Indian Securities Commission allows direct bond market access to foreign investors

Sep 24, 2016 0

Mumbai– The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Friday decided to allow direct access to corporate bond market for Foreign Portfolio Investor (FPI).

The regulator said here it also decided to permit Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InVIT) and Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) investment in two-level special purpose vehicle (SPV) structure.

In a statement, SEBI said the board at its meeting has decided to allow Category I and Category II FPI the option of direct access to corporate bond market without brokers.

Currently, the SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investor) Regulations, 2014, allow FPI to transact in securities only through registered stock broker who is a qualified member of a Recognised Stock Exchange (RSE).

The SEBI also decided to allow FPIs access to Over-the-Counter (OTC), Request for Quote (RFQ) and Electronic Book Provider (EBP) platforms of RSE only for proprietary trading so as to deepen the corporate bond market.

“Proposal for amendment to Rule 8 (4) of Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules, 1957, will be taken up with the Government of India to permit FPIs to become a member of a RSE for the limited purpose of proprietary trading. Necessary amendments to the SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investor) Regulations, 2014 shall be made in this regard,” SEBI said.

The markets regulator also decided to amend the InvIT regulations to facilitate its growth to allow investment in two-level SPV structure through holding company (Holdco) subject to sufficient shareholding in Holdco and the underlying SPV.

The other major changes are: (a) An. InvIT to have right to appoint majority directors in the SPV(s); (b). Holdco to distribute 100 per cnet cash flows realised from underlying SPVs and at least 90 per cent of the remaining cash flows; (c) Reducing mandatory sponsor holding in InvIT to 15 per cent (d) Remove the limit on the number of sponsors of InvIT and others.

The amendments to REIT regulations are: (a) Allowing REIT to invest in two-level SPV structure through Holdco, subject to sufficient shareholding in the Holdco and the underlying SPV; (b) An REIT to have right to appoint majority directors in the SPV(s); (c) Holdco to distribute 100 per cent cash flows realised from underlying SPVs and at least 90 per cent of the remaining cash flows; (d) Clarifying the definition of “real estate property” in the regulations, subject to certain conditions.

The other amendments agreed by SEBI are: removal of the limit on number of sponsors and introducing the concept of sponsor group; allowing REITs to invest upto 20 per cent in under construction assets; amending the definition of the valuer and clarifying the definition of “associated” and “related parties” in the regulations.

Maadhav Poddar

Maadhav Poddar

“Allowing REITs and InvITs to invest in two-level SPV structure through a holding company will remove the need for a restructuring in many cases prior to creation of a REIT/InvIT thereby reducing transaction costs and timelines; this will also ensure liquidity to investors and developers who had invested at the Holdco level,” Maadhav Poddar, Tax Partner-Real Estate Practice, EY said.

According to him, increasing the percentage which an REIT can invest in under construction property from 10 per cent to 20 per cent will allow for more portfolios to be listed which hitherto could not be considered as their under construction portion was greater than 10 per cent.

“Reducing the mandatory sponsor holding in an InvIT from 25 per cent to 15 per cent will allow for more liquidity to sponsors. Apart from the above SEBI has made changes in regulations relating to number of sponsors, requirements for private placement of InvITs, definitions of associates, related parties etc. One will need to wait for the fine print to see the impact of these changes,” Poddar added.

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Seven companies qualify to bid in upcoming telecom spectrum auction

Sep 24, 2016 0

New Delhi– Seven telecom service providers have qualified to bid for the upcoming biggest-ever airwaves auction starting from October 1, according to official data released here by the Department of Telecommunications.

The companies that have qualified for the auction are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Tata Teleservices.

Reliance Jio can bid in any licensed service area (LSA) across the country, while Reliance Communications can bid across the country except northeast and Assam.

Jio has deposited the highest Earnest Money Deposit of Rs 6,500 crore and has got the highest eligibility point allocated of 44,506.

The total amount of spectrum that will be offered for sale is 2,354.55 MHz. Overall, based on the reserve price, the mop up is expected to be Rs 5.66 lakh crore.

The 2,300-plus MHz of airwaves on the block for telecom operators is in seven bands — 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz — as against 470.75 MHz in the previous round, which is set to fetch the exchequer $17 billion during its tenure.

