Category Archives: Business

TATA win Air India bid, Maharaja heads home after 68 years

tata-AINEW DELHI : Tata Sons Pvt. was selected as the winning bidder for India’s flag carrier, ending decades of attempts to privatize a money-losing and debt-laden airline, and potentially ending years of taxpayer-bailouts that’s kept the company alive.

Tata Sons, which originally launched Air India Ltd. with a namesake branding in 1932, bid ₹ 18,000 crore ($2.4 billion) as an enterprise value for Air India,
Tuhin Kanta Pandey, the top bureaucrat at  Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, said at a briefing on Friday. The government aims to complete the transaction by the end of 2021.
However, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management in a statement said that media reports indicating approval of financial bids by Government of India in the AI disinvestment case are incorrect. “Media will be informed of the Government decision as and when it is taken,” it said.
Tata Sons already run two airlines in India – Vistara, a full service carrier in partnership with Singapore Airlines, and AirAsia India, a budget airline in partnership with Malaysia AirAsia Bhd.
Reports say that the Committee of Ministers on the national carrier disinvestment headed by Home Minister  Amit Shah has approved the winning bid for the national airline. The government had last week evaluated financial bids received from Tata Group and SpiceJet founder for the acquisition of Air India. The financial bids were evaluated against an undisclosed reserve price and the bid offering the highest price above that benchmark was be accepted. This marks the return of Air India to Tata fold after 67 years. The Tata Group founded Air India as Tata Airlines in October 1932. The government nationalised the airline in 1953.

The government is selling 100 per cent of its stake in the state-owned national airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India  SATS Airport Services Private Ltd. The Tata group originally founded the airline in 1932 before it was taken over by the government in 1953. The government had for years been trying to sell the airline, which has racked up losses worth $9.5bn. But it recently sweetened the deal by making the terms of the debt less onerous for the buyer. It’s still unclear how much debt the Tata group will take on under the new terms. Minutes after the acquisition, Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata tweeted a photograph of the firm’s former chairman JRD Tata on the tarmac with an Air India plane in the background:

The national carrier had been making losses since it merged with the state-owned domestic operator Indian Airlines in 2007 and relied on taxpayer-funded bailouts to stay operational. The government said it was making a loss of nearly 200m rupees ($2.6m) every day to run the airline. Over the years, the airline blamed high aviation fuel prices, high airport usage charges, competition from low-cost carriers, weakening of the rupee, as well as a high interest burden for its poor financial performance.

Air India “suffered for its inconsistent service standards, low aircraft utilisation, dismal on-time performance, antiquated productivity norms, lack of revenue generation skills and unsatisfactory public perception”, according to Jitender Bhargava, a former executive director of the airline. Were attempts made to sell Air India in the past? In 2001, a previous BJP-led government tried to sell 40% of the stake. A number of foreign airlines, including Lufthansa, British Airways and Singapore Airlines evinced interest, but withdrew when the government made it mandatory for them to partner with an Indian company to make a bid. In 2018, Mr Modi’s government tried to sell 76% stake and a portion of its debt, but potential buyers found the terms unattractive.
In January 2020, the government decided to sell its entire stake in Air India. “There is no choice, we either privatise or we close the airline,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said. By the end of December last year, Air India received two bids – one from Tata Sons and the other from a group of its employees and a US-based investment firm, Interrups. In September, Ajay Singh, who runs the private budget airline SpiceJet, also bid for the airline in his personal capacity.

This time, the government decided to offload its entire stake in Air India, its low-cost arm Air India Express and ground holding subsidiary AISATS. Experts say restructuring Air India’s employee base of 12,000 plus people could be a challenge for the new owners.
Why does Air India remain attractive?
Apart from its fleet of over 130 aircraft, the new buyer will now have control of the airline’s 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landing and parking slots at domestic airports, as well as 900 slots at airports overseas. Air India also owns millions of dollars worth of prime real estate. According to the aviation ministry, its fixed assets – land, buildings, planes – in March last year were worth more than 450bn rupees ($6bn).
The airline also has more than 40,000 pieces of art and collectibles, including an ashtray designed and gifted by Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali. In return the airline had gifted Dali a baby elephant, which was flown to Spain. With India seeing passenger growth of around 20% per year and analysts saying the Indian market is vastly underserved – Air India is a good prospect for Tata Group, say experts.
The high-profile sale is a boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has embarked on a bold privatization plan to plug a widening budget deficit, validating his stand of the state staying away from most businesses. For Tata Sons, Air India adds a third airline brand to its stable, and gives it access to more than a hundred planes, thousands of trained pilots and crew, and lucrative landing and parking slots all around the world.

