QBiz: Wadia Files Criminal Suit; ONGC to Buy GSPC KG Basin Block

Catch the latest business news from across the country on QBiz. 

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Nusli Wadia, chairman of Wadia Group and director of Tata Chemicals. (Photo: PTI)

1. Wadia Files Criminal Suit Against Tatas

Nusli Wadia, the former independent director on the board of Tata Steel and Tata Motors, on Friday filed a criminal defamation suit against Tata Sons Interim Chairman Ratan Tata, the company and its directors.

Larsen & Toubro Chairman AM Naik, Godrej group director Tania Godrej-Dubash will be among others who would be witnesses to Wadia’s good character.

The suit has been filed, in the court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate, against a special notice to remove Wadia from the boards of the Tata firms for purportedly acting in concert with former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry and galvanising other directors against the Tatas.

2. ONGC to Buy GSPC's KG Basin Block for Over $1.1 Billion

State-owned explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) said it decided to purchase an 80 percent stake and development rights in Gujarat State Petroleum Corp Ltd’s (GSPC’s) Deen Dayal West field in the Krishna Godavari offshore block OSN-2001/3 for $995.26 million.

ONGC will also pay another $200 million for six other discoveries within this block as part payment and the final consideration for those will be decided after their development plan is cleared by the regulator, ONGC said in a late Friday evening statement.

(Source: Livemint)

3. Tata Motors Looks to Add an Amphibious Vehicle to Its Defence Arsenal

The defence division of Tata Motors Ltd, India’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, plans to have a prototype of its much-hyped futuristic infantry combat vehicle (FICV) ready in 2-3 years, if it emerges as a successful bidder for the contract.

The Vice-President of the defence division, Vernon Noronha, is confident the Tata Motors-led consortium will make it to the list. The FICV, an amphibious combat vehicle, is expected to replace the ageing fleet of BMP armoured vehicles procured from Russia.

The successful bidder will finalise the nitty-gritties with respect to technology-related demands in consultation with the government – a process that will take at least 2-3 months. A detailed project report can be prepared only after that.

The FICV segment has a projected annual revenue of Rs 3,500 crore, and Tata Motors wants to deliver 2,100 units over a period of 30 years. “Even at our fastest pace, delivery will take 30 years,” Noronha said.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

4. Reliance Jio Free Offer Should Not Be Extended, Airtel Tells TDSAT

Bharti Airtel on Friday moved telecom dispute tribunal Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) allowing Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio to continue its free promotional offer beyond the stipulated 90 days, charging the regulator of being a “mute spectator” to violations.

In its 25-page petition before the TDSAT, Aitel asked the quasi-judicial body to direct TRAI to ensure that Reliance Jio does not provide its free voice and data plan beyond 31 December.

(Source: Livemint)

5. EY, PwC, Deloitte and KPMG Lose Big as 800 mid and Senior Executives Bid Adieu in 2016

At a time when the audit firms are trying every trick in the book to contain attrition, an all-time high 800 mid and senior executives from the Big Four – EY, PwC, Deloitte and KPMG – including partners and directors have jumped ship to join competition in 2016.

The audit firms have not only increased gardening leaves, which is sometimes six months to one year for senior executives, now but in the last one year they have become much stricter in its imposition including holding back capital for an extended period, yet this year the Big Four saw mass exodus not seen in the last 4-5 years.

(Source: Economic Times)

7. Flipkart Co-founders Bet Big on Startups With Futuristic Ideas

Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, the poster boys of Indian e-commerce, are betting on so-called moonshot ideas, backing early-stage technology companies working in areas such as healthcare and otherwise struggling to raise money from traditional investors.

The latest such company the Flipkart co-founders have backed is Pandorum Technologies, which has found a way to 3D-print experimental-stage human liver tissues in a laboratory.

(Source: Economic Times)

8. Japan has dragged India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Japan has dragged India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against certain measures taken by New Delhi on imports of iron and steel products.

On 20 December, Japan notified the WTO Secretariat that it had requested dispute consultations with India in the dispute ‘India-Certain Measures on Imports of Iron and Steel Products’.

(Source: The Hindu)

6. Good Time for Cash-Rich IT Firms to Go for Share Buy-Back, Say Analysts

Mounting cash piles, increase in taxes on dividend payouts and a fall in valuations makes a case good for share buybacks for the country’s information technology (IT) companies, feel analysts.

The country’s top four listed IT companies are sitting on a combined cash pile of nearly $16 billion (Rs 1 lakh crore). These have been good at rewarding shareholders over the years, thanks to their huge cash flows and capital-light business models. However, they have largely stayed away from buy-backs as a tool to reward shareholders.

The tier-1 IT companies typically pay nearly half of their net profits as dividends to shareholders, while the remaining is held as a war chest for capital expansion or acquisitions.

9. Yatra's Cash Registers May Be Ringing Two Years From Now

Online travel portal Yatra Online is expected to turn profitable in the next two years, according to its filing with the United States Securities Exchange Commission. The revenue is projected to rise to Rs 1,053 crore in the same period.

Yatra Online, which listed on the Nasdaq on Tuesday, replaced Terrapin 3 Acquisition Corporation on the exchange. Terrapin was acquired by the travel portal in July this year, which resulted in the latter becoming a partially owned subsidiary of Yatra.

The deal assigned an implied enterprise value in the range of $294.3-358.2 million (Rs 1,957-2,383 crore) to the online travel agency.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

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