Top 10 biz headlines: FY20 growth forecast cut, govt's big EV push & more

1) Economists paint a grim picture, lower India's FY20 GDP growth forecast

With the economic growth rate plunging to a 25-quarter low of 5% in the first quarter of the current financial year, think tanks and economists have cut their projection of the gross domestic product expansion for 2019-20.

Earlier, their predictions were close to 6.8%, which was recorded in 2018-19. Now, it is way lower. (Read more here

2) Govt will respond to automobile industry's demand, says FM Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the government would respond to the demands of the automobile industry, which is facing the worst slump in two decades. Sitharaman’s assurance to the auto industry came ahead of the GST Council meeting, slated for September 20.

The FM, while speaking to the media here on 100 days of the Modi government 2.0, said, “We are conscious that we need to respond.” When asked about a possible rate cut on cars, Sitharaman said that call would be taken by the GST Council at its meeting in Goa next week. She, however, added that some of the industry suggestions had already been considered. (Read more here

3) Govt's big plan to push EVs: Rs 40,000-crore subsidies in the works

The government is considering more sops and benefits to push electric mobility in India — this time on the supply side.

The plan is to spend Rs 40,000 crore on subsidies over the next 10 years, aimed at companies that will set up manufacturing units for batteries, parts of electric vehicles (EVs), or components supporting infrastructure like charging stations, Business Standard has learnt. (Read more here

4) India to review Asean free-trade agreement amid rising imports fear

India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Tuesday agreed to review their free-trade agreement (FTA) amid criticism from the domestic industry that the deal was helping imports rise much faster than exports.

The decision was taken during a meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, representing Asean, in Bangkok. (Read more here

5) YES Bank's co-founder Rana Kapoor likely to sell his stake to Paytm

Rana Kapoor, co-founder of YES Bank, is said to be in talks with One97 Communications, owner of Paytm, to sell his stake in the private sector lender. Kapoor and his associate entities owned 10.6 per cent in the bank at the end of June 2019. Around 7.34 per cent of the Kapoor family stake has been pledged with Reliance Nippon Asset Management Company (RNAMC).

According to reports, Kapoor has held preliminary talks with Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of One97 Communications. The structure of the deal would depend on the approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), given that Sharma already owns a stake in Paytm Payments Bank, said sources. (Read more here

6) Corporate bond issuances on the upswing, reach Rs 5.45 trillion till August

Contrary to expectations, the corporate bond market is witnessing a spurt of issuances, and in the first eight months of this calendar year, the issuances have been the highest ever. While liquidity played a role, banks’ reluctance to lend due to risk aversion and tightened group borrower exposure limits are pushing firms to the corporate bond market space, say experts. (Read more here

7) With more than 7000 start-ups, Delhi-NCR emerges as India's unicorn hub

TiE Delhi-NCR and consulting firm Zinnov on Tuesday released a report, ‘Turbocharging Delhi-NCR Start-up Ecosystem’. Rajan Anandan, president of TiE Delhi-NCR, said, “NCR’s start-up ecosystem has incredible momentum. Despite the progress so far, we believe we are still in Day One. With concerted focus on the most important areas, the NCR has the potential to become a Top 5 Global hubs for start-ups, lead innovation across many sectors, create many more start-ups and have at least 30 unicorns in NCR by 2025.” (Read more here

8) Blackstone set to buy rest of Indiabulls' commercial assets

Blackstone Group has signed a term sheet to buy the remaining 50 per cent stake in Indiabulls Real Estate's commercial properties for more than Rs 4,420 crore, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday, citing persons with direct knowledge of the development.  

The report added that Blackstone had concluded a similar deal for 50 per cent of the portfolio for close to Rs 4,750 crore in March 2018, marking one of India's largest such transactions in real estate.

9) Google faces probe by 50 state attorney generals for antitrust violations

A group of 50 American states have announced an investigation into Google’s “potential monopolistic behaviour” and the Internet giant’s dominance of the online advertising market.

Announcing the probe, the attorney generals from these states alleged the Internet is not free as a result of some of the practices of Google. “Fifty attorney generals from different states and territories are launching an investigation into Google’s potential monopolistic behaviour,” Attorney General of the District of Columbia Karl Racine told reporters. (Read more here)

10) Anil Ambani's Reliance Capital inches closer to exiting mutual fund biz 

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Capital will sell up to 6.3 per cent stake in Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management —commonly referred to as Reliance Mutual Fund —through the offer for sale (OFS) route, on Wednesday.

The share sale is part of Reliance Capital’s deleveraging programme, which involves exiting the asset management operations, among other businesses. At present, Reliance Capital holds 32.12 per cent stake in Reliance MF. (Read more here

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