The timetable of the auction has put the mock auction dates on September 26 and 27 and the start of actual auction from October 1.

mjunction services limited is advising the government on this auction.

The government has decided to allot the right to the spectrum won through auction for 20 years.

The operators will have the choice of both upfront and instalments payment options. The service providers who win airwaves below 1 GHz bandwidth will have to pay 25 per cent upfront, and for those winning above that the upfront payment will be 50 per cent.

One new bidding-friendly measure the government has adopted this year is that spectrum won will be assigned within 30 days from the date of upfront payment. Interest on deferred payment, linked to base rate, will be 9.3 per cent this year against 10 per cent in 2015.

For the successful bidder, the lock-in period of equity in the company has been reduced to one year instead of the earlier stipulation of a minimum period of three years or completion of roll out obligation, whichever is later.

In a meeting of the cabinet in June, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official nod was given for the reserve price and the auction norms.

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GE Healthcare to fund health start-ups

Sep 23, 2016 0

Bengaluru–GE Healthcare on Friday announced funding global health start-ups to improve healthcare outcomes in developing economies.

“Through our new accelerator — five.eight, we will initially fund 10 startups with $5 million (Rs 33.5 crore) seed capital for each,” said the $18-billion healthcare division of the US-based GE (General Electric) in a statement here.

The start-ups for funding will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with applicants sourced from the four social impact investors, but not limited to portfolio firms.

Portfolio companies Acumen, Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group, Unitus Seed Fund and Villgro will be among the initial applicants for the first accelerator programme.

“Each startup will focus on scaling healthcare innovations for emerging economies, with the potential for distribution of their product or integration of their service into our affordable care portfolio,” said the healthcare behemoth in a statement here.

The accelerator will target global health startups to improve healthcare quality and accessibility in developing or low-resource settings – from education and training to disruptive, low-cost technologies and digital applications.

“It’s estimated that around 5.8 billion people across the world lack access to quality, affordable healthcare,” said GE Healthcare Chief Executive John Flannery on the occasion.

Admitting that the company alone cannot improve healthcare of those who need it most, Flannery said the goal of its accelerator (five.eight) was to fuel the global health ecosystem by partnering with social impact investors and health start-ups.

Bengaluru-based Tricog is the first startup to join five.eight accelerator. It focus on improving survival rates of heart attacks by decreasing the time between symptoms and treatment.

“Using cloud-connected ECG devices in medical centres, Tricog helps doctors diagnose a patient within minutes of their arrival at a clinic, improving access to quick, accurate and affordable diagnosis, which can lead to mortality reduction,” asserted the statement.

The global firm will collaborate with Tricog to scale its solution to global markets.

Five.eight joins GE’s Innovation Network – a global, connected ecosystem of accelerators, startups, and innovators working on technologies that disrupt and grow markets through digital transformation.

“Startups joining five.eight will have access to our programming, resources and connectivity to our other innovation centres in Helsinki, Cardiff, Istanbul, Calgary, Johannesburg and Dubai,a noted the statement.A

“Collaborating with investors allows us to work with entrepreneurs who have promising technologies to extend our portfolio of affordable solutions,” said company’s sustainable healthcare solutions President Terri Bresenham.

The sustainable healthcare solutions develop affordable care portfolio of high-value, low-cost technologies and healthcare delivery solutions for emerging markets.

“Our goal is to define the next generation of care delivery technologies that can deliver impact where it matters,” added Bresenham. (IANS)

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Subrata Roy apologizes, seeks recall of SC order cancelling parole

Sep 23, 2016 0

New Delhi– Sahara group chief Subrata Roy on Friday offered an unconditional apology before the Supreme Court seeking recall of its earlier order cancelling his parole and directing him to be taken into custody.

Subrata Roy (Photo courtesy: The Hindu Business Online)

Subrata Roy (Photo courtesy: The Hindu Business Online)

Appearing for Roy, senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the bench headed by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur: “I apologise, offer unconditional apology, it will never happen again, I assure you….”

As Sibal offered the apology, CJI Thakur said: “We don’t enjoy such things but there has to be a limit.”

Justice Thakur said he will consult Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice A.K. Sikri and take a call on Roy’s application.

