The way to a man’s purse

$80 million

What is it? The Series E funding raised by online food delivery startup Swiggy (Bundl Technologies) from Naspers and existing investors such as Accel Partners and SAIF Partners.

Why is it important? The funding will help Swiggy take on its rivals, including the well funded Zomato Media, in the highly competitive hyperlocal food delivery space. This is Swiggy’s largest funding to date accounting for 51% of the amount it has raised so far. The startup will use the money to step up its investments in automation and customer behaviour prediction to improve user experience.

Tell me more: Naspers, South Africa based internet and entertainment group, has been making a series of investments in food delivery startups across the world – including iFood in Brazil, SinDelantal in Mexico and Delivery Hero in Germany.


Rs 25,000 crore

What is it? The debt amount Reliance Communications (RCom) has said it would repay by September 30, 2017.

Why is it important? The money, to be recovered from two transactions, is over 50% of its debt (Rs 44,34547,332 crore till March, 2017). The reassurance follows a few days that saw RCom’s stock get pounded, to a record low of Rs 20.5 on Monday, as investors were wary about its debt. Rating agency Moody’s has downgraded the company on the back of its “weak operating performance, high leverage and fragile liquidity position.”

Tell me more: Compounding its problems is the telecom market’s intense price competition with Reliance Industries’ Jio’s entry. The price war led to a Rs 948 crore-loss for RCom in the March quarter.


1 billion Euro

What is it? Development assistance Germany has pledged to India during prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country.

Why is it important? PM Modi is on a four-country tour with Germany as the first stop to strengthen trade ties. Germany has alsobeen reported to push for the European Union free trade agreement with India during a meeting between Modi and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Tell me more: The free trade agreement is seen as a counter to the growing protectionism propagated by US President Donald Trump, including his recent rant against German-made cars sold in the US. China’s One Belt One Road policy is also a cause for concern for European trade as it strengthens its hold on Asian trade networks.



What is it? Underwriting fees charged by investment banks for initial public offerings in the US.

Why is it important? Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in a recent report, cited absence of competition as a reason for the high fees. It said it was akin “akin to tacit collusion” and called for review by competition authorities. In Europe, the underwriting fee is about 3%, while in China it has doubled to 8% in the last few years.

Tell me more: The high fees is a strain on businesses that want to raise money from capital markets, and it’s particularly so for smaller businesses which shell out 11% of the amount raised as expenses. In India, IPO related expenses come to about 7% on average and 10% for smaller companies.



What is it? The number of harassment cases filed by “Anti-Romeo” squads of Uttar Pradesh police.

Why is it important? The drive to check harassment of women in public places is among the most criticised policies launched by Yogi Adityanath government. Rights activists called for disbanding the squads, arguing that it won’t stop harassment, and will increase the risk of infringement on civil liberties.

Tell me more: According to data released by the state, 3.38 lakh people, among the 7.42 lakh who were checked, were warned between March 22 to May 28.  Lucknow zone had the highest number of people who were warned by the squads – 1.14 lakh.

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News in Numbers, Nov 16, 2016: Productivity to be hit?

Even as the government announced a few measures to deal with the aftermath of the announcement of the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, the opposition parties have upped their decibel levels against this move. And, the Winter Session of the Parliament commences today. After a highly productive Monsoon Session, which also saw the passing of the GST Bill, it remains to be seen how the current session is going to pan out. Let’s hope some sense prevails amidst all the noise.


What is it? The number of new bills that are in line to be listed, considered and passed during the Winter Session of the Parliament, which begins today.

Why is it important? With opposition parties uniting against the government on its recent demonetisation move, this session could be a disruptive one, impeding productivity. The opposition is likely to demand a discussion on the decision to scrap old currency notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations and seek a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the allegation that some, notably officials of the ruling BJP, knew about the move beforehand.

Tell me more: The nine new bills include three related to the Goods and Services Tax, one that declares the Indian Institutes of Management to be institutions of national importance and another for surrogacy regulation. This session’s agenda also lists 10 bills that have already been introduced, but are yet to be considered and passed.



