QBiz: StanChart Assets Find Few Takers, Sequoia’s ED Raid Scare

Latest business stories from across the papers. 

5 min read
Standard Chartered sees muted response from distressed-asset buyers. (Photo: iStockphoto)

1. Speeding up FDI: Automatic Approval Likely for More Sectors: ET

India plans to further liberalise rules for overseas investors as the government looks to reduce the need for approvals, said the top bureaucrat charged with managing the economy. He also pledged a strong focus on the execution of Budget announcements and ensuring that there are no delays in investments by key ministries.

Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das told Economic Times that sentiment was very positive about India with investors appreciating the accelerated pace of decision-making.

“Focus is now on implementation of Budget announcements,” Das said, adding that FDI has hit a record and government will do more to improve ease of doing business. “The idea is to put more sectors under the automatic route and wherever possible, effort would be to make it more and more process driven,” Das said.
Economic Times Report

2. Standard Chartered’s Stressed Assets Sale Finds Few Takers: Livemint

Standard Chartered Plc, which is in the process of selling $1.5 billion of stressed loans including those made to Essar Group and Cairn Energy, has seen muted response from distressed-asset buyers for the offshore loans that form a big chunk of what the lender plans to sell.

SSG Capital Management, a Hong Kong-based distressed-asset investor, is the only firm that is still in talks with Standard Chartered to acquire nearly $1 billion worth of loans from its offshore book, said three people familiar with the discussions, requesting anonymity.
Livemint Report
“The bank is looking to sell $300 million worth of loans of Cairn Energy, and the rest is of Essar Group towards which it has a huge exposure. Depending on the discount SSG is seeking, a deal will be carved out,” said one of the three people cited above.

3. FinMin Sets up Sub-Panel on Excise Duty on Jewellery: BS

The finance ministry has constituted a sub-committee under the already functioning Ashok Lahiri panel to interact with the trade and industry on the imposition of central excise duty on jewellery, reports Business Standard.

The committee will comprise Gautam Ray, a former tax official in the finance ministry; Rohan Shah, a legal expert; Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, a joint secretary in the department of commerce; and Alok Shukla, a joint secretary in the tax research unit in the Central Board of Excise and Customs, an official statement said. Representatives from trade will be appointed to the sub-committee shortly.
Business Standard Report

4. Flipkart, Amazon May Fail to Meet Vendor Sales Norm in 2016: ET

Top e-commerce companies in India may not be able to comply immediately with the recent stipulation to cap any vendor on their platforms at 25 percent of total sales. They will only be able to do so after the current financial year ends, according to people quoted in an Economic Times report.

“It is an accounting issue that normally has to be collated at the end of the fiscal year, the 25 percent data can be given over a period of time and not immediately.”

The government last month legalised the marketplace models operated by Amazon India and homegrown rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal, allowing 100 percent foreign investment in such businesses.

5. The Long Road to a $10 Trillion Economy: Livemint

The Niti Aayog has presented Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a rather airy strategy to make India a $10 trillion economy by 2032. The strategy document offers some insights into the minds of the men around the Prime Minister, according to a special Livemint report.

Sceptics have been quick to point out that the goal is unrealistic. It is not. The International Monetary Fund publishes historical data on the size of its member countries. India had a gross domestic product of $494 billion in 2001. That is expected to grow to $2.2 trillion by the end of this year.
Livemint Report
In other words, the size of the Indian economy will have gone up 4.6 times in the past 16 years. The same rate of growth over the next 16 years will lead to an economy that produces more than $10 trillion by 2032.

6. ED’s Sequoia Capital Raids Spook India’s Star VCs: ET

Somewhat spooked and worried — that’s how the venture capital community feels after the enforcement directorate (ED) raided Sequoia Capital last week.

According to an Economic Times report, a number of venture capitalists and investors have been caught on wrong foot by this sudden development pertaining to the case involving Vasan Healthcare.

Sequoia, which had invested in Vasan in 2009, has made one of the largest bets on India. In December last year, it raised $900 million for its India-focused fund. ED had raided the Bengaluru office of WestBridge Capital as well. The private equity firm is also an investor in Vasan.

7. China Keen to Invest More in India: Livemint

China has complimented India for “doing a good job” in maintaining an impressive growth rate despite a global slowdown and is keen on working together to push for reforms in the international financial system to offset the inherent weaknesses, according to a Livemint report.

Stating that his country was keen to ramp up investments in India, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said that the two major emerging economies can contribute significantly in helping the world economy by keeping up their growth momentum.

First of all, we both need to grow our own national economies. On this front, we want to commend India for doing a good job in promoting economic growth
Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister

8. Govt Fixes 2017-End Target for 100% Aadhaar-Enabled DBT: ET

Beneficiaries getting subsidies through Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) into their bank accounts have crossed the 30-crore mark and the government has now fixed a 2017-end target to transfer all subsidies through an Aadhaar-enabled DBT, reports Economic Times.

In February, the Centre transferred Rs 4,707 crore to 30.01-crore beneficiaries through the DBT mechanism, but only 35 percent of such transfers — Rs 1,630 crore to be precise — were using the Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) while the rest were using simple electronic fund transfers into bank accounts of the beneficiaries, as per a report sent to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) quoted in the ET report.
Economic Times Report

9. Blackstone Set to Buy Retail Space From L&T Realty for Rs 1,450 Cr: Livemint

Blackstone Group is set to buy a million square feet of retail space in L&T Realty’s Seawoods project in Navi Mumbai for Rs.1,450 crore, according to people quoted by Livemint.

Blackstone is said to have in-principle agreed to buy the retail portion of Seawoods Grand Central.

The so-called transit-oriented development project is built around the railway station of Seawoods-Darave. L&T Realty also has 4 million sq.ft of office space coming up as part of a 40-acre project.

Blackstone, which has already invested $6 billion across sectors in India, is increasing its bets on real estate assets in the country.

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