Ola given a thumbs up

Rs 670 crore

What is it? The amount Indian cab-hailing app Ola has raised in its latest round of funding, the fifth-largest investment in the firm. US hedge fund Falcon Edge led the latest round, along with new investor Ratan Tata’s RNT Capital Advisors.

Why is it important? The company is locked in fierce competition with US-based Uber Technologies over the Indian market, and the latest investment will give it more firepower. In 2015-16, Ola posted a net loss of Rs 2,313 crore, which was thrice the loss it posted in 2014-15.

Tell me more: Ola’s latest valuation could not be ascertained, but media reports placed it at $3.5 billion, which would be a drop from $4.8 billion in August 2015.

 

Rs 697,409 crore

What is it? The value of non-performing assets in the Indian banking system, which an ordinance passed yesterday by the Union cabinet is looking to address.

Why is it important? The ordinance, awaiting the President’s approval, aims to give the central bank more teeth. It can, for example, give specific directions to banks regarding NPAs. Till December, 2016, bad loans amounted to Rs 697,409 crore, according to an estimate, with state-owned banks accounting for 88% of this.

Tell me more: The ordinance, amending the Banking Regulation Act, will let the RBI also set up committees to oversee cases of bankers being investigated for restructured loans.

 

308,000

What is it? The number of new digital news subscriptions added by New York Times in the first quarter of 2017.

Why is it important? Like several print publications in the US, NYT too has been pushing its digital subscriptions to stay relevant and drive up sales among an audience increasingly getting their news from electronic modes. The latest subscriber additions enabled a 5% year-on-year growth in revenues to $398.8 million, which was higher than analyst expectations.

Tell me more: NYT’s digital-only subscriptions to its news and crossword products brought in $75.82 million of revenues in the quarter, a year-on-year growth of about 40%.

 

50.76 million

What is it? The number of iPhones sold by Apple in the second quarter (ended April 1, 2017) of FY17.

Why is it important? Despite the launch of a signature red iPhone 7 to sustain buyer interest, Apple’s star product, the iPhone, saw an unexpected dip in volume sales: down 0.8% over the 51.2 million units sold in Q2 of FY16 and 35% over the preceding festive quarter.

Tell me more: Apple’s shares lost 1.9% on Wednesday. Its net income (profit) in the quarter rose 4.9% to $11.03 billion.

 

5

What is it? The number of appearances made by Italian side Juventus in the finals of the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier club competition in football since 1992-93.

Why is it important? Juventus is looking good for a sixth appearance after turning in a clinical performance to beat French side Monaco 2-0, that too away, on Wednesday night.

Tell me more: With 5 final appearances, Juventus is joint second with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid. But it has also lost more finals than any other club—4 in all—and will be looking to break a hoodoo this year.

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Mayday Mayday

Rs 2,313.66 crore

What is it? The consolidated loss before tax of Ola, the Indian cab-hailing app in FY16.

Why is it important? Nearly three times more than FY15’s loss, this is being seen as Ola’s cost to remain a block ahead of Uber, its American rival. Revenue increased seven times to Rs 758 crore, but a four-times rise in advertising (Rs 385.5 crore) and over five-times increase in employee costs (Rs 379 crore), have ensured the losses pile up.

Tell me more: Ola-parent, ANI Technologies’ standalone operating revenue was Rs 383.44 crore, with which Uber India was almost neck and neck at Rs 374.79 crore.

 

352

What is it? Number of civilians killed in Iraq and Syria by US strikes against Isis targets since 2014, according to the Pentagon.

Why is it important? The Pentagon number is far less than the estimates of non-profit monitoring groups. Airwars, for example, puts coalition-led civilian deaths in Libya and Syria at 3,164 people atleast. High civilian deaths have remained the coalition fighting Isis’ Achilles heel, as human rights organisations have often criticised them for indiscriminate targeting.

