Bezos sells more than $3 billion of Amazon shares


Bezos sells more than $3 billion of Amazon shares

This is the third time this year that the world’s richest person has sold Amazon shares worth billions of dollars.

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos this week has sold more than $3 billion worth of shares in his company, according to new filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

This marks a significant jump from last year when Bezos sold $2.8 billion worth of shares, CNBC reported on Wednesday.

According to Forbes, Bezos now owns a 10.6 per cent stake in the e-commerce and cloud computing colossus Amazon.

This is the third time this year that the world’s richest person has sold Amazon shares worth billions of dollars. In August, he had sold Amazon shares worth $3.1 billion. Prior to that, he had offloaded shares worth $4.1 billion in February earlier this year.

The latest stock sales are part of a predetermined plan in accordance with insider trading laws, according to the filings with the SEC.

According to a Forbes report on Wednesday, the Amazon CEO remains the world’s richest person with an estimated net worth of $189.6 billion.




M&M’s Oct sales drop 14%, utility vehicles sale up 3%


M&M’s Oct sales drop 14%, utility vehicles sale up 3%

The passenger vehicle segment of the company which includes utility vehicles, cars and vans recorded a 1 per cent growth in sales at 18,622 vehicles last month, M&M said in a statement.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) on Sunday reported a 14.5 per cent fall in its overall sales in October at 44,359 vehicles.

The company had sold 51,896 units in October last year.

The passenger vehicle segment of the company which includes utility vehicles, cars and vans recorded a 1 per cent growth in sales at 18,622 vehicles last month, M&M said in a statement.

Its utility vehicle segment, however, witnessed a 3 per cent growth at 18,317 units in October 2020, compared to 17,785 vehicles in October 2019.

Commenting on the passenger vehicles performance, Veejay Nakra, Chief Executive Officer, Automotive Division, M&M Ltd said: “We are happy to achieve a growth of 3 per cent in utility vehicles, despite certain supply constraints. Our brands Scorpio, Bolero and XUV 300 continue to do well, while the bookings for the All-New Thar have set new records within just a month of its launch.”

He noted that for Mahindra, the festive season has started on a positive note with deliveries and bookings being higher than last year.

“Going forward, this augurs well for a robust festive demand which in turn will help the industry in the short term,” Nakra said.

Sale of Mahindra’s commercial vehicles including three-wheelers dropped 22.8 per cent to 23,716 units in October.

On the sales of commercial vehicles, Nakra said: “We are witnessing a strong demand for our Bolero Pik Up, Supro and Jeeto and have recently launched our BS6 version of the Alfa 3-wheeler, both load and passenger. We are aligning our supply chain and ramping up to meet this demand.”

M&M’s exports for the month of October 2020 were at 2,021 vehicles, 25 per cent lower on a year-on-year basis.




Rs 1,05,155 crore gross GST revenue collected in October 2020


Rs 1,05,155 crore gross GST revenue collected in October 2020

The government has settled Rs 25,091 crore to CGST and Rs 19,427 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement.

The gross GST revenue collected in the month of October 2020 is Rs 1,05,155crore of which CGST is Rs 19,193 crore, SGST is Rs 25,411 crore, IGST is Rs 52,540 crore (including Rs 23375 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess is Rs 8,011crore (including Rs 932 crore collected on import of goods). The total number of GSTR-3B Returns filed for the month of October up to 31st October 2020 is 80 lakh.

The government has settled Rs 25,091 crore to CGST and Rs 19,427 crore to SGST from IGST as regular settlement. The total revenue earned by Central Government and the State Governments after regular settlement in the month of October 2020 is Rs 44,285 crore for CGST and Rs 44,839 crore for the SGST.

The revenues for the month are 10% higher than the GST revenues in the same month last year. During the month, revenues from import of goods were 9% higher and the revenues from the domestic transaction (including import of services) are 11% higher than the revenues from these sources during the same month last year.

The growth in GST revenue as compared to that in months of July, August and September 2020 of -14%, -8% and 5% respectively clearly shows the trajectory of recovery of the economy and, correspondingly, of the revenues.

The chart shows trends in monthly gross GST revenues during the current year. The table shows the state-wise figures of GST collected in each State during the month of October 2020 as compared to October 2019 and for the full year.




Petrol, diesel prices unchanged as crude remains subdued


Petrol, diesel prices unchanged as crude remains subdued

Prices in the other key cities of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata were Rs 87.74, Rs 84.14, Rs 82.59 per litre, respectively.