Bloomberg News reported last week that a panel of ministers accepted a proposal from bureaucrats, who recommended the conglomerate’s bid ahead of an offer from entrepreneur Ajay Singh. The consortium led by Singh, who’s also the chairman of budget carrier SpiceJet Ltd, bid ₹ 15,100 crore, Pandey said.

 

(With Inputs from Business Bureau)

Govt to give tourist visa free of charge to 5 lakh travellers

solo_indiaNEW DELHI : As part of plan to provide relief to the tourism industry, among the worst affected sectors by the pandemic, and to encourage travel activities, the government on Monday said that it would offer tourist visa free of charge till March 31, 2022.The tourism sector that has seen a bloodbath due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has now announced that it will issue free tourist visas for 5 lakh tourists.
solo_indiaWhile addressing a press conference, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of measures to provide the much-needed relief to the travel industry which has been shattered by the second wave. As part of the financial relief package for the travel industry, finance minister Sitharaman announced that once visa issuance is restarted, the first 5 lakh tourists’ visas will be issued free of charge. She said that this has been one of the demands of the travel industry which the government has accepted. The financial implication of the move is expected in the range of Rs 100 crore.
The ministry of finance presentation revealed that 10.93 million foreign tourists visited Indian in 2019, and spent $30.098 billion on leisure and business. The average daily stay for a foreign tourist in India is 21 days while the average daily spending is around $34 (Rs 2400). “Once visa issuance is restarted, the first five lakh Tourists Visas will be issued free of charge,” Sitharaman said.
This benefit will only be given to one tourist at a time and the scheme will remain applicable till March 2022 or till 5 lakh visas are issued. The total financial implication is expected to be Rs 100 crore. Besides these, the Centre has further announced financial support to over 11,000 registered tourist guides/travel and tourism stakeholders. Working capital/personal loans will be provided with a 100 percent guarantee to people in the tourism sector. “No processing charges, waiver of prepayment charges,” the ministry said.

Crowd Control At Markets Responsibility Of Officials: Traders

TradersNEW DELHI : The representatives of several market associations, however, said that the responsibility of controlling crowds in markets lies with the administration and enforcement agencies. Brijesh Goyal, chairman of the Chamber of Trade and Industry, said traders can only ensure compliance of Covid norms inside their shops, godowns or offices.
“But it is the administration and the police who have to ensure that the protocols are followed in streets and other public spaces,” he said. He said the authorities should hold meetings with market associations to find ways to control crowds. Goyal claimed crowding is an issue limited to only a few of the 950 major markets in Delhi. As part of the gradual easing of restrictions in Delhi, markets were initially allowed to open from June 7 on an odd-even basis. They were allowed to open fully between 10 am and 8 pm from June 12.
Ashok Randhawa, president of the Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Traders’ Association, too, said shopkeepers can’t be expected to manage crowds outside their shops.”Our only aim is to have some customers every day. We make sure that not more than three customers are inside a shop at a time and five if it is a big shop. If we have to manage the crowd outside as well, who will manage the shop?” he asked.
He also said it will impact the business if shopkeepers tell customers who come in a group to step outside. This a job better suited for police or civil defence volunteers. Randhawa said, “We have talked to the DM and the SDM to increase the number of police or civil defence volunteers in the market. Seeing them making rounds, the visitors are more careful about their conduct.” Sanjay Bhargava, president of the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, pointed out that e-rickshaws and illegal encroachments add to the problem.
“We regularly see e-rickshaws carrying 8-10 people. The illegal encroachments also cause crowds. How can the shopkeepers be responsible for them? We have maintained strict Covid guidelines in all shops but outside shops, it is the duty of enforcement agencies,” he said. At a recent meeting with the DM on the subject, Bhargava said he suggested implementing some “drastic precautions” till the wedding season begins, else the third wave may hit around September and lead to the imposition of another lockdown.”I suggested that till August 15, the markets can follow the odd-even system so that the crowds can be controlled and the risk of the third wave is reduced,” he said.
AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria had warned on Saturday that if Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed and crowding not prevented, the third wave of the pandemic can strike the country in the next six to eight weeks. He stressed the need for stricter surveillance and area-specific lockdowns in case of a significant surge.
With Delhi residents making their way to markets once again after the easing of lockdown in the national capital as coronavirus cases came down, the city’s trader bodies said it is not possible for them to control the crowds and the onus is on the administration and enforcement agencies.
The Delhi High Court last week took cognizance of the violation of COVID-19 protocols in various markets in the city and observed that such breaches will only hasten the third wave of coronavirus, which cannot be permitted at all. It had asked the Centre and the Delhi government to take strict measures, sensitise shopkeepers and hold meetings with markets and vendor associations in this regard.

