MARKETS, P9 COMPANIES, P4 CREDIT CRISIS Sebi working on a four-step plan to boost debt markets INTERNATIONAL, P8 PLANS TO LIST BY JAN STRONG DEMANDS FOR OTT SERVICES RECOVERY ROAD Virat Kohli-backed Digit Insurance eyes $5-bn valuation for its IPO, DRHP by Sept Saregama to launch 60 new films, web series over 3 years Advanced economies to be back on track by 2024: Gita Gopinath NEW DELHI, THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2022 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK. APP AVAILABLE ON APP STORE & PLAYSTORE WWW.FINANCIALEXPRESS.COM READ TO LEAD VOL XLVIII NO. 73, 34 PAGES, `10.00 (PATNA & RAIPUR `10.00) P U B L I S H E D F R O M : A H M E D A B A D , B E N G A L U R U , C H A N D I G A R H , C H E N N A I , H Y D E R A B A D , K O C H I , K O L K ATA , L U C K N O W, M U M B A I , N E W D E L H I , P U N E SENSEX: 53,749.26 ▼ 303.35 NIFTY: 16,025.80 ▼ 99.35 NIKKEI 225: 26,677.80 ▼ 70.34 HANG SENG: 20,171.27 ▲ 59.17 `/$: 77.53 ▲ 0.06 `/€: 82.76 ▲ 0.35 BRENT: $114.39 ▲ $0.83 GOLD: `50,986.00 ▼ `68 Whistleblower accuses HZL stake sale in tranches Amtek Auto promoters of `12,000-crore fraud `38,000 crore IN THE NEWS New scheme to let discoms clear dues to gencos CCEA APPROVES DIVESTMENT OF 29.5% EQUITY THE POWER MINISTRY on Wednesday proposed a fresh scheme to facilitate staterun electricity distribution entities (discoms) to pay up their dues to gencos, which at last count stood at a staggering `1 trillion, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. PRASANTA SAHU New Delhi, May 25 SpiceJet hit by ransomware, flights affected SEVERAL FLIGHTS OF SPICEJET were delayed and cancelled on Wednesday after the airline faced a ransomware attack Tuesday night, reports PTI. In a statement, the airline said, "Certain SpiceJet systems faced an attempted ransomware attack last night that has impacted our flight operations.” IndiGo Q4 loss widens due to fuel costs, Omicron INTERGLOBE AVIATION, WHICH operates no-frills carrier IndiGo, on Wednesday reported a bigger net loss of `1,681 crore for the three months to March, higher by nearly 47% than the loss incurred by the airline in Q4FY21, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. The carrier was hit by elevated fuel costs and the Omicron wave. Special Features Break-in is out, thieves are logging in Digital identity system calls for reform, with users needing dynamic digital eID protection ■ eFE, P7 Note 12 Turbo: Very tempting at this price point A stylish, solid phone with good processing power. At `14,999, it is worth considering ■ Gadgets, P7 Hindustan Zinc Intra-day on BSE (`) WITH THE GOVERNMENT finances coming under stress due to the latest excise duty cut onpetrolanddiesel,theCabinet onTuesdayapprovedsaleofthe Centre’s residual 29.54% stake in Hindustan Zinc (HZL) worth about `38,000 crore at the currentmarketprices,toboostnontax receipts,sources said. The HZL stock closed at `305.05ontheBSEonWednesday, up 3.14% from the previous close.The company’s share price has gained 8.1% after touching a low of `282.25 on May16,2022. Given the size and value of the stake, the government will sell the stake in HZLin tranches keepinginmindmarketabsorp- 320 ■ Centre’s residual 29.54% 305.05 310 stake in HZL is worth about ■ The HZLstake sales are likely through offer for sales route 300 296.95 ■ Government is scouting for additional revenues as extra expenditure over the Budget estimate is seen at about `2 trn 290 280 Previous close: 295.75 Open Close tion capacity, a senior official told FE. The HZL stake sales are likely through offer for sales (OFS) route. According to market regulator Sebi norm, the time gap between two OFS should be at leasttwoweeks. HZL shareholding (%) LICI ULIP 2.59 Others including retail: 2.59 Government of India 29.54 Vedanta 64.92 THE CENTRE IS unlikely to raise its gross market borrowing in FY23 from the budgetted level to fund the fiscal deficit despite additional spending commitments and a raft of indirect tax cuts on Saturday to curb