Reliance Group plans to set up a megacity near Mumbai. Jet Airways lenders invite bids for c. 75% stake in the debt-laden carrier. Jet defaults on repayment worth more than $18m to global lenders. Flipkart gears up to provide instant credit to customers. Ola plans to launch operations in Dubai.
Moving on to the top Business stories of the day.
Reliance Group plans to set up a megacity near Mumbai.
Maximum City: Reliance Group is working on a blueprint for setting up a megacity near Mumbai. The project is expected to attract investments of up to $75bn in the next decade.
Having received approval as a special planning authority, RIL will also be running the city administration, along with developing it in order to cut down on red tape, transaction time, and cost of the project.
Backstory: The special purpose vehicle — Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (NMSEZ) — already owns 4,300 acres of prime land, with connectivity to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and the new airport project currently under construction in the vicinity. Last month, RIL, through a subsidiary, entered into a memorandum of understanding with NMSEZ to sub-lease land along with development rights by making an initial payment of INR2,180cr.
India’s Canary Wharf: India’s next leader will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance – a chance to transform the commercial capital of India – Mumbai, with the aim of aligning it with the likes of California, China’s Guangdong province or Japan’s Kanto prefecture. Read more on how this can be done here.
Jet Airways lenders invite bids for c. 75% stake in the debt-laden carrier. Jet defaults on repayment worth more than $18m.
Good Riddance?: 26 lenders of Jet Airways led by SBI have invited initial bids to buy as much as 75% of the beleaguered carrier.
Conditions Apply: As per a document by the lead creditor SBI, potential buyers must submit their interest by April 10. A strategic bidder should have a net worth of at least $10bn in the preceding financial year, or at least three years of experience in the airline business.
Yet Again: Jet has delayed repayments worth more than $18m to global lenders including Citibank that financed its purchase of Boeing 777 planes.
Red Alert!: The banks had granted funds to Jet based on guarantees from Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of the US, which can be invoked in case of a default.
Bad News: In case of a default, the bank can deregister and take back the planes.
Jet has requested the foreign lenders to condone the payment delay, asking for time as domestic lenders led by SBI try to put together a revival package. The local banks have also promised to inject INR1,500cr in the airline.
Flipkart gears up to provide instant credit to customers. Ola plans to launch operations in Dubai.
Shop Now, Pay Later: Flipkart is working on a video Know Your Customer (KYC) solution to offer instant credit to customers who buy through its platform.
Backstory: The move comes after the Supreme Court struck down Aadhaar-based eKYC for private entities last year.
Pilot: Flipkart has started a pilot project for digital KYC with almost 10,000 customers. The service will be made available to a wider customer base in the coming weeks, pending approvals from the RBI.
At present, Flipkart's fintech partners are Kissht, which offers cardless EMIs, and ZestMoney, which offers EMI purchases during online transactions.
Next Stop: After Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, ride-hailing platform, Ola is planning to launch operations in Dubai.
Interestingly, the news comes shortly after rival Uber struck a $3.1bn deal to acquire Dubai-based rival Careem.
Brownie Points: After shaking up India’s telecom industry, Mukesh Ambani is now sharpening his focus on e-commerce, evident from the $2.5bn spending spree involving more than two dozen deals. Read how Mukesh Ambani is planning to take on e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart here.
India’s economic growth driven by domestic demand, need to focus on exports, says World Bank. Remittances to India fall on back of global uncertainty.
Change in Focus: Economic growth in India in recent years has been primarily driven by domestic demand, noted Hans Timmer, World Bank Chief Economist for the South Asia Region. So much so that while imports witnessed double-digit growth, exports were limited to about one third of its potential at four-five per cent.
Timmer asserted that the next government needs to focus on export-led growth.
Diaspora Weighed Down: Remittances to India slowed to $17bn in Q4 FY19 vs $19.5bn in Q3, on back of lower earnings in Gulf countries impacted by a fall in crude oil prices coupled with the fear of a global slowdown.
WhatsApp working on Frequently Forwarded’ feature. Baring Private Equity Asia looking to acquire up to 56% stake in NIIT Technologies.
New Feature: WhatsApp is working on two new features within its Groups Settings to help users know how many times a message has been forwarded and stop sending "Frequently Forwarded" messages.
Against Fake News: The development comes in a bid to minimize fake news on its platform.
The option will be available in Group Settings and only administrators can see and edit it. When the feature is enabled, nobody will be able to send a Frequently Forwarded message in the group.
(A message is Frequently Forwarded when it has been forwarded more than four times.)
Hotting Up: Hong Kong-based Baring Private Equity Asia is looking to acquire up to 56% stake in NIIT Technologies for INR4,890cr.
Zoom Out: Baring already owns majority stake in Mumbai-based IT services firm Hexaware Technologies, which could now be merged with NIIT Tech, as per industry experts.
Deep Dive: Baring has signed definitive agreements to purchase c. 18.85 million NIIT Technologies shares, amounting to 30 % shareholding, from NIIT and other promoter entities at INR1,394 per share for INR2,627cr. The private equity firm has also made an open offer to the public shareholders of NIIT Technologies to purchase up to 26% additional shareholding at a price of INR1,394 per share.
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