OPINION, P6 ECONOMY, P3 JEFFREY FRANKEL The West’s energy policy can be geopolitical and green BACK PAGE, P22 EDITORIAL DEMAND AT ALL-TIME HIGH AKSHAYA TRITIYA GST needs a round of reforms; good time to reduce slabs as tax mop-up is on an upswing Power minister urges stressed units to restart operations Jewellers hope to beat pandemic blues with good sales NEW DELHI, TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2022 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL XLVIII NO. 53, 22 PAGES, `10.00 (PATNA & RAIPUR `10.00) 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: 56,975.99 ▼ 84.88 NIFTY: 17,069.10 ▼ 33.45 NIKKEI 225: 26,818.53 ▼ 29.37 HANG SENG: 21,089.39 ▲ 813.22 `/$: 76.52 ▼ 0.08 `/€: 80.54 ▲ 0.32 BRENT: $103.67 ▼ $3.47 GOLD: `51,119 ▼ `728 IPO PROCESS OFF TO A GOOD START Zilingo’s board suspends another top executive To start trading on stock exchanges on May 17 SALMAN SH Bengaluru, May 2 LIC anchor book fully subscribed IN THE NEWS Stricter scrutiny: 3 key infra portals may be merged THE GOVERNMENT is planning to integrate portals relating to three of its most important initiatives — PM Gati Shakti, National Infrastructure Pipeline and Project Monitoring Group — to create a unified platform for tighter scrutiny of key infrastructure projects, Anurag Jain, DPIIT secretary said, reports Banikinkar Pattanayak in New Delhi. Coal shortage: HC asks Centre to set up panel THE ORISSA High Court on Monday asked the Union government to set up a committee with experts from the ministries of coal, power, mines and the railways to look into the shortage of coal supplies. It also asked the government how the coal requirements of Vedanta, Hindalco and others can be met, reports Indu Bhan in New Delhi. DGCA to inspect entire SpiceJet aircraft fleet AVIATION REGULATOR DGCA on Monday said that it is carrying out an inspection of the entire SpiceJet aircraft fleet after its MumbaiDurgapur plane ran into severe turbulence, leading to injuries to 17 people, two of whom were in ICU, reports PTI. Special Feature PRESS TRUST OF INDIA New Delhi, May 2 THEANCHOR INVESTOR portionofLIC’sinitialpublicoffering (IPO) has been subscribed fully,garneringaround`5,620 crore,according to an official. The issue opened for anchor investor subscription on Monday and saw‘excellent’ response, the official said, adding that the list will be uploaded to the exchanges. “Anchor book is to be allocated up to the maximum allowable limit of `5,620 crore. It’s fully done,” the official told PTI. The government is selling 221 million shares in Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) at a price band of `902-949 a share, targeting to raise about `21,000crore.Theissuewould open for institutional and retail buyers from May 4 -9. The LIC share salewould be the biggest everamount raised through an IPO in the Indian stock market. ISSUE OPENS TOMORROW ■ Govt is selling 221 million shares in LIC at a price band of `902-949 per share It aims to raise about `21,000 crore LIC share from the sale sale would be biggest ■ The issue will open amount for subscription for raised via institutional and retail an IPO buyers from May 4-9 The previous such high fundraising was seen in the IPO of Paytm in 2021 at `18,300 crore and Coal India in 2010 at `15,200 crore. Of the total LIC shares on offer, over 98.8 million shares are reserved forqualified institutional buyers and over 29.6 million shares fornon-institutional buyers. Up to 1.58 million shares and 22.1 million shares are reserved for employees and policyholders, respectively. While retail investors and LIC employees will get a discount of `45 per share, LIC policyholders bidding in IPO would get a discount of `60 a share. LIC would get listed and start trading on the stock exchanges on May 17. JUSTWEEKS AFTER suspending its CEO and co-founder Ankiti Bose over allegations of financial irregularities,the Singapore-based Zilingo’s board has now placed Naushaba Salahuddin, the head of communications and PR under suspension, according to two sources close to the development. Salahuddin also heads Zilingo’s prevention of sexualharassment committee and Naushaba joinedtheB2B Salahuddin, firm in head of PR, November Zilingo 2018. Salahuddin’saccess to emails and various other work tools was suspended last weekendwhen she questioned the board over a companywide e-mail questioning an earlier statement issued by Zilingo to the media,one of the sources asking to remain anonymous said. Continued on Page 10 FUNDING BOOST TO START-UPS Neobank Open joins unicorn club TUSHAR GOENKA Bengaluru, May 2 ■ Open raised ■ The latest OPEN, A NEO-BANKING fintech portal, on Monday became the 96th entrant to India’s unicorn club with the announcement of its Series D funding roundworth $50 million at avaluation of $1 billion. The round was led by IIFL and also included existing investors such as Tiger Global, Temasek and 3one4 Capital. The company plans to use the latest funding amount to launchnewservices,expandits existing