airIndia

A Suitable Buyer

 

Air India has been bleeding money for quite some time. At the end of March’17, it had piled up debt of nearly Rs. 48,000 crore. Nontheless, it has found suiters in Tata Group and parent company of IndiGo. But, that’s not enough for the government. It wants to raise the stakes, so it may do away with the ‘foreign airlines can own 49% stake in an Indian airline but not Air India’ rule. More bidders, better pricing. Why would a buyer be interested in owning a debt laden company? You ask? Government is hiving off a part of Air India’s loan not linked to the aircraft, a 64% of its debt.

For more news in numbers, read on.

 

84

What is it? The number of seats the Left Alliance in Nepal had won as of Sunday evening in parliamentary elections, as per preliminary results.

Why is it important? With this, the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist alliance is heading towards a majority, with Khadga Prasad Oli likely to be the country’s Prime Minister. This brings an end to the decade-old civil war in Nepal and completes its move to becoming a federal democracy. It remains to be seen if the Left Alliance’s landslide victory results in the waning of India’s influence on Nepal and China playing a dominant role in the landlocked nation.

Tell me more: The Left Alliance was leading in another 31 seats, while the incumbent Nepali Congress had won just 13 seats. The house of representatives consists of 275 members, of which 165 are to be elected directly under the first-past-the-post system and the rest through the proportional representation system.

 

49%

What is it? The maximum stake that foreign airlines can own in an Indian airline, with the exception of Air India, in which investment from foreign airlines is banned.

Why is it important? The Indian government may reportedly do away with this exception for the disinvestment of state-run Air India, provided the foreign airlines has a joint venture with a local player. This could intensify competition among bidders interested in buying Air India and, perhaps, fetch the government a better price. The parent company of IndiGo is the only airline to have made a formal expression of interest, while the Tata Group has indicated its interest in doing the same.

Tell me more: Jayant Sinha, union minister of state for civil aviation, said on Friday that the process of privatisation of Air India has begun and that it would be finalised in 6-8 months.

 

39%

What is it? Percentage of assets under management (AUMs) of Indian mutual funds in equity funds and balanced funds in November 2017.

Why is it important? This figure was 30% in November 2014. This increase in share of equity-oriented funds comes in the backdrop of consistently rising net inflows into Indian mutual funds, whose total AUMs have increased to an all-time high of Rs 21.8 trillion in November 2017, as against 16.9 trillion in October 2016. More encouragingly, it is individual investors who are driving growth, rather than institutional investors.

Tell me more: The two fund classes that have lost share during this period are both debt funds: income funds (down from 46% to 38%) and liquid funds (down from 21% to 19%).

 

67%

What is it? The rate at which Amazon India’s gross sales volume increased in the July-September quarter from a year ago. Its gross sales by value grew 67% in the same period.

Why is it important? This is more than twice the estimated broader growth rate of the online retail market. It is another indication that Amazon India continues to keep pace with India’s homegrown e-commerce firm and marked leader, Flipkart. In a recent report on customer response and perception by RedSeer Consulting, both e-tailers were tied with a score of 92, similar to the corresponding quarter in the previous year, when they had both scored 95.

Tell me more: Amazon has committed $5 billion in India, of which it has spent over $2 billion, while Flipkart raised $2.4 billion from Japan’s SoftBank Group recently, giving it enough ammunition to battle against its cash-rich rival.

 

14

What is it? Number of consecutive wins recorded by Manchester City in the English Premier League. This is joint best with Arsenal’s run over two seasons in 2002.

Why is it important? On Sunday, leaders Manchester City visited cross-town rivals and second-placed Manchester United in a game with many sub-texts and dominated them in a 2-1 victory. In a weekend when four of the top six teams in the league dropped points, City extended their lead to 11 points. They next travel to Swansea, which is languishing second from the bottom.

Tell me more: The Manchester Derby ended with a fracas in the corridor outside City’s dressing room involving players and staff from the two teams.

 

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News in Numbers, Feb 03, 2017: 2G scam’s half a dozen

6

What is it? Number of those acquitted, including erstwhile telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and two companies, in two different cases on the Aircel-Maxis 2G deal, by judge, OP Saini, at the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Delhi on Thursday.

Why is it important? The efforts of the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, probing the wide-ranging offences in India’s 2G scam, took a beating with the exoneration. Maran was mired in the controversial spectrum allocation, favouring Aircel, and brokering a deal in Aircel for Maxis since 2010 onwards. In one of the cases, there was an alleged money-laundering of Rs 742.58 crore in kickbacks, by two companies South Asia FM and Sun Direct TV. The other involved criminal conspiracy of pressurising one of Aircel’s promoters to sell his stake to Malaysian Maxis Group.

Tell me more: The others acquitted include Maran’s brother Kalanithi, Kalanithi’s wife Kavery Kalanithi, South Asia FM (SAFL) Managing Director K Shanmugam and the companies SAFL and Sun Direct TV.