Prices of petrol and diesel continued to remain unchanged on Sunday on the back of weak crude oil prices. In the national capital, petrol was sold for Rs 81.06 per litre.

Prices in the other key cities of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata were Rs 87.74, Rs 84.14, Rs 82.59 per litre, respectively.

Prices of both petrol and diesel have been unchanged for over a month now. Diesel prices in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata on Sunday were at Rs 70.46, Rs 76.86, Rs 75.95 and Rs 73.99 per litre, respectively.

Oil marketing companies (OMC) have kept the prices of both the key transport fuel unchanged largely due to the subdued crude oil price globally.

The Brent crude is currently just below the $38 per barrel mark.

However, consumers can cheer as OMCs may actually bring down the retail prices of petrol and diesel in the coming week and provide relief to them ahead of Diwali.

Oil sector experts said that with global oil prices under pressure from slowing demand in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping through several countries in the West, crude prices have fallen in recent days and could fall further.

If the trend holds, there could be positive gains for auto fuel consumers in India by way of a fall in the retail prices of petrol and diesel.




Futures Retail anticipates liquidation if deal with RIL fails


Futures Retail anticipates liquidation if deal with RIL fails

Sector experts too are of the view that if the acquisition of the company does not go through, then it may have to wind up its operations or go for bankruptcy.

As a Singapore arbitration court has temporarily halted the acquisition process of Future Group’s retail business by Reliance Retail, there has been speculation over what happens to Future Retail if the deal does not actually go through.

Future Retail’s representative told the arbitration panel that if the deal with Reliance Retail fails, then the company would go into liquidation. The closure of the company would lead to over 29,000 job losses, the company’s counsel said, according to the order copy.

Futures Retail, however did not respond to a query on the matter from IANS.

Sector experts too are of the view that if the acquisition of the company does not go through, then it may have to wind up its operations or go for bankruptcy.

Arvind Singhal, Chairman of Technopak Advisors said: “On the face of it, this seems stands to be a correct statement. The liabilities of Future are so large that you are looking at around Rs 25,000 crore of payment being in the line.

“If this was not for Covid, then in any case, many of the lenders would have invoked not only all the personal guarantees given by the promoters, including their pledges, but many of the creditors would taken the company to the NCLT.”

In an interim order on Sunday, V.K. Rajah, the arbitrator directed the Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail not to proceed with the deal with Reliance Retail for now.

Future Group is likely to approach an Indian court in the matter. Indicating that the matter should not have been dealt with by an overseas arbitration court, Future Retail said that all the relevant agreements are governed by Indian law and provisions of the Indian Arbitration Act for all intents and purposes and “this matter raises several fundamental jurisdictional issues which go to the root of the matter”.

According to Future, the order will have to be tested under the provisions of Indian Arbitration Act in an “appropriate” forum.

Future Group faced mounting debt and was scouting for buyers for its massive retail business till Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), a subsidiary of RIL, in August announced that it will acquire the retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing business from the debt-laden group as a going concern on a slump sale basis for lumpsum aggregate consideration of Rs 24,713 crore, subject to adjustments as set out in the composite scheme of arrangement.

Earlier this month, Amazon said that Future Group violated a contract with it by entering into the sale agreement with the Mukesh Ambani-led retail major.

Last year, Amazon acquired a 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons, a Future group entity.

This battle seems to be turning into major war between two of world’s richest tycoons, Jeff Bezos and Mukesh Ambani.




States’ fiscal deficit to almost double in FY21, suggests RBI report


States’ fiscal deficit to almost double in FY21, suggests RBI report

The RBI report gives a grim picture of states’ finances, giving a downside rise going forward.

The states’ finances are going deeper into a crisis situation with a new Reserve Bank of India report now pegging average gross fiscal deficit of all states at 4.6 per cent of GDP in FY21, almost twice the level earlier budgeted for the year.

The alarming situation has been pushed by the Covid-19 pandemic that has sharply reduced states’ revenue while increasing the expenditure largely on pandemic relief measures.

“States have budgeted their consolidated gross fiscal deficit (GFD) at 2.8 per cent of GDP in 2020-21; however, the Covid-19 pandemic may alter budget estimates significantly, eroding the gains of consolidation secured in the preceding three years – the average GFD (gross fiscal deficit) for states that presented their budgets before the outbreak of Covid-19 is 2.4 per cent of GSDP, while the average for budgets presented post-lockdown is 4.6 per cent,” the 2020-21 version of RBI annual report on state finances said.

