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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY - February 2024

Feb 2024

May 25, 2024

Aditya Birla Group Joins $100 Billion Market Cap Club

  • The combined market capitalisation of the Aditya Birla Group firms surged past the $100 billion mark (Rs. 8,51,460.25 crore), joining the likes of Tata Group, Adani Enterprises and Reliance. The group firms -- UltraTech Cement, Grasim, Hindalco, Aditya Birla Capital, Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC, Vodafone Idea, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, TCNS Clothing, Aditya Birla Money, Century Textiles, Century Enka and Pilani Investment -- have a combined market valuation of Rs. 8,51,460.25 crore on the BSE. Diversified conglomerate Aditya Birla Group's market capitalisation has crossed the $100 billion mark, joining the likes of Tata Group, Adani Enterprises Ltd. and Reliance Industries Ltd. In rupee terms, the combined market cap of 11 companies in the pack stood at Rs. 8.51 lakh crore. The group firms include UltraTech Cement Ltd., Grasim Industries Ltd., Hindalco Industries Ltd., Aditya

10th World Water Forum Opens in Bali, Indonesia

  • The 10th World Water Forum, themed "Water for Shared Prosperity," officially commenced on May 21 in Bali, Indonesia. Attendees included numerous country leaders and United Nations representatives. The forum focused on four critical topics: water conservation, clean water and sanitation, food and energy security, and mitigation of natural disasters.
  • In his opening remarks, Indonesian President Joko Widodo highlighted the vulnerability of 500 million small farmers, who contribute 80 percent of the world's food, to drought by 2050. He emphasised the importance of global collaboration in tackling water-related challenges.

Google is Buying Minority Stake in Walmart-owned Flipkart

  • Google has proposed an investment in e-commerce major Flipkart to buy a minority stake during the company's fresh funding round. The Walmart group has announced the same. This investment would occur as part of Flipkart's current funding round led by Walmart, Flipkart's majority owner.
  • The company, however, neither disclosed the amount proposed to be invested by Google nor the details of the fund being raised by the firm. The announcement highlights a potential collaboration between the two companies on cloud technology, but did not disclose the investment amount or total funding Flipkart is seeking.

Maldives to Launch India's Rupay Service Amid Bilateral Tensions

  • The Maldives wants to make its own currency, the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR), stronger, so it has announced plans to accept India's RuPay payment service. This is a step forward in working together financially, even though there have been political problems between India and the Maldives lately because President Mohamed Muizzu supported China.
  • India's first world card payment network is RuPay, run by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It can be used at ATMs, Point of Sale (POS) terminals, and online stores in India. The Maldivian Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Mohamed Saeed, announced that the launch would take place in the Maldives. Even though the exact launch date hasn't been released yet, this project is meant to help the Maldivian economy by making the MVR more useful and stable.

N.P. Singh to Step Down as MD & CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India

  • NP Singh announced his decision to step down as MD and CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India after a 25-year tenure; he will focus on social change and advisory roles.
  • Singh, who joined Sony in 1999 as CFO and became CEO in 2014, emphasised his commitment to a smooth transition and continued success for the company.
  • NP Singh, MD & CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India has announced to step down from his role in the company and has decided to focus on social change and shift to advisory roles. But he will continue to lead the company till his successor is chosen, he said in a communication to journalists.
  • "After nearly 44 years in my career, including a rewarding 25-year tenure at SPNI, I have decided to move on from my role as MD and CEO," he said in a letter.

India Records Positive Growth among Top 5 World Steel Producers in April

  • India is the only country among the world's top five crude steel producers to record positive growth in April 2024, according to the World Steel Association. India, the second-largest crude steel producer globally, achieved a growth rate of 3.9% compared to April 2023.
  • World crude steel production in April 2024 was 155.7 million tonnes, a 5.0% decrease from April 2023. China, the largest steel producer, saw a 7.2% decline to 85.9 million tonnes. Japan, the third-largest producer, registered a 2.5% decline to 7.1 million tonnes. The United States, the fourth-largest producer, produced 6.7 million tonnes, a 2.8% decline. Russia, the fifth-largest producer, experienced a 5.7% decline to 6.2 million tonnes.

