RBI reveals list of wilful defaulters. Govt approves strategic disinvestment of BPCL and other PSUs. Sony in talks to acquire stake in Mukesh Ambani's Network18. Govt grants telecom companies two years moratorium on spectrum dues payment. Google to restrict targetting of political ads.
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Right to Revelation: In response to an RTI filed by The Wire, the RBI has disclosed a list of India's wilful defaulters. As per the list, total funded advances outstanding to the 30 companies named, in addition to the amount the banks have written off so far, adds up to over INR50,000cr. The list contains many well-known names, including Gitanjali Gems, Rotomac Global, Ruchi Soya Industries, Zoom Developers, Deccan Chronicle Holdings, Winsome Diamonds, REI Agro, Siddhi Vinayak Logistics and Kudos Chemie.
RTIs seeking information of wilful defaulters first reached the Central Information Commission (CIC) in 2011. The CIC directed the RBI to reply to these petitions, but the Central Bank argued that its "fiduaciary relationship" with banks ties its hands from disclosing information on defaulters. The matter soon went to the Delhi High Court and then the Supreme Court, which in 2015 directed the RBI to answer the RTI applicants. The Wire
Superseded: Due to payment defaults and governance concerns, the RBI has superseded the Board of Dewan Housing Finance (DHFL).
"The Reserve Bank...intends to shortly initiate the process of resolution of the company under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings of Financial Service Providers and Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2019 and would also apply to the NCLT for appointing the Administrator as the Insolvency Resolution Professional," RBI said. Moneycontrol
You can read the RBI's press release on the same here.
Privatisations Galore: The government has announced a slew of stake sells - these include from companies like Bharat Petroleum, Shipping Corporation of India, Container Corp of India, THDC India and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation. New Delhi hopes to raise INR1.05Lcr from disinvestment this FY. By September-end, it had managed to raise only INR12,359cr through disinvestment At current market value, about INR63,000cr can be raised from selling the entire 53.3% stake in BPCL alone.
Shares of BPCL, SCI and Container Corp traded mixed throughout the day before closing INR512.10 (-5.97%), INR63.85 (-6.79%) and INR575.15 (-0.52%) respectivel3y. ET Markets
Even as the government divests its entire stake in BPCL, Assam's Numaligarh Refinery, in which BPCL holds a majority stake, has been kept out of the plan. In fact, this refinery will be carved out of BPCL and will remain a PSU. This is due to the Assam Accord of 1985 signed between All India Assam Students Union (AISU) and the central government of the time. Financial Express
Sigh of Relief!: The government on Wednesday approved a moratorium of two years on payment of spectrum dues worth INR42,000cr.
However, there was no relief granted on the INR1.47Lcr Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) demand following the Supreme Court verdict. ToI
For Some Perspective: In the September quarter, Vodafone Idea paid license fee and spectrum usage charges of INR1,114cr constituting as much as 37% of the operating loss - earnings before interest and tax - for the period.
The move surprisingly received rather lukewarm response from investors. In early deals on Thursday, shares of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea were down 2-4% a day after the announcement. This is in contrast to the 2-35% rise in shares of Vodafone Idea, Airtel and Reliance Jio after they announced plans to raise tariffs - perhaps suggestive of the fact that the measure was rather "insufficient to alleviate the financial stress completely." Livemint
Giving Up: Subhash Chandra-led Essel group has reported that it is planning to sell 16.5% stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) to financial investors in order to repay loan obligations to certain lenders of the group.
Following the stake sale, Essel Group's take in Zee Entertainment will be reduced to 5%. This would imply that media baron Subhash Chandra will lose control of Zee Entertainment.
Previously: Essel Group had sold up to 11% in Zee Entertainment to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund for INR4,224cr earlier this year. HT
A Match Made in Heaven: Tokyo-based Sony Corp is reportedly in talks to acquire a stake in Mukesh Ambani's television network, Network18.
The move comes as Sony seeks to tap into the burgeoning demand for content in India. A successful deal is likely to help Sony boost its local offerings and take on rivals such as Netflix, while giving Ambani access to international content. BS
Barrier to Entry: Beginning January, search engine giant Google will restrict targetting of political advertisements.
The company said that as of January, advertisers will only be able to target US political ads based on broad categories such as gender, age and postal code. Currently, ads can be tailored for more specific groups - for instance, using information gleaned from public voter logs, such as political affiliation.
Following Suit: The change will take effect in the UK in the next week, before the general election, and in the European Union before the end of 2019. It will apply everywhere else in early January.
The move comes shortly after Twitter’s ban on political ads, which goes into effect on Friday. AP
A Sweet Deal: Payments platform PayPal has agreed to acquire shopping and rewards platform Honey in a $4bn deal as it aims to gain a bigger role in consumers’ shopping habits.
Honey, with over 17 million monthly active users generated more than $100m in revenue in 2018. The platform helps people find discount codes online, working with the likes of AliExpress, Walmart, Adidas and Sephora. TechCrunch
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