The representatives of several market associations, however, said that the responsibility of controlling crowds in markets lies with the administration and enforcement agencies. Brijesh Goyal, chairman of the Chamber of Trade and Industry, said traders can only ensure compliance of Covid norms inside their shops, godowns or offices.”But it is the administration and the police who have to ensure that the protocols are followed in streets and other public spaces,” he said.He said the authorities should hold meetings with market associations to find ways to control crowds. Mr Goyal claimed crowding is an issue limited to only a few of the 950 major markets in Delhi.
As part of the gradual easing of restrictions in Delhi, markets were initially allowed to open from June 7 on an odd-even basis. They were allowed to open fully between 10 am and 8 pm from June 12.
“We regularly see e-rickshaws carrying 8-10 people. The illegal encroachments also cause crowds. How can the shopkeepers be responsible for them? We have maintained strict Covid guidelines in all shops but outside shops, it is the duty of enforcement agencies,” he said. At a recent meeting with the DM on the subject, Mr Bhargava said he suggested implementing some “drastic precautions” till the wedding season begins, else the third wave may hit around September and lead to the imposition of another lockdown.
“I suggested that till August 15, the markets can follow the odd-even system so that the crowds can be controlled and the risk of the third wave is reduced,” he said. AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria had warned on Saturday that if Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed and crowding not prevented, the third wave of the pandemic can strike the country in the next six to eight weeks.
(With pti inputs).

 

Indian Billionaire Gautam Adani no longer Asia’s 2nd richest person, loses $9 billion

AdaniMUMBAI: Indian Billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani has lost the title of the second richest person in Asia, only behind his Indian counterpart Reliance Industries Limited’s chief Mukesh Ambani. Gautam Adani’s  lost more money this week than anyone else in the world, with his personal fortune tumbling by about $9 billion to $67.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index based on Wednesday closing prices.
Just days ago, he was closing the gap with Mukesh Ambani as Asia’s richest man. A sudden drop in the wealth of Adani came after the stock prices of many firms owned by him saw a plunge in their stock prices.Adani Group stocks continued to fall on Thursday.

The U-turn in shares started Monday after the Economic Times reported that India’s national share depository froze the accounts of three Mauritius-based funds because of insufficient information on the owners. The bulk of the holdings of Albula Investment Fund, Cresta Fund and APMS Investment Fund — about $6 billion — are shares of Adani’s firms. Although the Adani group called the report “blatantly erroneous” and said it was “done to deliberately mislead the investing community,” investors concerned over transparency rushed for the exit.

“There should be greater clarity to ensure who the final owners of the shares are,” said Hemindra Hazari, an independent research analyst in Mumbai. A spokesperson for the Adani Group declined to comment beyond the exchange filings sent this week. These overseas funds “have been investors in Adani Enterprises Ltd. for more than a decade,” Adani Group said in a June 14 statement. “We urge all our stakeholders not to be perturbed by market speculations.”
In identical exchange filings the same day, Adani group companies said that they had written confirmation from the Registrar and Transfer Agent that the offshore funds’ demat accounts in which Adani shares were held “are not frozen.” Shares of Adani Green Energy Ltd., the mogul’s most valuable asset, slipped 7.7% this week. Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. plunged 23% in four days, Adani Power Ltd., Adani Total Gas Ltd. and Adani Transmission Ltd. tumbled at least 18%, while flagship Adani Enterprises fell almost 15%.

