and India. This tax will be withheld before you receive the dividend, which means you will receive 75 per cent of the dividend as a cash payout. This payout will be considered part of your income in India.Once I get the dividend in my account, do I need to pay taxes in India?As per latest Indian laws, dividend income is taxed as part of regular income. So, dividend income from US stocks will be added to your total income for the year and will be taxed at the applicable slab rate.But, you can offset the payable tax by the amount already paid in the US, as the two countries have a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. This would allow you to take credit for the tax withheld in the US and adjust it against your tax liability in India.For example, if you are in the highest tax slab, you may have to pay some taxes on the dividend. But you can offset the whole amount if you are in the lower slabs.What about capital gains?Fortunately, the US does not levy any tax on capital gains on foreigners (unless you have resided in the US for more than 183 days). But back home, you need to pay short-term or long-term capital gains taxes, depending on the tenure of your investment.Long-term capital gain: If you hold the shares for more than 24 months before selling them, the gain will be categorised as long-term capital gains and will be taxed at 20 per cent (plus applicable cess and surcharge) after indexation of cost.Short-term capital gain: If you hold the shares for up to 24 months before selling them, the gain will be categorised as short-term capital gain and added to your normal income to be taxed at the tax slab applicable to you.What happens in case of death while holding US stocks? Does this trigger any extra tax?In case of death, the securities will be subject to IRS (US tax agency) audit before being transferred to the legal heir. The audit may trigger US estate taxes, which need to be paid. Unlike India, which does not levy any tax on inheritance, the US levies 18-40 per cent tax. Non-resident investors are exempted from this tax, if the invested assets are worth less than $60,000. Anything above that will be taxed.Wow, those rates look pretty high! How can one avoid triggering estate taxes?One way of doing this is, if you have assets worth more than $60,000, you can split the investment between family members to get a higher total exemption. This way, assets under per head will come down sharply.Are there any other way to reduce taxes while investing in the US?Well, there are two more ways to bring down your tax outgo. The first one is a bit complicated. If you are investing in ETFs, you can choose to invest in US ETFs that are domiciled in some other regions, say Europe. For example, ETFs in the US have equivalent UCITS (a regulatory framework that allows sale of cross-Europe mutual funds) ETFs listed on London Stock Exchange, which can be bought.Thanks to the treaties between the US and some European countries, the dividends are taxed at 15 per cent (10 percentage points less while investing directly from India). Moreover, since they are not domiciled in the US, you can avoid the estate tax.The second option is straightforward. In the case of long-term capital gains, you can reinvest the gains in a residential house in India and avail exemptions from capital gains tax.What if my portfolio is in the red and I want to cash out my holding? Can I set off my losses?Yes. Under Indian income-tax laws, capital losses are allowed to be set off against capital gains. That is, taxes need to be paid only on the net capital gains. So, it may be advisable to liquidate stocks whose value has seen a permanent reduction to moderate the level of gains.It should be noted that losses in long-term capital assets can be adjusted only against gains on long-term capital assets. But short-term capital loss can be set off against both long-term and short-term capital gains. In case the losses cannot be set off, you can carry forward and set-off the balance losses in the eight succeeding years.
Categories: Business News

COVID-19: Favipiravir shows hope in Mumbai trial

November 23, 2020 - 11:12am
MUMBAI: While the WHO last week recommended that antiviral remdesivir not be used for severely ill Covid-19 patients, Mumbai doctors published the first scientific study showing another antiviral, favipiravir, reduced the "cure time" in mild cases."We found favipiravir improved the time to clinical cure by around three days," said the study's main author Dr Zarir F Udwadia. Patients who took the drug cleared the virus 30% (two days) faster than those on standard treatment. The study has been published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Infectious Diseases."This may not sound like a very big difference, but is significant. There are so few treatment options that when a drug gives even a promising signal, it's exciting news," said Dr Udwadia.Since the pandemic began almost a year back in Wuhan, China, various drugs have been tried out to control it. However, apart from steroids, none of the other drugs ranging from plasma to remdesivir to HCQS have been scientifically shown to help Covid-19 patients.The current favipiravir trial was conducted from May 3 to July 3 among 150 patients admitted at Breach Candy Hospital; as it was a randomised trial, 75 patients were given favipiravir and another 'control group' received some other drugs. "The median time to cessation of viral shedding was five days versus seven days in the control group," said the study. The median time to clinical cure was three days in the 75 patients treated with favipiravir versus five days in the control group. The study concluded that favipiravir may be beneficial in mild-to-moderate Covid-19 cases. 79359720"If the results from our study are validated by other larger studies currently underway in Boston and Stanford, favipiravir could have a role akin to Oseltamivir (another antiviral used to treat influenza such H1N1)," said Dr Udwadia. Dr Shashank Joshi, who is a member of the state government's task force on Covid-19, concurred that favipiravir is a "good" drug. "It is a good drug if used in the first 72 hours. One needs to hit hard and hit early," said Dr Joshi, who was not a part of the current study but had previously published a study on favipiravir.The drug has been widely used in Japan, Russia and Thailand before Indian authorities approved its use for Covid-19 patients. It is widely prescribed in India for patients who prefer home isolation as it is an oral medicine (remdesivir, which is prescribed for severe Covid-19 patients is given in IV form and in hospitals only)."The DCGI approved the use of this drug rather prematurely I thought, in the early days when the pandemic was raging in June. It was important for us to put this drug to the test by rapidly designing a good randomised, multicenter Phase 3 study which we implemented aided by the main manufacturer of this drug, Glenmark," said Dr Udwadia.His study noted it caused a mild and transient rise in uric acid levels that was reversible. "It is a safe drug, except in pregnant or lactating women for whom it must never be used."
Categories: Business News