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Huawei to begin manufacturing in India from October

Sep 23, 2016 0

New Delhi–Joining the bandwagon to Make in India, Chinese technology major Huawei on Friday announced to manufacture smartphones in the country in collaboration with leading sketch-to-scale solutions provider Flex.

Starting from the first week of October, the Flex plant in Chennai will manufacture one of the Honor smartphone models from Huawei. The plant will have the capacity to produce three million units by the end of 2017.

“I would like to congratulate Huawei on their commitment to pursue their ‘Make in India’ vision. As India is set to become the second largest smartphone market, our government would like to invite even more businesses to come and manufacture in the country,” said Information Technology and Electronics Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at an event here.

Huawei will strengthen its after sales services in India with over 200 service centres, including more than 30 exclusive Huawei service centres.

Huawei Consumer Business Group will also expand its distribution network by partnering with more than 50,000 retail outlets by the end of this year.

“This is an opportune time to start manufacturing from India. The smartphone landscape in India is growing every day and such initiatives by technology leaders will help accelerate the growth of local manufacturing industry in India,” the minister told the gathering.

“We have been present in India for the last 16 years and as part of our India focus, we have been consistently expanding our footprint in the market. We are convinced about the growth potential and future of India and we’ll keep looking for opportunities to increase our presence here,” said Jay Chen, CEO, Huawei India.

Huawei has renewed its focus on India working with two brands — Huawei and Honor.

“Our alliance with Huawei in India is a testament of our commitment towards boosting local manufacturing,” added Jeff Reece, Head of Flex Telecom segment. (IANS)

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UK-based firm, Kalam Media forge $100 million joint venture

Sep 23, 2016 0

New Delhi– In a bid to form India’s largest startup in the media and entertainment space, a UK-based business conglomerate SRam and MRam Ltd has signed a joint venture with Indian media house Kalam Media, officials said on Friday.

The joint venture — SRam and MRam Kalam Media Pvt Ltd — is headquartered in India and will source high demand media and entertainment content from across India and distribute it through a global network across the Americas, Europe, the Far East and Australia.

Kalam Media Chairman Ashutosh Singh confirmed to IANS over phone from Jakarta that the joint venture agreement was signed between the companies at Jakarta. “We have signed a joint venture of $100 million (Rs 670 crore),” he said.

He said they will tap the $6.25 billion (Rs 42,000 crore) Indian market and the $50 billion global market.

Over the next three months, they will establish its base in key Indian cities, including the top eight metros, directly and through associates.

Parallely, it will forge alliances with global entertainment and developmental platforms across 12 key business centres in the Americas, Europe and the Far East.

He also said that they will take up the uncharted territories of creating content producers at district level to promote regional content in the true spirit of “Skilling India”.

SRam and MRam’s Chairman Sailesh Hiranandani said in a statement: “…In the first phase, we will be focusing on producing, aggregating and distributing unique content across key geographies including Indonesia.”

Their first project will be a film produced in Indonesia. Hiranandani hoped this will improve cross-cultural interaction between Indian and Indonesian film industries.(IANS)

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United Bank of India receives Rs 608-cr government infusion

Sep 23, 2016 0

Kolkata–State-run United Bank of India (UBI) has received Rs 608 crore from the central government through preferential allotment of equity shares, the bank disclosed on Friday.

The UBI received the funding from the Centre in line with an announcement made earlier by the government to make capital infusion of Rs 22,915 crore towards recapitalisation of 13 public sector banks during 2016-17.

“…the Bank has received Rs 608 crore from the central government towards preferential allotment of 26,74,87,901 equity shares of Rs 10/- each at a price of Rs 22.73 per share…” the lender said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

As part of the recapitalisation plan, the Union Ministry of Finance has earmarked a total of Rs 810-crore fund for the city-based lender by way of preferential allotment of equity shares.

Earlier, the bank had said that the ministry would infuse Rs 608 crore, 75 per cent of the capital, with immediate effect, while the remaining 25 per cent would be infused based on bank’s performance by the year-end.

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Samsung Note 2 emits smoke on board IndiGo plane

Sep 23, 2016 0

New Delhi–Panic ensued on board an IndiGo international flight on Friday early morning when smoke began issuing from the overhead storage bin, officials said.

