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Ikea ready to invest more than Rs 10,500 crore in India

December 18, 2020 - 11:17am
NEW DELHI: Swedish furniture giant Ikea is ready to invest more than the Rs 10,500 crore it has already earmarked for the domestic market, as it considers India to be a priority market globally.On the eve of opening its second brick-and-mortar store in the country in Navi Mumbai, Peter Betzel, CEO at Ikea India, said, India is set to become one of the fastest-growing markets for the world’s largest furniture retailers. “If we need more investments in the future and continue to be successful in India where we are committed, we can extend the investments whenever needed,” Peter Betzel, MD at Ikea India told TOI. “This wonderful country of 1.3 billion people is one of the priority markets for Ikea and we are in an early stage in India. India is an emerging country but it is also one of the fastest-growing economies,” he said. Ikea’s new store is its first big format store in Maharashtra, spanning over 5.3 lakh sq ft and situated near the Turbhe local railway station. It opened its first retail store in Hyderabad in August 2018, followed by online stores in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune.It will open two smaller format stores in Mumbai in 2021 and is set to start work on its upcoming store in North India in Noida, which will be store-cum-commercial project.“We have a fulfilment centre in Pune and those will also come up in Bengaluru and Delhi,” said Betzel. The retailer, which has partnered with the government to facilitate India’s goal to become a global furniture manufacturing hub, recently slashed prices by around 30% across its portfolio to make its products more accessible to Indian consumers.
Categories: Business News

Rising input costs put India Inc in a bind

December 18, 2020 - 11:17am
Mumbai|New Delhi|Kolkata: Weeks after the festive bump in demand and with re-emergence of optimism a few months ahead, India Inc is worried it may have to choose between absorbing higher input costs or hiking final prices and bearing a dent in sales.Cost of key inputs in consumer products, autos and real estate are moving north. Margin pressure is being felt across companies but, sensitive to budget-watching consumers as well as competitive pressures, many are opting for partial cost transfers and cost control in other functions. Inputs that are more expensive vary from steel, cement and agri-products to freight charges, apart from scarcity-related price hikes in consumer durable components. Prices of television sets, refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners and microwave ovens are set to rise 8-20% over the next two to three weeks due to a 15-40% increase in input costs — one of the biggest single-shot hikes.Automobiles are next in line, with manufacturers still deciding on the price hike quantum – a tough call since auto makers suffered a low even before the pandemic hit. Market leaders Maruti Suzuki and Hero MotoCorp said they will increase vehicle prices in the new year. 79789343Large Price Hikes may Hurt Sales“Over the past year, cost of vehicles has been impacted adversely due to increase in various input costs. Hence, it has become imperative to pass on some impact to customers through a price increase in January 2021,” said a Maruti statement.Some input costs in other businesses have risen very sharply. Prices of television panels are up 30-100% due to global shortage. Freight costs have jumped to $3,000-4,000 per container, from $700-1,000 a month ago. Kamal Nandi, president of the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association, which represents companies such as LG, Samsung, Haier, Godrej, Lloyd and Sony, said such large price hikes may hurt sales.That’s probably the reason some consumer goods companies are planning to absorb costs, hoping that their lower prices will give them an advantage. “We have undertaken selective price increases…one can always protect margins through aggressive cost management in other areas,” said Saugata Gupta, managing director, Marico.Some agri-products — a key input in many consumer businesses — have seen a big in price. Tea price rose 50%, copra by 11% and palm and edible oils witnessed an uptick of 35-40%.Parle Products category head Mayank Shah said slowing demand and competitive pressures mean price hike options are limited despite increase in agri input costs.A few companies are temporarily insulated because of long term contracts drawn up earlier. Ranjan Dhar, chief marketing officer, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India, said input costs for autos and major construction such as highways will typically go up after current contracts end.It’s different in real estate, however, where long term contracts are rare, and where demand has just picked up, thanks to low interest rates and lower stamp duties. Despite steel and cement becoming costlier, a price hike for homes is a tough call as realtors can’t afford to lose customers. At most, discounts on listed prices will get smaller.“Some developers are currently running operations for just cashflow and survival, not for margins. Because of rising material costs, we will not be able to offer further discounts and existing discounts will also start diminishing,” said Jaxay Shah, national chairman, Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI). Realtors are alleging cartel pricing in cement and steel, asking for government intervention.(Writankar Mukherjee, Rajesh Mascarenhas, Kailash Babar, Sagar Malviya, Ketan Thakkar, Bhavya Dilipkumar and Sharmistha Mukherjee reported for this story)
Categories: Business News