In India’s post-Covid hunt for cash, banking may go from being state-dominated to tycoon-led

November 23, 2020 - 11:12am
By Andy MukherjeeIs India opening the door for big businesses to take over its banking industry? A working group set up by the Reserve Bank, the regulator, has suggestions for what to do with ownership of private-sector banks. Large industrial houses may be permitted to own controlling stakes, it says, but only after strengthening regulation and supervision to deal with the problem of “connected lending” — basically diverting depositors’ funds to their other businesses. From the conditional nature of the recommendation, it doesn’t appear that the regulator will soon reverse its policy of keeping conglomerates away from banking. But the report could pave the way for backdoor entry. Large groups could acquire nonbank finance firms, which may be allowed to convert into banks. In India’s post-Covid desperation for capital, the financial system might go from being state-dominated to tycoon-led.The 1997-98 Asian financial crisis ought to be a cautionary tale. In Indonesia, unchecked commingling of financial and non-financial activities within a corporate group pushed up the cost of bank rescue to 40% of 1998 GDP. From telecommunications to transportation, India’s business landscape is already starting to resemble a Monopoly board. An Indian reprise of J.P. Morgan, the U.S. banker-businessman who used finance to control railroad pricing and stitch together a steel behemoth, would bring the country even closer to the American Gilded Age of the late 19th century. Crony capitalism has built up slowly in India, emerging as a Frankenstein’s monster a decade and a half after politicians began to unchain the private sector in the early 1990s. That’s when — in the name of public-private partnership and rapid economic growth — serious misallocation of credit got under way. In 2018, financier IL&FS Group, which wrote the playbook on how to cynically exploit a poor country’s desire for better infrastructure, went bankrupt. The ensuing funding crunch brought down several titans who were controlling hefty assets with slivers of equity. The great churning since then has reduced competition and raised concentration. Today, the names of domestic balance sheets available to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for any serious heavy lifting can fit on the back of a postage stamp. But his need to find fresh risk-taking private capital is high, especially after the carnage from the pandemic. Per capita gross domestic product in 2025 may be 12% below pre-virus estimates, “implying the largest amount of scarring among major economies globally,” says Oxford Economics’ Priyanka Kishore.That’s the backdrop to the RBI internal group’s review of bank ownership.The report came just as the regulator solemnized the sale to Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings Ltd. of one such lender, the third failure of a major deposit-taking institution in 15 months. Before that shotgun marriage, the country had 22 universal banks (and 10 so-called small finance banks) in the private sector, with a 30% share of deposits, up from 13% two decades ago. Foreign banks’ low 5% share has remained unchanged. Dominant public-sector banks’ market share is down to 65%, from 82% in 2000. This process will only accelerate as state-run institutions consolidate to four from 12. More private banking capital will no doubt be needed. Still, should the country really look to big business to provide it? There are less risky options. For instance, the RBI can stop insisting that bank licensees — who typically come from another corner of the financing industry — must in the long term dilute their stakes to 15%. The working group wants the ceiling on a controlling stake raised to 26%, but it could have gone higher.The monetary authority seeks a minimum 40% shareholding for a bank’s controlling owner in the first five years. It could easily say: “Keep it at that level if you want for 15 years. Enjoy a greater share of the spoils of sensible risk-taking. If you misbehave, give credit against kickbacks, evergreen bad loans, or run a competing business on the side, we’ll restrict your voting rights to 5%, replace your board, and make your bank an M&A target.” The argument in favor of diversified bank ownership — and hence shareholding limits of 15% or 26% — works when boards do their jobs. That didn’t happen at Axis Bank Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd. and Yes Bank Ltd., which failed to rein in their long-standing chief executives as bad loans piled up. The regulator had to seek or bless their ouster. Why pretend that the future will be any different? For overleveraged groups, bank licenses are a ticket to too-big-to-fail nirvana. Savers trust the explicit deposit guarantee and have implicit faith in the regulator. In Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd., where the central bank got DBS to mount a rescue, deposits fell just 2% in the six months to September. This is when everyone knew that the lender — with a negative capital adequacy ratio — was toast. The regulator mustn’t take the public’s trust for granted. The IL&FS debacle shows little institutional capacity to stop mischief outside the balance sheet of a traditional bank. To roll out the red carpet to wannabe J.P. Morgans would be an abdication of the RBI's financial stability mandate.
Categories: Business News