inflation, a top government functionary said on Wednesday.This is because it is confident of generating extra revenue to make up for the shortfall. “As things stand today, we don't need to borrow more from the market,we will manage without that,” said the source.The source also said the goods and services tax (GST) rate rationalisation has “an overhang of inflation”,indicating that any such exercise could be delayed, as it has potential to raise prices of several products. `65,000 cr likely to be exceeded Source: BSE as on March 2022 With the privatisation of BPCL now on the back burner, the sale of the HZL stake offers thegovernmentalargerevenue potentialintermsofvalueinthe current financialyear. As per the Supreme Court order dated November 18, 2021, the Centre can sell its residualstakeinHZLintheopen market in accordance with the Sebi rules. Manystates,too,maynotbe amenable to this idea at this juncture, given the alreadystickypricepressure.Moreover, areportbyagroupofministers, ledbyKarnatakachiefminister BasavarajBommai,forthispurpose is yet to be submitted.The Central government has announced its plan to borrow `8.45 trillion from the market through dated securities in the first half of FY23.It has pegged FY23 gross market borrowing It seeks initiation of a criminal investigation against those named SHRITAMA BOSE Mumbai, May 25 ■ Disinvestment target of Continued on Page 11 No change in govt’s borrowing plan for now BANIKINKAR PATTANAYAK New Delhi, May 25 Letter seeks probe against RP, 27 employees, banks & forensic auditor via dated securities at `14.31 trillion, against the budgeted `14.95 trillion, citing a switch programme conducted on January28. Giventhatithadbudgetedto borrow less from the National Small Savings Fund (`4.25 trillion in FY23 vs `5.92 trillion in FY22),ithassomeleewaytoraise itsNSSFofftakeshouldthesituationsowarrant,analystsaid. Continued on Page 11 A WHISTLEBLOWER HAS filed a criminal complaint on May 23 alleging cheating and fraud,corruptionandlaundering of bank loans worth `12,000 crore bykeymanagerial personnel of Amtek Auto, allegedly in conspiracy with employees of several banks. The complaint, which has been sent to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and marked to the Prime Minister's Office, seeks the initiation of a criminal investigation against Amtek Auto'spromoterArvind Dham, 27 of the company’s employees, resolution professional (RP) DinkarVenkatsubramanian, Vivek Aggarwal (partner), Ernst & Young (EY), which authored a forensic audit report of Amtek Auto's transactions,and unnamed officials of IDBI Bank. The name of the com- The May 23 complaint alleges cheating and fraud, corruption and laundering of bank loansworth `12,000 crore plainant is Jaskaran Chawla, who is an advocate at the Delhi high court. FE has reviewed a copy of the complaint. Emails sent to Amtek Auto, Dham, Venkatsubramanian, Aggarwal,EYanda representative forIDBI Bank did not elicit responses till the time of going topress.TheMay23complaint names 27 employees of the Amtek Group who were allegedly used by the Dham family to create a ‘benami’ structure in order to move, park and siphon off funds. It Holcim deal value too steep at $10 bn: Birla FE BUREAU New Delhi, May 25 A$10BILLIONpricetagforHolcim’s India assets in India was too steep, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group said on Wednesday. "I would have liked to own the cement units of Gujarat AmbujaandACC,butnotatthat price," he told CNBC TV18 in DavosonWednesday,inhisfirst publiccommentsaftertheAdanis won the three-horse race (JSWGroupwasalsointhefray). Birlasaidheisconvincedthe group has other options, given that it is deeply embedded in the cement space, has channel partnersacrossthecountryand can expand both through greenfield and brownfield projects. “We understand Competition Commission of India (CCI) and we could have put a schemetoseeitthrough.Ithink wewould have had to sell some assets, but it was mainly the price,”Birla said. The Birla Group