News digest: Air India crisis, fake news, shell firms crackdown, and more

Finance ministry refuses Rs 300-bn fund-infusion proposal for Air India 

The finance ministry has turned down Rs 300-billion fund-infusion proposal for Air India in the absence of a clear turnaround plan. The civil aviation ministry had sought the package to wipe out the debt obligation of the state-owned airline, defaulting on salary disbursements and payments to vendors. 

The finance ministry has instead asked the airline to transfer its non-core assets and subsidiaries to a special purpose vehicle (SPV). Those assets would be monetised to reduce the company’s unsustainable portion of the debt. READ MORE 

WhatsApp to trace the origin of fake messages, set up servers in India

With the government threatening action against WhatsApp over spread of fake news, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the American messaging platform, Chris Daniels, flew down to New Delhi to fix things.

Daniels, who took over as the boss of WhatsApp in May, on Tuesday told the government it would work out a technological solution to trace the origin of fake messages. The Facebook-owned firm, with more than 200 million active subscribers in India, also committed to complying with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules relating to local storage of financial data by having servers in India. READ MORE 

40% firms failing to file returns under MCA lens, may get deregistered

Forty per cent of the 1.4 million companies registered with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) do not file statutory returns, sources in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) have said. This means 560,000 companies are on the radar of the ministry, which might decide to deregister them.

In the 2017-18 financial year, the RoC de-registered 226,000 companies for not filing statutory returns, such as financial statements. The MCA had considered non-filing of statutory returns from 2013-14 to 2015-16. READ MORE 

KKR emerges as main suitor to buy 47.5% stake in Max Healthcare

The race to buy a 47.5 per cent stake of South Africa-based Life Healthcare in Max Healthcare narrows, with private equity (PE) fund KKR emerging key suitor, especially after US PE fund BainCapital decided not to pursue an offer from merchant bankers. 

Even Max India, the holding company of Analjit Singh and an equal partner in Max Healthcare, has not evinced any interest to buy out its partners. Those in the know cite the stiff price being asked for the deal as one of the reasons. 

The Max group has helped its foreign partners, which wanted to divest from other joint ventures (JVs), by buying a part of their stake at a premium and then selling it to others. READ MORE 

Omnichannel is a constant consideration: Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy

Days after the US retail giant Walmart closed the $16-billion deal, which gave it 77 per cent ownership in e-commerce marketplace Flipkart, Chief Executive Officer KALYAN KRISHNAMURTHY said the firm continues to be run independently. In an interview with Bibhu Ranjan Mishra & Alnoor Peermohamed, Krishnamurthy said the company was quickly building or acquiring capabilities to tap the next 100-200 million consumers. READ MORE

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