May 24, 2024

India's Market Capitalisation Reaches $5 Trillion Milestone

  • In a significant stride, India's market capitalisation has surged to $5 trillion, marking a historic achievement. This remarkable feat was accomplished in under six months since surpassing the $4 trillion mark, showcasing the nation's robust economic resilience and investor confidence.
  • Joining the elite league of countries with a $5 trillion market cap, India stands alongside stalwarts like the US, China, Japan, and Hong Kong. However, on a closing basis, India's market cap currently stands at $4.97 trillion on the BSE and $4.93 trillion on the NSE.
  • India's market cap witnessed a staggering surge of over 60% from its lows in March 2023, propelled by a rally in shares of small- and mid-sized firms. This uptick is attributed to a re-rating of valuations, fueled by improved economic and earnings growth prospects, surpassing global and emerging market peers.

SIDBI Partners with Airbus Helicopters to Finance Helicopter Purchases in India

  • SIDBI, in collaboration with Airbus Helicopters, has entered the realm of helicopter financing in India through a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This partnership aims to facilitate the financing of Airbus helicopters for potential civil operators in the country.
  • Under the MoU, SIDBI and Airbus Helicopters will jointly identify and evaluate potential helicopter operators in India seeking financing for Airbus helicopters. Airbus will leverage its technical expertise and industry knowledge to support SIDBI in assessing these prospects.
  • Rahul Priyadarshi, Chief General Manager at SIDBI, expressed optimism about this new venture, emphasising its potential to open up financing avenues for MSMEs in the helicopter segment.
  • Sunny Guglani, Head of Airbus Helicopters for India and South Asia, highlighted the significance of this collaboration in making civil helicopters more accessible in India, thereby contributing to national development.

Rushabh Gandhi Appointed as MD and CEO of IndiaFirst Life Insurance

  • The board of IndiaFirst Life Insurance has approved the promotion of Rushabh Gandhi, the current Deputy Chief Executive Officer, to the position of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD and CEO). Gandhi's appointment marks a significant milestone for the company, aligning with its succession strategy.
  • Succession Plan and Regulatory Approvals
  • Gandhi will assume his new role on July 1, 2024, or upon receiving the necessary regulatory approvals, whichever is later. His appointment is subject to the approval of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), the company's shareholders, and other statutory clearances. Gandhi will succeed R.M. Vishakha, the outgoing Managing Director and CEO, who will retire on June 30, 2024.

May 23, 2024

John Slaven Appointed Vice-Chairman of International Aluminium Institute

  • Vedanta Aluminium announced the appointment of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), John Slaven, as the Vice-Chairman of the International Aluminium Institute (IAI). In this prominent role, Slaven will spearhead global initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable transformation within the aluminium industry and highlighting aluminium's crucial role in advancing the energy transition towards a Zero Carbon future.
  • Established in 1972, the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) is the sole organization representing the global primary aluminium industry. Its mission is to increase awareness of the industry's operations, advocate for responsible production, and emphasize the significant environmental benefits of aluminium.

May 22, 2024

RITES Signs Pact with Bangladesh Railway to Supply 200 Passenger Coaches

  • State-owned RITES Ltd signed a contract with Bangladesh Railways to supply 200 broad-gauge passenger carriages to the neighbouring country.
  • The export arm of Indian Railways, RITES, won the $111.26 million (approximately Rs. 915 crore) contract, funded by European Investment Bank, through a global competitive bidding process.
  • Besides supply, RITES will offer its expertise in design, spare parts support and training as per the terms and conditions of the contract.
  • The contract has a supply with a commissioning period of 36 months, followed by a warranty period of 24 months.
  • RITES Ltd, formerly known as Rail India Technical and Economic Service Limited, is a Navaratna central public sector undertaking under India's Ministry of Railways. It was incorporated on April 26, 1974.
  • It is headquartered in Sector-29, Gurgaon, Haryana, India.

Bandhan Bank Seeks External Candidate for CEO Role as Ghosh Set to Retire

  • Kolkata-based Bandhan Bank is considering an external candidate to succeed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD and CEO) Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, who announced his scheduled retirement on July 9.
  • In April, the bank appointed headhunting firm Egon Zehnder to search for candidates for the CEO position.

Serum Institute of India Marks a Significant Milestone with the Shipment of its First Set of R21/...

  • Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines by number of doses, marked a significant milestone in May 2024 with the shipment of its first set of R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine to Africa. Around 43,200 doses of the vaccine were dispatched from India by SII in this shipment. Approximately 163,800 doses have been allocated for the Central African Region (CAR). SII shipped the vaccines to several African countries.
  • The vaccine, aimed at preventing malaria, has been developed in collaboration with University of Oxford and uses Novavax's adjuvant. Malaria is an infection caused by a plasmodium parasite transmitted by the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • Serum Institute of India is an Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals company, based in Pune. It was founded by Cyrus Poonawalla in 1966.

