Top headlines: RBI's central board meet, Sebi relaxing pricing norms & more

A relaxation in the delinquency period for classification of non-performing assets (NPAs) to 180 days from the current 90 days had found mention in internal meetings of the finance ministry as well, a source said.
In its first board meet since the outbreak of coronavirus, the Reserve Bank of India on Friday may discuss one-time restructuring of loans for India Inc. Sebi in a relief for firms has eased capital-raising process for listed companies. Amid global outrage over racism and discrimination against person of colour, Hindustan Unilever may finally rebrand its decades-old Fair & Lovely, removing the word 'Fair' from the name. Here are the top headlines on Friday morning: 

One-time loan recast for India Inc may come up at Friday's RBI board meet

A one-time restructuring of loans for India Inc may figure in discussions at the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) central board meeting on Friday — the first since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the central bank has not decided its position on the merit of such a scheme in the current situation, the affidavits to be filed in the Supreme Court by the Centre, the RBI, and the Indian Banks’ Association with regard to the loan moratorium scheme may have a bearing. A relaxation in the delinquency period for classification of non-performing assets (NPAs) to 180 days from the current 90 days had found mention in internal meetings of the finance ministry as well, a source said. Read More...

Sebi relaxes pricing norms for preferential issues of listed companies

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Thursday relaxed the pricing norms for preferential issuances to ease the capital-raising process for listed companies. The new pricing formula will enable the issuance of new shares at recent stock prices. A lot of market participants had approached Sebi, saying the discovered price under the earlier formula was too high and was discouraging promoters and other investors from infusing more capital into the firm. Sebi, however, has said the shares issued under the new pricing norms will be locked in for three years and the pricing relaxation will be valid for issuances made until December 2020. Read More...

Jio eyes acquisitions, more digital ad revenue, top spot in B2C space

With a suite of over 24 apps, Jio Platforms, the digital services subsidiary of Reliance Industries, is working on a three-point strategy to grow its business. This includes the target to hit the number one slot in the B2C category in at least five to six of its properties, from the current two, in terms of active users and the focus is on Jio. Two, go aggressively for acquisitions to reach the top slot, if needed, as well as to enter newer niche areas. Third, deploy a combination of subscription as well as digital advertising revenues by leveraging the monetisation of the apps. Read More...

Indian exporters raise concerns of tit-for-tat measures by Chinese side

The Customs authorities in Hong Kong and China, in apparently a blow-for-blow measure, have held back some consignments of Indian exports after ports in India took up the task of inspecting Chinese products, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has told the government. The FIEO on Thursday reiterated that the Customs authorities at several ports in India had ordered a sudden examination of Chinese consignments without any official word from the government, and this may have led to the Chinese retribution. “While we have been told there is no official communication, the examination is leading to the piling up of imports. Some Indian exporters have said that, in response to such action, Hong Kong and Chinese Customs are also holding back export consignments from India,” FIEO President Sharad Kumar Saraf told Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan in a letter reviewed by Business Standard. Read More...

IndiGo starts flexible payment scheme: Pay 10% fare now and get ticket

IndiGo announced a flexible payment scheme called 'Flex Pay', under which passengers will have to pay only 10 per cent of the total fare amount at the time of booking. Passengers can defer the 90 per cent remaining payment “for a period of up to 15 days either from the date of bookings or before the date of departure” under this scheme, IndiGo said. Read More...

Vedanta moves closer to going private, gets shareholder nod for delisting

Vedanta has moved a step closer to going private with the company securing shareholders’ green light for the proposal. The company on Thursday disclosed the results of the postal ballot for the special resolution seeking voluntary delisting of equity shares from the NSE and BSE. The company obtained 93.3 per cent votes ‘in favour’ of the proposal, while 6.7 per cent ‘against’ vote. Nearly 85 per cent of institutional public shareholders and 75 per cent of non-institutional shareholders voted in favour of the proposal. Many had raised doubts on the company securing the shareholder go-ahead as the base price for delisting set by Vedanta promoters was much below current market price. Read More...

Fair solution to rate transmission in the works: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday the ministry has been in talks with the Reserve Bank of India as well as banks on why transmission of interest rate reduction was not happening at the pace at which it should. ”The benefit of reducing interest rate should not be denied to the customer. The RBI is engaged with us. Hopefully, we will come up with some fair solution quickly," she said, while addressing a webinar on MSMEs organised by Chennai International Centre. She said she had been made aware of "reasons", but they were “not convincing”. Responding to complaints that private banks were not providing support under the emergency credit facility, she said she would have “agreed to the comment 10 days back, but now the private banks are getting on board”. She said that while the public sector banks have cumulatively disbursed around Rs 22,200 crore, private sector banks have disbursed around Rs 10,700 crore. “But then, private sector banks have to buck up a bit more,” she said. Read More...

HUL to rebrand Fair & Lovely as spotlight shifts to fairness creams

Fair & Lovely, one of the country’s best-known brands, will no longer woo consumers by playing up its skin-lightening properties. In a strategic shift, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) will drop the word 'fair' to make way for a new name for its Rs 2,000-crore brand, as it strives to be inclusive, the company said on Thursday. The move comes against the backdrop of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ global movement raging across the world. On Monday, Johnson & Johnson had announced that it was exiting the fairness category in India and West Asia following a review of its portfolio. Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and managing director, HUL, said, “We are making our skin care portfolio more inclusive and want to lead the celebration of a more diverse portrayal of beauty. In 2019, we removed the cameo with two faces as well as the shade guides from the packaging of Fair & Lovely, and the brand communication progressed from fairness to glow, which is a more holistic and inclusive measure of healthy skin.” Read More...

Hinduja brothers must seek mediation to settle issues, say lawyers

The dispute between the SP Hinduja family and the three other Hinduja brothers can be settled only through talks and not in the court rooms which is already going on in three separate jurisdictions, say corporate lawyers. The complex holding structure of various group companies across various jurisdictions can lead to multiple and fresh litigation for years, they warn. While the Hinduja brothers — Gopichand, Prakash, and Ashok Hinduja — did not indicate any move to begin talks with Vinoo Hinduja, top Indian lawyers said mediation would help both sides considering that the letter signed by the four brothers cannot trump other legal documents and challenge the validity of a registered will of SP Hinduja. Read More...

India plans list of substitute nations for critical imports

The government is working on a list of alternative countries that could be suppliers of critical components that cannot currently be manufactured domestically, officials said. “DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) is working with the industry to line up a list of low-quality imports from China. The next step is to substitute them, internally or externally,” a government official told ET. “The engagement looks to firm up tariff and non-tariff measures to curb imports of raw, intermediary and finished products from China.” Once DPIIT is ready with the list, the government will reach out to countries and work out ways to incentivise supply to the Indian market, even as it tries to encourage domestic manufacturing of the goods, officials added, according to the Economic TImes.



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