QBiz: Relief for Telecom Sector; Pepperfry Raises Rs 250 Crore
1. NCLT Halts Reliance Infratel’s Asset Sale
The Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Wednesday, 7 March, directed Reliance Infratel Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom), to stay the sale of its assets until 13 March.
The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by offshore investors of Reliance Infratel led by HSBC Daisy Investments (Mauritius) Ltd, which are alleging oppression of minority shareholders and mismanagement.
After hearing the arguments of Reliance Infratel, overseas investors and the joint lenders’ forum of RCom, the NCLT division bench of BSV Prakash Kumar and Ravikumar Duraisamy reserved its final order, to be released on 12 March.
2. SEBI Chief Raises Money Laundering Concerns Over Private Equity, Venture Capital Funds
SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi red-flagged private equity, venture capital and hedge funds as a possible tool for money laundering.
Such alternate investment funds need immediate attention and have forced the regulator to check possible money-laundering tendencies, Tyagi said while addressing members of Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association in Mumbai on Wednesday, 7 March. “It has to be ensured that at all costs that AIF route should not be used to circumvent other laws.”
Alternate Investment Funds (AIF) plough in the largest investments in India after foreign portfolio investors. They pumped in Rs 90,000 crore in 2017, higher than what companies raised from capital markets, according to an IVCA presentation. That’s expected to hit Rs 1.5 lakh crore this year. AIFs have invested Rs 9.1 lakh crore in India in the last 12 years.
3. Relief for Telecom Sector! Govt Okays Measures to Facilitate Investments
The government on Wednesday, 7 March, cleared a relief package for the debt-ridden telecom sector, giving more time to operators to pay for the spectrum bought in auctions.
It has also relaxed the spectrum holding limit for the telecom operators, according to an official spokesperson.
The package was cleared by the Cabinet based on the recommendations of the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) on the telecom sector.
(Source: Business Standard)
4. Tata Steel Emerges Top Bidder for Bhushan Steel Acquisition
Tata Steel Ltd has emerged as the highest bidder to buy a controlling stake in Bhushan Steel Ltd, which is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.
In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, 7 March, Tata Steel said that it has been identified as the highest bidder under the corporate insolvency resolution process by the committee of creditors of Bhushan Steel on 6 March.
Tata Steel is in discussion with advisers to the committee of creditors and the resolution professional of Bhushan Steel on the next steps in the process, Tata Steel said in the statement.
5. Government May Revaluate Bank Recap After PNB Fraud
The government may re-evaluate its bank recapitalisation plan after the over Rs 12,700-crore fraud at Punjab National Bank and the possibility of more public-sector lenders coming under the central bank’s prompt corrective action, a senior government official told BloombergQuint requesting anonymity.
Of the earmarked Rs 2.11-lakh crore plan, banks are expected to raise Rs 58,000 crore from the market. That would be difficult after the fraud at the second-largest public-sector lender and if more banks come under the PCA, the first official quoted above said.
The PCA imposes restrictions on a bank’s lending activity if it breaches thresholds for bad loans, weak capital levels and low return on assets.
6. Japan May Punish Crypto Exchanges, Halt Ops After $530-Mn Coincheck Heist
Japan's financial regulator will this week slap several cryptocurrency exchanges with administrative punishment notices and is considering forcing some to suspend their business, the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday, 7 March.
The Financial Services Agency may also tell Coincheck Inc - the exchange targeted by hackers in a $530 million theft of digital money in January - to raise its standards, in what would be the second such order to the exchange, the Nikkei said.
The FSA will mete out the punishments after uncovering flaws in customer protection and anti-money laundering measures during on-site checks at the exchanges, the Nikkei said, without citing the source of the information or specifying what the punishments would entail.
(Source: Business Standard)
7. Axis Bank Set to Partner With WhatsApp for UPI
Stressing that the fintech era is all about partnering, third largest private sector lender Axis Bank on Wednesday, 7 March, said it will "soon" be able to process payments over the popular chatting application WhatsApp.
"The narrative from the fintech side has changed from being competitors to banks to collaborators to banks. Whether it is Axis powers Google tez for UPI or we will soon power WhatsApp for UPI," its executive director and head of retail banking, Rajiv Anand, said at an event in New Delhi.
It can be noted that the Facebook-owned app is already in the test phase of its payments application, where it is using the Unified Payment Interface for processing payments.
8. Pepperfry Raises Rs 250 Crore From State Street Global Advisors
Online furniture retailer Pepperfry said it has raised Rs 250 crore in a fresh funding round from US-based investor State Street Global Advisors to consolidate its lead in furniture retail, by expanding its offline presence and logistics network.
Pepperfry chief executive Ambareesh Murty said in an interview that the company will use the funds to expand its supply chain, invest in technology and open new stores. Murty declined to comment on the company’s valuation.
The entry of a new investor into Pepperfry comes as a validation for the retailer, especially in a market where few e-commerce companies have been able to attract new investors.
9. Three Reasons Why Oil Marketers Will Get an Earnings Boost This Quarter
Higher mark-ups, stable refining margins and likely inventory gains will aid state-run oil refiners and marketers’ earnings in the ongoing quarter.
Marketing margins of the three public sector fuel retailers — Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd — are the highest in nine months, having risen nearly 30 percent on an average over the previous month in March.
Diesel and petrol have been deregulated and retail prices move in line with the global trend in India, world’s third-biggest importer of oil. While the crude surged more than 16 percent in the quarter ended December, auto fuels costs rose by up to one percent, according to Bloomberg data.