lending books, strengthen its leadershipteam and also double the workforce to 1,000 from 500 currently, its previous funding round, Series C, in October 2021 at half the current valuation round was led by IIFL and also included existing investors like Tiger Global, Temasek and 3one4 Capital $140 million Total amount of funds the company claims to have raised since its inception Open said in statement. Founded by Anish Achuthan, Mabel Chacko and Ajeesh Achuthan, the Bengaluru-based firm currently works to automate business financesforsmallandmedium enterprises and claims to powerover2.3millionSMEs— crossing over $30 billion in annualised transactions. “We are excited to partner withIIFLandexistinginvestors Tiger Global, Temasek and 3one4 Capital for our Series D round.We see a lot of synergies withIIFL,especiallyonleveraging the lending book, as we are gettingreadytolaunchinnovative products like revenuebased financing, early settlement,working capital loan and business credit cards to SMEs onourplatform,”Achuthan,cofounder& CEO,Open,said. Open plans to launch Open Flo,a revenue-based financing model; Open Settl, to help in early settlement of dues; and Open Capital, for all working capital loan needs. Continued on Page 2 Valued at $900 m, Zepto adds fresh $200 m to cart SALMAN SH Bengaluru, May 2 Strong show by Maruti Suzuki in final quarter Prospects are good; FY23/24 EPS up 7/3%; ‘Buy’ retained with target price of `10,000 ■ Investor, P7 NINE MONTHS AFTER its launch,hyperlocal delivery start-up Zepto has announced its $200-million Series D fundraise,valuingthecompanyataround $900 million.Y Combinator Continuity fund doubled down and led the round, withnewinvestorKaiserPermanentealso joining in to back the company. All key existing investors, including NexusVenturePartners,GladeBrookCap- italandLachyGroom,havealsoincreased their investments in the current round,a companystatementsaid on Monday. The Mumbai-based start-up, which originallybeganin‘stealthmode’earlylast year, had earlier raised funding from prominent angels such as Lachy Groom, NeerajArora and Manik Gupta.Itwas last valuedat$225millioninafundinground in November 2021. To date, Zepto has raised around $260 million in equity financing,including the current round. “We posted an 800% q-o-q revenue growth,whileburnhascomedown5Xon a per-orderbasis.Ourteam achieved this while continuing to delight our customers — we maintained a phenomenal 88-Point NPS and 60% Month-1 Buyer Retentionatscale.Thisunbelievableexecution over the past few months has made it clear to investors that Zepto will be one of the winners in Indian q-commerce,” Zepto co-founder & CEO Aadit Palicha said in a statement. Continued on Page 2 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz shake hands as they sign a collaboration contract during inter-governmental talks in Berlin on Monday $10.5-BN AID FOR INDIA’S GREEN GOALS Germany invites India to G-7 in bid to isolate Russia MICHAEL NIENABER May 2 GERMAN CHANCELLOR Olaf Scholz invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a Group of Seven leaders’ summit next month as a special guest, part of an effort to forge a broader international alliance against Russia. Germany — which currently holds the rotating G-7 presidency — will also welcome the leaders of Indonesia, SouthAfricaandSenegaltothe gathering in the Bavarian Alps June 26 to June 28, Scholz’s chief spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said on Monday at a regular news conference in Berlin, confirming a Bloomberg report published Sunday. Scholz hosted Modi for talks in Berlin on Monday and they presided over a joint German-Indian cabinet meeting before signing a declaration on cooperation in Factory output looks up amid high inflation THE MANUFACTURING sectorwitnessed faster growth in April amid quicker increasesinproductionand new orders,reports fe Bureau in New Delhi.The seasonallyadjustedS&PGlobal India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)rosefrom54.0inMarch to 54.7 in April, as production was stepped up to meetariseindemand.Inflationary pressures, meanwhile, intensified owing to rising commodity prices, theRussia-Ukrainewarand greatertransportationcosts. ■ Report on Page 2 ONLY SOME SAMPLES CURRENTLY TESTED BY AGENCIES EV makers pitch for uniform battery standards VARUN SINGH New Delhi, May 2 ROADTRANSPORTAND highways secretary Giridhar Aramane has said that the government will probe each and every incident of electric scooters catchingfire.Healsocalledupon the e-scooter manufacturers to quickly establish necessary functional safety protocols, qualitycontrolandqualityassurance systems. Butindustryinsiderssaythe expert committee,set up bythe government to inquire into the matter,doesn’thavetolookvery far and should simply recommend putting in place a regulatory mechanism to ensure the ■ No system of random checks on production units ■ No system to Makers get 4-6 samples of batteries tested by ARAI and ICAT, whether same used not ascertained by any