 

5

What is it? Number of states in the US where federal judges have objected, in part, to president Donald Trump’s executive orders for restricting entry to people of seven nationalities and refugees.

Why is it important? Trump’s move is not only inviting widespread protests but also facing legal challenges by federal judges in the country. Most of them are taking up parts of the order as challenged by cases brought to them by affected parties. US District Judge Andre Birotte Jr followed four other instances to limit the order issued last Friday to bring relief to plaintiffs in a case. But he widened the sphere of his ruling by including anyone from the seven countries with a valid immigrant visa to the US, unlike the earlier rulings

Tell me more: Reports claim that immigration/customs officials were ignoring the judges’ earlier orders by refusing access to the detainees who had moved court. At the same time, the Trump administration tweaked their’s to allow green card or valid US permanent residence holders to enter, irrespective of nationality.

 

10

What is it? Number of warheads on China’s recently-tested long-range missile.

Why is it important? A flight-test in January is being seen as China flexing its military muscles, even though its nuclear stockpile might be smaller than United State’s traditional rival, Russia. The missile, DF-5C, is clear evidence of China increasing its nuclear arsenal. Its warhead count has likely gone up from the estimated 250. Not just over trade relations with the US, China has also had recent disagreements over its military activities in the South China Sea.

Tell me more: Chinese state television had broadcast another nuclear missile, DF-41’s deployment and strike path into the US last week.

 

$487 million

What is it? Amazon.com’s international losses in the fourth quarter, ended December 31.

Why is it important? It increased by four times year-on-year. The business arm, which includes Amazon’s India concerns, grew 18% to $ 13,965 million but could not keep losses at bay. Last month, Amazon India’s FY15 losses were found to be Rs 1,724 crore, rising by five times. The perseverance of the US-based e-commerce company goes to show its deep pockets as it is prepared to dig its heels in a promising market by advertising and discounting aggressively.

Tell me more: While its North America and cloud Amazon Web Services arms posted profits, this was its international business’ biggest operating loss. In many of its international markets, Amazon also offered its Prime Videos at no additional cost to its Prime members, streaming original content that it had produced.

 

Rs 1,085

What is it? The listing price of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on rival bourse, the National Stock Exchange, on Friday.

Why is it important? The shares listed at a premium of 34.6% of its IPO issue price of Rs 806. Investor faith in the stock of the world’s 10th-largest and India’s largest bourse gets reiterated by its debut, as it beats the 5-15% premium that analysts expected it to launch at. It reflects the 51.22 times oversubscription of its IPO in January.

Tell me more:  At 10:30 am, it was trading at Rs 1,119.50.

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News in Numbers, Oct 3, 2016: Black, the colour of the season…

Rs 65,250 crore

What is it? The value of assets declared under the Income Disclosure Scheme, 2016.

Why is it important? This is said to be the biggest black money disclosure and would fetch the government over Rs 29,000 crore in taxes. This might take some sting away from the criticism that NDA government was going too slow on black money. One of its main poll promises was to crack the whip on tax evaders. Under this scheme, there were 64,275 declarants with an average disclosure of more than Rs 1 crore.

Tell me more: The government had given a four-month window for people to declare their undisclosed assets, which closed at midnight on Friday. The taxpayers could escape prosecution by paying tax at 30%, a penalty at 7.5% and a surcharge at 7.5%, taking the total to 45% of the undisclosed income. In comparison, the income declared under the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme, 1997, was over Rs 33,000 crore.

 

Rs 53,531 crore

What is it? The value of bids received by the government from telecom companies on day 1 of the latest spectrum auction.

Why is it important? This is India’s biggest spectrum auction and is expected to help the firms in providing better quality services amidst intensifying competition, especially with the entry of Reliance Jio’s 4G services at competitive rates. However, there were no takers for the 700 megahertz (MHz) band of airwaves, which has been put on sale for the first time and is considered to be the most efficient for offering high-speed broadband services. The reserve price – at Rs 11,485 crore per MHz – is considered expensive by the bidders.

Tell me more: Seven telecom firms – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Aircel – are bidding to acquire airwaves in seven bands (700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 Mhz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz).

 

Rs 21,000 crore

What is it? The divestment proceeds collected by the Indian government between April and September this year.

Why is it important? This is over 37% of the total disinvestment target of Rs 56,500 crore for 2016-17. It has also exceeded the previous high in the first six months of 2015-16 by over Rs 8,000 crore. This indicates that 2016-17 may be the year when it either achieves its targets or comes closer in reaching them, after having missed it for the last six years straight and for the 16th time last year in the disinvestment’s quarter-century history.

Tell me more: Of the total raised so far this year, Rs 16,500 crore is from buybacks initiated by five public sector units.