chief said he is open to buying assets I would like to move from being a builder to an architect of the group. There is enough talent in the group to do what I have been doing — KM BIRLA, CHAIRMAN, ADITYA BIRLA GROUP that the government may put on the block,for example copper assets, if they are value accretive. TheAB Group is among the country’s biggest conglomer- ates with $45 billion revenue and businesses ranging from aluminum to apparel. The group has roughly120 mtpa of cement capacity housed in Ultratech. Ithasambitiousplansinthe paints sector and is making an investmentof`10,000crorein thehopeofbecomingthenumbertwoplayerinfiveyears,Birla said. Birla believes it is time for some new investors to infuse fundsintoVodafone-Idea.Both the Birla Group and Vodafone, he said, had put in another tranche of equity about three months ago and remained committed to the business. At the same time, he feels there is fair bit of interest from investors who see room for an upside particularly after the government’s relief package. Speaking about new initiatives, he said the group would make bets in the digital and ecommerce space but that these would be calibrated. Some of these could be in the edtech or health-techspaces,heobserved. RESPONSE TO E-TAILER’S MAY 19 LETTER Future Retail hits back at Amazon FE BUREAU Mumbai, May 25 DEBT-LADEN FUTURE Retail (FRL) has denied all accusations made against its independent directors byAmazon, stating that the US e-commerce majorhas been making “baseless and irrelevant allegations”. FRL also alleged thatAmazon has been writing to various regulators on “one or the other point”. As is evident, Amazon is changing its goal post every now and then with respect to various matters concerning the company, FRL said, replying to a clarification sought by the regulator. The information, which has been provided onlybyone party with “malafide intent”, should not have any material impact on the company, it ■ Future Retail said the US e-commerce major has been making 'baseless and irrelevant allegations' ■ Amazon is changing its goal post every now and then regarding various matters concerning the company, it added added. In a letter dated May 19, Amazon accused FRL’s independent directors of “facilitating” to alienate and transferthe Indian retail firm’s 835 stores in favour of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance ■ Amazon accused FRL’s directors of 'facilitating' to alienate & transfer the retail firm’s 835 stores in favour of Reliance Retail Retail. These stores - both largeformat stores such as ‘Big Bazaar’ and small-format stores such as ‘Easy Day’ and ‘Heritage Fresh’ - were transferred in the teeth of binding injunctions and court orders, Amazon alleged in a letter addressed to FRL’s two independent directors. “While the scheme has failed,it now appears that FRL sought to purportedly alienate its retail stores in favourof the Mukesh Ambani group by any means possible. “You, as independent directors, have facilitated this fraudulent stratagem to defraud the Indian public and regulators,”Amazon had said. Amazon was referring to the 2020 deal Future Group had signed with Reliance Retail,a subsidiaryof Reliance Industries (RIL), to sell its retail,logistics andwarehousing businesses for `24,713 crore. It was later cancelled after Future group failed to secure shareholders’ and lenders’ approval. New Delhi The complainant has asked the CBI to initiate domestic seizures of the bank accounts of the Dham family AmtekAuto was one of the 12 large NPAs mandated for resolution under IBC further seeks a criminal investigation against unnamed employees of IDBI Bank as they allegedly failed to recall loans despite deviations from the terms of a no-objection certificate (NOC) issued by the bank in 2016. According to the complaint, Venkatsubramanian had approachedErnst&Young to review the transactions made byAmtekAuto from January 7,2015 to July 24,2017. Continued on Page 2
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