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Number of coworking centres likely to double or treble in 2 yrs: Anarock

January 3, 2020 - 8:42pm
KOLKATA: The number of centres of large coworking operators in the country is likely to double or treble in the next two years as the segment has gained momentum, a leading real estate consultant said on Friday.In the coworking space, top seven operators - Cowrks, WeWork India, Awfis, Regus, Smartworks, 91springboard and OYO Workspaces - have more than 350 centres across cities in the country, Anarock Property Consultant managing director Anuj Puri said."This number is likely to double or even treble in the next two years, given the rate at which these leading players actively leased spaces across major cities in 2019," he said.Currently, there are more than 200 coworking players operating across the country, Puri said.Despite the WeWork debacle in the US raising questions about the future of the coworking business, the segment has emerged as a "viable asset class" for landlords and operators in India, he said."Millennials are set to form 50 per cent of the global workforce by 2020. This influential segment has been at the core of the coworking story in India and will continue to drive demand for such spaces in the country," Puri said,The coworking market has grown by leaps and bounds and the supply was about 7-7.5 million sq.ft. area by end of 2018, he said.By end of 2019, the coworking space crossed 12 million sq.ft. mark, he said."The current lease-based structure does not offer much flexibility and cost efficiency. In 2020, it is likely to see the rise of ownership model, developed in partnership with landowners, developers or the space providers," Puri said.This arrangement will create built-to-suit spaces that are customised as per the tenant's needs, he added.
Categories: Business News

Many of the cyclicals are going to take off now: Dipen Sheth

January 3, 2020 - 8:42pm
If you had quality and if you had size, chances are as a company you would have delivered hugely positive returns over the last few years. On an accumulative basis, the pendulum has swung so widely that active fund managers and value hunters, bottom-up stock pickers are agonising over it, says Dipen Sheth, Head, Institutional Research, HDFC Securities. Excerpts from an interview with ETNOW. It has been a good start. Well begun is half done. Are we in for another smashing year? I would suspect not. Let us not get carried away by the good start. If you filter through all the noise of not just 2019 but even 2018 and the year before and if you filter out the signal, there are some huge and instructive signals. The call to take in 2020 is would those signals or trends reverse or would we see an even more accentuation of those signals? Now, what are these signals? The dominant signal is all about quality and size mattering more than anything else and smothering all other factors including bottom up stock picking. If you had quality and if you had size, chances are as a company you would have delivered hugely positive returns over not just last year but even the years before that. On an accumulative basis, the pendulum has swung so widely that active fund managers and value hunters, bottom-up stock pickers are agonising over it. They have not yet thrown in the towel for sure. Guys like Sunil Singhania and Samit Vartak are struggling with this massive polarisation that is happening. Just to give you the stats for 2019, if you go back to 31st December 2018 and you look at the top 20 companies by market cap, just four of them delivered negative returns over 2019 and the average return in that pack was 20%, beating the Nifty hollow. You had to be just chasing size to beat the Nifty by 800 bps last year. The 21st to the 40th company delivered 8%, underperformed the Nifty not so badly. From 41st to 60th company, the average returns were minus 3.3% and we are still in the top 100 companies. The market is punishing lack of size easily and quickly. Look at Bajaj Finance, HUL. Even good old Infosys is growing better than the smaller IT companies. . Are markets telling us that midcaps will become smallcaps and the dwarves will disappear? If that is the way the economy is moving, then markets are simply aligning with future earnings and large and mega cap stocks are in favour. This is the hard reality.That is a very interesting and valid counter. It is not that the guys who are delivering positive returns are not delivering profits or profit growth, they are. The stocks which are moving up and the stocks which are making money for investors are the largecaps and the mega caps. The largecaps are growing but some other stocks are growing also and these are stalling. But there is no reason for that to happen. If you go to SageOne’s December letter to investors and what Samit is agonising over, it is a 10 pager that would normally take me five minutes to read. I agonised over it for two hours. I am not a speed reader when it comes to very serious and terse stuff like that. This is not to talk about Vartak or SageOne but he has mentioned that 11-12 stocks in his 15-stock portfolio have delivered positive profit growth and yet he has delivered negative returns at a portfolio level. That is the agony that many active stock pickers are fussing over right now. The problem with pendulums is that they swing a little longer than you think and then they swing back when you have given up hope. It happens in bear markets. It happens in bull markets. Right now we are all fixated on large caps. I wish this to happen and I do not know whether it will happen in 2020 or 2021. High quality good midcaps will give you crazy alpha at some point of time. Look at all the largecap funds. They have performed slightly lesser than Nifty and you are feeling very happy. The midcaps have got smothered but some midcap funds have done very well, even in this market. I am looking at it from a fund analysis perspective, but there are some midcap stocks which have done very well. Once the tide turns, people will realise that there is a bubble in quality. Once people realise this that entire money flow which is the financialisation of savings theme which is coming in, once the midcap funds begin to show momentum, the money will come back and you will have a massive swing, a super ride there. Is it too early to call it out? I do not know. I do not know about the timing but I am telling you it is a valid call. So where within midcaps do you find opportunity of alpha generation?The way to look at it is not to go out and buy the pack. You go out and buy the index or something. Even in the large caps, if you bought the Nifty, you just made 12% last year and the top 20 stocks when the large cap theme worked for India, delivered 20%. Just going out and buying the pack would not necessarily help. It did help you in the case of the large caps. I do not think it will help you with the midcaps because the tail is long. In the largecaps, you have to pick only something out of the top 20 or 30 or 50 stocks. But there are 200, 300 midcaps! I would look for midcaps where there is quality as well as growth and it comes at a reasonable price. That narrows down the funnel to a very manageable level. Will it deliver, will a concentrated portfolio of quality midcaps growing at a decent rate and available for a good multiple deliver over the next six months? I do not know. But will it deliver over the next two years? Most certainly.Are you filtering the process where are you starting or other sectors that you are bullish on?Again it is not sector specific. There are good guys and bad guys in every sector. Some of the bad guys in a leading sector like financials have started making money. ICICI Bank which was considered a bad guy two or three years ago, delivered 50% over the last year as the healing cycle played out. The healing cycle is now set to play out and has already begun to play out in SBI or Axis. I cannot think of a more un-glamorous name to talk of at this point of time. Neither are midcaps but some of the bottom-up themes that worked, will continue to work. So Axis and SBI find mention in our top picks this year. Coming to the asset quality healing story, naysayers will tell me that SBI is going to recognise DHFL in this quarter, and even if it got the Essar writeback, that is a messy path. It will continue for a while but if the IBC resolutions move forward at a faster pace, then both Axis and SBI are prime contenders for generating a significant alpha. You may not love them for the stuff they have done in the trailing five years, but the stuff that is going to happen to them over the next two years may be very exciting. What could be a serious budget rate? If dividend distribution tax is removed, could there be a case for PSUs, oil marketing companies, a case for good old BSE, essentially companies which have a high dividend yield? Does it make sense now to align with high dividend yielding stocks a) because tax could be removed, b) you need to buy some safety in this kind of environment?Most of the reasonably high dividend payout companies are trading at low dividend yields which means their multiples have got inflated beyond comfort zones. So I am not just talking of let us say a Lever, for example.I was talking about PSUs.In the PSU pack, the question is would governance ever align itself with the interests of the minority shareholders? It is automatically aligned in SBI as it moves into the healing cycle. But it need not be aligned in a whole lot of other PSUs. In Coal India, for example, we have agonised over it and we have dropped coverage on Coal India because it just does not seem to make sense to track a stock just for dividend yield. Yes, it will get a push up if dividend distribution tax is removed, I would much more look for a fundamentally great story. Look at the opposite end of the spectrum. There is a small company like Sonata Software, which is going at 3.5 maybe 4% dividend yield. It has strong growth, great management, reinvestment opportunity in the business and a huge addressable opportunity. It is a 10-11x and Sonata is up some 6x in the last five or six years. But does it mean you should not look at it? Valuations are still in your favour; dividend yield is good enough. I have randomly picked out Sonata there could be other candidates as well. You have to run two, three filters on the story, you cannot just go and say okay let us pick up all the PSUs, let us pick up all the high dividend payout companies. The PSUs may not have their governance structures aligned with you, the high dividend payout companies may be going to at 50-60 multiples. When you combine two, three factors and when it all comes into your favour, then you have the margin of safety. Of late, one is seeing the re-emergence of the traditional cyclicals. Yesterday there was a move in steel, cement, power and power ancillary stocks. Is there a meaty story in traditional cyclicals or infrastructure?Many of the cyclicals are going to take off because of the global cyclicals. For example, steel is likely to take off because of the revival of the global growth cycle, driven by the impending solution and compromise that both US and China will make on their trade war front. Would you have a surge of commodity consumption and will it drive up commodity prices? Many of these stocks have been battered down to unbelievable levels. That is valid for the global cyclicals I would suspect. Vedanta is available maybe at a 2-3-year low. We do not have coverage on metals but I am making a random comment here. Let me pick on a company where we do not have coverage. India Cements is a local cyclical. It is a local commodity which is available for something like Rs 6,000 crore EV for a 15 million ton capacity. You may or may not like many things there. But you are getting it for something like Rs 6,000 crore for 15 million tons or less than $60 a ton. Some of this is going to revive for sure, I do not know whether it will be India Cements or Vedanta, but it is time to call out these cyclical plays for sure. Mark my words; cyclical plays always ride on policy announcements. It is happening to global cyclicals on the back of trade war solution. The government is in a corner and we are at 4.5% growth, falling from a peak of 8%. So with our back to the wall, history teaches us that Indian government often comes out with crazy surprises. Go back to 1991 when we had $1 billion in forex reserves and Narsimha Rao was PM. He opened up the economy. Was it perfect? No. But did it work? Yes it did. I suspect this Budget can see a lot more. Two days ago, we were talking about Rs 102 lakh crore infrastructure pipeline. L&T has not moved for a year. This high-quality largecap has been flat -- 2-3% over 2019 is absurd. What is the point of analysing L&T at a time like this? They are good people; they are not going to divert money, they are not going to work against the interests of minority shareholders. Yes, I might disapprove of their stake in Mindtree or something, but that does not matter. The tide will come and hit L&T and as we know L&T moves up when it gets order wins not on execution.
Categories: Business News