What is it? Retail inflation rate in October, down from 4.39% in September.

Why is it important? The rate has eased for the third straight month, to a 14-month low in October, mainly due to smaller increases in food prices. Wholesale price inflation too eased to a four-month low of 3.39% in October, compared to 3.57% in September. This easing increases the chances of the central bank’s monetary policy committee cutting interest rates again next month. The government’s recent demonetisation move is likely to reduce cash transactions, easing inflation further.

Tell me more: Last month, the monetary policy committee cut the repo rate (the rate at which the central bank lends to banks) by 25 basis points to 6.25%, which was near a six-year low.



What is it? The debt-equity ratio of the smallest firms (by market capitalisation) among 305 non-financial BSE-500 companies in 2015-16.

Why is it important? The debt-equity ratio is a measure of a company’s financial leverage. This study, which divided the 305 companies into four quartiles, showed this ratio was the highest (2.41) for the bottom quartile (77 firms with the smallest market cap) and lowest (0.83) for the top quartile (76 firms with the highest market cap). This goes against the popular perception that debt problems plague larger firms only. In another indicator that points to this, the average debt of the least-valuable firms is 2.3 times their market cap, against 0.32 for the most-valuable ones.

Tell me more: For both sets, their ability to meet interest expenses hit a 10-year low in 2015-16. For the least-valuable firms, the interest coverage ratio fell below 1, indicating their operating income was insufficient to meet interest costs.



What is it? The projected salary hike to be offered by Indian companies to employees in 2017, according to Willis Towers Watson, an advisory, broking and business solutions company.

Why is it important? This is the highest among key emerging and developed markets in Asia. However, the expected rise in 2017 is marginally lower than the projected salary growth of 10.8% each in 2015 and 2016. Also, in the last two years, the actual salary growth has been below the projected figures: 10.45% in 2015 and 10% in 2016.

Tell me more: The Willis Towers Watson report says about 38% of the budget earmarked for salary increases is for top performers, against 34% for above-average and 28% for average performers.



What is it? The number of countries that have signed a framework agreement on the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a coalition-in-making of solar-resource rich countries.

Why is it important? The initiative, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP21, Paris Climate Summit last year, has taken its first major step forward. More countries are expected to join the ISA in the coming weeks and the agreement will come into force when at least 15 nations ratify it. The ISA seeks to boost global demand for solar energy to reduce solar energy deployment prices, standardise processes and equipment for solar generation to lower hardware costs, and promote research and development.

Tell me more: The ISA would be headquartered in India, which has promised to contribute $27 million towards creating infrastructure and recurring expenditure over five years.

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News in numbers, Dec 8, 2015: Donations to political parties, falling crude oil prices…


$1 billion


What is it? The amount infrastructure company GMR Group is looking to raise in the next two years by selling stakes in its airports and energy businesses.


Why is it important? It will help cut down its debt levels (Rs 410 billion net debt at present) and repay investors in its airport business. Over one-third (37%) of its group debt has been downgraded to ‘default’, which means the company’s likelihood of meeting these debt obligations on time are the least, according to a recent report by Credit Suisse.


Tell me more: Infrastructure companies borrowed heavily anticipating economic growth but ended up facing a range of roadblocks, including downturn, delay in getting coals for their plants and government approvals.


Rs 139 crore


What is it? Total amount received by the Indian National Congress party in the form of donations (above Rs 20,000) in 2014-15 for which it has not declared the mode of contribution.


Why is it important? That’s 98% of total donations above Rs 20,000 in 2014-15. Without the mode of contribution, it would be difficult to link the donors against their donations and trace the money trail. This goes against a September 2013 Supreme Court order that has stipulated that none of the columns in the forms to declare donations above Rs 20,000 should be left blank. Transparency in donations to political parties is necessary to allow public scrutiny for strengthening democracy.


Tell me more: The Bharatiya Janata Party, the top recipient of donations above Rs 20,000, declared an amount of Rs 83.9 lakhs from 20 donors where it has not provided PAN details, address and mode of contribution. BJP, CPM and CPI have received a total of Rs 303.4 crore in which they have not filled in the ‘address’ column of the donors.




