Top 10 biz headlines: Air India, coronavirus hits world indices, and more

Air India divestment process finally takes off, with sweetened deal terms
Almost two years after a failed attempt, the government on Monday launched the biggest privatisation exercise in value terms, inviting preliminary bids for Air India with sweetened deal terms. Full management control, reduced debt, a leaner organisation and flexibility to form a consortium are among the relaxed terms on offer for Air India divestment as potential bidders weigh their options to buy what was once a national asset. Read more.

Markets catch coronavirus flu: World indices slip into the red, gold rises
Global markets tumbled, oil prices slumped, and gold turned costlier as the rapidly spreading coronavirus — which has claimed 81 lives in China thus far — fuelled concern about its potential impact on the world economy. The Indian indices fell over 1 per cent as earnings disappointment, coupled with the virus scare, hit sentiment. Read more.

Budget 2020: Govt may consider tax sops, easier norms to boost investments
The Union Budget may focus on giving a boost to the investment climate by providing tax concessions to private investors and announcing easier operational norms, official sources said on Monday. With revenue projections, relating particularly to taxes, going awry in the current fiscal year (April 2019-March 2020, or FY20), the targets in the Budget are likely to be far more realistic, the sources said. Read more.

PSU insurance firms seek Rs 12,000-cr infusion as merger put on fast track
Three public sector general insurance companies, slated to be merged, are expecting a Rs 12,000-crore fund infusion in this financial year (FY20). The boards of the three insurance companies — National Insurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company, and United India Insurance Company — formally gave the nod for their merger last week, putting the much-delayed merger process on the fast track. “Several months ago, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) had recommended the fund infusion of Rs 12,000 crore. Read more.

AGR dues: Telecom firms, DoT discuss part upfront payment by March 31
Leading telcos are discussing a proposal with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) regarding paying part of their AGR dues upfront by March 31 if the Supreme Court gives a favourable verdict on their “modification petition”, which will be heard this week. Read more.

IndiGo may hit air pocket in March qtr amid lean season, coronavirus threat
InterGlobe Aviation, which runs the country’s largest airline IndiGo, saw its pre-tax profit jump threefold to Rs 556 crore in the third quarter of FY20 on strong revenue growth. The company expects to complete modification of its Airbus A320Neo engines by May end, but expects a challenging fourth quarter because of lean season and coronavirus threat. Read more.

Amazon takes cue from Alibaba's India playbook to beat Reliance, Flipkart
Besides holding closed-door meetings with top industry leaders, hobnobbing with Bollywood stars and visiting the iconic Taj Mahal, Amazon founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos did something unusual during his India trip this month. He delivered a package to a customer from a kirana store in Mumbai and shared the picture on his Instagram account. Read more.

NCLT extends immunity to new board-appointed members at IL&FS firms
In a development that could help the IL&FS group, in trouble for months over loan defaults and resulting probes for suspected breach of law, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has clarified that legal immunity would be extended to board-appointed members at its various subsidiary entities. Read more.

Jhunjhunwala under Sebi lens for ‘insider trading’
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is being probed by markets regulator Sebi for alleged insider trading in the shares of Aptech Ltd, an education firm owned by him and family, according to sources in a report by The Economic Times.

Govt blocks Rs 40k crore GST claims on returns mismatch
Tax credits of around Rs 40,000 crore where the returns did not match, exposing alleged fraud by close to 2,000 entities, were frozen, apart from cases where returns were not filed, by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). Last week, the indirect tax wing of the revenue department blocked the credits within four hours, CBIC chairman John Joseph said at an event on Monday, reports The Times of India.

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