Before the the current fiscal and outbreak of the pandemic, states were on closures to fiscal consolidation, improving their finances while reducing deficits to close to 2 per cent of gross state domestic product (GSDP). A large part of improvement in state finances came from reforms carried out strengthen state power utilities and robust growth in GST revenues. But, economic disruptions unleaded by the pandemic has changed all that.

The RBI report gives a grim picture of states’ finances, giving a downside rise going forward.

“The associated increase in indebtedness, coupled with persisting losses of power distribution companies (DISCOMs) and rising guarantees, slants risks to state finances to the downside, going forward,” the report said.

Sustaining the recovery from the pandemic will reshape state finances, entailing boosting investment in health care systems and other social safety nets in line with the states’ demographic and co-morbidity profiles, the report said.

The next few years are going to be challenging for the states. Going forward, they need to remain empowered to provide growth impulses to the Indian economy and build resilience against future pandemics as well, the state finances report said.

With states in the frontline in the battle against Covid, the fiscal arithmetic for 2020-21 is likely to suffer. While the focus during the first few months of 2020-21 has been on managing the health crisis, it is the regional and spatial dimensions of structural features like demography, health care systems, migrant workers, digitisation and strength of the third tier which are likely to play an important role going forward in determining the fuller macroeconomic impact of the pandemic on state finances, the report said.




Maruti, Microsoft develop smartphone-based tech for testing applicants seeking driver’s license


Maruti, Microsoft develop smartphone-based tech for testing applicants seeking driver’s license

HAMS, developed in partnership with Microsoft Research India, is an important tool to modernise the driving license test in our country.

Country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) and technology major Microsoft India has developed a smartphone-based technology for testing applicants seeking driver’s license.

In a statement MSI said, the technology called, HAMS (Harnessing Automobile for Safety), has been deployed at Automated Driving Test Centre (ADTC), Dehradun, in association with the Transport Department, Government of Uttarakhand.

The technology is being developed and tested jointly by Maruti Suzuki-promoted Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR) and Microsoft Research India, it added.

“HAMS, developed in partnership with Microsoft Research India, is an important tool to modernise the driving license test in our country. Starting with ADTC Dehradun, this technology will be introduced in more centres across several states,” MSI Executive Advisor Ajay Kumar Tomer said.




Dinesh Khara takes charge as State Bank of India Chairman


Dinesh Khara takes charge as State Bank of India Chairman

Earlier Khara was also the MD and CEO of SBI Funds Management Pvt Ltd (SBIMF).

The senior-most Managing Director of State Bank of India (SBI) Dinesh Kumar Khara on Wednesday took charge as the new chairman of India’s largest public lender. The government on Tuesday had appointed Khara as the chairman of the bank for a period of three years. Khara has replaced chairman Rajnish Kumar, whose three-year term came to an end on October 7.

“The Central Government, hereby appoints Dinesh Kumar Khara (date of birth: 28.8.1961), Managing Director, State Bank of India as Chairman, State Bank of India for a period of three years with effect from the date of his taking over charge of the post on or after 7.10.2020, or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” a notification by the Department of Financial Services said on Tuesday.

Khara’s appointment comes at a time when the banking sector along with the other industries is going through a pandemic-led crisis.

Prior to being appointed as Chairman of the bank, Khara was the Managing Director (Global Banking & Subsidiaries) of the bank, and in this role, led and steered the International Banking Group, Corporate and Treasury operations of the bank.

“As Managing Director (Associates & Subsidiaries), Khara successfully accomplished merging of five Associate Banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank with SBI,” the state-run bank said in a regulatory filing.

Earlier he was also the MD and CEO of SBI Funds Management Pvt Ltd (SBIMF).

Khara, 59, did his Masters in Business Administration from FMS New Delhi and is a post-graduate in Commerce from Delhi School of Economics.

He joined SBI in 1984 as a Probationary Officer, was instrumental in merging five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank with SBI effective April 2017.

In August, the Banks Board Bureau had recommended Khara as the next Chairman of India’s largest public sector bank. As per convention, the SBI chairman is appointed from a pool of serving managing directors at the bank.

Separately, it had recommended the names of Swaminthan Janakiraman and Ashwini Kumar Tewari for the posts of MD in SBI.




