QBiz: Free Hotstar For Airtel Users; Sebi Probes Fortis Healthcare

Here are the top business stories of the day.

5 min read
The Reserve Bank of India. 

1. RBI Overhauls Stressed Asset Framework

Having pushed lenders into resolving nearly 40 of the largest bad loan accounts via the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has now revised its stressed asset framework to ensure speedy resolution of bad loans in the future. An overarching theme of the new framework is a reliance on the IBC to resolve stressed assets, while doing away with a number of interim schemes introduced before India adopted a bankruptcy code.

“In view of the enactment of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), it has been decided to substitute the existing guidelines with a harmonised and simplified generic framework for resolution of stressed assets,” said the RBI in a notification released late on Monday evening.

Key features of the new framework include doing away with schemes like Strategic Debt Restructuring (SDR), the Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A), and the Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) scheme, among others. To replace these schemes, the RBI has put in place a strict timeline over which a resolution plan must be implemented, failing which stressed accounts must be referred to the IBC.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

2. The Slurry Pipeline That Could Muddy Essar Steel's Insolvency Bid

Indian lenders, in the midst of finalising a resolution plan for debt laden Essar Steel Ltd, have a new problem on hand. One of the bidders for the asset is trying to gain control of a key pipeline which supplies raw material to Essar Steel’s Odisha plant, even before it secures ownership of Essar Steel. Should it succeed, competing bidders may find the asset less attractive and more complex to operate.

The bidder complicating matters is Numetal Mauritius – an SPV in which the Ruia family has an interest. On 16 January, BloombergQuint reported that a Singapore based trusteeship, of which a Ruia family member is the beneficial owner, holds 30 percent in Numetal Mauritius.

In an email response to BQ, Numetal confirmed that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Orissa Slurry Pipeline India Ltd.

Numetal Mauritius and ArcelorMittal – which is bidding through its subsidiary ArcelorMittal India Pvt. Ltd. (AMIPL) – have submitted bids for Essar Steel.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

3. Hotstar Content Will Be Available for Free to All Airtel Mobile Customers

Bharti Airtel and Star India’s over-the-top video-streaming platform, Hotstar, have entered a strategic partnership to bring digital content from the latter’s portfolio to the former’s customers. This will expand Airtel TV app’s range of offerings and expand the footprint of Hotstar’s content.

Now, Airtel TV consumers will get access to more than 350 live TV channels and close to 10,000 popular movies and shows from India and abroad.

4. Bank of Baroda to Exit South Africa, Confirms Country's Central Bank

Bank of Baroda will exit the South African market amidst allegations that a prominent political family used the lender’s network for illicit transactions.

In a statement issued on Monday, the South African central bank said that Bank of Baroda has informed it of the plan to exit. The central bank added that the exit would be handled in a manner that no depositor is disadvantaged.

The Bank of Baroda has notified the Office of the Registrar of Banks of its exit from South Africa. The Registrar, which is part of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), is in discussions with the Bank of Baroda to ensure its orderly withdrawal from South Africa so that no depositor is disadvantaged.
South African Reserve Bank Statement

(Source: BloombergQuint)

5. Sebi Begins Probing Fortis Healthcare Over Fund Diversion Claims

India’s markets regulator has started a preliminary examination of the issues at hospital operator Fortis Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, including alleged instances of fund diversions, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India, or Sebi, has written to the company seeking explanations on fund transfers to firms related to the promoters and the delay in releasing its fiscal-second quarter earnings, the two people, including a regulatory official, said on condition of anonymity.

(Source: Mint)

6. Max Life Emerges as Front Runner to Buy IDBI Federal Life

Max Life Insurance Co. Ltd has emerged as the leading candidate to buy out or pick up a majority stake in IDBI Federal Life Insurance Co. Ltd, said two people directly aware of ongoing talks.

IDBI Federal Life is valued at around Rs6,000 crore, said one of the two people, adding that Max is more likely to buy a 51% stake in the firm. The person declined to be identified.

(Source: Mint)

7. How Apple Plans to Debug, Revamp IPhone Software

Apple Inc.’s annual software upgrade this fall will offer users plenty of new features: enabling a single set of apps to work across iPhones, iPads and Macs, a Digital Health tool to show parents how much time their children have been staring at their screen and improvements to Animojis, those cartoon characters controlled by the iPhone X’s facial recognition sensor.

But just as important this year will be what Apple doesn’t introduce: redesigned home screens for the iPhone, iPad and CarPlay, and a revamped Photos app that can suggest which images to view.

These features were delayed after Apple concluded it needed its own major upgrade in the way the company develops and introduces new products. Instead of keeping engineers on a relentless annual schedule and cramming features into a single update, Apple will start focusing on the next two years of updates for its iPhone and iPad operating system, according to people familiar with the change.

(Source: Mint)

8. Govt to Throw up 'Grand' Challenges Before Innovators of World: NITI Aayog CEO

NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant, on 12 February, said the government would throw up 'grand' challenges before innovators in India as well as the world to find solutions to the problems of the country.

He said the Silicon Valley has the greatest number of innovators trying to find solutions to the least number of problems, whereas India has all the challenges of the world.

9. Shortage of Coal Caused Power Generation Loss in 2017-18, Acknowledges Govt

Acknowledging that coal shortage hit power generation in the current year, and that coal supply still was a sore point, the power ministry has said that the sector would need 615 million tonnes of coal supply in the coming financial year. This would also entail an increased demand of railway rakes of 288 per day to meet the demand.

In an inter-departmental meeting of power, coal, railways, along with NTPC and Coal India, held in January, Power Minister RK Singh said that efforts should be made to ensure that there was no shortage of coal during the next monsoon season.

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