Creditors to discuss DHFL bids today

December 18, 2020 - 8:17am
Mumbai: New details about the Piramal Group’s extra sweeteners to fixed deposit holders and Oaktree’s conditions regarding a separate escrow account for claims and losses in the insurance business will be among key factors that will help decide the winner in the race for the bankrupt DHFL, people close to the situation said.Voting is set to take place next week and the lenders are closeted in hectic discussions with lawyers on the voting process, seeking to avoid last-minute hiccups. DHFL is the biggest financial services firm to go under the hammer after the insolvency and bankruptcy process was started in 2016, and the fight between New York-based Oaktree and Mumbai-based pharma entrepreneur and real estate and financial services baron Ajay Piramal has become a hotly contested one.New details about the bids by both Piramal and Oaktree have given the former an edge, but the lenders will have the final say when voting begins on December 23.Piramal has offered to pay fixed deposit holders extra 10% of their total outstanding which is over and above the offer they are giving to the committee of creditors (CoC). 79789090‘Both Offers Complex, Very Close’Oaktree, it has emerged, has stipulated a condition that ₹1,500 crore from its offer be transferred to an escrow account to pay for any insurance related claims and losses.“Though Oaktree scores on an NPV (net present value) basis, the conditions on its plan have to be assessed closely. Lenders will prefer a plan with little conditions. The assessment is yet to be done but voting will take place only after both bids are discussed thread bare,” said a person familiar with the negotiations.Creditors will first meet in a series of virtual meetings starting Friday to discuss all legal tangles of the bids.Both Oaktree and Piramal have made bids very close to each other but key details and differences emerge in the fine print of the bids. “The offers on the table are both complex and very close. SBI Capital Markets will make its assessment and share with lenders on Friday. Two valuers will also share their opinion on both the bids and the companies will also give details of their bids. After we have all the information we have to make a fair evaluation based on the parameters set in a legally full proof manner for which opinion will be sought," said a person involved in the negotiations.Law firms Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and J Sagar Associates are the lawyers for the CoC while AZB & Partners are lawyers for the RBI administrator. Real estate consultancy JLL and RBSA Advisors are helping in the valuation exercise.Oaktree has offered ₹11,646 crore to the lenders and ₹21,000 crore of bonds payable over 7 years. The cash or equity offer includes about ₹10,400 crore of cash already in the business and Oaktree’s equity of ₹1,500 crore.Piramal has offered ₹12,700 crore, which includes DHFL cash, and its own equity contribution of ₹2,500 crore. Piramal is also offering ₹19,550 crore of bonds payable over 10 years and extra payment to FD holders. Apart from all this, Piramal has offered to merge his financial services business with equity ₹10,400 crore with DHFL thereby strengthening its ability to issue new debt. Piramal's capital adequacy ratio at 33% is currently one of the highest among NBFCs.However, it is the DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance business, not part of resolution, which could swing the deal either way.
Categories: Business News

Network core may be no go zone for Chinese vendors

December 18, 2020 - 8:17am
New Delhi: The government may not impose an outright ban on all telecom equipment from Chinese suppliers but only critical components that go mainly into the core–or brain–of the network, said people with knowledge of the matter. The deputy national security advisor and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) are likely to consult telecom companies on the parts that would be on this list.Another idea under consideration is a limit on Chinese equipment in telecom networks, said a senior government official. “For instance, we establish a list of the critical components going into the core, for which it would be mandatory to source from the trusted source list,” he said. “But for the rest of the network, there may be a cut-off that not more than 30% of the components can be from a source not part of the trusted list.”However, the viability of such a cap will depend on whether allowing parts from outside the ‘trusted sources’ list will compromise the networks or not, officials said. European vendors such as Nokia and Ericsson use some Chinese parts, they pointed out.Communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Wednesday that the government will soon declare a list of trusted sources for acquiring gear for telecom networks and amend permits accordingly. Eye on Global Security ArchitectureThe move is seen as being aimed at keeping Chinese gear suppliers Huawei and ZTE out of India's future telecom expansion, including 5G rollouts, amid tension on the border. India and other countries such as the US and the UK are also wary of using Chinese equipment in their telecom networks over data security concerns.Huawei and ZTE are major network equipment suppliers to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea while Reliance Jio Infocomm uses Samsung. Bharti Airtel has been replacing Chinese vendors with European ones on contract renewals. “The primary concern is that if the entire equipment of a telecom operator comes from one country, then we are not diversifying our risks,” said a second official. “The government will sit down with the industry to decide the path towards making our networks safe and secure. First step is to identify which network elements are critical to secure the networks and then establish safe vendors and the safety measures. All hardware will also be studied in detail and alternatives will be discussed.”All communications on a 5G network are encrypted with keys stored in the core or brain, implying they cannot be read by base stations. This makes the core critical from a data security point of view. Some experts argue that by keeping a vendor out of the core while permitting it for the rest of the system, the network can be adequately secured. Others warn that the entire network cannot be safely secured in such a scenario as base stations can read some elements of the data that passes through them. They advise securing the entire network and not just the core.
Categories: Business News