Excitement around the Adani empire spanning ports, mines and power plants had been building up over the past couple of years as the coal magnate looks beyond the dirtiest fossil fuel for expansion, seeking to dovetail his business interests with infrastructure priorities set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the past few days, Adani’s net worth has dropped to $63 billion. At the beginning of the ongoing week, his fortune stood at $77 billion, which means that the billionaire nearly lost $14 billion in just four days. In the last three days, he has lost $9 billion. Friday’s trading session could bring more shocks to 58-year-old Adani’s fortune. Also Read: Adani Group deploys resources for Covid fight, procures 48 oxygen carrying tanks

Notably, when Adani had become the second-richest person in Asia, many financial pundits were expecting that he might topple Ambani as well to become the richest man in the world’s largest continent. Overall, since the onset of the pandemic, Adani’s wealth has grown manifold. In April 2021, the Adani Group became only the third conglomerate in India with a market capitalisation of over $100 billion.

Six publicly listed Adani Group companies were trading at record highs just before the mayhem. With the ongoing setback, the predictions of Adani becoming the richest man in Asia now appear far away from becoming a reality anytime soon. Also Read: Gold Price Today, 17 June 2021: Gold slips by Rs 900, cheaper by Rs 8600 from record highs.
(With Agency Inputs).

Delhi Unlock 3: Kejriwal Govt may open Gym, salon, cinema halls from June 12

KejriwalNEW DELHI : The national capital is gearing up for the Unlock-3. Delhi is preparing for the unlocking process amid the lockdown ending on Monday, June 14. Earlier, Unlock-1 started on 31 May and Unlock 2 started on 7 June. According to the reports, in a day or two in the meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will make the decisions of the relief under Unlock-3.

In such a situation, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi is expected to announce the exemption on Saturday (June 12). With this, the work of making a driving license can start. The decision to open hotels and weekly markets may be postponed. There has been a significant decline in the number of cases and deaths compared to May 2021. The Delhi government does not want to take any chances. So gradually unlocking is being done.
According to reports, officials of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) are contemplating on giving more relaxations or exemptions in the coming days. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is expected to address the public and announce more relaxations in COVID-19 restrictions in the national capital on Saturday. Also, several big announcements may be made this time including the reopening of gyms, salons and cinema halls.

According to DDMA sources, cinema halls may be allowed to open with 50 per cent capacity. However, gyms and salons are expected to stay shut for time being. With Unlock 3, the work of making Driving License can start, whereas the seating capacity of public transport may also be increased. However, the decision to open weekly markets may be postponed. Increase in seating capacity/capacity of public transport is also likely to be increased.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs).

 

Serum clarifies COVID-19 vaccine pricing, ‘initial rates low due to advance funding’

Adar_Poonawalla_PTINEW DELHI : Serum Institute of India (SII), which makes the most used COVID-19 vaccine in the country, on Saturday (April 24) defended pricing Covishield vaccine at 1.5 times the initial rate, saying the earlier price was based on advance funding and now it has to invest in scaling up and expanding capacity to produce more shots.
The Central government was forced to clarify on Saturday that it will continue to procure the two COVID-19 vaccines being administered in India at a price of Rs 150 per dose. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare tweeted this on its official Twitter account while also stating that doses procured by the Central government will be supplied to the states free of dose like before.
“It is clarified that Govt of India’s procurement price for both #COVID19 vaccines remains Rs 150 per dose. GOI procured doses will continue to be provided TOTALLY FREE to States,” the health ministry tweeted, a media report that the Covishield vaccine being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) will be supplied to private hospitals in the country at the highest global cost of Rs 600 (nearly USD 8).

SII, which manufactures AstraZeneca’s vaccine Covishield at its Pune facility, earlier this week announced a price of Rs 600 per dose and at Rs 400 for state governments and any new contract by the central government. This compared to Rs 150 per dose it charges the central government for the existing supplies. “There was an inaccurate comparison done between the global prices of the vaccine with India,” SII said. “Covisheld is the most affordable Covid-19 vaccine available in the market today.”
The initial price, it said, was “kept low globally as it was based on advance funding given by those countries for at risk vaccine manufacturing. “The initial supply price of Covishield for all government immunization programme, including India, has been the lowest,” it said. “The current situation is extremely dire, the virus is constantly mutating while the public remains at risk. Identifying the uncertainty, we have to ensure sustainability as we must be able to invest in scaling up and expanding our capacity to fight the pandemic and save lives.”
SII went on to add that only a limited portion of SII’s volume will be sold to private hospitals at Rs 600 per dose. “The price of the vaccine is still lower than a lot of other medical treatment and essentials required to treat COVID-19 and other life threatening diseases,” it added.

