QBiz: World Bank Expects 7% GDP in 2017-18; Shivakumar Joins Birla
Here is The Quint’s compilation of top business stories from the previous day.
1. World Bank Reduces India GDP Growth Forecast to 7% for 2017-18
After remaining the world’s fastest-growing region for eight consecutive quarters, South Asia has slipped to the third position behind East Asia and the Pacific regions, as India’s economy slowed to its lowest level in 13 quarters, the World Bank said on Monday.
This is at a time when other South Asian nations like Bangladesh and Nepal have registered strong economic growth.
In the June quarter of 2017-18, the Indian economy decelerated to 5.7 percent, lowest since the economy grew at 5.3 percent in the March quarter of 2013-14.
2. PepsiCo India’s D Shivakumar Quits To Join Aditya Birla Group As Head of Strategy
PepsiCo India Chairman D Shivakumar will step down from the US-based cola maker after four years to join the Aditya Birla Group as head of strategy and business development.
Shivakumar will replace D Muthukumaran who was the interim head of strategy after Saurabh Agarwal left to join Tata Sons, Aditya Birla Group’s Director of Human Resources, Santrupt Mishra, confirmed to BloombergQuint.
The $41-billion Aditya Birla group has businesses spread over sectors like telecommunications, cement, chemicals, mining, textile, financial services, retail and e-commerce, among others, across 36 countries.
3. Disqualification of Directors Hits 500 Listed Companies
Stock exchanges have sent notices to listed companies that share directors who have been disqualified for associating with other firms which haven’t filed their financial statements or annual returns for three years.
The notices ask such firms to explain why their directors have been disqualified and when the companies plan to replace them, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter. At least 500 publicly traded firms shared directors with suspected shell companies.
BSE Ltd has also identified 500 companies so far and is sending out notices to these firms. Mint could not ascertain the number of notices sent out by the BSE so far.
4. Tata’s Potential Wireless Business Shutdown Faces First Hurdle
American Tower Corporation said its contract with Tata Teleservices Ltd is “non-cancellable” and is valid for another six years, after reports suggested that the Tata Group’s flagship telecom arm is looking to wind down its wireless operations in India.
ATC will seek to enforce the full contract with TTSL, the wireless infrastructure provider said in a release on its website today.
American Tower expects to fully enforce the average non-cancellable remaining contract terms on the leases with Tata Teleservices as well as the other contractual provisions included in the Viom transaction.American Tower Corporation Statement
Tata Sons and Tata Teleservices did not immediately respond to a query from BloombergQuint on the ATC statement. According to the Economic Times, the Tata Group has informed the government about its plan to shut down the wireless business.
5. Centre to Compensate Units that Lost Excise-Exempt Status, Post GST
Over 4,250 manufacturing units located in the north-eastern and Himalayan States are to get a Diwali gift from the Centre.
The Government will, according to a scheme framed by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, provide a budgetary support of Rs 27,413 crore for 4,284 units over 1 July 2017 till 31 March 2027 to recompense them for losing their excise duty-exempt status post GST implementation from 1 July.
The Government has framed the operational guidelines for the scheme, which has been announced under two months of its promising relief to the units. The budgetary support is being provided as a “goodwill measure” and only to units that were eligible to draw excise duty exemption benefits.
(Source: The Hindu Business Line)
6. FinMin Looking to Prune Tax Exemptions Before GST Rollout
Corporate India will have to brace up for withdrawals of tax exemptions not only on the direct taxes front but also on indirect taxes.
For the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, the Finance Ministry is now looking to prune the Central list of exemptions and bring it to the level of States, Rashmi Verma, Special Secretary, Finance Ministry, said at conference organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Thursday.
Currently, the number of exemptions at the Central level stands at 292 (excise duty exemptions) while at the State level it is 90 (VAT related).
(Source: The Hindu Business Line)
7. Tata Steel May Bid for Essar Steel’s Hazira Plant
Tata Steel Ltd has expressed preliminary interest in acquiring debt-laden Essar Steel Ltd’s Hazira plant in Gujarat, according to two people aware of the talks between Tata Steel and Essar Steel executives.
While the bankruptcy resolution plan of Essar Steel has not yet been finalized, the interim resolution professional (IRP) for the steelmaker appointed by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has received initial interest from at least four potential buyers — two domestic and two foreign — the people cited above said on condition of anonymity. The IRP belongs to turnaround advisory firm Alvarez and Marsal.
Essar Steel Hazira is the country’s largest single-location flat steel plant. The complex also houses a 30 million tonne per annum (mtpa), all-weather, deep draft, dry bulk port and a 515MW natural gas-operated power plant.
8. Companies Plan Mega Investments on e-Vehicles, Batteries & Charging Infrastructure
India Inc is preparing plans for mega investments for the electric vehicle mission including charging infrastructure worth thousands of crores in cities, batteries and purchase of three-wheelers and cars.
Government officials said they have held extensive discussions with more than 50 companies, domestic and foreign, for setting up charging infrastructure – a vital requirement of the country’s ambitious e-vehicle plan. Ola and several local taxi aggregators are also considering bulk purchases of electric three-wheelers and e-rickshaws and lease them, industry executives and officials said.
(Source: Economic Times)
9. Saudi Aramco Sets Sight on India's Downstream Sector, Plans Mega Investment
The world’s biggest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, on Monday said it would invest in the downstream oil and gas sector of India through a joint venture. It has set up a local arm, Aramco Asia India, even as it evaluates picking up a stake in the Rs 40,000-crore mega refinery on the west coast of the country.
“We are looking at mega investment in India, as it is an important market. India is going from 4.6 million barrels per day of oil consumption to 10 million barrels per day by 2040,” said Amin Nasser, chief executive officer (CEO), Saudi Aramco, at CERAWeek petroleum summit, organised by IHS Markit in Delhi.
(Source: Business Standard)
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