Top headlines: Covaxin cheaper than Covoshield; spectrum auction from Mar 1

Bharat Biotech vaccine may cost less than Serum's; govt working on pricing

Ahead of the massive inoculation drive starting next week, the government is engaged with the vaccine makers to discuss their final pricing, according to people in the know. They indicated that Hyderabad-based player Bharat Biotech could price its indigenous candidate Covaxin lower than Covishield—the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India. The final contract is expected to be signed soon. Pricing took time as the government tried to get the best deal possible for the initial roll out. Read More

Govt to hold spectrum auctions from March 1; DoT invites applications

India will hold spectrum auctions from March 1, after a gap of more than four years, offering 2,251.25 megahertz worth Rs 3.92 trillion, according to a notice issued by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Spectrum will be offered in seven frequency bands — 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, and 2500 MHz. The spectrum bands from 3,300 MHz to 3,600 MHz, which are the 5G airwave bands, have been kept aside. Read More

Tata Motors eyes lost ground, brings back Safari to push SUV sales

Tata Motors is looking to hitch a ride on the burgeoning SUV demand to claw back its share in a segment in which it once held pole position. The maker of Nexon and Harrier models is gearing up to step up its presence in the segment with launch of new age, contemporary models that resonate with the buyers. By end of next fiscal the Tata Group flagship will have four SUVs in its armor as it stakes its claim in an intensely competitive passenger vehicle market, said company’s top official. Read More

Honda Motorcycle announces its first-ever VRS amid weak two-wheeler demand

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), the 100 per cent subsidiary of Japan’s Honda Motor Company, has introduced a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for permanent employees as it seeks to “realign its production strategy” and improve the overall efficiency in “these uncertain times”, the company said in an internal circular on Wednesday. Read More

Udaan raises $280 mn from existing, new investors, valuation crosses $3 bn

After bouncing back from the Covid-19 pandemic slump, Udaan — the business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce start-up — has raised $280 million in additional financing from its existing and new investors. The existing investors of Udaan — Lightspeed Venture Partners, DST Global, GGV Capital, Altimeter Capital, and Tencent — participated in the funding exercise. Two new investors — Octahedron Capital and Moonstone Capital — also participated. Read More

Beauty start-up Nykaa sitting pretty on path to profitability as IPO looms

It has an over 30 per cent share of the $1 billion gross merchandising value (GMV) online beauty market. And this segment constitutes for around 87 per cent of its sales. But Nykaa has ambitious plans for its fashion foray (account for 13 per cent sales) too. It is targeting $ 1 billion in GMV by 2025 (from around $ 75 million) based on Goldman Sachs discussions with the company’s top brass sometimes ago. As Nykaa prepares to go for its maiden IPO this year, the cosmetics and beauty company has several reasons to be pleased. Read More

Decks may soon be cleared for Container Corporation privatisation

The decks may soon be cleared for the privatisation of the Container Corporation of India (Concor) with the railway ministry set to approve its new land licensing policy, which will be taken up by the Union Cabinet in 7-10 days, said a senior government official. The policy will provide clarity on lease rates the new buyer of the company will have to pay. The government had approved strategic divestment of Concor in November 2019, but could not initiate the sale because of uncertainty caused by an increase in land licensing fee introduced by the Indian Railways. Read More

Petrol price nears all-time high after fuel retailers hike rates

Petrol price on Wednesday neared all-time high after state-owned fuel retailers hiked rates after a nearly month-long hiatus. Petrol price was raised by 26 paise per litre and diesel by 25 paise a litre, according to a price notification from oil marketing companies. After this increase, petrol in Delhi climbed to Rs 83.97 per litre from Rs 83.71 previously. Read More

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