QBiz: Amazon & Flipkart to Be Probed; Walmart Lays off Staff

Top business news of the day.

Published14 Jan 2020, 01:25 AM IST
5 min read

1. Amazon, Flipkart to Be Probed for Abuse of Competition Law

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Monday, 13 January, ordered a probe into alleged competition law violations by Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart over allegations that the e-commerce majors promoted and gave discounts to “preferred" sellers, entered into exclusive partnerships with smartphone brands and abused their dominant position.

CCI noted four alleged practices on both the marketplaces—exclusive launch of mobile phones, preferred sellers on the platforms, deep discounting and preferential promotion of private labels.

The antitrust body said such exclusive arrangements between smartphone or mobile phone brands and e-commerce platforms or select companies selling exclusively on either of the platforms merit an investigation.

(Source: Livemint)

2. Revenue Dept Lens on GST Refunds From 2017 as Data Analytics Reveals 931 Fraud Cases

With GST evasion on the rise, the Revenue Department has turned to data analytics and unearthed 931 cases of fraudulent refund claims.

It has now tasked the GST Data Analytics Wing with scrutinising all past and current refund claims filed all over the country for inverted duty structure. Refunds of over Rs 28,000 crore are said to have been filed by over 27,000 taxpayers so far on account of the inverted duty structure in the current fiscal year.

These taxpayers, who have purchased goods from tax-evading non-filers, would face verification and scrutiny, sources added. This exercise is being monitored every week by Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, official sources added.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)

3. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Ordinance: SC to Examine Pleas Challenging Condition Introduced by IBC Ordinance

The Supreme Court on Monday, 13 January, agreed to examine validity of the Centre’s decision to amend an IBC provision which introduced a threshold of at least 10 per cent of homebuyers in a project or 100 of the total allottees for initiating corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (IRP) against the realtor.

A batch of petitions challenging a provision of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2019, which was promulgated on December 28 last year, came up for hearing before a bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat.

The bench issued notice to the Centre seeking its response on the pleas.

(Source: Financial Express)

4. Tata Power Arm Bags Rs 1,505-Cr Order From NTPC

Tata Power on Monday, 13 January, said that its wholly-owned arm has received letter of award from NTPC for a 250 mw solar project worth Rs 1,505 crore. With this order, the order book of Tata Power Solar stands at approximately Rs 7,600 crore, including external and internal orders.

"Tata Power Solar Systems... a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power, has received letter of award (LoA) from NTPC for a 250 mw solar project under the CPSU (central public sector undertaking) scheme," the power firm said in a filing to BSE.

The total value of the order is Rs 1,505 crore and the completion period is 20 months.

(Source: The Economic Times)

5. Bidder Eligibility on Agenda When DHFL Creditors Meet on 16 Jan

Creditors to Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd (DHFL) will meet on Thursday, 16 January, to discuss the eligibility criteria for prospective resolution applicants, said a person aware of the development, requesting anonymity.

Other things on the agenda, the person said, are updates on the insolvency process since the first meeting on 30 December; a resolution strategy for the lender; and an update on operations. Moreover, the Reserve Bank-appointed administrator may discuss the status of claims submitted by creditors.

(Source: Livemint)

6. Blackstone to Invest Rs 380 Cr in Allcargo’s Industrial and Logistics Parks

Private equity firm Blackstone will invest as much as Rs 380 crore in Allcargo Logistics to develop industrial and logistics parks across India.

Blackstone’s investment in the platform will be through debt and equity, Allcargo said in a statement.

Allcargo will retain a minority stake in various logistics assets and transfer its debt as it relates to these specific assets to their relevant subsidiaries, it said.

The transaction is expected to conclude in a phase wise manner over the next 12 months, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions and achievement of certain milestones.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)

7. Amid OYO’s Mass Layoffs, Founder Ritesh Agarwal Explains Firings; Full Text of Letter to Staff

Arguably the only real innovation from India and not inspiration or copy of startup ideas from the Western world, OYO’s size and scale has remained unmatched by its competitors. Moreover, its founder Ritesh Agarwal has been the poster boy of Indian startup ecosystem and darling of world’s biggest startup backer — SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son. However, the backlash from hotels for alleged unfair business practices by OYO in the past few months and now thousands of employee layoffs in India and China has put its breakneck growth in a different spotlight.

OYO has fired around 600 of its 12,000 China employees and 1,200 India employees, Bloomberg reported recently, following which Agarwal on Monday, 13 January, shared an email to employees to explain the rationale behind the layoff without disclosing the actual number.

The impact has been due to the new strategic objectives for 2020 due to which “we will reorganise more teams across businesses and functions,” said Agarwal in the letter, a copy of which was accessed by Financial Express Online from sources.

(Source: Financial Express)

8. RIL May Get New MD Before 1 April; Manoj Modi, Meswanis Among Probables

Reliance Industries Limited could get a new Managing Director soon if the directive by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on separation of the Chairman and Managing Director posts is implemented as per schedule on 1 April.

Mukesh Ambani, CMD of RIL will become the non-executive Chairman while a non-Ambani may become RIL's MD for the first time in the company's history.

While there is buzz around RIL Executive Director Nikhil Meswani's name, Mukesh Ambani's confidante and right hand man, Manoj Modi, who is virtually CEO of the company would be a natural choice.

(Source: The Economic Times)

9. Walmart India Reviews Brick and Mortar Biz, Lays off Staff

Walmart Inc., the world’s largest retailer, is having a relook at its brick-and-mortar business in India, primarily the performance of its Best Price cash-and-carry format.

On Monday, 13 January, Walmart India said it has laid off 56 employees at its corporate office in Gurugram, as part of a restructuring exercise that will see it intensify focus on serving wholesale customers through an omni-channel retail model to turn profitable.

“We are also looking for ways to operate more efficiently, which requires us to review our corporate structure to ensure that we are organized in the right way. As part of this review, we have let go 56 of our associates across levels at the corporate office," Krish Iyer, president and CEO, Walmart India, said in a statement on Monday.

(Source: Livemint)

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