Top 10 biz headlines: Auto sector in low gear, FM on economy booster & more

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
1) FM says talks on helping economy continue, won't comment on timeline


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, under pressure to announce measures to revive the slowing economy, said on Friday that officials of her ministry were in discussions with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and the government would reveal the remedial steps once finalised. (Read more here)


2) Jet Airways creditors' claims balloon to Rs 30,558 cr as revival hopes fade


Claims submitted by creditors against Jet Airways have shot up from Rs 24,000 crore a month ago to Rs 30,558 crore now, making hopes of any revival of the defunct airline dimmer.


This comes after Etihad Airways, which holds 24 per cent in Jet, said on Monday that it did not submit an expression of interest (EoI) for the airline due to unresolved issues pertaining to its liabilities. Jet, so far, has received two EoIs, one from Panama-based Avantulo Group and the other from Russian fund Treasury RA Creator. Anil Agarwal’s Volcan Investments had submitted an EoI last Saturday, but pulled out of the race two days later. (Read more here)


3) PSBs may ease credit access to automobile dealers to boost sales


In a bid to arrest the slump in the automotive and ancillary sector and boost sales of motor vehicles, the Narendra Modi government could instruct state-owned banks to ease credit conditions and repayment thresholds to automobile dealerships.


Banks looking to reduce their exposure to the troubled industry have been demanding 25 per cent collateral for inventory financing. The decision by banks followed a few cases of defaults by automobile dealers. This proposal, along with other measures to boost specific sectors and the overall economy, was discussed in meetings on Independence Day held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and the finance ministry. (Read more here)


4) Slowdown pain spreads: Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Hero halt production


As slowdown in the auto industry continues, more companies have decided to halt production temporarily. These include Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp as well as TVS Group companies Sundaram-Clayton Limited (SCL) and Lucas TVs, among others.


Already, Mahindra, Suzuki, Toyota and Ashok Leyland have announced production cuts due to the prevailing market demand scenario. Tata Motors has decided to halt production at the company’s Jamshadepur facility, which produces commercial vehicles, for two days. (Read more here)



5) ED unearths $400-million fund diversion at Religare Enterprises


The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the money-laundering charges against Religare Enterprises former promoters Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh, has established a diversion of $400-million funds to a subsidiary in Mauritius and then to a Jersey-based entity, sources in the know said.


Religare Enterprises’ wholly-owned Indian entity Religare Capital Markets (RCML) diverted the amount to its Mauritius-based subsidiary Religare Capital Markets International and later to NCM Ltd, a company in Jersey, between 2010 and 2016, the sources pointed out. (Read more here)



6)  IL&FS money laundering case: Enforcement Directorate files 1st chargesheet


The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday filed its first prosecution complaint, commonly known as charge sheet, in the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) money laundering case.


The prosecution complaint was filed in a special court of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), charging former senior management personnel of IL&FS — Ravi Parthasarathy, Ramesh Bawa, Hari Sankaran, Arun Saha, and Ramchand Karunakaran — along with Aircel founder C Sivasankaran.


The ED has also made provisional attachment of bank accounts and immovable property held by these people to the tune of Rs 570 crore. (Read more here)



7) Govt to tighten noose on Chinese e-commerce players evading duties


In a crackdown on Chinese e-commerce players such as AliExpress, Club Factory and Shein for evading duties through importing commercial consignments to India as gifts or samples, the government is examining a host of measures including a payment gateway solution.


Besides, an audit or return-filing mechanism through a central registration system for foreign online retailers catering for Indian buyers is another option being examined. (Read more here)



8) Govt adopts a new approach to bring reforms in public sector banks


The National Democratic Alliance government has adopted a new approach to bring reforms in public sector banks (PSBs), with the finance ministry asking lenders to hold month-long consultations to review their performance and achieve various economic objectives.


Beginning Saturday, branch- or regional-level officials will hold intra-bank meetings and map performance of branches which will be followed up by inter-bank meetings (chaired by PSB chiefs) and ultimately a national-level two-day brainstorming in Delhi. (Read more here)



9) Amtek Auto heads for liquidation; NCLAT clears the way for the process


The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Friday asked the Chandigarh Bench of the NCLT to proceed with the liquidation of Amtek Auto in accordance with law, saying there remained no approved resolution plan for the company despite the passage of the statutory period of 270 days. Amtek Auto has a debt of Rs 12,603 crore. The liquidation value of its assets was determined at Rs 4,119 crore. (Read more here)


10) Boxed in by complaints, TRAI to review broadcast tariff rules


India’s telecom regulator has begun a review of the broadcast tariff regime it implemented eight months ago to address complaints from viewers about higher bills and picking the channels they want to watch becoming more difficult, reports The Economic Times on Saturday.


The review is aimed at easing channel choice and will possibly lead to lower bills, some experts said. The regulator also admonished broadcasters and cable operators for misusing the new rules to extract revenue and kill consumer choice.

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