OPINION, P6 COMPANIES, P4 P BHANDARI & A CHAUDHARY Second wave casts a shadow over GDP growth in H1FY22 INTERNATIONAL, P8 SHOBHANA SUBRAMANIAN EV THRUST HACKING RETALIATION The second wave, not yet over, will crush MSMEs further and, with it, the hopes of FY22 being the big-recovery year Good opportunity for Tesla to start manufacturing in India, says Gadkari US expels Russian diplomats, imposes new round of sanctions CHENNAI/KOCHI, FRIDAY, APRIL 16, 2021 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOLUME XLII NO. 293, 14 PAGES, `6.00 P U B L I S H E D F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , B E N G A L U R U , C H A N D I G A R H , C H E N N A I , H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , K O L K ATA , L U C K N O W, M U M B A I , N E W D E L H I , P U N E SENSEX: 48,803.68 ▲ 259.62 NIFTY: 14,581.45 ▲ 76.65 NIKKEI 225: 29,642.69 ▲ 21.70 HANG SENG: 28,793.14 ▼ 107.69 `/$: 74.93 ▲ 0.13 `/€: 89.76 ▼ 0.42 BRENT: $66.31 ▼ $0.27 GOLD: `46,607 ▲ `216 IN THE NEWS Personal hearing before NPA tag: RBI, lenders in SC ● DIVERSIFICATION Flipkart to acquire online travel firm Cleartrip THE RESERVE BANK of India and the SBI-led consortium of lenders on Thursday sought the Supreme Court’s view on whether an opportunity of personal hearing is required to be given by a lender to a borrower before classifying its account as fraudulent as per the Master Circular of July 1, 2016, reports Indu Bhan in New Delhi. FE BUREAU New Delhi, April 15 PRESENTTENSE NITI AAYOG, IN consultation with the finance ministry, has started deliberations to finalise the names of two PSBs that will be privatised in the current fiscal as part of the disinvestment process, reports PTI. SPECIAL FEATURE ‘Our ambitions range from masstige to premium’ Weekend curfew in Delhi; spas, malls,gyms closed till April 30 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, April 15 ■ Cinemas to function with 30% capacity on weekdays DELHI CHIEF MINISTER Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced a curfew this comingweekend and the closure of malls, gymnasiums and auditoriums till April 30 as part of sweeping restrictions to break the chain of the Covid-19 infection in the city. According to an official order,theweekend curfewwill be effective from 10 pm on April 16 (Friday) to 5 am on April 19 (Monday), even as gymnasiums, auditoriums, malls, spas, entertainment parks and assembly halls will remain closed in the national capital till April 30. Cinema halls will function with only 30% capacity. However, officials said a Manish Taneja, cofounder and CEO, Purplle, which recently raised $45 million in a funding round, says creating an offline presence is a key focus area for the company ■ BrandWagon, P9 ■ No in-house dining in restaurants ■ Home-delivery and take- away services allowed ■ Bars to remain closed till April 30 ■ Passes for those attending weddings, vaccination ■ People going to airports, railway stations and lSBTs to proceed on valid tickets ■ Curfew pass required for people dealing in groceries decision to extend the weekend curfew will be taken after reviewing the Covid-19 situation next week. Continued on Page 2 Over 1,700 test positive for virus in Kumbh mela over 5-day period PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Dehradun/Rishikesh, April 15 OVER 1,700 PEOPLE have tested positive for Covid-19 in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela area from April 10 to 14 confirming fears that one of the world's largest religious gatherings may contribute further to the rapid rise in coronavirus cases. Medical workers conducted 2,36,751 tests overthe five-day period in the mela site. Out of these, 1,701 came out positive for coronavirus. The numbers include both RT-PCRandRapidAntigenTest reportsofdevoteesandseersof different akharas (ascetic groups) over the five-day period in the entire mela site extending from Haridwar to Devprayag, Haridwar’s chief medical officer Shambhu Kumar Jha said on Thursday. More RT-PCR test reports are awaited and the trend shows that the number of infectedpersonsin theKumbh Mela site is likely to climb to 2,000, he said. The Kumbh Mela area is spread over 670 hectares covering parts of Haridwar,Tehri and Dehradun districts,including Rishikesh. Despitetheirbestefforts,the police could not impose the standard operatingprocedures. 