1. ‘Perpetuity’ Clause Stalls Jet’s New Flight Plan
The Jet Airways revival plan has stalled over promoter Naresh Goyal’s insistence that his shareholding shouldn’t be capped at 22 percent in “perpetuity”. This had been one of Etihad’s conditions for providing funds to the airline, which needs ₹750 crore immediately.
The board of the Abu Dhabi carrier, which has a 24 percent stake in Jet, hasn’t approved the funding because of Goyal’s insistence on waiver of the clause, said people with knowledge of the matter. On the other hand, Indian banks have refused to infuse any money until the promoter stake is cut from the current 51 percent.
“Etihad’s first condition was limiting Goyal’s stake to 22 percent or below and was agreed upon in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) but a waiver sought later has led to Etihad pulling back on funding,” said one of those privy to the dealings.
2. Economists Allege Political Interference in Statistical Data
A group of 108 Indian and foreign economists and social scientists has raised concerns over “political interference” in statistical data in India, saying that any numbers that cast doubt on the government’s achievements seem to get “revised or suppressed”.
In a letter released on Thursday, the group appealed to all professional economists, statisticians and independent researchers to come together to raise their voice against the tendency “to suppress uncomfortable data” and impress upon the government the need to restore access and integrity to public statistics and re-establish institutional independence.
“In fact, any statistics that cast an iota of doubt on the achievement of the government seem to get revised or suppressed on the basis of some questionable methodology,” the academicians said in the letter, referring to revisions in the base year and growth of GDP and unemployment numbers.
3. Draw Up a Plan to Pay ₹3,500 Crore to Daiichi: SC Tells Singh Bros
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has pulled up the former promoters of Fortis Healthcare Ltd, brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, and directed them to come up with a plan within two weeks on how they can pay over ₹3,500 crore to Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo, as directed by a Singapore arbitration tribunal.
The next date of apex court hearing has been fixed at 28 March.
Gogoi had summoned the brothers after Daiichi moved the apex court in a bid to make the Singh brothers cough up the ₹3,500 crore due to it, as per the directions of the tribunal.
4. Nitin Paranjpe is Unilever COO
Unilever named Nitin Paranjpe global chief operating officer as part of a leadership rejig that also saw the India unit’s chairman Sanjiv Mehta being appointed president of South Asia and a member of the Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE).
The world’s second-biggest consumer goods major said these changes, effective from 1 May, will help continue its transformation into a faster, leaner and more agile company.
Paranjpe (56), became the head of Unilever’s foods and refreshment business last year after the Anglo-Dutch company completed the merger of the two segments to create its largest business unit.
Mehta, who was executive vice president for Unilever South Asia, will continue as Hindustan Unilever’s chairman.
5. Brookfield Buys Gas Pipeline From Mukesh Ambani For ₹13,000 Crore
Canadian investor Brookfield has acquired the loss-making East West Pipeline Ltd from Mukesh Ambani for ₹13,000 crore.
East West Pipeline (EWPL), earlier known as Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd, runs a 1,400-km pipeline from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh to Bharuch in Gujarat to transport natural gas discovered in the KG Basin block operated by his flagship Reliance Industries.
However, the pipeline, which has capacity to transport 80 million standard cubic metres per day of natural gas, is currently operating at less than five percent capacity as the output from RIL’s KG-D6 block has plummeted.
6. ArcelorMittal’s ₹42,000 Cr for Essar Steel: Distribute Equitably Among Creditors, Others, Advises NCLAT
The National Company Law Tribunal has advised Essar Steel’s committee of creditors (CoC) and resolution professional (RP) to consider a judicious distribution of Rs 42,000 crore among financial creditors (FC) and other stakeholders as part of its ruling on the various petitions related to Essar Steel, including approval of the proposed resolution plan by ArcelorMittal.
Members of the CoC have already had a meeting on the subject and are likely to take a final decision by Friday on whether they will act on the tribunal’s proposal, a banker aware of the developments said.
7. OYO Acquires Co-working Space Firm Innov8, to Open 35 New Offices
Diversifying from the hotel and long-term lodging business to co-working spaces, Ritesh Agarwal-led OYO Hotels and Homes has acquired Innov8, according to an internal mail accessed by Business Standard.
According to sources close to the firm, OYO, which has more than $1.1 billion in its balance sheet, spent between Rs 150 crore and Rs 200 crore for the acquisition.
OYO aims to open more than 35 new co-working spaces in major metropolitans over the next one year, according to sources. OYO has also started two new co-working brands – PowerStation and WorkFlo, which will cater to a variety of start-ups and companies.
8. Premji Family Continue to Hold Voting Rights on 34% of Wipro Shares
Unlike Tata Trusts where the trusts directly hold shares in Tata Sons, the family of Wipro Chairman Azim Premji will continue to hold voting rights on 34 percent of shares, while the economic benefits of these shares will be transferred to the Azim Premji Foundation.
The voting rights with the promoter will ensure the interests of the promoter family, as well as minority shareholders, are protected in future, said corporate governance advocates and corporate lawyers.
When contacted, Azim Premji Foundation spokesperson said: “Premji has earmarked all economic benefits in an additional 34 percent of the shares in Wipro towards philanthropic activities. The voting rights continue to remain with Premji.”
9. With the Devil in Detail, Start-ups Lose Angel Investors
The Indian start-up ecosystem is losing its angels fast. A problematic tax law, arbitrary exits and rise of incubators and accelerators have led to a steep decline in the number and value of angel investments in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.
According to a data collated by start-up research platform Tracxn Labs, angel funding witnessed a sharp 88 percent decline at $2.52 billion in 2018 against $7.46 billion in the previous year. The number of rounds also declined to 509 (686).
For the uninitiated, angel investor is a private individual who provides or writes the first cheque for any business that is starting up, for an equity stake. The investor also provides the start-ups with the much-needed initial hand-holding and mentorship.
(The Quint is now available on Telegram and WhatsApp. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to our Telegram and WhatsApp channels)