LG to unveil expanded 8K TV lineup at CES 2020

January 3, 2020 - 8:42pm
Seoul: LG Electronics on Friday said it will unveil new 8K TV models with upgraded Artificial Intelligence (AI) features at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the US as the company is eager to expand its presence in the next-generation TV market.LG said it will showcase eight TVs, with new 77 and 65-inch class models, at CES that kicks off on Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, Yonhap news agency reported. The new TV models are additions to LG's existing 88 and 75-inch screen sizes in its OLED and NanoCell TV lineup.LG said its every 2020 model earned 8K Ultra HD certification from the U.S. Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which requires a minimum 50 per cent contrast modulation threshold with at least 33 million active pixels.Billed as the next big thing in the TV market, 8K TV offers four times the number of pixels of a 4K UHD screen and 16 times that of a full HD screen. Having so many pixels means a higher image density, which should deliver a clearer, better defined picture.LG Electronics said that its latest 8K TVs come with upgraded AI and deep learning technologies, which will deliver optimised picture and sound quality for all types of content.The company said its 8K TVs will be equipped with an upgraded voice control system, which will be available in 144 countries.
Categories: Business News

An airstrike is making Dalal Street anxious

January 3, 2020 - 5:40pm
A sudden spurt in geopolitical tension in West Asia after a US airstrike killed top Iranian military personnel, Qassem Soleimani, made Dalal Street sit up and take note on Friday morning.For, it threatens to not only derail India’s bull market, but also disturb the government’s fiscal arithmetic, should it lead to a spike in crude oil prices as is being speculated.Reacting on the news, oil prices surged over 4 per cent in international markets. The black gold rallied more than 35 per cent in the domestic market in 2019. India imports 83 per cent of its oil needs.Domestic equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty declined a quarter per cent in early trade on Friday, as global equities turned negative in anticipation of a conflict in the major oil producing belt.“The news of US strike killing Qassem Soleimani is very significant, as he was extremely close to the Iranian Supreme Leader. Iran will certainly retaliate. Oil is likely to be on the boil. It’s bad news for large oil importing countries, especially those like India, which run large trade and current account deficits,” said Ajay Bodke, CEO-PMS, Prabhudas Lilladher.Soleimani, the head of Iran's Quds Force, was hit in an attack on the Baghdad International Airport early Friday, reports said. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said ‘severe retaliation’ awaits Soleimani killers.India's fiscal deficit reached an alarming level at the end of November at 114.8% of the budgeted target for the financial year, highlighting the challenge the government faces in meeting its fiscal goals. The deficit, or the gap between the government’s total receipts and expenditure, reached Rs 8.07 lakh crore as of November 30, official data showed last week.Meanwhile, current account deficit (CAD) – the gap between value of total imports and aggregate exports – narrowed to 0.9 per cent of GDP, or $6.3 billion, in the September 2019 quarter, on account of a lower trade deficit. It stood at 2.9 per cent of GDP, or $19 billion, in the corresponding quarter of 2018-19. It was 2 per cent of GDP, or $14.2 billion, in June quarter, 2019.“Indian equities better take note. Risk aversion would spike sharply. Investors may again find comfort in mega-caps and shun 'risky' smallcap and midcap equities,” Bodke said,He said Iran could strike either directly or through its numerous proxies in the region in countries like Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon with the intention of causing massive damage to the US and its Gulf allies, like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait.It is likely to aim at causing massive disruption of supply routes through the Persian Gulf or strike at key oil installations besides striking US military or civil interests in the Gulf and beyond, he said.As risky assets plummeted globally, investors preferred to go with safe haven gold and silver. MCX Gold traded 1.12 per cent higher at Rs 39,715 per 10 gm at around 10.10 am (IST), while MCX Silver rose 0.87 per cent to Rs 47,429 per 1 kg.Analysts said market participants should watch domestic bond yields as any outflow by foreign institutional investors due to rising risk aversion may spark a selloff, leading to rise in bond yields. Foreign portfolio investors poured more than Rs 1 lakh crore into Indian equities and Rs 25,805 crore in domestic debt last year.“Trump strike on General Qassem Soleimani of Iran is a big escalation in the Middle East conflict from last decade. The General is among the top three leader from a military perspective. His influence stretched from Yemen, Syria to Iraq. Expect crude to boil if Iran retaliates,” said Abhimanyu Sofat, Head of Research, IIFL Securities.In her interaction with ETNOW, Vandana Hari, Founder & CEO, Vanda Insights, said the latest US-Iran conflict could escalate into a bigger war. “It is a big deal, and I am not surprised we are seeing more than 3.5 per cent jump in crude. Until the situation becomes clearer, it is going to be a kneejerk reaction factoring in the risk premium. We have to see Iran’s action in response to the killing of General Soleimani.”
Categories: Business News

CAA isolated India, says former foreign secretary

January 3, 2020 - 5:40pm
Former Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon on Friday slammed the government for amending the Citizenship Act, saying India has "isolated" itself through the move and the list of critical voices both at home and abroad is "pretty long." Speaking at an event where a number of academicians discussed the adverse implications of the contentious law, which has led to nationwide protests, Menon said the perception of India has changed after the law was passed. "India has isolated itself through the move and the list of critical voices in the international community is also pretty long now. Perception of India has changed in the last few months. Even our friends have been taken aback," Menon said. "What we have achieved in the recent past is to hyphenate our (India's) image with Pakistan in a fundamental way, which is an intolerant state," said the former National Security Adviser. What the world thinks matters more to us now than ever before, he said and asserted that disengagement or going alone is not an option. "But we seem determined with actions like these (CAA) to cut off and isolate ourselves. That is no good to anybody," he said. "We seem to be in violation of international covenants. Those who think that international laws cannot be enforced, they must consider political and other consequences of being perceived as violators of international conventions," he added. Others who spoke at the event at Press Club were academicians included Zoya Hasan, Niraja Jayal and Faizan Mustafa among others.
Categories: Business News

IndiGo to start daily flights on six UDAN routes in next two months

January 3, 2020 - 5:40pm
NEW DELHI: Budget airline IndiGo on Friday announced that over the next two months it will start daily flights on six new routes which come under the Centre's regional connectivity scheme UDAN.The flights will be to and from Prayagraj-Gorakhpur, Aizawl-Agartala and Varanasi-Bhubaneswar.Under the UDAN scheme, financial incentives in terms of concessions from the Centre, state governments and airport operators are extended to selected airlines to encourage operations from unserved and undeserved airports, and keep airfares affordable.IndiGo also said it will start daily flights on routes such as Kolkata-Gorakhpur, Gorakhpur-Kolkata, Kolkata-Patna, Patna-Kolkata, Guwahati-Kolkata, Aizawl-Guwahati, Guwahati-Aizawl, Varanasi-Guwahati and Guwahati-Varanasi by February-end.
Categories: Business News