Hurdles on Street: Investors miss out on top IPOs in US

December 18, 2020 - 8:17am
Mumbai: Our craze for IPO subscription is not limited to Burger King or Mrs Bectors’ Food, but several thousand Robinhood investors were interested in subscribing to Airbnb’s initial share sale Stateside.But all of them were disappointed as none of the domestic brokerages or standalone platforms are currently allowing them to subscribe to US IPOs due to procedural issues.Unlike in India, IPOs in the US are allotted directly by the bankers mostly to institutions and ultra-rich investors with a bigger lot size. Although bankers allot some portion of the IPO to their clients, the minimum ticket size would be much more than $250,000 which is the upper limit for Indians to invest in foreign stocks through the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) route, said brokers.“We have massive demand for tech IPOs among Indian customers because people have been following these start-ups for a long time and are also generally very interested in US tech companies,” said Sitashwa Srivastava, founder and CEO, Stockal. “In the US markets, IPOs are allotted 90 per cent to institutions and 10 per cent to retail. So, not just Indian retail investors, even for US retail investors, it is not easy to get allotment in IPOs,” he added.79788649Domestic brokerages have tied up with platforms like Stockal, Vested Finance, Interactive Brokers or Winvesta to provide services to invest in global stocks. When contacted, most of the domestic brokerages said that their technology platform partners do not allow them to subscribe US IPOs due to procedural issues.“There is no exchange driven process in the US to allot IPOs like in India,” said Viram Shah, Co-Founder, Vested Finance, “IPOs are underwritten by the bankers who allot the shares to institutions and to their clients.”Airbnb IPO, which was priced at $68 per share, went on to hit an intraday high of $ 165 per share on the listing day on December 10 before closing at $144.70. There is constant hype around IPOs in the US and shares rally immediately after listing, but investing in IPOs typically does not generate good returns, shows historical data. The average 6 months returns after IPO in the US is 2 per cent, while the median is 1 per cent.When a company goes public, the insiders including management and private investors have to hold on to their stock for six months before they sell. The company share price can move wildly during this period.Under the LRS route, Indians can invest upto $2.5 lakh in foreign stocks. A lot of domestic brokerages and standalone platforms such as ICICI Securities, Axis Securities, Kotak Securities, HDFC Securities, Geojit Financial Services, Upstox, Matertrust, Winvesta, Stockal among others are now allowing Indians to invest directly in the US stock market.A few international brokerage firms like Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab also allow Indians to set up an account and trade in US stocks, mutual funds and ETFs.“It would be possible for Indians to subscribe to US IPOs only when platforms tie up with US banks and the Indian government increases or removes the upper limit of $ 2.5 lakh to invest in global stocks," said Viram Shah of Vested Finance.Indians can buy any stock post listing and there is no minimum investment size. Retail investors can invest as low as $1 for high priced shares by making investment in less than one stock.
Categories: Business News

These stocks are likely to benefit from FTSE rejig

December 18, 2020 - 8:17am
India is likely to see $700 million to $900 million of overseas flows coming into the equity market on Friday as part of index provider FTSE’s Global Equity Index Series (GEIS) rebalancing. Stocks such as L&T, Asian Paints, TCS and Tata Steel, among others, could witness flows on account of the rebalancing — the second tranche with the first one in September. India is likely to see the maximum inflow on account of this adjustment among Asia Pacific region markets. “L&T will see the highest flows coming its way at $53 million followed by Asian Paints at $52 million and TCS at $47 million. Tata Steel, Bajaj Finance, Mahindra & Mahindra, Nestle India, Britannia Industries and NTPC will see inflows of $30 million to $33 million,” said Abhilash Pagaria, senior manager at Edelweiss Alternative Research. “The highest ADV (Average Daily Volume) impact will be seen in Mindspace, Sundaram Finance and Indiabulls Ventures,” he said. These flows will be the result of the foreign ownership limit changes and the market will see these flows coming today. 79788607Last month, index provider MSCI had said it would tweak foreign ownership limits for Indian stocks in its global indexes on November 27, a move which was estimated to have led passive flows of $2.5 billion into the country. Prior to that, depositories CDSL and NSDL had increased foreign ownership limits for all listed companies to their sectoral limits.
Categories: Business News

