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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY - November 2020

Nov 2020

Mar 02, 2021

O2 Power to Buy Stake in Hero Future Energies' Rajasthan SPV

    • O2 Power, promoted by European alternative asset manager EQT and Temasek, is acquiring a 49% stake in Rahul Munjal-led Hero Future Energies Pvt. Ltd's special purpose vehicle (SPV)–Clean Solar Power Bhainsada–that is setting up a 250 megawatt (MW) solar capacity in Rajasthan.
    • The SPV won this project by quoting a tariff of Rs2.53 per unit and has a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). An announcement is expected to be made shortly about this sale, that will help O2 Power reach a 1.23-gigawatt (GW) portfolio.
    • This sale is part of the transaction for which Hero Future Energies has mandated HSBC to sell 500 MW of pre-construction assets. With an installed capacity of 1.7 GW and an additional 1.5GW under construction, Hero Future Energies plans to build a 3.5GW operating portfolio by 2022.

BPCL to Sell Entire Stake in Numaligarh Refinery

  • State-run Bharat Petroleum Corp. will offload its holding in its unit Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. for Rs. 9,878 crore ($1.3 billion) as part of its own privatisation process.
  • The country's second-biggest state refiner will sell its 61.65% holding in Numaligarh Refinery to a consortium of Oil India Ltd. and Engineers India Ltd. and may also include the state government of Assam, according to an exchange filing. The final sale pact will be entered into after obtaining clearances from its shareholders.
  • Oil India currently holds 26% in Numaligarh Refinery Ltd., which operates a 3 million-tons-a-year oil refinery in Assam. The refinery is being expanded threefold to meet the region's growing fuel demand. Assam state government owns 12.35% in the company.
  • Privatisation process of BPCL moves ahead with BPCL Board deciding to exit from NRL at a consideration of Rs 9875.96 Cr for its 61.65% stake with transfer of control. OIL, EIL and Government of Assam will be picking up the stake.

BOC Aviation and IndiGo Sign Purchase-leaseback Pact

  • BOC Aviation Limited has signed purchase-and-leaseback agreements with InterGlobe Aviation Ltd (IndiGo) for eight new Airbus A320NEO aircraft.
  • The addition of these eight A320NEO aircraft demonstrates our confidence in the future growth of the aviation market in India.
  • The aircraft will be powered by CFM Leap engines and are scheduled to be delivered in the second half of 2021.

Mar 01, 2021

RBI Fines Bank of Maharashtra with Rs. 2 crore

  • The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs. 2 crore on Bank of Maharashtra for non-compliance with certain direction on fraud classification and reporting.
  • The RBI has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs. 2 crore on Bank of Maharashtra (the bank) for contravention of / non-compliance with certain provisions of the directions contained in the Reserve Bank of India (Frauds classification and reporting by commercial banks and select FIs) directions 2016.
  • The bank also violated the RBI directions on Concurrent Audit System in Commercial Banks, disclosure of customer complaints and unreconciled balances on account of ATM transactions, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Sector – Restructuring of Advances.
  • This penalty has been imposed in exercise of powers vested in the RBI under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

Maruti Suzuki Achieves 2 Million Vehicle Export Milestone from India

  • The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) has achieved the milestone of 20 lakh cumulative exports.
  • The auto major achieved the milestone as a batch of products comprising S-Presso, Swift and Vitara Brezza left for South Africa from the Mundra Port in Gujarat.
  • The company has been exporting vehicles for the past 34 years much before India became a prominent player in the global automobile business. This early global exposure helped the company enhance its quality and attain global benchmarks.
  • The automaker currently exports 14 models comprising nearly 150 variants, to over 100 countries.

Puravankara Enters Plotted Development Business

  • Realty firm Puravankara Ltd has entered into plotted development segment and will start six projects over the next 6-7 months with an investment of about Rs. 825 crore, as it seeks to tap the rising demand of plots.
  • Bengaluru-based Puravankara Ltd Managing Director Ashish R Puravankara said the company has created a separate brand and team 'Purva Land' to enter into plotted development segment.
  • To begin with, the company, a leading real estate firm in South and West India, will launch around 5.5 million sq ft area across six projects in Bengaluru, Chennai and Coimbatore where it will offer plots.
  • The company will be launching six projects over the next six-seven months.
  • Out of six projects, three would be launched in Bengaluru, two in Chennai and one in Coimbatore. Land parcels for four projects are fully owned by the company, while two projects are in the joint venture.