After Bengaluru, Chennai Ather Energy wants to set shop pan-India

January 3, 2020 - 5:40pm
MUMBAI: After Bengaluru and Chennai, Hero MotoCorp-backed electric two-wheeler maker Ather Energy plans to expand pan-India and has invited dealers to set up experience centres.The Bengaluru-based company wants to set shop across key cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune “amongst other Tier-1 cities”, it said in a statement.“On the heels of signing an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to build a new 400,000 square feet factory, Ather is moving to the next phase of its growth and scaling up its operations across the country,” read the statement.Along with sales expansion, the company said that it will also grow its public charging network, Ather Grid in all metros in the coming months. “Each city will receive fast charging points prior to the delivery of the vehicles.”It has invited dealers to invest in setting up the experience centres to expedite the expansion. Customers can test-ride the Ather 450 scooter, the company’s only offering, at these experience centres.The premium electric scooter costs Rs 1.14 lakh in Bengaluru and Rs 1.22 lakh in Chennai, on-road. It has a range of up to 75 kilometres on a single charge and has a top speed of 80 kilometres an hour.Ather Energy has raised about $95 million in five rounds of funding so far from investors that include Hero MotoCorp, Tiger Global, Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal and InnoVen Capital.
Categories: Business News

Tech View: Nifty forms bearish candle, upside looks capped

January 3, 2020 - 5:40pm
The bears took charge of Dalal Street on Friday and pushed down the equity benchmarks after a US strike in Baghdad killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds force and architect of its growing military influence in West Asia, flaring tensions in the oil-producing belt.Before closing 55 points, or 0.45 per cent, down at 12,226, Nifty shuttled between a high and low of 12,265 and 12,191, respectively.In the process, the index formed a bearish candle on the daily chart. Overall, the index kicked off the session in the red following tensions in West Asia. Thereafter, it remained in the downward trajectory throughout the day as sporadic recovery attempts didn't help much.“No specific formation occurred on the daily chart. It was just a black body candle. The loss of momentum was evident in the previous session as indicated by the bearish divergence on the RSI,” said Milan Vaishnav, CMT, MSTA, Consulting Technical Analyst, Gemstone Equity Research & Advisory Services.Nagaraj Shetti, Technical Research Analyst at HDFC Securities, said Friday's candle pattern was placed beside Thursday's long bull candle. "Technically, this pattern indicates a rangebound movement ahead for Nifty," he said.Analysts believe Nifty index will remain in a broad range next week with limited and capped upsides.Mazhar Mohammad, Chief Strategist – Technical Research & Trading Advisory, Chartview India, said if Nifty fails to sustain above 12,191 level on a closing basis next session, then it will set the tone for a correction with an initial target placed at 12,070 level. On the upside, Nifty may continue to struggle till it breaks above the 12,293 level. On such a breakout, the rally can get extended up to 12,400 level.Bank Nifty witnessed profit booking and settled 1 per cent down at 32,069.Amit Shah, Technical Research Analyst, Indiabulls Ventures, said Bank Nifty's key near-term support is at 31,900. "A breach below this support would weaken the near-term upward momentum and trigger profit taking. The 32,500-32,600 zone has acted as a key resistance for the index and triggered profit booking around those levels."
Categories: Business News

See multibagger in beaten down stock? This rally will trap you

January 3, 2020 - 5:40pm
Fomo, or fear of mission out, might be nudging you to buy stocks with both hands this season. And you surely have plenty of options to choose from to play the ongoing rally. The problem is, you might not know this is a minefield.Data available with Ace Equity shows some 493 stocks on BSE declined over 50 per cent in 2019, and it is not necessary that all of them corrected because of issues with their business fundamentals.Analysts believe select stocks provide good entry points and may deliver humungous returns going forward.Stocks like Future Consumer, Magma Fincorp, Central Bank of India, Wockhardt, Zuari Global, Chennai Petroleum and Indian Bank declined 50-60 per cent last year. And then there are those like GBL Industries, Cox & Kings, Talwalkar Healthclubs, Mcleod Russel, Midvalley Entertainment, Sankhya Infotech and Parab Infra, which tanked 95-99 per cent.`“All the stocks that have fallen need not be good buys. Some may never recover. However, a number of them may have been collateral damage, being in the midcap and smallcap space, and they could provide a good opportunity. One needs to be selective,” says Ambareesh Baliga, an independent market expert.BSE benchmark Sensex advanced 14 per cent in 2019, while in the broader market, BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices slid up to 8 per cent. The market is hoping for the recovery in the midcap and smallcap space due to attractive valuations. There are hopes that a possible recovery in GDP growth rate is likely to infuse a lot of enthusiasm among retail investors in 2020.“Midcaps and smallcaps are closely linked to economic growth. While you cannot predict economic growth, we carry this optimism that GDP growth will come back. I am confident the economy will grow,” Sunil Subramaniam, MD & CEO, Sundaram Mutual Fund, said in an interview with ETNOW.Besides the 493 big losers, some 1,333 other stocks declined up to 50 per cent during the year. In all, 80 per cent of BSE-listed stocks wiped out investors’ wealth last year. 73079621 73079628 “Calendar 2020 will most likely reward the smallcap and midcap (SMC) space. Historically, whenever this space has got beaten down badly, it bounced back substantially. This segment as a whole once gave 200-400 per cent returns in a span of 2-4 years after such a meltdown. Of course, history doesn’t repeat itself. However, there is a sound logic that after every such underperformance, the relative valuation of the SMC segment becomes extremely appealing,” said G Chokkalingam, Founder, Equinomics Research and Advisory.As many as 583 stocks declined over 50 per cent on BSE in 2018 and against 54 in 2017. 73079639 73079644 Brokerage ICICIdirect says stocks that plunged over 60 per cent last year might have declined owing to deterioration in financials, like a decline in revenues and profitability or continued losses and high leverage or sub-optimal return ratios. Also, many such companies had high levels of promoter share pledges, which could have negatively impacted stock prices, it said.The moot question that needs to be answered is whether these stocks are worth bargain hunting post the decline. Can they recover their lost glory and touch earlier peaks?Empirical evidence on stock price recovery after a significant decline shows bargain hunting in such beaten-down stocks would not be a credible strategy, as rarely do such stocks recover to earlier levels.“The strategy to invest in severely beaten-down stocks is not based on a sound understanding of revival in operational performance, rather based more on hopes that they will turn out to be multibaggers,” says ICICIdirect.“The reality is not at all encouraging. In last eight years, very few stocks have regained previous life-time highs after having corrected 60 per cent or more,” the brokerage said.Chokkalingam says themes like sugar, mid-sized IT and small pharma companies focused on API exports, tyre stocks, cash-rich and attractively valued PSUs and old private sector banks should play out successfully in 2020.
Categories: Business News