Former union minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh today called on the Narendra Modi government to renegotiate the price for procurement of the vaccines. Tagging the particular news report, Ramesh tweeted: “COVISHIELD @ ₹400 for new govt procurement is higher than what govts of US, UK, EU, Saudi, Bangladesh & SA pay. Made in India & highest price for India? By SII’s own admission profits are made even at ₹150. Prices must be renegotiated @PMOIndia @nsitharaman @drharshvardhan.”
(With PTI Inputs).

 

Indian economy projected to contract by 10.3% in 2020:IMF

IMF-13NEW DELHI : The Indian economy is projected to contract by 10.3 per cent this year due to impact of COVID-19 but will rebound with 8.8 per cent growth the following year and regain its position as the fastest-growing emerging economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday.
The global economic growth is estimated to dip by 4.4 per cent in 2020 and bounce back to 5.2 per cent growth in 2021, the IMF said in its latest ‘World Economic Outlook’ report, released ahead of the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank.
“All emerging market and developing economy regions are expected to contract this year, including notably emerging Asia, where large economies, such as India and Indonesia, continue to try to bring the pandemic under control,” the IMF said in its report.
Gross domestic product (GDP) will shrink 10.3% in the fiscal year to March 2021, the Washington-based lender said in its World Economic Outlook, far worse than the 4.5% decline predicted in June. The 5.8 percentage-point downgrade was the biggest of the world’s main economies.
In the group of emerging economies “revisions to the forecast are particularly large for India, where GDP contracted much more severely than expected in the second quarter,” the IMF said in its report.
India’s lock down at the end of March was the world’s largest, causing the economy to contract 23.9% in the June quarter from a year ago as businesses and jobs were devastated. Authorities have failed to get the pandemic under control since then, with the number of coronavirus cases exceeding 7 million, second only to the US.
In China, where the virus outbreak originated but is now under control, the recovery is strengthening, with the IMF predicting 1.9% growth this year, up from 1% forecast in June. “China’s return to growth, which was stronger than expected” helped to underpin an improvement in the IMF’s global outlook, the fund said.

For emerging and developing economies excluding China, prospects continue to remain dim, the IMF said. “All emerging market and developing economy regions are expected to contract this year, including notably emerging Asia, where large economies, such as India and Indonesia, continue to try to bring the pandemic under control,” it said.
The IMF’s outlook for India is worse than the RBI’s prediction of a 9.5% decline in GDP in the current fiscal year. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday unveiled a set of measures to lift consumer spending after a previous package totaling 21 trillion rupees ($286 billion) failed to give an immediate boost to demand.
(With Agency Inputs).

 

GST Council meet: Govt to disburse compensation cess worth Rs 20K cr to all states tonight

bloombergquint_2020-10_91932030-e5d5-4a52-8f1d-f6d70e0e623e_EjiwMq_VgAAaUr6NEW DELHI : GST compensation due to state governments for this year around Rs 20,000 crore – will be released tonight, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Monday after a marathon meeting of the 42nd GST Council.
The Council, however, failed to provide a consensus on mode of repayment of total compensation – around Rs 97,000 crore (rising to Rs 2.35 lakh crore including Covid-related relief). A decision on this matter has been deferred till the next meeting on October 12..
Briefing reporters after the GST meeting, Sitharaman said that the GST Council has taken up the long-pending issue of Integrated Goods and Services Tax.
“10 states demand that full compensation should be paid to the states during the current year as per clauses in the law and centre should borrow. Decision was postponed to the next meeting on 12th of October,” Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac said.
“Entire compensation is going to be paid back to the states. The compensation shortfall which has arisen due to GST implementation or due to COVID19 is all going to be given back to the states,” assured finance minister.
The two options before states were 1) A special window can be provided to the states, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, at a reasonable interest rate for borrowing of Rs 97,000 crore.
The amount can be repaid after five years (of GST implementation) ending 2022 from cess collection. The GST panel had increased the borrowing limit of ₹1.1 lakh crore instead of Rs 97,000 crore on Monday. 2) The second option is to borrow the entire Rs 2.35 lakh crore shortfall under the special window.
While at least 21 states, mostly ruled by BJP or parties which have supported it on issues, had till mid-September opted to borrow Rs 97,000 crore to meet the GST revenue shortfall in the current fiscal, opposition-led states like West Bengal, Punjab and Kerala have not yet accepted the borrowing option given by the Centre. “The states who have not written to the Prime Minister wanted the centre to borrow,” the minister said.
They dissenting states expect the Centre to borrow and compensate them. Kerala, Punjab and Delhi have asked for a dispute resolution mechanism to handle such differences.