Accenture's strong performance gives hope for Indian IT: Analysts

December 18, 2020 - 2:16am
Bengaluru: Accenture’s positive outlook for fiscal 2021 and strong first quarter performance provide positive signs for the Indian IT services companies, said analysts. Technology and consulting services major Accenture reported revised its full-year growth outlook upward to 4 per cent to 6 per cent for fiscal year 2021 on the back of strong first quarter performance. The company previously estimated a full-year growth between 2 per cent and 5 per cent. The company reported a 4 per cent growth in revenue to $11.76 billion during the first quarter ended on November 30, 2020 in US dollar terms. Revenues were more than $200 million above the company’s guided range of $11.15 billion to $11.55 billion. Julie Sweet, chief executive officer, Accenture, said the company saw “broad-based improvement across industries and geographic markets”, while new bookings, profitability and free cash flow were strong. While the company’s consulting revenues for the quarter stood at $6.33 billion, down by 1 per cent in US dollar terms; the company reported 9 per cent growth in outsourcing revenues to $5.43 billion. ‘They categorically said they expect a strong quarter of booking in the second quarter also. That is positive. They had 16 clients in the more than 100 million range. That is positive from an industry perspective,” said Apurva Prasad, IT analyst at HDFC Securities. The company also saw revival in energy & utilities, some parts of retail and in travel and hospitality industry sectors, thereby providing hopes for the Indian IT services companies and the whole industry, said Prasad. Accenture’s financial services revenue stood at $2.35 billion, an increase of 7 per cent in US dollar terms; while the health and public service segment saw a 12 per cent jump to $2.21 billion. “While consulting saw a decline, outsourcing business saw strong growth. Overall positive signs for the Indian IT services companies,” said Madhu Babu, IT analyst, at brokerage firm Centrum. Babu added that there has been “fast-paced transformation spend” on the consumer front in the retail, banking and financial services industry verticals.
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Oxford says vaccine has good immune response

December 17, 2020 - 11:16pm
LONDON: Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine candidate has a better immune response when a two full-dose regime is used rather than a full-dose followed by a half-dose booster, the university said on Thursday.The vaccine candidate, which has been licensed to AstraZeneca, has published interim late stage trial results showing higher efficacy when a half dose is followed by a full dose, compared to a two full-dose regime, though more work needs to be done to affirm the result.The details from the Phase I/II clinical trials released on Thursday made no reference to the half-dose/full-dose regime, which Oxford has said had been "unplanned" but approved by regulators.The university said it had explored two dosing regimes in early stage trials, a full-dose/full-dose regime and a full-dose/half-dose regime, investigated as a possible "dose sparing" strategy."The booster doses of the vaccine are both shown to induce stronger antibody responses than a single dose, the standard dose/standard dose inducing the best response," the university said in a statement.The vaccine "stimulates broad antibody and T cell functions," it said after publishing further data from the Phase I/II clinical trials.
Categories: Business News

Hospitality industry in middle crisis, will overcome setback by innovation: OYO boss Ritesh Agarwal

December 17, 2020 - 11:16pm
New Delhi: Though the hospitality industry is in the middle of one of the toughest crises, it is confident that it will overcome the setback by coming up with new ways of connecting with users, OYO Hotels and Homes founder and Group CEO Ritesh Agarwal said on Thursday. Speaking at the session on 'Reviving the stressed sectors to support the post-COVID recovery for India' at the Assocham Foundation Week 2020, he said that though the hospitality sector was badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are few important learnings from the crisis. One of the learning is that domestic tourism is the only way of ensuring that we see through this crisis, Agarwal said. "Within this, I have three broad beliefs, first is that increasingly in India, there are lots of destinations that are unexplored and by use of technology, we should ensure that a large number of them can be explored," he added. The second is that a sense of comfort on safety and security needs to be brought again in the minds of users and another is that active efforts for road trips as an absolute growth opportunity will enable people to start travelling again, he added. "Within that, one of the big opportunities we have been focused upon and have been investing in is farm stays," Agarwal said. Talking about the macro perspectives for the way forward, he said technology and data will become critical for our industry, especially for the small hotels and holiday homes. "For example, a small hotel cannot afford to have a revenue manager on their own. So, being able to have a technology which can automatically enable a large part of jobs that an individual can do is valuable," Agarwal said. In times to come being able to ensure that "we can, not just hold on to the current ways of innovation, but also come up with new ways of reaching out to users is important", he added. Innovation is going to be the name of the game and, "the travel industry will no doubt come back to equivalent or ahead of pre-COVID-19 levels in the years to come but the way it comes back will never be exactly the same as it was before," Agarwal said. India Tourism Development Corporation Chairman and MD G Kamala Vardhana Rao said that when everybody is talking about revival of every industry like civil aviation and infrastructure, tourism is the only sector which is talking about survival. He, however, added that with various confidence-building measures being taken by the hotels in the country, "we are extremely confident that the hotel industry will bounce back".
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Indian companies' oil & gas output from overseas fields drops 11%