Tell me more: Pentagon further said it was assessing the deaths of 42 people reported recently.

 

13

What is it? The number of states that have notified rules for the new Real Estate Act.

Why is it important? The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act , 2016, which promises transparency and protection of consumer rights, comes into effect on 1st May. The act was passed by both houses of parliament last year, and being a model law, it leaves the state governments to pass their own specific rules. The low number indicates the states are not prepared, but might face public pressure to notify rules.

Tell me more: Among other guidelines, the real estate act mandates developers to separately deposit 70% of the funds collected exclusively for construction.

 

10%

What is it? Import duty on gold at present.

Why is it important? Indian government is reportedly looking at bringing import duty down ahead of Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout. Think tank Niti Aayog had suggested reducing the duty to make more gold available for small and medium firms, which in turn can increase jewelry exports. Lower duties also tend to bring down smuggling.

Tell me more: GST of 12% plus the current import duty is likely to make gold more expensive, according to industry players.

 

$1 billion

What is it? The cost of the anti-missile system called Thaad (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) , deployed by South Korea.

Why is it important? US President Donald Trump’s recent remarks of South Korea footing the bill for Thaad, which the US military built and deployed to South Korea, had put it in a spot. The US has now reassured it will pay for it. The anti-missile system installed as its neighbour, North Korea, lines up more missile and nuclear tests, has stirred up quite a few problems for the Asian country. They include China’s disapproval and political opposition in the ongoing presidential race in its country. The reassurance will bring some relief to South Korea.

Tell me more: North Korea test-launched another missile on Saturday, which was unsuccessful.

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Mother of all bombs? 💣

7.4%

What is it? The rate at which Infosys revenues grew in the fiscal year 2016-17.  It closed the year with $10.21 billion in revenue.

Why is it important? The growth rate disappointed the market and its stock price fell by over 3% in trading on Thursday. Volume growth for the quarter was 7.7%, down from 15.39% in the same period last year, essentially bringing it closer to the growth rates when Vishal Sikka took over as CEO.

Tell me more: Infosys, which was in the news recently after the company founder NR Narayana Murthy publicly expressed his displeasure over compensation given to top managers, has also appointed Ravi Venkatesan as co-chairman along with R Seshasayee. The company also said it will payout Rs 13,000 crore via share buyback or as dividends.

 

67%

What is it? The increase in the number of corruption complaints against government departments by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

Why is it important? The bulk of the complaints, 11,200 out of a total of 49,847, were against the Railways, one of the largest-consumer facing government institutions. Other departments which attracted large number of corruption complaints were mostly consumer-facing such as banking and the IT department, or overseeing highly-regulated sectors such as the Ministry of Petroleum, Telecommunications. But data shows the CVC has been passing on less cases against senior government officials to the CBI or Central Vigilance Officers for investigation, referring only 0.16% in 2014 and 0.001% in 2017 of all such cases, down from 1.88% in 2014.

Tell me more: In the year 2015, complaints had declined by 50% than in 2014, at 29,838. The news about the rise in complaints comes after just a few weeks of the CVC’s portal’s crash when data against corrupt officials were reportedly deleted.

 

9,797 kg

What is it? The weight of the GBU-43 bomb dropped by US on a cave and tunnel complex used by Islamic State  in Afghanistan.

Why is it important? It is one of the largest non-nuclear bombs in the US military arsenal, officially called Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or Moab, and unofficially referred to as “the mother of all bombs”.  US President Donald Trump, who had vowed to wipe out Isis in his election campaign, called it “a very successful mission”. The US didn’t didn’t disclose the number of deaths caused by the bomb – militants or civilian. Some experts have said the bombing was symbolic, rather than tactical, and might not alter the course of the war, now in its 16th year.

Tell me more: Originally developed for the invasion of  Iraq in 2003, Moab is 30-feet long, and was dropped from a cargo plane. This is the first time the bomb was used.