GST compensation has emerged as a sore point with state and union territory governments this year, particularly with the adverse economic impact of the Covid pandemic and lockdown.
The centre is finding it difficult to pay states compensation – due if a state’s revenue grows slower than 14 per cent – because states have not earned much this year due to months of lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 crisis.
The Congress had called the delay in paying GST compensation a “sovereign default” and going back on constitutional guarantees that were the reason states came on board with the GST regime. Several opposition-ruled states, including Bengal and Kerala, have been similarly upset.
(With Agency Inputs).

 

SBI rolled out bumper festive offers to bring in cheer festive seasons

SBI_RUN5940NEW DELHI : India’s largest lender State Bank of India has rolled out bumper festive offers for its customers to bring in cheer and spread festive joy amid the pandemic, the nation’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has come out with a slew of special offers for its retail customers.
SBI’s slew of festive offers are meant for its retail borrowers. This includes 100 per cent waiver of processing fee for all customers applying for car, gold, and personal loans through Yono. Yono (You Only Need One App) is the mobile banking app of the lender.
The bank has announced a 100% waiver in the processing fee for all customers applying for car, gold, and personal loans through YONO. The bank is offering the lowest interest rate, starting from 7.5%, to customers opting for the car loan. They will also get 100% on-road finance on select models.

SBI has announced special festive offers on home loans for home buyers. There would be a complete waiver on processing fees on home loans for homebuyers in approved projects.

SBI has also completely waived processing fees on home loans for homebuyers in approved projects. SBI is giving concessions up to 10 basis points (bps) on the interest rate for the customers based on their credit score and home loan amount, it said. Homebuyers can also avail 5 bps interest concession if they apply through Yono.
Car loan borrowers, can avail lowest interest rate starting from 7.5 per cent. They will also get 100 per cent on-road finance on select models. SBI is providing gold loans at an interest rate of 7.5 per cent, with flexible repayment options for up to 36 months. Customers can take personal loans at a lending rate as low as 9.6 per cent, the bank said.
The number of SBI customers using internet banking facilities is about 76 million and mobile banking services stand a little more than 17 million. Yono, which has 26 million registered users, witnesses 5.5 million logins per day along with over 4,000 daily disbursals of personal loans, 16,000 Yono Krishi Agri Gold loans.

Shapoorji Pallonji Group agrees to exit Tata Sons

cyrus-ratan-tataMUMBAI: The Shapoorji Pallonji Group (SPG) on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that it would exit the Tata Group  an acrimonious development that, if carried out, will end an over 70-year-old relationship between some of India’s biggest corporate behemoths.
In a statement released on Tuesday evening, the Mistry family-led group, which owns a nearly 18.5% stake in holding firm Tata Sons through two investment companies, said that a separation was necessary due to the impact that “continuing litigation could have on livelihoods and the economy”.

“It is crucial that an early resolution be reached to arrive at a fair and equitable solution reflecting the value of the underlying tangible and intangible assets,” the statement by the SP group said.
“The Shapoorji Pallonji-Tata relationship spanning over 70 years, was forged on mutual trust, good faith, and friendship,” the company said in a statement.
“Today, Shapoorji Pallonji Group stated before the Supreme Court that separation from Tata Group is necessary due to potential impact this continuing litigation could have on livelihoods and the economy,” the company said.
“It is with a heavy heart that the Mistry family believes that a separation of interests would best serve all stakeholder groups,” said Shapoorji Pallonji Group in a press statement.