December 17, 2020 - 11:16pm
New Delhi: Output of Indian companies from overseas oil and gas fields has fallen 11 per cent so far this year on the natural decline in fields, production cuts by Russia and the UAE to meet OPEC plus supply reduction commitments, and pandemic-induced capex delays. The output declined to 12.8 million metric tonnes of oil equivalent (mmtoe) during April-October this year from 14.4 mmtoe in the same period last year. India’s domestic production of oil and gas has also fallen 9 per cent in the same period. “Principally, some major international projects of ONGC Videsh have been impacted by host governments being members of OPEC+ group of countries and complying to agreed-upon production cuts. Due to this factor, production has been affected at Vankor in Russia, Lower Zakum in UAE, ACG Azerbaijan and GPOC project in South Sudan,” ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp, said in an emailed response to ET’s query. “Geopolitical situation” was hurting production at its two projects in Venezuela, the company said. “Natural decline, exit from GNPOC in Sudan, Covid-19 impact on drilling schedule and deferment of capex activities; and optimization of Capex and Opex due to low oil price scenario” were also affecting output, it said “The combined impact of these factors would be about 2 mmtoe, depending on changes in key elements during the second half of the year,” said ONGC Videsh, whose production of 15 mmtoe in 2019-20 was about 60 per cent of Indian companies’ total output from overseas fields. Other state-run firms such as Oil India, Indian Oil, and Bharat Petroleum too have invested in some of the same producing fields abroad as ONGC and are facing similar challenges. ONGC Videsh has 14 producing assets across several countries but depends predominantly on Russia for its annual output. In 2018-19, Russia contributed 62 per cent of ONGC Videsh’s oil and gas production while Vietnam accounted for a tenth. The UAE, Myanmar, and Azerbaijan made up 5 per cent each.As part of OPEC plus, a grouping of about two dozen oil-producing countries, Russia, the UAE and Azerbaijan have taken output cut to support prices that had sharply dropped earlier this year following a demand collapse due to the pandemic.
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Progressing towards becoming mfg hub: Goyal

December 17, 2020 - 8:15pm
India is seeing a rapid recovery and is progressing towards becoming a manufacturing hub under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat scheme, according to Piyush Goyal, minister of commerce and industry. “Under the mission of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, India is progressing rapidly to become a hub of manufacturing and expand our own role in the global economy,” Goyal said, virtually addressing a conference hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on Thursday. This goal would not be achievable without strengthening the ecosystem of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India, Goyal added. Echoing these thoughts, Anurag Thakur, minister of state for finance, who also virtually spoke at the conference, said the manufacturing sectors chosen for the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme could be a game changer and have a huge multiplier effect for the economy. These sectors included automobiles and auto components, telecom, pharmaceuticals, steel, textiles and food products among others. “Promotion of the manufacturing sector and creation of a conducive manufacturing ecosystem will not only enable integration with the global supply chain but also establish backward linkages with the MSME sector,” Thakur said. Speaking on the theme of the conference ‘Augmenting economic sustainability’, Goyal said the recovery period provided a unique opportunity to reinvent economic practices, guided by the restraint of sustainability. “As we go through recovery, we are provided a unique opportunity to redesign, reinvent and realign our practices and processes. While doing so, sustainability is the restraint that must guide our plans, decisions and actions for the future,” Goyal said. The commerce and industry minister, who is a chartered accountant (CA) himself, urged CAs to move beyond their roles as financial advisors and focus on larger goals such as people and the environment, apart from just profits. “Chartered accountants have to move beyond their confines of a financial advisory role to manage the triple bottom line, profit, people and planet, for businesses to stay in business and succeed in business,” Goyal said.
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Work from home, job concerns keeps residential rental market under pressure

December 17, 2020 - 8:15pm
BANGALORE | MUMBAI: Residential property rentals across major markets have witnessed negative to negligible appreciation this year as an increasing number of young professionals have preferred vacating rented homes and paying-guest accommodation, or are seeking rent relief. The emergence of the Work-from-Home model and the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic including job losses and salary cuts have worked against the rental property segment. Many such tenants have moved to their hometowns or are in the process of doing so, with companies also extending the work-from-home option for a few more months as there is no let-up in the pandemic situation.According to property brokers and broking firms, rentals across Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Delhi-NCR have declined by 4-5 per cent this year, while landlords will see no appreciation for two years successively including the year bygone. “The Covid-19 outbreak and the resultant economic fallout had an impact on the rental residential category. During the height of the lockdown, rents softened in some areas, but since then the category has recovered fast and we expect the volumes of rental transactions to remain stable in 2021. Most tenants were not keen on shifting places and stayed put in their current accommodations. But given the scenario of job losses and salary cuts, in some markets, tenants vacated their properties or demanded rent relief,” said Sudhir Pai, CEO of property portal Magicbricks. Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the resultant economic fallout, the demand for rental accommodations has gone down at least 25 per cent in the last 11 months. The rental is further expected to soften with a further drop in rents for high-end properties. "Around six of my apartments were vacated in one go post the lifting of lockdown. I was forced to take a cut on the rental and give some of these apartments at lower rent," said Krishnappa Murthy, who owns multiple properties across Bangalore.Salaried population drives the demand for rental properties and a large percentage of tenants in cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai belong to industries such as banking, financial services and insurance, software, pharmaceutical and other services. “New enquiries for rental accommodations have gone down sharply. Most existing tenants are negotiating lower rentals and better terms. Many of them are ready to even vacate given the rising supply and better terms being offered in the same locality,” said Deepak Lahori of BDL Estates & Properties that operates across Mumbai. The data from Magicbricks suggests that searches by rent-seekers in the age group of 25-35 years decreased amidst economic uncertainty to 33 per cent in 2020 from 61 per cent in 2019. And, searches by rent-seekers in the age group of 35-65 years increased from 23 per cent in 2019 to 43 per cent in 2020 as they deferred purchase decisions or planned to move to a lower rental accommodation.Also, searches by male rent-seekers significantly increased to 77 per cent in 2020 from 55 per cent in 2019. With affordability becoming a key parameter, real estate companies saw a lot of demand from the peripheral areas of key residential markets as they also offered fresh supply. Going forward, this increasing supply will likely make rentals more affordable across all major markets. The rental housing market in India is expected to see a major fillip with the government soon coming out with the model tenancy law to address the issues related to the unorganised rental market in India.
Categories: Business News