RIL shares soar higher due to latest investments from ADIA


RIL shares soar higher due to latest investments from ADIA

After hitting day’s high of Rs 2,309, company’s shares were trading up by 79.45 or 3.59 per cent at Rs 2,289.80 in the afternoon.

Share price of Reliance Industries rose around 4 per cent on Wednesday after the Indian conglomerate announced that its retail arm, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), will receive Rs 5,512.50 crore from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

At 2.24 p.m. the stock was trading at Rs 2,290.00, up by Rs 79.85 or 3.61 per cent on the BSE. Earlier, company’s stocks jumped 4.49 per cent to hit day’s high of Rs 2,309.40.

After hitting day’s high of Rs 2,309, company’s shares were trading up by 79.45 or 3.59 per cent at Rs 2,289.80 in the afternoon.

“A wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (“ADIA”) will invest Rs 5,512.50 crore into RRVL, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries. This investment values RRVL at a pre-money equity value of Rs 4.285 lakh crore. ADIA’s investment will translate into a 1.20 per cent equity stake in RRVL on a fully diluted basis. With this investment, RRVL has raised Rs 37,710 crore from leading global investors including Silver Lake, KKR, General Atlantic, Mubadala, GIC, TPG and ADIA in less than four weeks,” said billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned conglomerate.

With this latest investment RRVL has raised Rs 37,710 crore from leading global investors including Silver Lake, KKR, General Atlantic, Mubadala, GIC, TPG and ADIA in less than four weeks.

Reliance Industries is India’s largest private sector company, with a consolidated turnover of Rs 659,205 crore ($87.1 billion), cash profit of Rs 71,446 crore ($9.4 billion), and net profit of Rs 39,880 crore ($5.3 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2020.




Amid demand revival, steel companies hike prices by Rs 2,000/T


Amid demand revival, steel companies hike prices by Rs 2,000/T

In a sign of economic activity gradually picking pace in the unlock phase, steel companies have increased the price of the metal for the fourth month in a row in October on the back of demand revival and firm price trends in the overseas market.

Benchmark hot rolled coils (HRC) prices have increased by Rs 1,000-2,000 per tonne for October deliveries to Rs 43,000-43,500 per tonne whereas (cold rolled coil) CRC prices stand at Rs 52,000 per tonne.

The price rise in October is contrary to expectations of a decline in prices in China, where flat steel prices have dropped by four per cent in September 2020.

The price has also increased for long steel products used in real estate projects, but the price rise there is moderate compared to the HRC prices and long products are still priced about Rs 1,500 per tonne lower than flat products.

With the price rise in October, HRC prices are now higher than pre covid price line of Rs 42,000 per tonne.

On a cumulative basis, steel mills have hiked HRC steel prices by Rs 7,000-7,500/tonne since July, 2020. The improved demand outlook is driven by a strong recovery in automotive, consumer durables and other white goods.

“We believe this hike underscores the current strength of domestic demand for flat products (led by recovery in auto and white goods) and tight market supply,” said a sectoral analysis done by brokerage Motilal Oswal Institutional Equities.

“… demand in flat rolled steel is also driven by replenishing of inventories by end-users amidst tight supply of HRC, even as inventories remain low in the system. Further, export commitments of domestic steel mills for October 2020 delivery are further likely to keep the supply situation tight in India,” the brokerage said.

While domestic conditions have pushed up steel prices in the country, pressure points remain by way of falling steel prices in the biggest producing and consuming nation China. There steel prices have declined by $ 25/tonne in both domestic and export markets during September 2020.

Domestic HRC prices, which stood at parity to landed cost of imports from South Korea ($ 555/tonne CNF India) are now trading at a five per cent premium post this hike (to $585/tonne). China export prices have declined to $503/tonne ($ 528/tonne CNF India).

The price trend in China, post the national holidays (which will be over in a week), would determine the direction for regional and domestic steel prices. If prices in China do not improve post the holidays, the Indian prices could be at risk as a 10 per cent premium to Chinese prices would be unsustainable for long. This is because imports would rise substantially, the brokerage report said.

But the good run is expected to continue for long steel products. There is an expectation of recovery in long steel prices with demand recovering post monsoon. The recovery in long steel product prices has remained subdued compared to flat rolled steel as rebar prices are still at Rs 1,500/tonne lower YTD FY21 (while HRC is higher by Rs 5,000/tonne).




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