This essential means that the SP Group, which holds 18.4% stake in Tata Sons through its two investment firms, is willing to sell their stake and move out of the company.

This statement comes after a protracted legal battle which started in December 2016 after Cyrus Mistry was ousted as Chairman of Tata Sons in October 2016. SP Group said Tata Sons has been taking “value destructive business decisions” ever since Mistry’s sacking.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the current leadership of Tata Sons has not only continued to take value destructive business decisions in a misguided effort to prove a point in these proceedings.
It is a matter of public record that several issues identified years earlier, continue to plague the group. Be it the operations of Tata Steel UK, where over the last three years alone the operational losses have increased by an additional 11,000 crores, or the Group’s aviation businesses.
“These actions, or lack thereof, have meant that the total debt in the major Tata group companies has increased by approximately 100,000 crores in the last three years. Excluding TCS, the last quarters losses of all the listed group companies of approximately 14,000 crores causes great concern.
Unfortunately, the impact of these actions continue to hurt minority shareholders, be it the SP Group at Tata Sons or the millions of shareholders of the listed companies in the Tata Group,” said SP Group.
SP Group told the Supreme Court in a filing today that a separation from the Tata Group is necessary due to the potential impact this continuing litigation could have on livelihoods and the economy.
“Today, it is with a heavy heart that the Mistry family believes that a separation of interests would best serve all stakeholder interests” a statement said. It was crucial that an early resolution is reached to arrive at a fair and equitable solution reflecting the value of the underlying ..
“Today, it is with a heavy heart that the Mistry family believes that a separation of interests would best serve all stakeholder interests” a statement said.
It was crucial that an early resolution is reached to arrive at a fair and equitable solution reflecting the value of the underlying tangible and intangible assets. In the midst of a global crisis triggered by the COVID Pandemic, the Mistry family were in the midst of raising funds against the security of their personal assets to .. assets to meet the crisis arising from the global pandemic.
This move was undertaken to protect the livelihoods of its 60,000 employees and over 100,000 migrant workers. A statement from the SP group said the action by Tata Sons to block this crucial fund raise, without any heed for the collateral consequences is the latest demonstration of their vindictive mind-set.
As the largest minority shareholder owning an 18.37% stake, the role hitherto played by the SP Group, was always one of .. was always one of guardianship with an aim to protect the best interests of the Tata group.
The SP Group had always used its voting rights as a shareholder for the best interest of the Tata Group. It is a matter of record that prior to the year 2000, when the Tata Trusts, being Public Charitable Trusts, couldn’t exercise their voting rights , the same being held by a Public Trustee, the SP Group voted to protect the best interests of the Tata Group.

In 2012, when Cyrus Mistry accepted the position of Chairman of Tata Sons, it was not only with a sense of pride, but also with a sense of duty as an ‘insider’ on the Board of Tata Sons. The Tata Group was going through significant change. A generation of Tata leaders were retiring with implications on the future governance of the Group.
Several of these leaders who were retiring from the Board of Tata Sons also served as Trustees of the majority shareholders – Tata Trusts. It is in this context .. that Mr. Mistry set about trying to establish a governance structure that would institutionalize accountability, and create the right checks and balances, without contravening the new SEBI Insider Trading law that regulated the flow of information across all stakeholders.
Unfortunately, he was removed in October 2016, when he attempted to implement these governance reforms. It is extremely unfortunate that the current leadership of Tata Sons has not only continued to take value destructive business decisions in a misguided effort to prove a point in these proceedings.
It is a matter of public record that several issues identified years earlier, continue to plague the group. Be it the operations of Tata Steel UK, where over the last three years alone the operation .. operational losses have increased by an additional Rs 11,000 crores, or the Group’s aviation businesses.
These actions, or lack thereof, have meant that the total debt in the major Tata group companies has increased by approximately Rs 100,000 crores in the last three years. Excluding TCS, the last quarters losses of all the listed group companies of approximately Rs 14,000 crores causes great concern.
Unfortunately, the impact of these actions continue to hurt minority shareholders, be it the SP Group at Tata Sons or the millions of shareholders of the listed companies in the Tata Group. Tata Sons has amplified its institutional efforts to suppress and inflict irreparable harm on the SP Group, the statement said.
(With Inputs from media reports).