QBiz: Airtel Takes Over Tata Mobile Service Business & More

Here is The Quint’s compilation of top business stories from the previous day. 

5 min read
The Airtel logo. (Photo: Reuters)

1. For Tata, It Was Either Sale Or Shutdown, Says Group CFO

The merger of Tata Teleservices Ltd’s consumer mobile arm with Bharti Airtel Ltd will ensure all stakeholders are taken care of instead of a forcible shutdown of the company, said Tata Sons Chief Financial Officer Saurabh Agarwal.

India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel will take over the struggling mobile services business of the Tata Group as low tariffs and rising debt continue to drive consolidation in the sector. Bharti Airtel will get 4 crore customers and assets of Tata Group’s mobile services business as part of this “debt-free cash-free” deal, the companies said in a joint statement earlier today.

Agarwal explained that Tata Sons had an option of going with this deal, or closing down the business. “Actually, I (Tata Sons) end up saving between Rs 7,000-8,000 crore. So that’s good for me,” he said.

(Source: BloombergQuint)


2. GST Council to Take Up Real Estate in November Meeting: Arun Jaitley

Real estate, a sector prone to tax evasion, might soon come under the goods and services tax (GST) net.

The GST Council would consider this at its next meeting on 10 November in Guwahati, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday — early Thursday morning in India — at Harvard University.

While delivering a lecture on tax reforms in the country, he called the taxation system in India one of the least efficient in the world, with a very small tax base. He also hinted at making Aadhaar mandatory for buying a car or international air tickets in the future, taking a cue from the recent Supreme Court judgement.

(Source: Business Standard)

3. Supreme Court Tells Liquidator to Take Over Sahara’s Aamby Valley

The Supreme Court asked the official liquidator of the Bombay High Court to take over Sahara Group’s Aamby Valley property after the market regulator said the company and its chief Subrata Roy were obstructing the process.

The top court directed the Maharashtra Police chief to ensure that the property is handed over to the liquidator within 48 hours. The liquidator will work under the directions of the company judge and also take directions from Justice Oka of the Bombay High Court.

The order came in the contempt plea filed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India alleging that the group was obstructing the auction process. Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, representing SEBI, informed the apex court that the bidders backed out due to Sahara Group’s actions.

The top court warned that anyone trying to obstruct the auction will be held liable for contempt and may be sent to jail.

(Source: BloombergQuint)


4. Oil & Gas Firms to Gain From Higher Crude Prices, Refining Margins

Oil and gas companies are expected to report strong core earnings in the second quarter as higher gross refining margins will benefit refiners and explorers will gain from a sequential rise in crude oil prices.

For the September ended quarter, nine oil and gas firms are expected to report a 7 percent increase in revenue over the previous three months. Net profit is expected to rise 27 percent, while earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation may increase by 26 percent, according to data compiled by BloombergQuint.

The improved performance will be led by refiners, which are expected to realise gains on inventory compared to losses in the previous quarter.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

5. Flipkart to Invest $500 Million in Payments Arm PhonePe

SoftBank-backed Flipkart on Thursday said it will invest $500 million in PhonePe to scale up operations of its payments arm. The commitment is in addition to the $75 million infused by Flipkart in PhonePe since the acquisition in 2015, Flipkart said in a statement.

It added that this is one of the largest single investment commitments in the Indian fintech payments space and “is reflective of the opportunities” in the segment. The announcement comes a day after the Reserve Bank of India said inter-operability of e-wallets will be enabled in phases.

Also, in subsequent phases, inter-operability will kick in between wallets and bank accounts through the UPI (Unified Payments Interface), the central bank added.

(Source: Livemint)


6. LIC Makes Rs 8,000 Crore Bid in GIC Re IPO

Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC) has put in a major bid for shares of reinsurer General Insurance Corp of India Ltd (GIC Re), in the latter’s ongoing initial public offering (IPO), said two people aware of the development, on the condition of anonymity.

The GIC Re IPO is looking to raise Rs 11,372 crore ($1.7 billion) at the upper end of the price band of Rs 855-912 per share. The share sale values the insurance firm at Rs 80,000 crore.

“LIC has made a substantial bid in the institutional portion of the book as a result of which the institutional portion is already oversubscribed and the overall IPO too is substantially subscribed on the first day itself,” said one of the two persons cited above.

LIC has bid for shares worth around Rs 7,000-8,000 crore, the second person cited above said. Mint could not ascertain the exact quantum of the LIC bid.

(Source: Livemint)

7. Why Borosil's Innovation Will Temper Solar Power Rates

The price per unit of solar power is set to head further south, thanks to an innovation by Borosil, the well-known glassmaker. Now, solar modules can produce 30 percent more power with an enhanced life from 25-40 years.

The innovation can also be used in setting up floatable solar plants on water bodies, including oceans.

The new technology, innovated by Gujarat Borosil Ltd (GBL), was launched by R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, on 10 October when he inaugurated the new tempered glass production facility of the company, which already makes high-performing solar glass at its 100-acre plant at Bharuch, Gujarat.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)


8. Rural Inflation at Lower Level in States With More Jan Dhan Accounts: Report

States with a higher number of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Accounts have witnessed rural inflation at lower levels, according to a report. Since demonetisation, Jan Dhan accounts witnessed a steep growth and to date more than 30 crore accounts have been opened.

The top ten states accounted for 23 crore accounts (75 percent) with Uttar Pradesh topping the list at 4.7 crore accounts, followed by Bihar (3.2 crore) and West Bengal (2.9 crore).

Nearly 60 percent of Jan Dhan accounts have been opened in rural areas alone.

(Source: Financial Express)

9. After GSTN, E-Way Bills Could Be Another IT Disaster in the Making

For small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the recent decision to defer the implementation of e-way bills may just be the calm before the storm.

The GST Council on 6 October decided that the e-way bill system shall be introduced in a staggered manner with effect from January 2018 and shall be rolled out nationwide effective April 2018. Once implemented, movement of goods worth more than Rs 50,000 within or outside a state will require securing an e-way bill by prior online registration of the consignment.

To generate an e-way bill, the supplier and transporter will have to upload details on the GSTN (Goods and Services Tax Network) portal. Once an e-way bill has been generated, a unique e-way bill number (EBN) shall be made available to the supplier, the recipient and the transporter on the common portal.

However, GSTN’s failure to handle the flood of return filing invoices raises serious doubts about the success of the e-way bill system since it is completely automated.

(Source: Livemint)

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