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Top 10 biz headlines: Amazon's Uber Eats bid, RIL private-label push & more

From Amazon's plan to buy Uber Eats India to Alteria raising Rs 960 cr in maiden funding, here are the top business headlines on Monday

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Amazon in talks to buy Uber Eats India, plans to add food delivery to Prime

1) Amazon in talks to buy Uber Eats India, plans to add food delivery to Prime

The India business of American e-commerce major Amazon is learnt to be in talks on a possible buyout of the local unit of Uber Eats, the food order and delivery platform hosted by the San Francisco-based travel aggregator.

The talks for a buyout are in initial stages and a possible strategic alliance could also be explored, sources in the know said.

Uber declined to comment on the subject. (Read more here)

2) IBC Bill: Pressure on NCLT benches as 330-day deadline for resolution looms

More than 500 corporate insolvency cases will have less than three months to complete their resolution or face the prospect of liquidating firms as soon as the proposed amendments to the three-year-old Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) are passed in Parliament.

Big IBC cases such as those of Amtek Auto, Bhushan Power & Steel, Era Infra Engineering, and Jaypee Infratech have gone well beyond the 270-day deadline set under the IBC to finalise a resolution plan. (Read more here)

3) Bill proposes that firms seek employees' written consent for overtime work

Establishments will require the written consent of workers before asking them to work ‘overtime’, according to a proposal in the Code on Occupational Safety Health and Working Conditions, 2019.

The Bill, introduced by Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar in the Lok Sabha (LS) last week, has proposed that “no worker shall be required to work overtime by the employer without prior consent of the worker in writing for such work”. (Read more here)

4) E-market Udaan plans new round at $2.7-bn valuation

Online marketplace Udaan, which supplies products and gives loans to small merchants, is in talks for raising a new round of funding of about $500 million, reported the Times of India on Monday. According to the report, the new round would be at a post-money valuation of around $2.7 billion. Last year, the three-year-old firm became the fastest start-up in India to reach unicorn status.

Two sources briefed on the matter told the daily that Udaan was in talks with existing backers DST Global and Lightspeed Venture Partners and new investors, including hedge funds such as US-based Altimeter Capital and China's Hillhouse Capital, to invest in the latest round.

5) North India contributes most to slowdown as FMCG heads south in rural parts

One of the most important markets in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) is contributing the most to the ongoing slowdown in the sector. The North, including states such as Uttar Pradesh (UP), Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Rajasthan, are together contributing 42 per cent to the slowdown, the latest data from Nielsen for the June quarter (Q1) shows.

In fact, rural slowdown, which Nielsen says has increased over the past few months, has been led by the North, followed by the western and eastern regions in Q1. (Read more here)

6) Govt plans to list 3-4 regional rural banks on stock exchanges this year

The government is planning to list three to four financially strong regional rural banks (RRBs) on stock exchanges in the current fiscal after the conclusion of consolidation exercise, sources said.

The bank consolidation exercise is going on as the objective is to bring the number of RRBs to 38 from the current 45, they said, adding that some more consolidations will take place as state governments have given their go-ahead. (Read more here)

7) Alteria raises Rs 960 cr in maiden funding from IndusInd, SIDBI and others

Alteria Capital, a home-grown venture debt player, has raised Rs 960 crore (or $140 million) in its maiden fund to back high-growth start-ups at a time when venture debt is attracting investors looking to grow their capital, and entrepreneurs.

Those who invested in the fund are IndusInd Bank, Small Industries Development Bank of India (through fund of funds), Azim Premji Foundation, and Kiran Reddy, the founder of Chennai-based multiplex chain SPI Cinemas, among others. Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal has also invested in the fund. Several other family offices and domestic banks have invested, names of which have not been revealed. (Read more here)

8) Not govt's intent to hit FPIs: FM Sitharaman

The surcharge levied on high income earners in the Budget was not intended to hurt foreign portfolio investors (FPI) structured as trusts, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Economic Times in an interview on Monday. Sitharaman also said that the government was vigilant about the economy and struggling sectors, like automobiles, as she pitched for a "significant" reduction in interest rates.

According to the report, the finance minister added that there was no rethink regarding overseas borrowings and that the Budget's tax targets were achievable.

"No, to be honest, I don't think it was an intent to or we didn't aim to touch the FPIs," Sitharaman told the financial daily about the surcharge levied on those earning over Rs 2 crore. The report added that the finance minister promised to hear out investors who would need to convert themselves from a trust structure into companies to avoid the surcharge. "If this issue of conversion is becoming tedious, conversion is not tax-neutral, I am quite willing to hear them out," she told ET.

9) Amid economic slump, India Inc cuts cost, goes slow on hiring

The country's economic slump has India Inc worried to varying degrees, with most companies telling their executives to clamp down on costs and to keep a close watch on spending, reported the Economic Times on Monday. The report added that while recruitment at these companies hasn't been frozen, some of them have confined themselves to just replacement hires. However, ET reported that most of them expect a turnaround sooner rather than later.

Citing corporate heads across sectors, who spoke to the financial daily under strict anonymity, the report said that there was disappointment due to the lack of stimulus measures in the Budget. Some of them also told ET that the higher surcharge on the super-rich was inimical to corporates.

10) RIL plans a big push for private-label brands

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is set to hire distributors for selling private-label brands owned by its retail unit via neighbourhood stores, as Mukesh Ambani is looking to boost the contribution of the company's consumer business, LiveMint reported on Monday while citing two people in the know.

According to the report, RIL plans to sell its store brands across categories -- like staples, food, home, personal care and general merchandise. At present, it sells these products through its retail stores under brand names such as Best Farms, Masti Oye, Kaffe, Enzo, Good Life, Mopz, Home One and Expelz.

First Published: Mon, July 29 2019. 08:21 IST