What is it? Year-on-year growth in monthly sales of Myntra, an online fashion retailer owned by Flipkart, in October 2015.


Why is it important? Myntra moved to app-only platform in May this year. Its growth since then appears to have slowed down (from 100-200% growth earlier), even accounting for the higher base. But, for Myntra, it could be a part of long term strategy. Myntra says the customer experience is better on apps.


Tell me more: Myntra says it has an annualized gross sales of $500 million as of October, as against $400 million in May when it decided to go app only.




What is it? Number of workers – machine operators, floor supervisors, security personnel and peons – at a 300-people strong aluminium foils factory in Sanand, Gujarat, with more than Rs 1 crore in their bank accounts, according to a Times of India report.


Why is it important? An example of the impact of Gujarat government buying 4,000 hectares of land over the last seven years in the automobile hub. For the factory it means the human resource challenge of dealing with crorepati employees – and retaining them as these jobs are no longer their primary source of income.


Tell me more: After Tata Motors relocated it’s Nano factory from West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat, the area has seen rapid industrialisation.




What is it? Price of US crude oil per barrel at 0300 GMT on Tuesday.


Why is it important? This is close to seven-year-lows. An indicator of discord among 13 member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which failed to arrive at an oil production ceiling last week. Oil companies stocks have taken a beating. Lower oil prices however will help net oil importers control inflation better.


Tell me more: OPEC countries’ production of over 30 million barrels per day has pushed production 0.5 million to 2 million barrels per day beyond demand.

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News in numbers, Nov 24, 2015: Bupa increasing stake in Max Bupa, Qatar’s penalty waiver…

Rs 191 crore

What is it? Amount paid by UK-based Bupa Plc. to raise its stake in Max Bupa Health Insurance Co Ltd, India’s seventh largest health insurance firm, from 26% to 49%.

Why is it important? This is the first deal after the government increased foreign direct investment limit to 49% in domestic insurance firms earlier this year.  Indian partner, Max India, will hold 51% and also management control.

Tell me more: Max India, which sold 23% stake for an all-cash deal, will use the money to buy majority stake in Delhi-based hospital, Saket City Hospitals Pvt. Ltd.

Rs 15,000 crore

What is it? Gammon India’s debt that has been converted into equity by its lenders.

Why is it important? Creditors will now hold majority stake in Gammon India.  The exercise is part of a new strategy – called, strategic debt restructuring – to manage bad loans where debt is converted into equity. In the second step, a new investor and management is brought in to manage the company.  

Tell me more: Gammon India is the sixth company where lenders have acquired majority stake by converting debt into equity.    

$ 1 billion

What is it? Penalty waived off by Qatar after Petronet LNG, India’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas, reneged on its 25-year contract with the gulf nation. As a part of the deal, benchmark price was also revised. It will now be based on three-month average of Brent crude as compared to 60-month average of Japanese crude oil price.

Why is it important? Downward revision of prices will lower cost of LNG to $7-8 per million British thermal unit as against current price of $ 12-13. If passed on, customers will benefit from lower cooking and fuel gas prices.   

Tell me more: Slump in global gas prices – almost 50% in last one year – prompted buyers to prefer spot markets where cost was lower.

22 million

What is it? The number of women with only one child who is a girl, according to the latest census data.

Why is it important? It’s significantly lower than the number of women with single child, who is a boy, which is, 28.5 million. Confirms the continuity of prevalence of male child preference and prenatal sex determination. The gap – 6.5 million – represents the missing girl child.

Tell me more: The skewed sex ratio continues for women who had two and three children.  


What is it? LME (London Metal Exchange) Metal Index, which consists of six primary metals including copper, aluminium, lead, tin, zinc and nickel.

Why is it important? It’s 6-year low for the index and comes on the back of weak economic data from China. Raw material intensive sectors like auto and auto components, and power equipment would benefit from lower metal prices, while metal producers will be hit.

Tell me more: Operating profit margins of 142 manufacturing firms rose to the highest level since June 2014 because of decline in commodity prices.


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