Don't miss these 8 financial deadlines in 2020

January 3, 2020 - 2:39pm
It is always good to be well-prepared, especially when it comes to matters of money. To make sure that you have a smooth 2020, money-wise at least, here are eight important financial deadlines you must be aware of. Credit subsidy under PMAY on home loan: March 31March 31 is the last date to avail the benefit under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) for the middle income group. According to the PMAY scheme details, middle income group I & II (MIG - I&II) can avail the benefit of credit subsidy available on buying a house subject to certain terms and conditions.Under the scheme, categories are divided basis annual household income. MIG - I household's income lies between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 12 lakh. This category can avail credit subsidy of four per cent. Similarly, MIG - II are those whose household income is between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 18 lakh. They can avail credit subsidy of three per cent. Also Read: Everything you need to know about PMAYInvesting in PMVVY for senior citizens: March 31With interest rates on fixed deposits falling, there is another investment avenue a senior citizen can consider -Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY). This is a pension scheme available for senior citizens. The scheme offers a guaranteed payout of pension at a specified rate for 10 years.Returns are in the range of 8-8.3 per cent depending on mode of investment. This is higher compared to what is offered by fixed deposits. Currently, State Bank of India is offering interest rate of 6.75 per cent for tenure of 10 years to senior citizens.Under PMVVY, senior citizens can invest up to Rs 15 lakh.So, senior citizens who want to invest in this scheme have time till March 31, i.e., that is the date till when the scheme is open for subscription. Also Read: How to invest in PMVVYDeadline to file belated ITR & Revised ITR: March 31If you haven't filed your income tax return (ITR) yet for FY 2018-19, it is important that you do it by March 31, 2020. If you missed this deadline to file belated ITR, then you will not be able to file your ITR unless the income tax department asks you to do the same.Remember you will be required pay late fee of Rs 10,000 for filing belated ITR. However, if you file it before December 31, then you will be required to pay late filing fees of Rs 5,000.Similarly, if you wish to revise your ITR in case you made a mistake in your original ITR for FY 2018-19, then the last date to file ITR is March 31, 2020. If the revised ITR is not filed by this date, then you will not be able to file the revised ITR.Depositing TDS on rent with the government: Depends on date of tax deductionIf you are living in a rented accommodation and paying rent of more than Rs 50,000 a month, then as per income tax laws, you are required to deduct the tax on the rent paid. As per current income tax laws, a tenant is required to deduct tax on total amount of rent paid at the rate of 5 per cent once in a financial year.The tax will be deducted either at the time of vacating the house during the financial year or at the end of financial year, i.e., March 31 whichever is earlier. Ensure that the TDS is deposited with the government within 30 days from the end of the month in which deduction is made. Failure to do so will attract penalty and interest.Tax-saving related investments: March 31To save tax you must complete your tax-saving related investments before March 31, 2020. It is important that you have made investments in specified financial instruments under section 80C and/or incurred other expenses to save tax under the Income Tax Act. If you have not done this by this date, then you will not be able to claim the benefit of tax-saving deductions. Consequently, this will lead to paying higher taxes.For instance, a tax-saving investment of Rs 1.5 lakh under section 80C, can cut tax out go by Rs 46,800 (cess included) for person paying tax at the rate of 30 per cent.Therefore, it is important that you have made the required investments before March 31, 2019 to avail the benefits while filing your ITR.Submission of investment proofs to your employer: Varies from company to companyAnother thing you should keep in mind related to tax-saving is submission of required documents to your employer to avoid excess TDS deduction. You are required to submit investment proofs, rent agreement etc. to save tax.However, remember the deadline to submit such documents varies from company to company. Therefore, it is advisable that you check with your HR or finance department to know the deadline to submit these documents and avoid excess TDS deduction from your salary.Collect TDS certificates from your employer, bank: Start collecting documents from June 15The first step in filing ITR is to get TDS certificate from your employer and your bank/s if TDS has been deducted. Your employer is required to give you Form 16 (TDS Certificate) showing details of your salary paid during the year and tax deducted.Similarly, bank will issue you Form 16A (TDS certificate) for the tax deducted if the interest amount exceeds Rs 10,000. For senior citizens, this limit is Rs 50,000.The bank and your employer will give you the TDS certificates from June 15 onwards. Do make sure to collect that.The TDS certificates will help you to ascertain that TDS deducted is reflecting against your PAN in the Income Tax Department records using Form 26AS.Deadline to file ITR for FY 2019-20: July 31Once tax-saving is completed by March 31, the next step is to file your ITR. The last date to file ITR for individuals and HUFs is July 31 unless extended by the government. If you fail to file your ITR before the deadline ends, then you will have to pay a penalty. If ITR is filed by you after the deadline has expired but before December 31, 2020, then a penalty of Rs 5,000 will be levied.If the ITR is filed between January 2021 and March 2021, then penalty of Rs 10,000 will be levied. For small taxpayers, whose income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh, maximum penalty of Rs 1,000 is levied.Linking of PAN-Aadhaar: March 31, 2020The deadline to link PAN with Aadhaar has been extended to March 31, 2020. Earlier, the deadline to link the same was December 31, 2019. Remember if the PAN is not linked with Aadhaar by the expiry of deadline, then your PAN will become inoperative. However, government is yet to notify the meaning regarding inoperative.Also Read: How to link PAN with Aadhaar
Categories: Business News

Mistry got me disrepute, says Tata in defence

January 3, 2020 - 2:39pm
A day after Tata Sons moved the Supreme Court against the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order favouring Cyrus Mistry's return, Ratan Tata approached the apex court to challenge the ruling. In his plea, the chairman of Tata Trusts argued that the findings of the Appellate Tribunal were "wrong, erroneous, contrary to the record of the case and required consideration by the Supreme Court". Tata challenged the order that held him guilty of oppression and mismanagement without giving an explanation on any actual or legal ground.“The (NCLAT’s) judgment is also infirm because it blatantly indulges in propagating a selective narrative where relevant facts and record have been glossed over, submissions made by the appellant and other respondents have been ignored and if noticed then are not been dealt with in the impugned judgment,” the plea, a copy of which was reviewed by ET, said. “The pretense of reasoning and judicial approach is betrayed by omission to consider the record itself,” Tata said in his plea.He further stated that it was very unfortunate and distressing that the judgment, without providing any proper evidence, passed adverse remarks against the appellant (Tata) who has spent more than half of his life in building the reputation of Tata Sons and other Tata operating companies.In his plea, the industrialist alleged that Mistry slowly and systematically concentrated power and authority in his own hands as chairman in all major Tata firms, where there were no longer any representatives from the Board of the Company.A glaring example of Mistry’s lack of leadership skills with which brought disrepute to the Tata group was the way he handled the DoCoMo litigation, Tata said.“It was during Mistry’s tenure that Tata Sons reneged on its word with DoCoMo under the agreement citing purely legal and technical arguments. Even after an adverse verdict was delivered in the arbitration, Mistry showed complete obstinacy and attempted to resist complying with the legal obligations further,” said the petition. “This is not what the Tata Sons brand stands for. Quite to the contrary, honouring its commitments is one of Tata Sons’ highest virtues it takes great pride in. The spat with DoCoMo, which was widely covered by the press, brought ill-repute and reputational losses to Tata Sons,” it further added. The NCLAT order also directed that Ratan Tata and the nominee off Tata Trusts shall desist from taking any decision in advance which requires majority decision of the board of directors or in the AGM.Ratan Tata is now seeking to completely set aside of the NCLAT order with a prayer that the ruling of the appellate tribunal is prejudicial to the interests of Tata Sons and all its stakeholders. “Such reliefs, if not set aside by this Hon’ble Court, would cause chaos in the functioning of Tata Sons, undermine shareholder sovereignty and lead to a break-down of its governance structure,” said the plea.
Categories: Business News

NCLAT reserves order on RoC plea in Tata-Mistry case

January 3, 2020 - 2:39pm
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Friday reserved its order on the plea filed by the Registrar of Companies (RoC) seeking modifications in the judgement in which Cyrus Mistry was reinstated as the executive chairman of Tata Sons. A two-member bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya indicated that its order is likely to come on Monday next week.During the proceedings, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs said that it was discharging its duty and has not committed any illegality in conversion of Tata Sons from public company to a private company.On Thursday, NCLAT had asked clarification specifics of paid-up capital requirement for the same.NCLAT, on December 18, directed the USD 110-billion Tata group to reinstate Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairman of Tata Sons.The tribunal had termed the appointment of N Chandrasekaran, as "illegal" following the October 2016 sacking of Mistry as Tata Sons' executive chairman. It had also directed the RoC to reverse Tata Sons' status from a 'private company' to a 'public company'.In the order, the appellate tribunal had also quashed the conversion of Tata Sons - the principal holding company and promoter of Tata firms - into a private company from a public firm and had termed it as "illegal".The tribunal has said that the action taken by the RoC to allow the firm to become a private company was against the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013, and 'prejudicial' and 'oppressive' to the minority member (Mistry Camp).In an urgent application, which was mentioned on December 23, just five days after the NCLAT's judgement, RoC Mumbai has asked the appellate tribunal "to carry out requisite amendments" in Para 186 and 187 (iv) of its judgement "to correctly reflect the conduct of the RoC Mumbai as not being illegal and being as per the provisions of the Companies Act".In its plea, the RoC, which functions under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, had sought to be impleaded as a party in the two petitions and deletion of the words "illegal" and "with the help of the RoC" used by the NCLAT in its judgement.Besides, it has also urged "to delete the aspersions made regarding any hurried help accorded by the RoC Mumbai to Tata Sons, except what was statutorily required" in para 181 of the order.The RoC also said it has acted in "bonafide manner" in converting the status of Tata Sons as "there was no stay granted by this appellate tribunal on the operation of the judgement dated July 9, 2018 of Mumbai, NCLT, at the time when this intimation was filed by Tata Sons Ltd".Tata Sons had on Thursday moved the Supreme Court against its order passed on December 18.Months after Mistry was sacked, Tata Sons had received its shareholders' nod in September 2017, to convert itself into a private limited company from a public limited company, thereby absolving it of the need to take shareholder consent in taking crucial decisions, which could be passed with just the board's approval.Tata Sons was initially a 'private company', but after insertion of Section 43A (1A) in the Companies Act, 1956, on the basis of average annual turnover, it assumed the character of a deemed 'public company' with effect from February 1, 1975, the order said.
Categories: Business News