 

$10.4 billion

What is it? The foreign trade deficit of India in March, 2017.

Why is it important? The trade deficit, after decreasing, to less than $10 billion, for two consecutive months in Jan-Feb, on strong exports, sprang back to a wider gap than Oct-Dec, in March. Even though exports continued to strengthen, growing at 27.59% year-on-year, the rise in crude oil (101.43% rise) and gold imports widened the deficit.

Tell me more: The trade deficit for the whole of FY17, however, narrowed by 11% from a year ago, to $105.7 billion.

 

Rs 1,675 crore

What is it? The latest funding raised by Ola, the Indian cab-booking app, from SoftBank, the Japanese telecom and Internet company.

Why is it important? While all eyes are on Softbank’s next move with its other major Indian investment, Snapdeal, its fresh funds worth $250 million for Ola, closed last year, has now been made public. However, Ola, like other Indian unicorns, reportedly raised the money at a valuation lower than the last round of funding, from $4.5 billion to $3 billion.

Tell me more: SoftBank’s subsidiary SIMI Pacific made the investment in Ola’s parent company ANI Technologies, before it had floated its new investment vehicle in India, Vision Fund.

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News in Numbers, Feb 09, 2017: Indian Unicorns: Softbank sends a message

$475 million

What is it? The amount written off by Softbank in value of its shareholding in Snapdeal and Ola, two Indian unicorns in e-commerce and cab hailing industries respectively.

Why is it important? It’s a sign that investors are adjusting their expectations from home grown tech startups, given the competition from global players such as Amazon and Uber. Besides, as the customer acquisition costs continue to go up, startups and investors are rethinking about the size of addressable market for business models that are imported from abroad.

Tell me more: Softbank, especially under former Softbank president Nikesh Arora, was one of the most active players in Indian startup space a few years ago, and led an investment of $210 million in Ola and $627 million in Snapdeal in 2014.

 

6.25%

What is it? The repo rate, or the key policy rate for banks, which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) held for the second time in a row in its bi-monthly policy reviews.

Why is it important? Amidst popular expectation of a rate cut now that banks are flush with liquidity following nationwide deposits, the RBI left it untouched. It indicates the central bank wants to take its time to assess the impact of demonetisation on macroeconomics. Be it inflation or wages, it is now being said RBI will take a call after April.

Tell me more: RBI reiterated its commitment to bring down headline inflation to 4%, and noted Q4 FY17 it will remain below 5%. It alsorevised its GDP growth forecast from 7.1% to 6.9% in FY17.

 

140

What is it? The cases of rape registered with the Delhi police in January, 2017.

Why is it important? Crime against women continue unabated in the capital, despite concrete measures by the Delhi police, including sensitising the force, help desks at police stations and increased patrolling. While 14% of rape complaints remained unsolved in 2016, it was 30% in January.

Tell me more: There were 238 cases of molestation and 51 eve-teasing cases registered in January.

 

500,000

What is it? The proposed annual number legal immigrants allowed into the US, cutting the present quota by half in the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act).

Why is it important? The latest proposal adds another angle to the immigration debate taking the US by storm after Donald Trump’s election. It seeks to limit entry of foreigners without a skills-based visa by cutting the number of green card or legal permanent residency issued annually.

Tell me more: The bill also seeks to cap the refugee programme to 50,000 a year, coming in the wake of a year (fiscal ended September, 2016) that allowed 84,995 refugees in, the highest under the Obama administration.

 

$ 1 trillion

What is it? Reduction in China’s foreign exchange reserves in the last three years.

Why is it important? At $2.998 trillion, the reserves are the lowest in nearly six years. While nearly $3 trillion is not small by any measure, it comes when China’s economic growth is moderating. Some analysts believe that it could lead China to devalue its currency, if the trend persists.

Tell me more: Chinese government is concerned about the outflow of capital and has tightened rules on forex purchases and cross-border renminbi remittance in the recent past.

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