 

500,000

What is it? The number of products Flipkart said it sold in the first hour on the first day of its special Big Billion Days sales event on Sunday. Amazon said it sold 100,000 units on the first half hour of its Great Indian Festival sales, which started a day earlier.

Why is it important? This highlights the stiff competition between the two players as they try to capture India’s e-commerce market. Amazon India has the financial backing of its parent in America. Flipkart is reportedly in talks with Wal-Mart for a billion dollar investment in the company. The sales metrics the companies shared underscored the difficulty is assessing who is ahead in the race.

Tell me more: Snapdeal, the third big player in the market, said more than 2 million users logged on during the first hour of sale.

 

18

What is it? The number of years US presidential candidate Donald Trump might not have paid any income tax, according to a New York Times story

Why is it important? Trump’s finances has become an important issue in the ongoing election campaign in the US, because he hasn’t yet released his tax returns yet, defying a norm among the presidential candidates. His tax returns for 1995 showed a loss of $195 million, which “could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years,” the newspaper said. The revelation is likely to help Hillary Clinton, and there are speculations that releasing his returns could be devastating for Trump’s campaign.

Tell me more: According to Forbes magazine calculation, Donald Trump’s net worth is $3.7 billion, primarily from the real estate properties he owns or has a stake in.

 

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News in Numbers, July 1, 2016: World Bank’s loan to India for solar, Flipkart vs Amazon…

$1 billion

What is it? The amount the World Bank would lend to India for its solar energy programme.

Why is it important? This is the biggest ever loan given by the bank for a solar programme to any country and would help India achieve its ambitious target of installing 100 GW (gigawatts) by 2022. The solar power generation had crossed 19,000 MW (megawatts) in 2015-16 though the Minister for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy is looking to achieve this target by the end of 2017 itself.

Tell me more: India wants non-fossil fuel (wind, water, solar and nuclear) to account for 40% of the total installed power capacity by 2030 from 30% currently. The World Bank has lent $4.8 billion to India between 2015 and 2016, making it its biggest client.

Rs 2,28,986 crore

What is it? India’s fiscal deficit (excess of expenditure over receipts) for April and May of 2016.

Why is it important? It’s 42.9% of the budget target for this fiscal compared to 37.5% for the same period last year (despite a slowdown in government’s capital expenditure.) This may make it challenging for the Finance Minister to restrict fiscal deficit to Rs 5.33 lakh crore in 2016-17, especially with the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission that would cost the exchequer over Rs 1 lakh crore.

Tell me more: The government’s capital expenditure was down by nearly 12% to Rs 33,231 crore in the first two months of 2016-17 from Rs 37,743 crore in the same period last year. The revenue expenditure, which would go up further due to the Seventh Pay Commission payout, increased by 17.6% to Rs 2.64 lakh in April and May from a year ago.

 

Rs 8,392 crore

What is it? The amount held by Indians in Swiss banks at the end of 2015, a third lower than the previous year.

Why is it important? This is the lowest amount of funds held by Indians in the Swiss Banking system since the country started making its data public in 1997 and marks the second straight year of decline. This seems to be the impact of clampdown of illicit wealth by countries including India, which is likely to lead to Swiss banks become more transparent than ever. India has sought faster responses to its pending information requests from the Alpine nation and an automatic financial information exchange would begin in 2018.

Tell me more: The funds held by Indians in Swiss banks was at a record high of Rs 23,000 crore at the end of 2006.

 

91

What is it? E-commerce firm Flipkart’s score in the quarter ended March based on metrics including trust in a brand, product assortment and prices, overall buying experience in terms of ease of using its platform and the ease of product cancellations and returns.

Why is it important? Flipkart is still slightly ahead of Amazon India, which entered the country in June 2013 and had a score of 87, though Snapdeal was a distant third at 60. This is yet another sign that Amazon is ahead of Snapdeal and breathing on the neck of Flipkart. With a recent investment announcement of $3 billion in the country, Amazon India has an advantage over both Flipkart and Snapdeal, which has to depend on external investors. A US mutual fund managed by Vanguard Investment marked down the value of its shares in Flipkart by 25%, the sixth such markdown in recent times.

Tell me more: In terms of ‘Most trusted brand’ and ‘Best value proposition’, Flipkart scored higher than Amazon India while the latter beat the former in terms of ‘Great experience’. The analysis is by RedSeer Management Consulting for Mint.

 

683

What is it? The number of invitees to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of which 46% are women and 41% are minorities.

Why is it important? It will make the voters more diverse. The Academy had recently promised to double it female and minority membership by 2020. The Oscars came in for heavy criticism for having no nominees from minority actors for the second year in a row. However, it has a long way to go because even if all the invitees join, the share of women and minorities would only marginally increase (25% to 27% and 8% to 11% respectively).

Tell me more: If all those who invited were to join, it would increase the academy’s total voters to 6,945, a record in the last few years.

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