30,compared to the current active caseload of 5.64 lakh, Thackeray said on Wednesday in the letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also said the medical oxygen requirement in the state is projected to reach 2,000 MT a day byApril-end from the present consumption of 1,200 MT. Citing logistical hurdles in the transportation of liquid medical oxygen from neighbouring states,he also sought permission under the NDMA to airlift oxygen from steel plants in eastern and southern parts of the country. ■ Page 2 ● SERVED HOT QuickPicks SoftBank to back Swiggy at $5.5-bn value RBI reveals names of applicants SARITHA RAI for universal bank, SFB licences THE RBI on Thursday announced names of applicants under its on-tap licensing window for universal banks and small finance banks (SFBs), reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. The list includes a forex services provider and a former banker. Applicants under guidelines for on-tap licensing of universal banks are UAE Exchange and Financial Services, The Repatriates Cooperative Finance and Development Bank, Chaitanya India Fin Credit, and Pankaj Vaish and others. Applicants seeking licences for SFBs are VSoft Technologies, Calicut City Service Co-operative Bank, Akhil Kumar Gupta, and Dvara Kshetriya Gramin Financial Services. Guidelines for on-tap licensing of universal banks and SFBs in the private sector were issued on August 1, 2016, and December 5, 2019, respectively. PAGE 14 Bengaluru, April 15 SOFTBANK GROUP IS investing in Swiggy at a $5.5-billion valuation, the second funding forthefooddeliverystart-upin asmanyweeksascapitalfloods the world’s fastest growing internet arena.The $450-million funding came from MasayoshiSon’sVisionFund2, apersonfamiliarwiththematter said. The financing awaits approvalfromIndianantitrust regulators, the person added, ■ Funding of $450-m comes from Masayoshi Son’s Vision Fund 2, second funding for Swiggy in a week Swiggy had closed $800-m funding round from investors about aweek ago asking not to be identified. Bengaluru-based Swiggy competes with multiple food delivery start-ups, including fellowunicorn Zomato,backed byAnt Group andTigerGlobal, WIPRO ON THURSDAY beat analysts estimates on almost all the fronts in its JanuaryMarch earnings. The company’s net profit during the period was up 0.2% sequentiallyat`2,972.10crore,higher thantheBloombergconsensus estimate of `2,892.84 crore. Revenues at `16,245.40 crore were up 3.7% sequentially as well as ahead of estimate of `16,097.12 crore. The company’s Ebit during the quarterstood at `3,417.10 crore, up 0.8% compared to the preceding quarter. Margin contracted 80 bps quarter-on-quarterat20.92%. The contraction in marginwas due to wage hikes. Thecompanyhasguidedfor Q3 FY21 Q4 FY21 (` crore) q-o-q (%) Revenue 15,670 16,245.4 EBIT 3,391.4 3,417.1 0.8 Net profit 2,966.7 2,972.1 0.2 revenues from its IT services business to be in the range of $2,195 million to $2,238 million for the June quarter,which translates to a sequential growth of 2% to 4%. Continued on Page 2 Costlier crude, low base FE BUREAU WPI inflation shoots up to 8-year high of 7.39% Inflation measured by wholesale price index (WPI) shot up to 7.39% in March, the highest since October 2012, primarily on higher crude prices, but also aided by a low base. Rise in prices of some manufactured goods and food items like pulses and fruits also pushed the index. Retail (CPI) inflation scaled a four-month peak of 5.52% in March. This could dissuade RBI-MPC from rate cuts, even as chances of another economic disruption have risen due to Covid surge. 10 8 Inﬂation (% change, y-o-y) 6.58 7.39 CPI 6 4 5.52 2 0 -2 -4 2.26 WPI -3.37 Feb 2020 May ‘20 March 2021 Source: MoSPI; DPIIT ■ Previous week, in the space of four days, investors minted at least six new unicorns with $1-bn valuation or more and the food delivery arm of Amazon India unit, which recently unveiled its service to Prime members in Bengaluru. Continued on Page 2 RECOVERY ROAD IL&FS addresses debt of `43,000 cr PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Mumbai, April 15 CRISIS-RIDDENINFRASTRUCTURELEASING&FinancialServices(IL&FS)onThursdaysaidit has addressed aggregate group debtof`43,000croresofarand expects to cross `51,000 crore by September 2021.The debtladen group has further enhanceditsestimatesofaggregate debt recovery to `61,000 crore beyond September2021. In October 2020,IL&FS had targeted to address `50,300 croreofitsoveralldebtbyMarch 2021andover`56,000croreby FY22.The group’s overall debt stood at `99,000 crore, as of October2018.