Peninsula Land aims to repay debt in 27-30 months

January 3, 2020 - 2:39pm
MUMBAI: The Ashok Piramal Group’s real estate development company Peninsula Land is looking to repay its entire debt over the next 27-30 months led by the completion of its 6 ongoing residential projects in Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune, said a top company official.“Our focus is on completion of the ongoing projects and once completed by March 2022 that itself will take care of our debt obligations. Most of these loans are project specific,” Rajeev Piramal, MD, Peninsula Land, told ET. “In December itself, we have already repaid debt obligations worth Rs 265 crore.”On a consolidated basis, the company’s debt level was at Rs 2,310 crore as on July 2019 including project-level debt. Currently, the company’s total debt including short-term and long-term facilities stand at Rs 1,630.65 crore. Of this, State Bank of India’s secured term loan principal is Rs 177.72 crore with total tenure of 143 months at interest rates of 9.95% per annum.On Wednesday, Peninsula Land announced that it has defaulted on its loan obligations of Rs 2.35 crore to the State Bank of India including principal of Rs 88 lakh and Rs 1.47 crore interests accrued thereon. However, according to the company, the delay in payment, which has been paid now, was on account of delays in the rent payment by its tenants the Income-Tax Department and GST Department.The company is known for developing India’s first mall Crossroads in South Mumbai and converting first mill land into a commercial complex Peninsula Corporate Park in Central Mumbai’s now business district Lower Parel.Since 1997, the company has developed nearly 8 million sq ft in Mumbai. Apart from Mumbai, the company has projects in Pune, Nashik, Lonavala, Bangalore and Goa. Most of its projects came up on erstwhile textile mill lands and joint developments with landowners. The company also manages a real estate fund through one of its subsidiaries and has co-invested in five projects with the fund.Last week, the company entered into a debt-asset swap arrangement with Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) against encumbrance over its nearly 67,000-sq ft commercial building Peninsula Spenta in central Mumbai’s Lower Parel locality. The company has recorded consideration to be received from this sale at Rs 156.06 crore.“We have been selling our non-core assets and have also entered into joint ventures to develop projects together. We are exploring all options and are open to right alliances,” Piramal said adding that the company has sold land parcels in Pune, Nashik, Bengaluru and Mumbai over the last two years.For the quarter ended September, the company reported net loss of Rs 220.10 crore and revenue of Rs 10.08 crore. The company has been reporting net loss at consolidated level over the last several years. During the last financial year 2018-19 (April-March), it reported net loss of Rs 777.91 crore and revenue of Rs 134.96 crore.“Bulk of our losses are on account of impairment and new accounting policies. We used follow percentage completion method for our reporting earlier and now following project completion method for the same,” Piramal added.
Categories: Business News

Big ticket announcements, infra push highlight of railways in 2019

January 3, 2020 - 2:39pm
NEW DELHI: The railway minister made some big ticket announcements like merger of cadres, corporatisation of PSUs and "privately" run trains in 2019, which also saw a huge infra push, fare hike and digital drive as minister Piyush Goyal took on contentious issues to break age-old norms despite opposition from within the transport behemoth.In 2020, the challenge will be to ensure that these best laid plans get implemented.Soon after taking charge in his second term, Goyal brought in an ambitious 100-day plan, which was a blueprint not only to revive railways' dipping finances but also to streamline the working of the national transporter.One of the plans was to invite private operators to run two of its trains and also some routes which have low congestion and connect important tourist spots.While this raised a political storm and was opposed vehemently by railway unions who alleged that it was a way to privatise railways, the ministry not only announced the running of the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas earlier in the year gone by, but also launched the Ahmedabad to Mumbai Tejas, which will run commercially beginning January 19.Both these trains are being run by railway subsidiary IRCTC. The Railways has also announced that 150 new trains will be given to private operators soon.Another 100 day-plan which is being opposed tooth and nail is hiving off railways' rolling stock and locomotive production units and associated workshops into a new government-owned entity called "Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company".According to the document prepared by the Railway Board, Indian Railways will conduct a detailed study of seven of its production units -- Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) in West Bengal, Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala, Diesel Modernization Works (DMW) in Patiala, Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) in Varanasi, Wheel & Axle Plant in Bangalore, and Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in Rae Bareli.While Railways has maintained that the plan was only to increase efficiency in the units, railway unions opposed it and even Congress President Sonia Gandhi raised the issue in Parliament.Goyal, however, has stood his ground, saying that railways has no plans to privatise the national transporter.Even as these issues were still to be ironed out, railways announced the merger of its services leading to discontent among officers who feared loss in seniority and career progression.Rushing to clarify, the ministry said that an alternative mechanism will be established by a group of ministers to ensure that no one is "disadvantaged" by the merger, which was introduced to end "departmentalism" in railways.In fact, the ministry had to deal with such inter-cadre turf wars since ages, but it assumed serious proportions when the electrical and mechanical services officers sparred over India's first indigenous train -- Vande Bharat -- leading to tenders being cancelled and the process started from scratch.As if these issues were not enough to deal with, the ministry also announced a "marginal" fare hike for all passengers trains except the suburban sector. While the fare hike ranged from one paise per kilometre to 4 paise per kilometre, at a time when the economy is facing a slowdown, the announcement came as a dampener for the general public.Controversies aside, railways also managed its best safety record in its history -- zero accidents. It also managed to bring the production of Vande Bharat rakes under control with railways announcing that it will procure 44 rakes from ICF.Not just that, other PSUs too like the Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi exported seven diesel locomotives to Sri Lankan Railways and Indian Railways will also provide broad gauge and meter gauge diesel locomotives to Bangladesh Railways for a period of two years to help them in improving train operations, thus managing to showcase its production capabilities to other asian countries as well.The Railways also launched its first Railway Commando Battalion 'CORAS' to tackle the menace of terrorism and Naxalism in its premises.Infrastructure also received a huge boost during this period with new line, doubling and gauge conversion increasing by 41 per cent, elimination of manned level crossings, construction of foot over bridges (FOB) increased by 37 per cent.Railways has also received approval to raise speed to 160 kmph by 2022-23 on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi Howrah routes and increase average speed of passenger trains by 60 per cent.In 2019, railways went big with digital India, offering WiFi at 5400 stations, introduced Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) in collaboration with ISRO for automatic chart preparation and passenger train information.The year also saw railways improving its punctuality performance for Mail/Express trains to 75.53 per cent as compared to 68.08 per cent in the same period of 2018 reflecting an improvement of 7.45 per cent.During this period, 143 trains were upgraded to Utkrisht standard, 72 new train services introduced and 87 pairs of ICF trains were converted to faster and safer LHB utilizing 116 LHB rakes.It also successfully completed one of the world's largest recruitment exercises where an unprecedented 47.45 lakh candidates applied for over 64,000 posts of Assistant Loco Pilots and technicians. About 1.17 crore candidates appeared for over 63,000 posts in Level I (erstwhile Group D) posts and around 24.75 lakh candidates appeared for over 13,500 posts for Junior Engineer (JE).While railways recorded its worst operating ratio of 98.44 per cent in 2017-18 which is the worst in the previous 10 years, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in a report tabled in Parliament in December, an RTI revealed that its earnings suffered a dip of Rs 155 crore and Rs 3,901 crore in passenger and freight fares respectively in the second quarter of the current fiscal, compared to the previous one.Railways has maintained that the burden of the seventh pay commission, along with the salary of 12 lakh employees and pension liability of 13 lakh pensioners have added to railways' financial woes.
Categories: Business News