Indian Oil to Expand Panipat Refinery

  • Oil marketing firm Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is expanding its Panipat refinery's capacity from 15 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) to 25 MMTPA at a cost of Rs. 32,946 crore.
  • The expansion will include installation of a polypropylene unit and a catalytic dewaxing unit. The project is expected to be commissioned by September 2024.
  • The capacity expansion will improve operational flexibility of the refinery to meet domestic energy demand and also enhance the petrochemical's intensity.
  • The Panipat refinery meets demand of petroleum products in Haryana and northwestern region including Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and parts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

RIL Buys Majority Stake in skyTran

  • Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reilance Industries' subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited (RSBVL) said that it has acquired additional equity stake in its investee company skyTran Inc. for a consideration of $26.76 million, increasing its shareholding to 54.46 per cent on a fully diluted basis.
  • skyTran is a US technology company. It has developed breakthrough passive magnetic levitation & propulsion technology for implementing personal transportation systems aimed at solving the problem of traffic congestion globally. The technology has been developed by skyTran to create Smart Mobility Solutions.
  • The proposed skyTran transportation systems would consist of computer controlled passenger pods running on its state-of-the-art, patented passive magnetic levitation technology and would use cutting edge IT, Telecom, loT and Advanced Materials technologies to transport passengers in a fast, safe, green, and economical manner. It is also supported by notable global venture capital investors such as innovation endeavours.

McDonald's Considers Selling Part of Digital Startup Dynamic Yield

  • McDonald's Corp is exploring selling part of Israeli artificial intelligence startup Dynamic Yield Ltd, which it acquired two years ago in an attempt to boost online marketing efforts.
  • Dynamic Yield, run as a standalone company within McDonald's, personalizes customers' experience by changing offerings on the chain's Drive Thru menu displays, according to time of day, weather, customer traffic and trending choices.
  • The startup, whose customers include IKEA and Lacoste, has businesses with more than 300 brands globally.
  • "The potential sale of the non-McDonald's part of our business has been discussed from the outset and now feels like the right time to explore that possibility," its chief executive, Liad Agmon, said in a statement.

Feb 28, 2021

IRDAI Sets up Panel to Relook Guidelines on Information, Cybersecurity

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has formed a working group committee to relook its information and security guidelines amid the exponential increase in cyber attacks across the globe in the wake of covid-19.
  • The economic situation owing to Covid-19 pandemic has seen an exponential increase in cyber-attacks across the globe and in particular, the financial sector. This situation has necessitated Regulators to re-look into their Cyber Security Guidelines applicable to all regulated entities to protect the financial systems.
  • Earlier, in April 2017, the regulator had issued guidelines on cybersecurity as a part of its governance mechanism. The mandate also included the Information Security Committee (ISC), Board-approved Information & Cyber Security Policy, Appointment of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and Cyber Crisis management plan (CCMP).

DHFL Gets No Objection from RBI

  • DHFL said that it has received no objection from the Reserve Bank and has filed application with NCLT for submission of the resolution plan of Piramal Capital & Housing Finance.
  • Earlier this week, DHFL had announced Piramal group's resolution plan getting approval from the RBI.
  • Pursuant to the receipt of no objection from Reserve Bank of India as per Insolvency and Bankruptcy Rules, 2019, the administrator of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) has filed an application for submission of resolution plan of Piramal Capital & Housing Finance Limited (PCHFL) with the adjudicating authority NCLT, Mumbai Bench.
  • The resolution plan has been approved by the Committee of Creditors (CoC).

Tube Investments Ropes in Korean Firm for 3-wheeler EV Technology

  • Murugappa Group's Tube Investments India (TII) partnered with a Korean firm to design an electric three- wheeler. The Rs. 38,000 crore Murugappa Group intends to enter complete automobile manufacturing through its group company TII, which is planning to make and sell electric three-wheelers.
  • During an analyst call, Vellayan Subbiah, managing director, TII said that the company will start manufacturing and selling electric three wheelers by December to January time-frame.
  • The technology for the EV three-wheeler, for which a prototype has already been developed, would be a combination of in-house as well as design support from a Korean company.

Paytm, Ola and IndusInd Bank Team up to Apply for NUE Licence

  • Indian startup unicorns Paytm and Ola have reportedly tied up with IndusInd Bank to apply to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a New Umbrella Entity (NUE) license.
  • An NUE will have powers similar to the state-owned National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which owns and operates the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) network and RuPay card payments network, along with the wider retail and payments settlement system in the country. Unlike NPCI, an NUE could be a for-profit entity.
  • Last year, RBI announced that private entities, subject to certain requirements, would be eligible to apply for an NUE license.