“Thetotalmoney owedbyIL&FStofinancialcreditors was `1 lakh crore (including non-fund basedexposures). As of today, we have broadly `61,000 cr Raised recovery estimate by debt-laden group beyond Sept `50,300 cr Amount of debt group targeted to address by March 2021 ● RENEWABLE PUSH Facebook to buy green power in India REUTERS April 15 addressedabout`43,000crore, whichisroughlyabout43-44% of the total debt,” the Group’s chairmanUdayKotaksaidwhile sharingthequarterlyupdateon the ongoing resolutionprocess. FACEBOOK HAS SIGNED a deal to buy renewable energy in India from a local firm's wind power project, the social media giant's first such deal in the South Asian nation, the companies said on Thursday. The 32 megawatt wind power project, located in Karnataka, is part of a larger portfolio ofwind and solarprojects that Facebook and Mumbaibased CleanMax are working together on for supplying renewable power into India's electrical grid, they said in a joint statement. Continued on Page 2 Detailed report on Page 4 `56,000 cr Amount of debt group targeted to address by FY22 `99,000 cr Group’s overall debt as of October 2018 GLOBAL STRATEGY Citi to exit consumer banking in India PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Mumbai, April 15 AMERICAN BANKING MAJOR Citibank on Thursday announced that it will exit from the consumer bankingbusinessinIndiaaspartofa global strategy. The business comprises credit cards, retail banking, home loans and wealth management.The bank has 35 branches in the country and employs approximately4,000peopleintheconsumer banking business. On Thursday, the bank announced exiting from the consumer banking businesses in 13 countries, with its global CEO Jane ■ Business comprises credit cards, retail banking, home loans and wealth management ■ Bank ■ American banking major has 35 branches in the country, employs about 4,000 people ■ Global CEO Jane Fraser attributes decision to absence of scale to compete in these geographies Fraser attributing the decision to an absence of scale to compete in these geographies. Contours of the exit were not immediately known and the proposed exit from the consumer banking business will also 3.7 Continued on Page 2 Active virus caseload in Maharashtra to double in 15 days: Thackeray to Centre MAHARASHTRA CHIEF MINISTER UddhavThackerayhaswritten a letterto the Centre, saying the number of active caseload of Covid-19 in the state is expected to double in the next 15 days, reportsPTI.Maharashtraisexpectingits activecaseloadtoreach11.9lakhbyApril Continued on Page 2 Report card « Niti Aayog to soon finalise two PSBs for privatisation COVID-19 FE BUREAU Bengaluru, April 15 « THE COUNTRY'S EXPORTS jumped 60.29% to $34.45 billion in March even as the outbound shipments shrank 7.26% during FY21 to $290.63 billion, reports PTI. Imports, too, grew 53.74% to $48.38 billion in March, but dipped 18% to $389.18 billion in FY21. Company gives revenue growth guidance of 2-4% for June quarter « Exports jump 60% in Mar; falls over 7% in FY21 Wipro numbers beat analysts’ estimates « Airport employees offload Remdesivir injections (top left) after it reached Indore from Nagpur for distribution to other cities; a patient with breathing problem is rushed to a hospital for treatment in Ahmedabad; migrants arriving from Maharashtra (below) stand in a queue at Patna Junction to undergo testing as daily infections in India hit record 200,739 on Thursday FLIPKARTONTHURSDAYsaid it will wholly acquire online travel aggregator Cleartrip. Though it did not disclose the financialdetailsofthetransaction, sources said that the travel firm has been valued at about $40 million. Post the transaction,Cleartrip will, however, continue to operate as a separate brand and retain all its employees. For Flipkart, the addition of Cleartripisasteptowardsbusinessdiversification.Itwillopen up new avenues of monetisationforthecompany,saidArpit Mathur,partnerat Kearney. Also,Flipkart will get access to a share of some 80-100 million consumers who use online platforms to purchase services like hotel reservations,air tickets but do not necessarily shop for products on websites like Flipkart andAmazon. MARCH QUARTER announces exiting from consumer banking businesses in 13 countries need regulatory nods. Citi had entered India in 1902 and started the consumer banking business in 1985. Continued on Page 2 CHENNAI/KOCHI
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