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NITI Aayog Pushes for Setting Up of EV Charging Infrastructure at 1,000 Fuel Stations, Facebook to Post Q1 Earnings, WhatsApp may Bar Users from Taking Screenshots et al.

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Apr 24, 2019 2:14 PM 4 min read

NITI Aayog asks Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to help set up EV charging infrastructure at 1,000 fuel stations. Facebook to post Q1 earnings results on Wednesday after market close. WhatsApp may bar users from taking screenshots of their private conversations. India integrated with Europe as Uber restructures business.


Moving on to the top Business stories of the day. 



NITI Aayog asks Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to help set up EV charging infrastructure at 1,000 fuel stations. Power used for EVs should be billed at INR5 per kilowatt-hour for financial feasibility, as per Ola.

Lending Hand: Government think tank NITI Aayog has asked the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to help setting up of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure at 1,000 fuel stations across the country, in a bid enhance the push for EV. 

Calling for a Re-jig: However, any such move will require a viable business model along with the redesigning of stations since replacing current dispensers with electric chargers would stop the free flow of traffic at pumps as charging takes much longer than filling liquid fuel. 

We Can't Afford It: Charging should cost less than a third of what it does now for EVs to become economically feasible, noted ride-hailing company Ola after its EV pilot in Nagpur. Power used for EVs should be billed at INR5 per kWh, vis-à-vis the current INR17.7.

An Overhaul: Moreover, as per experts, India would need to overhaul its power grids and sub-stations to have a dedicated capacity for the EV industry to further the push for EV. Currently, it has only over 350 public EV chargers compared with around 57,000 petrol pumps.

Also This: BCG estimates that 20-30% of all US new car sales by 2030 will be electric or hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles. This increase in demand for electric vehicles in the US over the next decade will create revenue opportunities for electric utilities that invest in greater grid capacity and offer EV charging and related services.



SEBI bars Leelaventure from selling hotels and other assets to Brookfield.

You’ve Hit A Wall: Markets regulator SEBI has barred Hotel Leelaventure from selling its four hotels and other assets to Canadian investment fund Brookfield Asset Management.

Previously: Hotel Leelaventure had on March 18, announced sale of its four hotels located in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Udaipur, and a property to Canadian investment fund Brookfield for INR3,950cr. 

The Voice of Dissent: The development comes as ITC, a minority shareholder in Leela challenged the sale before the NCLT claiming “oppression and mismanagement”. ITC has claimed that the deal between Leela and Brookfield is against the interests of the company and its shareholders. 

The NCLT will hear the petition on Wednesday, also the last day for Leela shareholders to vote on the transaction with Brookfield. 



India integrated with Europe as Uber restructures business.

Shakedown: In a major restructuring exercise, ride-hailing service Uber has appointed Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty to take responsibility for Uber's Asia-Pacific rides business, in addition to his current role leading the rides teams across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Coming Together: This marks an integration of the India business with the European business.

Amit Jain who earlier started the rides business in India and headed Uber India’s operations has quit the company.



Facebook to post Q1 earnings results on Wednesday after market close. WhatsApp may bar users from taking screenshots of their private conversations.

Underwhelming Performance: Facebook will post its first-quarter earnings results on Wednesday after the markets close. The social media giant is expected to post revenue just under $15bn, according to FactSet. Analysts expect Facebook’s profit to fall 5.9% from $4.99bn. 

As Facebook prepares to announce its quarterly earnings, some concerns plague the giant. New social media regulations around the world could slow Facebook's growth, along with a rise in expenses on back of increased investments in addressing safety concerns. Moreover, the recent exit of some high-profile executives has raised eyebrows.

Here are the key points to watch in the earning results.

Send Me a Screenshot? Can’t!: WhatsApp is testing an ‘Authentication’ feature which would bar users from taking screenshots of their private conversations.

The new feature comes as part of a plethora of security changes that the app has been working on and introducing, keeping in line with the app’s commitment to user-privacy.



The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite had their highest closings on record Tuesday. Alphabet off-shoot, Wing wins FAA approval for drone deliveries.

Up and Rising: The S&P 500 rose 25.71 points, or 0.9%, to 2933.68, breaking past its previous closing high on Sept. 20 to finish at the highest closing level on record. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, jumped 105.56 points, or 1.3%, to 8120.82, topping its Aug 29 record closing level. 

The rise is credited to a more accommodative Federal Reserve. The Central Bank had in January said that it would hold interest rates steady, generating investor appetite for riskier assets. This was augment by the renewed optimism around the US economy that is showing signs of expansion.

More details on the climb here.

Game of Drones: In a first, Wing, an off-shoot of Google parent company Alphabet, has won approval from the FAA to begin drone deliveries in the US after meeting the requirements normally reserved for airlines.

The current rules state that drones can only be operated within sight of their operator
By meeting the requirements for an airline, however, Wing can operate beyond the sight lines of operators, who could reside in a centralized control station.

The approval limits Wing’s delivery area to certain areas of Virginia but as Wing demonstrates the safety of their system, they can apply to the FAA for approval to fly in other jurisdictions.


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