Samsung Replaces Chip Chief with Veteran Executive Jun as SK Hynix Takes AI Lead

  • Samsung Electronics replaced the chief of its semiconductor division in a bid to overcome a chip crisis, amid a booming market for AI chips where the world's biggest memory chipmaker has lagged peers.
  • The South Korean manufacturer appointed Young Hyun Jun effective immediately, shifting him from the role as head of its future business planning unit.
  • The move is likely aimed at catching up in the market for top-end chips used in artificial intelligence such as high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips, an area where Samsung has fallen behind rivals such as SK Hynix.

May 21, 2024

TaMo's Arms Partners with Bajaj Finance to Provide Financing to Dealers

  • Tata Motors said its passenger vehicles and passenger electric mobility subsidiaries have tied up with Bajaj Finance for providing supply chain finance solutions to their respective dealers.
  • Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles (TMPV) and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility (TPEM), subsidiaries of Tata Motors, have joined hands with Bajaj Finance to extend supply chain finance solutions to its passenger and electric vehicle dealers.
  • Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the participating companies will come together to leverage Bajaj Finance's wide reach to help dealers of TMPV and TPEM access funding with minimal collateral.

Yes Bank Launches Premium Services under 'Yes Grandeur' for Affluent, Elite Customers

  • YES Bank launched YES Grandeur, a banking program targeted at the emerging affluent section of the society. So, only banking customers with an average monthly balance (AMB) of Rs. 5 lakh or a net relationship value (NRV) of Rs. 20 lakh will be eligible for the program, with additional consideration to loan relationships.
  • YES Grandeur is aimed at enhancing and personalising the customer experience by offering unique banking, travel and lifestyle privileges. The banking benefits will include premium service, such as dedicated relationship managers, preferential rates on banking services, exemption across a host of charges, discounts on locker facilities, and a special 3-in-1 account with demat, trading and savings accounts.

Bank of Maharashtra Tops among PSU Banks in Business Growth in FY24

  • Bank of Maharashtra emerged as a top performer among public sector banks, showcasing impressive growth in total business and deposit mobilization. With a 15.94% rise in total business and a 15.66% increase in deposits, it outshined competitors like State Bank of India. The bank's focus on low-cost CASA deposits, coupled with robust loan growth and exemplary asset quality, positions it as a resilient and efficient player in the banking sector.
  • Bank of Maharashtra also maintained its leading position in terms of deposit mobilization growth, achieving a notable 15.66% rise in the last fiscal year.

Sanjiv Puri Elected CII President for 204-25

  • In a significant leadership transition, Sanjiv Puri, the Chairman and Managing Director of ITC Ltd., was elected as the President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the term 2024-25. Puri succeeded R. Dinesh, Chairman of TVS Supply Chain Solutions, in this prestigious role. Alongside Puri, Rajiv Memani assumed the position of President-Designate, while R. Mukundan took on the role of Vice President for the same term.
  • Sanjiv Puri, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and Wharton School of Business, brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having been actively involved in various initiatives to foster growth and sustainability in India's corporate landscape. Notably, Puri's leadership extends beyond ITC Ltd., as he has chaired expert groups and received accolades such as the 'Best CEO Award' from Business Today and the 'Transformational Leader Award' from the Asian Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability.

Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani Secure Positions among the World's Top 15 Super Rich

  • Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani made it to the top 15 world's super-rich list of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This marks a significant achievement, especially for Gautam Adani, who reclaimed his position after losing it in 2023. Notably, for the first time, all individuals in the top 15 have a net worth of $100 billion or more.
  • Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), is ranked 12th with a wealth of $110 billion. Gautam Adani, with a wealth of $100 billion, is ranked 14th.
  • Bernard Arnault, the founder and CEO of LVMH, continues to lead the world's richest list with a net worth of $222 billion.
  • Jeff Bezos: The founder of Amazon.com Inc. is the second richest person with a net worth of $208 billion.
  • Elon Musk: CEO of Tesla, ranks third with a net worth of $187 billion. Despite a significant drop of over $40 billion this year, Musk remains one of the wealthiest individuals globally.
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