Look at largecap, mid & smallcap through same prism: Munot

January 3, 2020 - 2:39pm
In the last few years, we have been at the trough of the investment cycle. We were in a cyclical slowdown. Over the next three-five years, the rally is going to be more broad-based than what we have seen in the last few years, says Navneet Munot, CIO, SBI Mutual Fund. Excerpts from an interview with Nikunj Dalmia of ETNOW. How do you see markets moving globally as we start a new year and a new decade? Globally, market rally has been facilitated by cheap money? Where do you see it going from here?Globally, the cheap money has been facilitated by the central banks. Central banks globally have followed an extraordinarily accommodative policy running negative interest rates at several parts of the world. The total balance sheet of US Fed, ECB, Bank of Japan, Bank of England and maybe a Swiss National Bank was like $3-3.5 trillion, that is today more than $15 trillion. . A lot of private debt has become a public debt because it is residing in the central banks’ balance sheet. Money becomes cheaper when you are discounting your cash flows at a zero or a much lower rate and then you put the equity risk premium. The valuations in the equity market can go up as has happened in some or the other markets. In case of the US, another interesting trend is the rise of some of those great companies in the digital space. Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and some of these companies have done extraordinarily well over the last several years and in the US particularly. That is why there are strong returns on capital by these companies to the shareholders. The buybacks plus dividend payouts in the last 10 years would have been more than $5 trillion which is more than 20-25% of the market cap. 73079996 Lower interest rates and loose monetary policy have played a very large role in the way stock prices or asset prices have gone higher and more than earnings, PE multiples have got re-rated?The earnings growth in some of these markets have been very good. In fact, when you look at the returns of Sensex, Nifty and some of the other indices, there are sets of companies which have delivered extraordinarily good return even in a growth environment which has been lower than the long-term average. Maybe there are new business models, maybe there are managements who have been able to deliver or find ways of growing profitably during this period. Interest rates are going to be the biggest part of this jigsaw puzzle. Interest rates have come down less in India but globally, the decline has been nothing short of a precipitous. Interest rates cannot go down more than this. The 10-year paper in 1999 was at 6.4. We are starting the decade at 1.92. World’s most traded instrument has taken a knock of more than 4% or 400 bps. If interest rates do not continue to decline at the same rate, what happens to equity returns?Globally, investors have to moderate their return expectations going forward. You will have a very limited amount of re-rating of the market. Returns have to be driven by the normalised earnings growth. Also keep one thing in mind about the US markets. Their profit margins are close to at an all-time high. There is a re-rating of the market and profit margins which are already at an all-time high. Whether that can sustain is something that we need to watch out for. You cannot get further support from the monetary policy that is for sure. My view is that from here on, fiscal policies are likely to play a bigger role. Maybe Germany will start. It will be done by several other developed markets where fiscal policy will play a bigger role in building new sustainable infrastructure. Look at climate change, look at the condition of infrastructure in developed countries. A huge amount of investment can take place. And how will this be funded? Pension funds are investing in richly valued equities and extremely richly valued bonds today. If you can provide them a 20-30-40 year good quality infrastructure asset and deliver a high single digit return, they will be very happy. In China, thanks to big investments in the last several years, a lot of capacity has got created in terms of building an infrastructure that can be utilised by several countries. My view is that capex cycle may come back over the next 10 years in the world. This will be a good quality growth even for the equity market not driven so much by cheap money but more by delivering growth which creates jobs and which in turn improves productivity and ensures sustainable growth. It is said that mean reversion is the biggest truism in capitalism and market investors like you who have seen decades and decades of market cycles would admit to it. Where do you think mean revision is due in this market? Where could price wise or time wise correction take place or perhaps both?We have seen that around 1999, 2000, IT and consumer companies were trading at higher valuations and we saw a mean reversion in the PE ratio in the valuation over the next several years. We keep having this debate internally in our office every day that several of the high quality businesses with higher certainty of growth, great management and very good governance, are trading at very richly valued premium. But we have also seen that markets often under-estimate the longevity of growth and the ability of these management to keep re-inventing themselves and identifying new markets, new territories, new products, new ways of doing business and new ways of expanding their mode. You would like to remain invested in some of those managements, even if the valuations are slightly higher. Having said that, there are a lot of other businesses which today are not in favour simply because the economic growth is at 4.5%. Over the last few years, we have been at the trough of the investment cycle. We were in a cyclical slowdown. We have seen huge challenges in corporate lending. We have seen sector level challenges in telecom. Several of them are on the cusp of a revival and over the next three-five years, the rally is going to be more broad-based than what we have seen in the last few years.2015 to 2018 was dominated by smallcap stocks but now the focus is on largecap or mega cap stocks. Every time, there is a displacement in the economy, the big players become bigger and that is where the dominant share moves. If we are going through an economic displacement and slowdown, the big players will become even bigger. Why should one focus on small and midcap stocks?First of all, I do not think an investment philosophy depends on the market capitalisation of the company. There is largecap, midcap and smallcap. One looks at the company from the same prism. As I mentioned earlier, you look for a good business, good management and a reasonable valuation that does not change. What happens in case of mid and smallcaps is that the universe is very large, your opportunity of bottom fishing is much larger because you have top 100 companies that are largecap, next 150 in midcap and everything else is smallcap. Let me give you an example. Bajaj Finance has been doing well for the last few years. 10 years back, it would have been a smallcap, which became a midcap which became a largecap. Today, it is a mega cap stock. Some of the stocks that have done so well for us were smallcaps earlier. They have become largecaps in the last 10 years. I do not see any reason for the next 10 years to be any different. One has to look at a business regardless of whether it is a largecap or a midcap or a smallcap today. The equity universe is very large and maybe out of those couple of hundred stocks, if you identify five, then the universe is very large. I also want to mention one thing; Over the last several years, markets have always been paying a premium for the right reason to size and stability. To me, disruptions are underway both locally as well as globally. It is equally important that you look at the nimbleness and agility of the management. If a large company has got nimbleness and agility, it will continue to do well. But history is littered with several examples where with size has come complacency and with success, a lot of complacency. One has to look at whether the management is complacent or paranoid enough to keep re-inventing themselves. Could you identify two or three trends which will continue and two or three trends which are small but can become big? Your views on clear winners and future winners.The runway of growth in India is very long over the next several years. Just because the economy has not done well in the last one or two years and the overall number of companies that have done well have shrunk, it does not mean that this trend is likely to continue. The trend can change, growth can become more broad based. A year or two back, there were hardly any insurance companies or asset management companies that were in the listed space. Even NBFCs and HFCs are struggling. Some of the biggest wealth creators have been in that space. I am giving these examples to showcase the growth potential across all sectors. You talked about the consumption and the higher valuation of several companies in that space but there are so many niche areas where the total size of opportunity is large relative to what it is today as India grows from a $2.5-3 trillion to a $5 trillion economy. If we are able to pull millions of people out of poverty to a consuming middle class and part of the middle class to an upper middle class with an ability to consume various products, then you are going to create several categories. Who would have thought 10 years back that an innerwear company will have a market cap of a couple of billion dollars?
Categories: Business News

Oppo, Vivo join Xiaomi for wireless file transfer protocol

January 3, 2020 - 2:39pm
Chinese smartphone makers Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi on Thursday partnered to expand the peer-to-peer transmission alliance in the global market, while also welcoming more Android smartphone brands to join the movement.“This three-brand partnership aims to bring the millions of Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi users across the world effortless and more user-centric file-sharing. This is a significant first step for Oppo, vivo and Xiaomi to better serve their users collectively, and we also welcome other Android smartphone brands to get involved and provide a more open, effortless, and interactive experience for users,” Andy Wu, vice-president of Oppo and president of the company’s software engineering business division, said in a statement.The alliance will allow users to transmit files, pictures and videos without the need for an internet connection and these smartphone makers teamed up to form the peer-to-peer transmission alliance under the protocol for high-speed Wi-Fi Direct transfer across mobile devices.According to the company, the file transfer function scans devices using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) that boasts a broader range as well as lower power consumption, and it transmits files using Wi-Fi P2P (Peer to Peer) technology, which is faster than Bluetooth but will not compromise users’ Wi-Fi connectivity. This also delivers an average transfer speed of 20MB/s.
Categories: Business News

What will technology jobs look like a decade from now?