Feb 27, 2021

Kalrock-Jalan Consortium to Invest in Jet Airways

  • Kalrock-Jalan consortium will invest around Rs. 1,375 crore in Jet Airways over two years.
  • The consortium which won the bid to revive the grounded airline in October 2020 plans to start with domestic services using 5-7 new aircraft and will fund the investment through a mix of equity and debt.
  • The amount would be utilised for start-up expenses and paying creditor dues, it is learnt.
  • While most of its fleet was repossessed, Jet Airways still has twelve aircraft including Airbus A330, Boeing 737 and Boeing 777 planes. However, the consortium does not plan to use the existing fleet and aims to relaunch the operations with new aircraft.

Huawei, Reeling from US Sanctions, Plans Foray into EVs

  • China's Huawei plans to make electric vehicles under its own brand and could launch some models this year,  as the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, battered by U.S. sanctions, explores a strategic shift.
  • Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is in talks with state-owned Changan Automobile and other automakers to use their car plants to make its electric vehicles (EVs), according to two of the people familiar with the matter.
  • Huawei is also in discussions with Beijing-backed BAIC Group's BluePark New Energy Technology to manufacture its EVs.

ICICI Bank Launches 'Namma Chennai Smart Card'

  • ICICI Bank partnered with the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and Chennai Smart City Limited (CSCL) for the launch of the Namma Chennai Smart Card.
  • The prepaid card also facilitates retail payments within Chennai as well as in retail stores and e-commerce websites across the country. This will offer a common payment card platform to residents for making payments for various services within the city.
  • The Namma Chennai Smart Card has various features, which residents can manage seamlessly online on a dedicated customer portal.
  • These include features like card block/unblock, activation, pin-reset, etc. Additionally, in the coming days, residents will also be able to reload the card digitally through UPI on the customer portal or the iSmart City app. Customers will also get exciting discount offers on the card around the year, which will be promoted in the coming days on the Bank's website. Users also have the option to manage the card online through a dedicated customer portal or the iSmart City app.

State Bank of India, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate Sign MoU

    • State Bank of India and Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable faster processing of home loans, approvals and to provide other benefits.
    • The lender's head and chief general manager (Real Estate & Housing Business Unit) Shreekant said that the collaboration will create win-win business opportunities for all stakeholders.
    • The tie-up will cover the new and existing housing projects across key markets.

Feb 26, 2021

Post-Retirement Fund Guarantee Plan By Bajaj Allianz Life

  • Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance launched an insurance plan offering a guaranteed regular deferred annuity during post-retirement life.
  • There is a funding gap in the post-retirement life and lots of people will not be earning but would need funds, so this is a grave issue that needs to be addressed, said Bajaj Allianz Life MD and CEO Tarun Chugh while announcing the launch of 'Bajaj Allianz Life Guaranteed Pension Goal' plan.
  • The plan is designed to fill the gap of the pension needs of various categories of people, which has nine different variants in the offing.
  • Bajaj Allianz Life claimed it is the only life insurance plan that offers a regular premium deferred annuity option so that the policyholders have a guarantee of their pension, having paid regularly over a period of time, when they are not active in work life.

Fino Payments Bank Elevated to the Status of Scheduled Commercial Bank

  • Fino Payments Bank is now a scheduled commercial bank and will explore new growth opportunities.
  • The Reserve Bank of India announced through a notification that Fino Payments Bank has been included in the Second Schedule to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
  • The scheduled commercial bank status allows Fino Payments Bank to enhance its banking position in the treasury and participation in LAF (Liquidity Facility) window, as per the RBI. It also helps the bank strengthen its business proposition on liabilities generation.
  • As a scheduled commercial bank, Fino Payments Bank will be better positioned to explore and manage government businesses. 

Finance Ministry Allows Private Sector Banks for Government Related Transactions

  • All private sector banks will be allowed to conduct government related banking transactions such as tax and pension payments.
  • Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that private banks can now be equal partners in development of the Indian economy, furthering government social sector initiatives, and enhancing customer convenience.
  • The Finance Ministry said that the government has conveyed its decision to the Reserve Bank of India or RBI. At present besides state run lenders only a few selected private sector banks are allowed to conduct government related banking transactions.
  • With the lifting of the embargo there is now no bar on RBI for authorisation of private sector banks for government business including government agency buisness.
  • Government related banking transactions include taxes and other revenue payment facilities, pension payments and small savings schemes. 
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