agency ensure samples of batteries tested are used in all vehicles produced manufacturersadheretostipulated standards with regard to batteries used in thevehicles. Industry executives and expertssaidcurrentlythere’sno conformity of production (CoP) to ensure that the samples of batteries which manufacturers get tested at ARAI (Automotive ResearchAssociationofIndia)or ICAT (International Centre for Automotive Technology), are ■ No system to inspect production units to ensure uniform battery standards are maintained ■ Fire incidents have been reported in EVs of Ola, Okinawa, Pure and Jitendra have recently ■ Govt has set up an expert committee to inquire into the incidents usedinallthevehiclestheyproduce.There’snosystemwherein these two agencies inspect the production units of EV manufacturerstoensurethatuniform battery standards are main- tained.There’salsonosystemof random checks on the production units. Simply put, the system works like this: the manufacturersgetfour-sixsamplesof lithium-ion batteries tested by ARAI and ICAT, but whether they use the same across vehicles is not ascertained by any regulatory agency.This, industry executives and experts maintain, may be one of the prime reasons for some EVs catching fire recently. At least eight fire incidents involving two-wheeler EVs of companieslikeOlaElectric,Okinawa Autotech, Pure EV and Jitendra NewEVTech,has come to light since March 26. The batteries used in electric two-wheelers in India comply either with the older AIS-048standardsorthenewer AIS-156 standards,which were introduced in 2020. AIS-048 tests include, short-circuit, overcharge,vibration,shockand nail penetration. On the otherhand,AIS-156, claimed to be one of the most stringentintheworldfortesting batteries, stipulates tests like vibration, mechanical drop, mechanical shock, fire resistance,externalshortcircuitprotection, overcharge protection, over-dischargeprotection,overtemperature protection, and thermalshock and cycling. Continued on Page 10 Hopefully we’ll very soon be able to welcome you to Germany again. We are ready to continue close cooperation on global issues with India, and — this is the key — to expand it. —OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR “Green and Sustainable Development” and making statements to reporters. “Hopefully we’ll very soon be able to welcome you to Germany again,” Scholz said.“We are ready to continue close cooperation on global issues withIndia,and—thisisthekey — to expand it,”he added. Modi did not immediately confirm he would attend the G-7, and did not mention the invitation in his statement. The two leaders, who did not take questions, also announced that Germany had pledged as much as €10 billion ($10.5 billion) in aid to help India achieve its sustainable development goals and promote German-Indian research and development. Despite concerns over Modi’s reluctance to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine andarecentjumpinIndia’sfossil-fuel imports from Russia, Scholz decided the G-7 should courtIndia,accordingtopeople familiarwith the matter. Given the nation’s growing population and long democratic tradition, Germany sees the country as a potentially valuable partner in efforts to isolate Russia, said the people who asked not to be identified. Continued on Page 2 DOUBLE-DIGIT RISE Non-food credit growth touches 31-month high SHRITAMA BOSE Mumbai, May 2 NON-FOOD CREDIT growth hit a 31-month high of 10.24% year-on-year (y-o-y) during the fortnight ended April 8,from 8.71% in the previous fortnight, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The first double-digit growth print in over two years comes at a time when banks are attesting to early signs of a recovery in demand for capex, while retail loan demand continues to hold up. High commodity prices are also playing a role in making companies borrow more. Outstanding non-food credit as on April 8 rose to `119.48trillionfrom`118.36 trillion at the end of the previous fortnight. The pace of depositgrowthundershotthat of credit growth, coming in at just over10%y-o-yduring the fortnight under review, albeit higher than 8.94% in the previous fortnight. The value of depositswith the banking system stood at `167.42 trillion as on April 8. Credit to retail borrowers continues to be the most significant driver of credit growth. As per sectoral data released by the RBI, loans to individuals grew 12.4% in March 2022,against 10.7% in March 2021. At the same time, loan New Delhi Credit growth Growth (%, y-o-y) 12 10.24 10 10.29 8 6 4 2 0 Sept 13, 2019 Source: RBI April 8, 2022 growth in the industrial segment picked up to 7.1% in March 2022 from a contraction of 0.4% in March 2021. Bankers say that demand from corporates is coming back,with green shoots visible in some segments. Samuel Joseph, deputy managing director, IDBI Bank, said quite a few projects are at the drawing board stage and they should take off in FY23. Continued on Page 2
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