January 3, 2020 - 2:39pm
India, till not so long ago, could not churn out enough software programmers to keep up with demand. Although the demand still exists, it has become more complex and specialised. Thomas Frey, who advises companies on future trends, says every job will be a technology job going forward. “Emerging technology will provide a lot more opportunities, where every job will have a technology element to it. It will not be about humans versus artificial intelligence, but about working with them.People, however, need to be taught how to do this and enhance their skills,” the famed futurist and celebrity speaker said.The Indian IT industry is at the crossroads. It needs to take strategic decisions to remain relevant in the future.Individuals will need to upskill to ensure career longevity even as automation takes over certain jobs.Careers in vogue right now may not even exist a decade later.Blockchain, cryptocurrency, robotics and autonomous vehicles —all emerging technologies — will become mainstream over the next decade, requiring thousands of specialists.Anil Talreja, partner, Deloitte, Haskins & Sells says that people who can design and engineer apps and new use cases for technology will always remain in high demand. We will also have access to vast amounts of data going forward.“There will be huge demand for people who can analyse and structure this data such that it can be useful. While management consultants may not be needed, we will need data analysts, designers and engineers who can create algorithms to retrieve and structure this data,” he said.So, what will the technology jobs of the future look like?ET asked a few thought leaders and compiled a list of the most likely roles.Data DriversSolutions based on Artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things will become commonplace. This, in turn, will require an army of people to manage the data they generate.“As we leverage the human machine interface and as AI implementation increases, we will need a lot more people to work on data tagging and cleaning and labelling, creating millions of new jobs,” said Debjani Ghosh, president of IT industry lobby Nasscom. “We will need people to work with machines to do it and if India can build skills, then we can do it. This would solve an existing problem, plus create jobs.”Designing systems that can analyse and parse this data, while meeting ever evolving privacy norms across borders will be another requirement that will emerge across industry verticals.By 2030, 500 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet. The data from many of these sensors are of importance to businesses, which require data scientists to analyse and help take business decisions. It also would throw up an opportunity for people who design these sensors, apart from implementing them across newer industries and finding new use cases.Cybersecurity ExpertsIn the future, the world will be even more connected than it is today. Personal devices, machines, appliances, automobiles, everything will be connected to the internet, and emerge as a a potential target for cyber criminals. This will need far more people than today to anticipate the potential threats and create solutions for them. The electricity grid, the water supply system and the traffic lights will all be connected and any disruption could potentially create chaos in cities. India will require thousands of security experts who design systems that can constantly monitor threats, but also prevent attacks. Already, we see cyber criminals becoming more sophisticated in terms of the attack methodologies. These are still restricted primarily to computers but it is only a matter of time before all connected devices are under threat.In addition to cyber security firms, these professionals would also be employed by device manufacturers and designers, to build in security features at the core of the deviceEvery Job will be a Tech JobLawyers and doctors will exist in the future, too, but those jobs will morph into tech jobs. “Roles like HR which are currently non-tech will become tech jobs. These will require a tech bent of mind,” said Shekhar Sanyal, country head, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, India. Robotic process automation and bots will thrive in the workplace and HR professionals will need to understand technology and business to understand their implications. Within consumer products, too, things will change.The world buys close to 1.5 billion pairs of shoes a year. In the future, we will be able to slice and dice this depending on usage, and embed the required technology to enhance its functionality, such as a smart golfing shoe or to manage an injury. Gig workers will be the norm, experts say, moving across domains on the basis of their expertise in a specific technology area. What this will require is a change in how certain skills are taught in universities, with some basic tech skills being taught as part of the core curriculum, irrespective of the stream.Traffic Monitoring JobsDrones for delivery and driverless cars will spur mini-industries of their own. Control rooms of the future will require traffic management skills that include operating drones, managing autonomous cars, besides regular vehicles. Beyond command centre operators, designers, programmers and cybersecurity experts will be needed to ensure smooth functioning.Personal robots will also start replacing human assistants, in healthcare assistance or in customer service roles. This will require a dedicated ecosystem to build these robots and apps and maintain them, while keeping privacy and customer care at the core.From UI/UX skills to creating specialised program architecture, maintaining and keeping these robots secure will require a dedicated fleet of developers.Healthcare WorkersIt is estimated that there will be 300 million more people over the age of 65 in 2030, compared to the number in 2014. Spends on healthcare will increase, but healthcare as we know it today would have changed.Debjani Ghosh said health workers enabled by machines providing care would become more prevalent.“If this is done in a structured way, then millions of jobs could be created. There is strong government support for skilling initiatives,” she said. When AI and robotics move to implementation stage, it will create opportunities across industries. The way doctors and nurses do their jobs will be greatly impacted by how technology evolves. Personal care robots will be ubiquitous, need ing a dedicated set of tech workers to run and maintain them. These would function in collaboration with healthcare professionals. Digitisation of personal health and preventive healthcare will turn into a separate industry, driven almost entirely by data and tech professionals, and not healthcare workers.Space Tech JobsIndia’s space programme looks at tapping the private sector to build satellites and rockets to launch them from its spaceports. As Isro focuses on outer space missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus and the Sun and plans its first human space flight in the next two years, it will increasingly depend on the private sector to build and launch communication and remote sensing satellites. It also is looking to make India a hub to build small satellites and launch them from Indian soil, an industry, which officials say, has potential to replicate the country’s software industry. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has made people rethink space travel and exploration, according to Thomas Frey. Space tourism will create a mini industry of tech experts. Mission planning, launch management and experience design will have to be looked at through a tech lens, creating thousands of jobs requiring specialised skills.
Categories: Business News

The skeletons in Oyo's closet that Softbank should worry about

January 3, 2020 - 11:39am
By Vindu Goel and Karan Deep SinghNEW DELHI: Oyo, a startup that offers budget hotel rooms, has grown into one of India’s most valuable private companies and aims to be the world’s largest hotel chain by 2023.But at least part of Oyo’s rise in India was built on practices that raise questions about the health of its business, according to financial filings, court documents and interviews with 20 current and former employees, as well as others familiar with the startup’s operations. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the company.Oyo offers rooms from unavailable hotels, such as those that have left its service, according to the company’s chief executive and nine of the current and former employees. That has the effect of inflating the number of rooms listed on Oyo’s site.Thousands of the rooms are from unlicensed hotels and guesthouses, its executives have acknowledged. To deter trouble from authorities over the illegal rooms, Oyo sometimes gives free lodging to police and other officials, according to nine of the current and former employees and internal WhatsApp messages viewed by The New York Times.Oyo has also imposed extra fees on hotels and declined to pay the hotels the full amounts they claimed they were owed, according to interviews with hotel owners and employees, emails, legal complaints and other documents viewed by The Times. Some hotel operators have sought to file criminal complaints against Oyo, which said it withheld payments primarily over the hotels’ customer service issues.“It’s a bubble that will burst,” said Saurabh Mukhopadhyay, a former Oyo operations manager in northern India who left the company in September.Oyo is part of a group of prominent startups that have sprinted to get as big as possible, fed by money from large investors such as Japanese conglomerate SoftBank. Now some of those young companies — from office rental company WeWork in New York to delivery service Instacart in San Francisco — have started showing cracks in their businesses.Any fall by Oyo could blight India’s startup landscape, which has received billions in foreign capital in recent years, spawning other multibillion-dollar companies such as ride-hailing firm Ola and digital payments provider Paytm.It would also be another black eye for SoftBank, which is Oyo’s biggest investor and owns half the startup’s stock. Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s chief executive, has hailed Oyo as a jewel of his company’s $100 billion Vision Fund, even as he recently wrote off billions of dollars on other investments like WeWork.“This is the only company which went global at this scale from India,” Satish Meena, a senior forecaster for research firm Forrester in New Delhi, said of Oyo. “But as of now, there are serious doubts about the business model.”SoftBank declined to comment. 73078717 Ritesh Agarwal, Oyo’s chief executive, acknowledged in a recent interview that some of his company’s room listings included hotels that it no longer worked with. He said Oyo left those listings up and marked them as “sold out” as it tried to woo the hotels back.Aditya Ghosh, Oyo’s head of India operations, also said in an interview that many hotels lacked required licenses, leaving them vulnerable to the occasional government raid. He denied that Oyo gave free rooms to officials.Ghosh dismissed what he called “noise” from hotels about extra fees and nonpayment of bills. “The disagreement is about the penalties we charge on customer service failure,” he said.He added that nearly 80% of Oyo’s employees had been at the company for less than a year, so training has been a challenge. “We have just grown very, very fast,” he said.Founded in 2013 by Agarwal, then a 19-year-old student, Oyo set out to organize India’s budget hotels, which have traditionally been small, family-run enterprises. The company coaxes the hotels to become Oyo-branded destinations that list exclusively through its website; it then markets those rooms online to travelers and takes a cut of each stay. The startup also runs some hotels itself.Oyo is trying to expand globally and now offers more than 1.2 million rooms in 80 countries, including the United States. It employs more than 20,000 people and has raised more than $2.5 billion in funding. Agarwal has become a business star, hobnobbing with India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi.But as Oyo has grown, its losses have mushroomed. The company expects to lose money through at least 2021, according to recent government filings. Some efforts to expand in countries like Japan have flopped. In December, SoftBank and Agarwal put another $1.5 billion into Oyo to accelerate its expansion. The funding, negotiated over the summer, valued the company at $8 billion.At the same time, two other big investors, Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, reduced their holdings. The venture capital firms, which both hold board seats at Oyo, sold $1.5 billion of their stock — about half their stakes — to Agarwal. He borrowed money to buy the shares and paid the venture firms a price that valued Oyo at $10 billion.Lightspeed and Sequoia declined to comment. The current and former workers said that Oyo was never an easy place to work but that pressure increased over the last year.Mohammad Jahanzeb Gul, who joined the startup in January 2019 and supervised 23 Oyo properties, said that during the nine months he was there, he sometimes spent all day and night in front of a computer to meet deadlines.“The culture is really very toxic,” he said.Mukhopadhyay, who began working at Oyo in August 2018, said employees were under so much pressure to add new rooms that they brought hotels online that lacked air conditioning, water heaters or electricity. He and eight others said their managers had asked them to engage in a monthly shell game of briefly inserting these unavailable properties into Oyo’s listings — complete with fake photographs — to help impress investors.Ghosh, who left the India job this week and joined Oyo’s board, said that some hotels open in stages and that “there is no padding.”Saurabh Sharma, who worked for Oyo from 2014 to 2018 as an operations manager, said the company sometimes deliberately withheld payments from hotel owners — a practice that half a dozen other current and former employees also described.In some cases, they said, the startup wanted to squeeze the hotel owners into renegotiating contracts that it deemed unprofitable. In others, Oyo wanted to save money and figured that most owners would not press for full payment.“If 1,000 people shout, we will pay 200,” Sharma said Oyo managers had told him.In a police complaint filed in November, Betz Fernandez, owner of the Roxel Inn in Bangalore, said Oyo owed him $49,000 and acted with “intention to cheat and cause wrongful loss” by charging him for nonexistent guests and refusing to pay the contracted minimum monthly payment. Oyo said the dispute was in arbitration.Oyo’s oversight of its workers was also sometimes so lax that employees brazenly stole from it, said four people who were involved in the startup’s fraud-fighting efforts.Because Oyo hotels are popular with unmarried couples looking for places for their trysts, one scheme involved workers at properties run directly by the startup colluding to keep the guests checked in after they left. The workers then cleaned and resold the rooms for cash to other guests and pocketed the money, the people said.Oyo has conducted surprise raids at some properties, seizing employee cellphones and checking rooms and records for evidence, they said. An Oyo spokeswoman said it investigates all fraud accusations and had in some instances fired employees. Executives have also asked employees to paper over troubling incidents, some workers said. 73078729 Mukhopadhyay said that one night last June, a long-term guest at an Oyo-run property in Noida, near New Delhi, called him. She said three men had raped her in her room.The next morning, Mukhopadhyay and another Oyo employee were summoned to the police station, where they pleaded with the guest not to register a formal complaint. Oyo’s legal team also instructed them not to tell anyone about the incident because it could hurt the company’s image, he said. The guest withdrew the complaint and moved out.In a telephone interview, the guest confirmed Mukhopadhyay’s account. Oyo disputed some details and said any decision to file a complaint was up to the guest. Noida police said they had no record of a complaint.To placate authorities over unlicensed properties, Oyo managers also gave police and other government officials free rooms on request, current and former employees said. They said the details were recorded in dedicated WhatsApp groups, one of which The Times reviewed.Ghosh said, “We do not encourage or involve ourselves in any kind of bribery or graft.” Mukhopadhyay said Oyo’s growth practices contributed to his decision to leave. “There’s something called integrity,” he said. “I can’t compromise on that.”
Categories: Business News

