QBiz: Tata’s UK Deal in Danger; US Firms to Invest $45 Bn in India

All the top business story that you need to know.

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Tata Steel plant in Scunthorpe northern England. (Photo: Reuters)

1. Tata Steel’s UK Sale Slows Down as UK Braces for EU Referendum: ET

Tata Steel is considering cancellation of the sale of its UK assets due to the pressure from the referendum-bound UK government. According to The Economic Times, the process of sale has slowed down as the British government is trying to convince the company to keep the business.

The UK government believes Tata’s exit will reflect badly on the country’s business competitiveness. The Port Talbot plant is losing £1 million (Rs 9.7 crore) a day.

Britain is preparing to vote on its future in the European Union membership on 23 June. Not much progress on the sale is expected until the voting is over. Tata Steel, however, has assured that it will reduce the shortlist of bidders, but no specific timeline has been provided. The previous list had seven bidders.

2. US Firms Promise Investments Worth $45-Billion: BS

In the course of PM Modi’s US visit, several companies companies have together promised to invest at least $45 billion (Rs 3 lakh crore) in India in the next 2-3 years. According to Business Standard, the commitment was made at a roundtable interaction between Modi and 20-odd CEOs at Washington on Tuesday night.

The promise was made on the understanding that the tax policies of Indian government would be more predictable. The companies that bet big on India include Rupert Murdoch’s STAR group and Jeff Bezos-led Amazon.

US India Business Council (USIBC) president Mukesh Aghi said American Tower Company and Emerson are the other companies to have made big investment announcements of $4 billion and $1 billion, respectively.


3. Banking Sector in Shambles but Mutual Funds Provide Healthy Returns: ET

Although the banking sector has been hit by a rough patch, mutual fund schemes which have invested in the sector have been the best performers in the category in last three months. According to The Economic Times, mutual funds stayed away from the struggling public sector banks (PSB) and invested more in stable private banks and micro-finance companies.

ICICI Banking Fund, which held 14 percent of its corpus in public sector banks in November 2015, had reduced its exposure to 5 percent on 30 April. In the last one year, Reliance Banking Fund dropped stocks like Bank of India, Andhra Bank, while UTI Banking Fund exited Allahabad Bank, Indian Bank and Punjab National Bank and reduced its stake in State Bank of India from 3.13 percent to 1.88 percent. Birla Sunlife Banking Fund is associated to only one public sector bank, Bank of Baroda.


4. TRAI Seeks Power to Take Action Over Call Drop: The Hindu

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has written to the government requesting amendments in the TRAI Act, to allow imposition of penalties on telecom operators over call drops. According to The Hindu Business Line, the regulatory body wants to impose a fine of up to Rs 10 crore on the operators and a jail term of up to 2 years on their executives for violation of regulations.

While consumer protection is mandated in the Preamble of the TRAI Act, in the absence of explicit provisions under the Act, courts have not favourably viewed efforts to protect the interest of consumers. Thus, there is a need to explicitly provide for such provisions under the TRAI Act.
TRAI’s letter to government

Currently, TRAI can impose a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh for a violation and in case the default continues, a penalty of Rs 2 lakh can be imposed till the time of breach of rules.


5. Indian Media and Entertainment Industry to Grow at 10.3 Percent CAGR: ET

The Indian media and entertainment Industry is predicted to grow at 10.3 percent CAGR over next four years. According to The Economic Times, the industry is set to cross the $40-billion mark, predicts PwC’s latest report.

The report, titled ‘Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2016-20’ was released on Wednesday. It shows a better growth rate in India, as compared to global growth rate of 4.5 percent.

The report predicts that China could be overtaking India as the biggest cinema market by 2020 in terms of admissions. In 2015 admissions were at an estimated 2.04 billion, and in 2020 are predicted to be at 2.80 billion, rising at a 6.6 percent CAGR.

Box office revenue in India, which stood at $1.64 billion in 2015, is expected to rise to $2.74 billion in 2020, at a 10.9 percent CAGR.


6. BookMyShow to Raise Around $75 Million: Livemint

The online ticketing platform BookMyShow, which is owned by Bigtree Entertainment, is in advanced talks to raise around $75 million in its largest round of fundraising yet. According to Livemint, the company is in talks with Stripes Group, a US-based growth equity fund.

Stripes Group is likely to provide up to $50 million. Existing investors of the company SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and Network18 Media will also be a part of fundraising.

This will be the fourth round of fundraising for BookMyShow, founded by Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar and Rajesh Balpande. In 2007, Network18 invested in the first round of fundraising for the company, followed by Accel Partners in 2012 and SAIF Partners in 2014.


7. Five Suzuki Directors to Face Pay Cuts After Mileage Scandal: BS

Five directors of Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL), including the managing director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa will see a pay cut after the parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) admitted to faulty mileage testing.

After next month, Ayukawa will lose 50 percent of his 2015 bonus and a 10 percent monthly compensation for three months, Business Standard reports. Toshihiro Suzuki, who besides being the representative director and president of SMC, is also a director at MSIL, will see a 30 percent reduction in compensation for six months after July.

The pay cuts announced on Wednesday pertain to remunerations from SMC. Remunerations from MSIL will not be affected. SMC is Japan’s fourth largest carmaker. Its Indian subsidiary has a market share of slightly over 48 percent, making it the largest passenger vehicle manufacturer in this country.


8. World Bank Reduces Global Growth Predictions to 2.4 Percent: Livemint

The World Bank, on Wednesday, decreased its global growth forecast and warned that risks to growth have increased since its earlier projections in January. According to Livemint, the June report of World Bank has predicted the world economy will grow at 2.4 percent in 2016 against the January predictions of 2.9 percent.

The report also said that India is likely to remain the fastest growing major economy for the next three years, ahead of China. However, it lowered India’s projected growth by 0.2 percent to 7.6 percent.

A global slowdown and a fall in commodity prices have shrunk world trade projections. While India has benefitted from the fall in oil prices through a reduction in the import bill, its exports have shrunk for 17 consecutive months as of April.


9. Opinion: India’s Delayed Arrival at the Nuclear High Table

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the penultimate stop of his five-nation tour, India’s application for membership of the Nuclear Supplied Group (NSG) is under increased focus. According to Livemint, the acceptance in MCTR and support of Switzerland and the US on NSG has removed the ‘perennial outlier’ tag of India.

Beijing has cited India’s refusal to sign The Treaty on the nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a reason to oppose India’s membership of the NSG. Meanwhile, China has prodded Pakistan to apply for NSG membership despite it being a non-signatory to the NPT. China’s opposition to India’s membership of NSG, however hypocritical it may seem, is essentially informed by a certain geopolitical understanding of South Asia. New Delhi made several mistakes which contributed to India becoming a nuclear pariah – a de facto status that ended with the US-India nuclear deal. Both Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh learnt from those mistakes and grabbed the chances that were available to them to mainstream India in the global nuclear order. Modi is building on their efforts with much more energy than either of the two could show.

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