Natco Pharma launches anti blood clot medication, Rivaroxaban, in India

December 17, 2020 - 8:15pm
NEW DELHI: Natco Pharma on Thursday said it has launched an anticoagulant medication in the country. The company has launched the Rivaroxaban molecule under the brand name RPIGAT, Natco Pharma said in a regulatory filing. Rivaroxaban is an anticoagulant medication used to treat and prevent blood clots. The medication is currently sold by Bayer under the brand name of Xarelto, in the Indian market. "After successful previous launches of DABIGAT (Dabigatran) and APIGAT (Apixaban) by Natco, this latest Rivaroxaban NOAC (Novel oral anticoagulant) is in line with the company's mission of affordable medicines accessible to all," the drug maker said. Natco has launched RPIGAT in four strengths- 20 mg, 15mg, 10 mg and 2.5 mg. The 20 mg strength is priced at an MRP of Rs 14 per tablet.
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Craftsman Automation files IPO papers with Sebi

December 17, 2020 - 8:15pm
Auto component maker Craftsman Automation has filed preliminary papers with capital markets watchdog Sebi to float an initial share-sale.The IPO comprises a fresh issue of equity shares aggregating up to Rs 150 crore and an offer for sale of up to 45,21,450 shares by promoter and existing shareholders, draft red herring prospectus filed with Sebi showed.Those offloading shares in the offer-for-sale are Srinivasan Ravi, K Gomatheswaran, Marina III (Singapore) Pte Ltd and International Finance Corporation (IFC).Currently, IFC and Marina hold 14.06 per cent and 15.50 per cent stake, respectively, in the company. Besides, Srinivasan Ravi owns 52.83 percent stake and K Gomatheswaran has 7.04 per cent shareholding.Net proceeds of the issue will be utilized for repayment or pre-payment of certain borrowings availed of by the company and for general corporate purposes.In addition, the company expects to receive the benefits of listing of the equity shares on the stock exchanges.Axis Capital and IIFL Securities have been appointed as book running lead managers to the issue. Shares of the company are proposed to be listed on BSE and NSE.Earlier, the auto component maker had filed draft papers with Sebi in June 2018 and had received the regulator's clearance for launching the IPO.However, the company couldn't launch the initial share-sale due to unfavorable market condition, market experts said.Headquartered in Coimbatore, the company has satellite units across India namely Pune, Faridabad, Pithampur, Jamshedpur, Bengaluru, Sriperumbudur and Chennai.
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'Wistron employees ready to go back to work'

December 17, 2020 - 5:15pm
BENGALURU: Karnataka labour minister A Shivaram Hebbar said the state government is trying to resolve issues that Wistron employees have raised including the delay in payment, non-payment for overtime work etc and that majority of employees are willing to get back to work.“We are talking to all stakeholders to address the crisis. I am waiting for a detailed report on what triggered the outrage, which is likely to be ready in 3-4 days. The department will decide on the next course of action based on the report findings. We will respond to all issues raised by the employees and ensure that both the company and the workforce get justice,” he told ET. The government, he said, is hoping for the production at Wistron facility to resume in 15-20 days. “The management has agreed to rectify errors and the workers too are ready to get back to the factory. We should not lose employment at any cost, while we also protect the rights of employees.”A large number of contract employees vandalised Apple’s contract manufacturer Wistron’s factory in Narasapura near Bengaluru on December 12. The company initially pegged the losses at Rs 437 crore, but later in a clarification to Taiwan Stock Exchange, revised the loss estimation to around Rs 50 crore. Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Wednesday, the manufacturer has now revised the losses submitted to the police to Rs 43 crore. Taking serious note of the violence, he Centre has stepped in advising the Karnataka government to complete the inquiry at the earliest. The Ministry of Labour and Employment has also written to the state to provide a detailed status report on the incident including causes attributed and the action taken. The Kolar police has arrested 164 people including employees and activists from the Students’ Federation of India (SFI). The police on Thursday, arrested Srikanth, taluk president of SFI on charges of instigating the violence.
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Airtel, Voda Idea may need to spend 5-10% more on network gear if Huawei, ZTE left out