Swiggy wants more money for delivery

January 3, 2020 - 11:39am
Bengaluru: Swiggy is progressively raising its commissions from restaurants in regions where its service is nearing maturity, while aggressively pushing partners to advertise on its platform, as the company shifts focus to monetising its core food ordering business, restaurateurs and others with knowledge of the matter said.The Bengaluru-based company has also increased delivery fees it charges the customer, to control its losses on a per delivery level, the people told ET.This comes in at a time when the food delivery industry is moving towards consolidation with Zomato in talks to buy UberEats. In December, ET reported that Uber was likely to invest at least $100 million in Zomato in exchange for the latter buying out the firm's India food delivery operations.Swiggy chief executive Sriharsha Majety had claimed the company leadership in the food delivery market with a 60% share. ET could not independently verify this number.“On streets where there is already a high density of restaurants, they (Swiggy) have started charging higher commission from new and even some existing restaurants,” said a fast-food chain owner that lists exclusively on Swiggy. “In upcoming cities and areas where they don’t have too many restaurants on their platform, they continue to charge lower fees.”The move also ties in with the company’s focus on getting restaurants to fund a larger chunk of promotions and explore other value added B2B services.The company typically engages restaurants on a 11-month contract and has been seen as increasing commissions when these contracts come up for renewal.It has raised its charges to 18-23% of the total order value, up from 12-18% it used to charge earlier, people told ET.“This is nothing but business as usual in a marketplace such as ours,” Swiggy said in a statement to ET, while denying any unusual increase in commissions for any specific restaurant partner base.“Commissions at Swiggy are not based on the category or market maturity/geography. It is worked upon at an individual restaurant level and is in line with factors like average order value, delivery costs and other costs that are incurred,” a Swiggy spokesperson said.Another person said the commissions Swiggy charged from restaurants in new regions were far higher than what it did when the company was growing its service in the major metros.“There is an increased focus on monetisation, cutting burn rates, profitability, unit economics by companies across the consumer Internet space,” said Ankur Pahwa, who leads EY India’s ecommerce and consumer Internet practice. “Food tech companies have created an ecosystem from scratch in the past five years which has significantly benefited the suppliers these platform work with. An increased commission structure addresses the value they are creating.” 73077747 Swiggy has already started charging restaurants on a pay-per-click model for ads they run on its platform, rather than a fixed fee like earlier, people in the know said. It has also made visible moves to improve monetisation in the past few months by increasing its delivery fee to ₹35 in select regions for orders below ₹98 and ₹25 for orders above that limit.Rival Zomato has more than halved its burn to under $20 million a month, from $45 million in March. Investors in Swiggy said the cash burn on its food delivery business continued to be about $30 million a month and that there was an intent to progressively get it down by the first quarter of 2020.“The two companies have very different growth paths which will become clearer in the coming year. However, unit economics focus in the core food delivery business is very real in the overall sector,” said an investor in the space.
Categories: Business News

7 disruptions that might strike your finances

January 3, 2020 - 11:39am
By Ashish ModaniAs we enter 2020, it is not just a new year, but the beginning of a new decade. You may see a lot of changes in a year, but literally everything changes in a decade in today’s world. And your financial world is no exception to this rule. Here are some changes you can anticipate in this decade and how you can be prepared for them.Currency is changing: Thousands of years before, humans used to live in small tribes and economic activity used to be conducted through the barter system. Exchanges used to happen with goods and services. You will give me wheat and I will work as a carpenter in your house. From tribes, humans then lived under dynasties and exchanges used to happen through coins of those dynasties. For thousands of years, coins remained the way of exchange. Coins made of stones to coins made of metals - gold, silver, brass, etc - and we called them “Ashrafis”. In the 18th century, with the starting of the industrial age, dynasties gave way to countries and currency shifted from coins to paper notes and each country had its own currency printed on paper. So India has rupee, the USA has a dollar, the UK has pounds and so on. But today, the world has just shrunk. You don’t even realize when your neighbor has returned from a four-day trip from Hongkong. It’s just too normal nowadays. In short, the world is now a trading place instead of tribes, dynasties or countries. In a business place called WORLD, the currency would be digital and by the end of this new decade, cash would literally get evaporated. Many countries will make it mandatory to deal digitally. If people still don’t believe the change, they will face the music. Family structure is shrinking My grandfather had six kids, my father had two, and I just have one kid. The family size is shrinking. Youngsters prefer to get married late and most do not want to have more than one or two kids, many prefer to have only one kid. This trend has at least started in urban India. Both the cost of living and standard of living has gone so high that it is becoming difficult to have a big family and hence preference is for the smaller one.My grandfather’s kids, when they grew old, wanted to have their own houses for living and for investment purposes. But I inherited my father’s house. So, the house was not my priority. My kid, when she would grow old and gets married, would have two or three real estates from my side and maybe from her in-law’s side as well. She is unlikely to look for another real estate. Size of Real Estate is getting smallerTo extend the above theory, my grandfather had a haveli spread in bighas, whereas my father has a bungalow in square yards. I live in square feet in a high rise apartment. So, the consumption of land is getting limited. God may not be producing any more land but the sky has no limits. With technological improvements, we are going to make very high-rise buildings in lesser area of land. Tax evasion is getting difficultIt is no brainer to say that how technology is going to make the financial system cleaner day by day. You may not be able to see the camera but the camera can surely see you. So, the creation of cash that used to be deployed mainly in physical assets will come down drastically. Financialization of savingIn the last two years, we have already witnessed a preference for financial assets than any other asset class. The trend is likely to pick up as investors will start liking the ease, convenience, liquidity, and other benefits. Also, there will be a nudge from the government. There will be many options like mutual Funds, NPS, ETFs, AIF, PMS, Bank Deposits, Government Schemes, etc.Within these assets, market-linked assets would occupy a major portion of investor’s wealth as they would eye for more return on investments. Rental Space may see bubblesIndians are used to products with guaranteed returns. However, there is already a dearth of such products. And many individuals are looking at rental income from commercial properties as residential rentals have already fallen drastically. This is going to create huge supply and demand will not match up. I believe oversupply would drag rentals much lower and many investors are going to get stuck again with illiquid assets just as they are stuck with real estate. More trouble would be for those investors who would take up a loan to build a rental property. Rentals would go down and the EMIs will start hurting them. Returns won’t be higherAs India would transition from a developing to a developed economy, inflation would come down and correspondingly interest would be lower. In a low-interest environment, higher returns would be very difficult to come by. Wealth will not be created by getting a higher return on investments, but by saving more money. At the same time, a lower return would not mean bad return, when adjusted with a lower inflation, lower returns are justified. It is important for you to understand that we are moving towards 2030, and not 2010. Changes are going to happen and those who adapt to changes will come out as a clear winner. In the end, I would like to quote William Arthur Ward here: The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.(Ashish Modani is the founder of SLA Financial Solutions, a wealth management firm based in Jaipur.)
Categories: Business News

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