Investors from Japan, US in forefront for PLI

November 23, 2020 - 8:12am
India is open to reducing costs for investors as it seeks to boost manufacturing in the country and become the most investor-friendly nation, says Guruprasad Mohapatra, secretary at the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). In an interview, he explains to Kirtika Suneja and Deepshikha Sikarwar how the government expects the recently-approved Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for ten sectors to take off soon. Edited excerpts:Corporate tax cuts, Phased Manufacturing Programme and PLI — will these be able to rekindle India's manufacturing? Yes, these decisions will boost investor sentiment. India has undertaken structural reforms in the last 5-6 years to put the economy on a sound footing, besides reforms in agriculture, labour, insolvency resolutions and improving ease of doing business. These have been received favourably by both domestic and global investors. How will the new PLI play out? What kind of response have you seen?Before it went to the Cabinet, many inter-ministerial discussions were done based on which these products were selected. Now the ministries are working on details and getting internal approvals. They will then float the scheme and seek participation. We expect this whole process to be done in the next 4-5 months. Three months are required once you notify the scheme and ask for offers. Companies also have their own internal approval systems. So, around April, the schemes should be released. By June, the companies who have been selected for the PLI should have joined. We feel this will have a very good response based on the experience of (the scheme for) mobiles and electronics. Some more (sectors) can be added or adjusted. In government, there is nothing fixed. It is a dynamic call. But based on the experience of the mobile phones PLI (scheme), it is quite good.Are these enough to attract companies who want to relocate from China or is the government thinking of more?It is not the question of relocating from any particular country. That is not the target. To attract more investment in India, we have given the PLI and unlike other incentives in the past, it is production-linked based on a base year forecast and whatever is incremental. There are many incentives, but this is a specific one to boost manufacturing.Investors from which geographies have shown the highest interest in India? Which sectors are they particularly keen on?While investors from across the globe are interested in India, we find more interest from the US, Japan, South Korea, France and some North European countries. Investors are interested in many sectors, but we see more interest in chemicals, metals and mining, energy, telecom, retail and ecommerce, and electronic system design and manufacturing.How many companies have expressed interest to invest in India? What kind of response do you see?There are many companies. Announcements are happening and people are setting up India-specific offices, recruiting people and taking land. Investment decisions do not happen overnight. They study India and a lot of handholding happens. We see a lot of investment coming.What feedback have you got from various project development cells? How does the investment pipeline look?PDCs have been created in 29 departments. Those in the ministries of electronics & IT, food processing, petroleum & natural gas, pharmaceuticals, heavy industry, renewable energy and DPIIT are showing very high investor engagement. They are actively promoting and expediting projects in railways, smart cities and other infrastructure projects. Quality remains a key issue in local manufacturing as also for some imports. For which sectors is the government planning to issue quality control orders?The DPIIT has issued QCOs for 100 products covering more than 110 HSN codes. Of the 71 HSN codes identified based on import surge, QCOs have been notified for 22 while 13 are under consideration. QCOs are not feasible on the rest. Various ministries are working in a defined timeline. We are trying to complete that work by December.The government is looking at easing FDI caps and rules to attract more investment. What is the roadmap to do so?Review of FDI policy is an ongoing process and changes are made from time to time. The intent is to make India’s FDI policy the most investor friendly. In the last few years, FDI has been liberalised across many sectors including defence production, civil aviation, coal mining and retail trading. Similarly, local sourcing norms were eased in FDI in single brand retail. The recent liberalisation in defence manufacturing has a great potential to promote Aatmanirbhar Bharat in defence. How many investment proposals have been cleared and how many are stuck from India’s neighbouring countries since the FDI policy was changed?In the post-Covid period, one change approved by the government in FDI was to prevent opportunistic takeover of Indian companies distressed by the pandemic. Similar provisions have been made to safeguard local companies in the post-Covid era in other countries. These proposals from countries land bordering India are under examination by various ministries and appropriate decisions will be taken by them. From the land locked countries, 100-odd proposals have come. They are now on the approval route. The ministries concerned will work on that. Other than that, above 95% of the proposals are automatic.By when is the ecommerce policy likely to be announced?There are issues in ecommerce, like data privacy and protection, consumer rights, export promotion and other regulatory and promotion issues which require consultation with the industry and regulatory authority. Consultations are on and we are working towards bringing out an ecommerce framework which is suitable for a country as complex and large as India.Are any changes needed in India’s patent laws to ensure easy and affordable access to a vaccine or any other medicine in the fight against Covid-19 and any future pandemic?We have a robust IPR regime in our country. Indian patent laws have been drafted in a way to benefit from the flexibilities given by the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). This law has adequate provisions for allowing permission to use patents to facilitate easy and affordable access to vaccines, medicines and medical devices.
Categories: Business News

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