December 17, 2020 - 5:15pm
Kolkata: Private telecom operators Vodafone Idea (Vi) and Bharti Airtel may have to spend 5-10% more on network gear if Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE are left out of India’s list of trusted supplier sources, said industry executives and analysts. This expected increase in gear procurement costs may be tempered, though, since non-Chinese network vendors such as Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung will have less bargaining power in demanding a premium with fewer telcos to choose from.“If vendor options shrink with the new network security rules, incumbents could face around 5-10% rise in gear purchase costs, which they should be able to easily recover with the next round of price hikes likely soon,” Rohan Dhamija, head (India & Middle East) at Analysys Mason, told ET. Brokerage ICICI Securities expects the “next round of telco price hikes to happen latest by March 2021” and that this could boost Bharti Airtel and Vi’s average revenue per user (ARPU) by 20% in 2021-22.Vi and Bharti Airtel did not reply to ET’s queries till press time.The government had said on Wednesday that it would shortly declare a list of “trusted sources” for acquiring gear for telecom networks and amend telco licences accordingly, a move being viewed as the first official step to keep Chinese network vendors Huawei and ZTE out of India's future telecom expansion as well as its 5G technology roll-out, amid continuing tensions along the Line of Actual Control.Apart from China’s Huawei and ZTE, other global vendors supplying networks to Bharti Airtel and Vi are Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson while South Korea’s Samsung is the only supplier to Reliance Jio.Senior industry executives said the new network security rules will boost indigenous telecom gear manufacturing and drive local value-addition. “India’s new network security rules will make the country truly aatmanirbhar (self-reliant), both from economic and strategic security perspectives, and spur home-grown telecom gear makers to hit global scale and also drive startups to create strong, trusted network products that can enjoy faster market access,” said Sanjay Naik, managing director, Tejas Networks.The new network security rules, he said, also pave the way for “a positive list of trusted supplier sources as opposed to a banned list,” which should complement the near-Rs 12,200 crore sops cleared last month by the Union cabinet under the production-linked incentive (PLI) policy for telecom gear that is likely to result in Rs 2 lakh crore of production over the next five years.Another senior executive of a global gear vendor said India’s insistence on trusted sources for buying telecom equipment has a strong rationale, especially as vulnerabilities around cybersecurity will be far greater once 5G networks arrive, especially since 5G is not merely about connecting mobile phones to the internet but the gamut of home appliances, factory equipment, machines, cars and myriad connected IoT (internet of things) devices.Since the outbreak of the Sino-Indian tensions in mid-June, the government has unofficially nudged private and state-run telcos to avoid Chinese gear, but the new network security directive is the first official step towards barring their involvement in Indian networks, especially with 5G in mind.
Categories: Business News

GSK Consumer forays into nasal wash segment

December 17, 2020 - 5:15pm
New Delhi: GSK Consumer Healthcare on Thursday said it has forayed into the nasal wash segment in the country with the launch of Otrivin Breathe Clean. A saline wash with the moisturising benefit of natural glycerin, the product comes with strong safety cues and is recommended for daily usage, the company said in a statement. Saline nasal washing as a practice has been backed by experts globally and has been used for its benefits in resolution of respiratory disorders, it added. "Otrivin continues to be the leading nasal decongestant in India as well as globally. As the air quality degrades with each passing day, cleansing the nasal cavity by washing away the excess mucus or the allergen particles such as dust or pollen is an immediate need," GSK Consumer Healthcare OTC & Expert Marketing ISC Area Marketing Lead Vijay Sharma said. With the science and trust held by Otrivin over all these years, the company aims to address the current situation by launching Breathe Clean, a clinically verified saline formulation, he added. "We are confident that consumers with nasal congestion will adopt nasal washes into their daily routine as an extremely easy way of maintaining nasal hygiene," Sharma said. Otrivin is distributed widely across the country and continues to be the leading player in the nasal decongestant market in India. The product comes in in an aerosol spray format, which can be used by anyone above 2 years of age. Otrivin Breathe Clean is available in a 100 ml pack priced at Rs 335 across leading e-commerce and chemist stores pan-India.
Categories: Business News