Alert passengers on board the flight from Singapore to Chennai noticed the smoke and burning smell and immediately alerted the cabin crew, the budget passenger carrier said.

“IndiGo confirms that a few passengers travelling on 6E-054 flight from Singapore to Chennai noticed the smoke smell in the cabin this morning (September 23, 2016) and immediately alerted the cabin crew on board,” the airline said in a statement.

According to the low-cost carrier (LCC), the smoke was being emitted from a Samsung Note 2 smartphone which was placed in the baggage of a passenger in the overhead bin.

“The crew quickly identified minor smoke coming from the hat-rack of seat 23 C and informed the Pilot-in-Command who further alerted the ATC of the situation on board.”

“The crew discharged the fire extinguisher which is as per the Standard Operating Procedures prescribed by the aircraft manufacturer, and quickly transferred the Samsung Note 2 into a container filled with water in lavatory,” the statement said.

“The aircraft made a normal landing at Chennai airport, and all passengers were deplaned as per normal procedure. This equipment (Samsung mobile) will be further examined by the concerned departments. IndiGo has voluntarily informed the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation).”

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Foreign firms to develop train tech in India: Railway Minister

Sep 22, 2016 0

New Delhi– Union Minister Suresh P. Prabhu on Thursday said that the government has asked global railways’ innovators to develop their latest technologies in India.

The Railway Minister spoke at the the All India Management Association’s (AIMA) national management convention.

Suresh Prabhu

Suresh Prabhu

According to Prabhu, six top technology developers, who had attended a railway meet in New Delhi, have expressed interest in developing their upcoming technologies in India.

The minister said that being a late mover in technology space can benifit the country as it can directly move on to latest technologies, including the hyperloop.

Besides, Prabhu called for an increase in speed of trains and operations.

“The speed of trains needs to be increased,” Prabhu said, adding that there was a need to increase the speed of operations as well.

By the end of this year, he said, the time taken between budgeting and tender will be brought down to six months from two years.

Prabhu said the Indian Railways is going to use new technologies in every area from ticketing to emergency response to make railways smarter and faster.

“This is the Asian century and it could be India’s century if the country can be cleaner, smarter, faster,” he said.

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Wipro consumer arm buys Chinese personal care firm

Sep 22, 2016 0

Bengaluru– Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting’s Singapore subsidiary on Thursday announced acquiring 100 per cent shareholding of Zhongshan Ma Er Daily Products Ltd of China in an all-cash deal for an undisclosed amount.

“The acquisition includes personal care brands of the Chinese fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) firm such as Enear, Zici and Vcnic and fabric care brands Pahnli and Sunew,” said a Wipro official here.

The buyout will help the city-based leading Wipro FMCG to emerge as a leader in south China’s personal care market and add to its own brands.

“Post-acquisition, our South East Asian arm Wipro Unza will post an annual run rate of $150 million as against $11 million in 2007 from its China business,” the company said in a statement here.

The company acquired many brands over the years, including Glucovita in 2003, Chandrika in 2004, Unza in 2007, Yardley (for Asia, Middle East, North Africa and Australasia) in 2009, Yardley in Britain in 2012 and L.D. Waxsons Group in 2012.

The company’s Consumer Care’s international businesses will contribute 55 per cent of its global revenues.

Wipro Unza has a formidable presence in China with brands like Enchanteur and Romano and is a market leader in personal wash and deodorant categories in Guangdong and Hainan provinces.

“The transaction propels us to third position in the bath and shower market in southern China and strengthens our fabric care business,” Wipro Consumer Care Chief Executive Officer Vineet Agrawal told reporters.

Zhongshan also has a footprint in China and Hong Kong and its brands (Zici, Vcnic, Pahnli and Sunew are market leaders.

“Wipro gives us access to resources that will help us grow faster and enable us to unlock the potential of our brands,” said Zhongshan’s Chief Executive Chen Rui Qiang.

The acquisition will also enable Wipro to grow in China market by leveraging Ma Er’s distribution strength in three-tier and four-tier cities and expand its portfolio of brands.

“The investment demonstrates our commitment to the China market following our acquisition of L.D. Waxsons business,” noted Wipro Consumer Care Regiona Director Nagender Arya. (IANS)

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