Vaccination rollout and rising fuel demand to help crude touch $52/bbl

December 17, 2020 - 5:15pm
Since 2 November lows of lows of $36/bbl for WTI and $38/bbl for Brent, oil prices have come a long way with a rise of more than 27% and 29% respectively (as on 14 Dec 2020).The optimism in oil markets is a combination of actions taken by the OPEC nations to balance the supply while the optimism over vaccines in different parts of the world is creating a stage for a bright spot in the global economy.US kick-starts the vaccination campaignThe US has kick-started the vaccine campaign and is expected to have about 40 million vaccine doses - enough for 20 million people - distributed by the end of December, and more than 100 million people, or about 30% of the US population could be immunized by the end of March.Although the US has started with the vaccine rollout, major European countries continued in lockdown mode to curb the spread of Covid-19, which has reduced fuel demand. Germany, the fourth-largest economy in the world, imposed a stricter lockdown from Wednesday to battle the virus. Italy said it was considering more stringent restrictions over the Christmas holidays, while most stores in Germany have been ordered to shut until Jan 10, with little prospect of an easing early in the new year. While there are contrasting sets of events in the US and Europe, OPEC pared its forecast for the oil demand recovery in 202l by 350,000 barrels per day, due to the persistent impact of the coronavirus pandemic.Supply side seems to be a worrying factor for oil marketsThe US energy firms this week added the most oil and natural gas rigs in a week since January as producers keep returning to the well pad with crude prices trading around $45 a barrel since late November. The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose 15 to 338 in the week to December 11. US oil rigs rose 12 to 258 this week, while gas rigs rose the most in a week since April 2019, gaining four to 79, according to Baker Hughes data. Both oil and gas rigs hit their highest count since May. The US crude oil production has recovered from the two-and-a-half-year lows touched in May, but is still expected to decline by 910,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year to 11.34 million bpd.On the other side, Libyan oil production stood at 1.28 million barrels per day as on 14 Dec 2020, up from 1.25 million bpd in late November.OPEC cuts oil demand forecast for 2021OPEC nations have forecasted that the global oil demand will rise by 5.90 million barrels per day (bpd) next year to 95.89 million bpd. The growth forecast is 350,000 bpd less than expected a month ago. The group forecast demand for its crude will be 200,000 bpd lower than expected next year at 27.2 million bpd. Oil has recovered from historic lows reached in April when the pandemic hammered demand, helped by a record supply-cut deal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+. OPEC+ will further ease its supply restrictions in January by adding an extra 500,000 barrels per day, although the easing is more gradual than previously agreed, to provide additional support to the market. 79776142What next?Oil price rise from hereon will be a combination of vaccination rollout across the globe along with hopes of increase in fuel demand on a global scale. The efforts by OPEC to balance the oil market has yielded good results. With increasing oil prices since the March lows, the optimism has to continue in 2021 also. The number of Covid-19 infections also has to slow down further if oil prices have to maintain the growth momentum going.From a month perspective, WTI oil prices (CMP: $47) might move higher towards $52/bbl while MCX oil futures (CMP: Rs 3,452/bbl) might move higher towards Rs 3,900/bbl.Prathamesh Mallya is AVP Research Non Agri Commodities and Currencies, Angel Broking Ltd. Views are his own.
Categories: Business News

India rejoins US watchlist in possible boost for rupee, bonds

December 17, 2020 - 5:15pm
By Subhadip SircarIndia’s addition to the U.S. watchlist for currency manipulation is a trial for its central bank, and a possible boon for local currency- and bond markets.The U.S. Treasury Department’s latest foreign-exchange report cited India’s “significant” goods trade surplus with the U.S. and “sustained” net currency purchases through the year to June. Authorities should limit such intervention to periods of excessive volatility, while allowing the rupee to adjust based on economic fundamentals, officials wrote.The central bank’s headache -- which comes on top of above-target inflation and struggling growth -- looks like a boost for the rupee. The currency has been Asia’s worst performer this year, as the Reserve Bank of India has countered relentless foreign investment inflows with dollar purchases that have pushed the country’s reserves to a record $579 billion. That’s catching up with Russia, which has the world’s fourth-largest stockpile.This latest U.S. attention “could keep RBI guarded on aggressive forex intervention,” said Madhavi Arora, lead economist at Emkay Securities Ltd. “A slightly toned-down stance can be rupee-positive at the margin.”79776098The U.S. dollar was 0.2 per cent lower versus the rupee, at 73.4450 Thursday.A pullback in forex intervention could also support India’s bond market, in Arora’s view, as the central bank may buy more government debt as an alternative way to provide liquidity. The RBI’s open market operations have spurred rallies in sovereign bonds, helping to offset the impact of larger debt sales.The RBI’s large dollar purchases have drawn attention before: India was on the Treasury’s watchlist in April 2018. And they’ve proven troublesome more recently, as last month the flood of cash caused short-term rates to collapse. Policy makers are reportedly debating the cost of accumulating such reserves and the need to diversify for better returns. Most of India’s stockpile is held in U.S. dollars, with India’s U.S. Treasury holdings at a record $222.4 billion.An RBI spokesperson didn’t immediately reply to a email seeking comment on the U.S. Treasury report.At the December policy meeting, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the central bank irons out excess volatility and keeps the currency in line with underlying fundamentals.“RBI is doing the appropriate thing,” said Sanjeev Sanyal, principal economic adviser in the finance ministry, before the Treasury’s report was released. “They are accumulating reserves at a time when they are managing the exchange rate in a sensible way.”
Categories: Business News

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