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Top 10 biz headlines: PM to take call on stimulus, exports recover & more

From the finance ministry briefing PM Modi about the economic situation to merchandise exports recovering a bit, here are the top business headlines for Thursday

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

This will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sixth G20 appearance
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo

1) PM Modi to take call on economic revival steps

To revive growth, a stimulus programme might be in the works, with the finance ministry slated to brief Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday about the economic situation in the country, the issues faced by various sectors and to also suggest possible intervention as concerns increase, reported the Economic Times on Thursday.

According to the report, the meeting could lead to a significant stimulus package, which includes incentives to boost demand, some industry-specific measures and relief for portfolio investors from the super-rich surcharge.

2) CBI wants banks’ nod to probe execs in fraud cases

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has asked banks that are filing complaints against their borrowers to also authorise the agency to probe current and former employees, the Times of India reported on Thursday. This move comes after complaints from lenders to the finance ministry that they are being harassed by authorities, said the report.

The stress in the corporate sector has revealed shortcomings in the loan-sanctioning process, said the report. Further, in several cases, the authorities have taken up investigations of wilful default cases.

3) Exports post marginal recovery in July; trade deficit narrows to $13.43 bn

Merchandise exports recovered a bit to post a growth of 2.2 per cent in July, compared to a huge contraction of 9.7 per cent in the previous month even as the outbound shipments of high foreign exchange earners such as refinery products, engineering goods and gems and jewellery fell.

Reflecting subdued economic conditions back home, imports continued to decline. In fact, the inbound shipments dropped at a faster rate of 10.43 per cent in July against 9.06 per cent in the previous month, official data released on Wednesday showed. Part of it is due to a 22 per cent decrease in imports of petroleum due to softening of prices and 42 per cent fall in those of gold. (Read more here)

4) At 1.08%, WPI inflation rate slips to over two-year low in July

The wholesale price index- (WPI-) based inflation rate fell to a 25-month low of 1.08 per cent in July from 2.02 per cent in the previous month as prices of manufactured items remained almost flat due to subdued economic conditions and continued fall in rates of fuel items, showed official data on Wednesday.

The retail price inflation rate also dipped in July, but WPI inflation rate dropped sharper. The CPI inflation rate inched down to 3.15 per cent from 3.18 per cent. This has much to do with composition of indices. Food items play an important part in CPI with weight of over 45 per cent.

On the other hand, these items have weight of just 15 per cent in WPI. (Read more here)

5) Coffee Day to sell Global Village Tech Park to Blackstone for Rs 3,000 cr

(CDEL) on Wednesday announced its intent to sell one of its prized assets, Global Village Tech Park, to private equity major Blackstone for a valuation ranging between Rs 2,600 crore and Rs 3,000 crore.

The deal is expected to substantially reduce the overall debt burden of the group, which stands at around Rs 5,200 crore after the payment of Mindtree’s sale proceeds of Rs 2,100 crore net of taxes. The Bengaluru-based firm said a “non-binding letter of intent” to this effect had been signed with Blackstone. “The transaction closure is subject to completion of Blackstone’s due diligence, documentation and receipt of requisite regulatory approvals, which is expected in the next 30-45 days,” the firm, which runs the Café Coffee Day outlets, said in an exchange filing. (Read more here)

6) States' dues to renewable power companies at Rs 3,000 crore: CEA

In just a week after opening a new portal for collating data on dues of renewable power projects, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has received details of Rs 3,000 crore of pending dues. More than 50 per cent of the dues are from south India with more than 90 days of payment delay.

Some project developers said their dues are yet to be updated on the portal, which will further increase the cumulative amount. Officials said the total amount of dues would be close to Rs 6,000 crore. (Read more here)

7) Vistara loss doubles to Rs 831 crore amid tough operating environment

The Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture Vistara’s losses nearly doubled to Rs 831 crore in 2018-19 (FY19) in a tough operating environment, which also saw its peers post weak results.

The airline, however, is expected to improve its financial performance in the current financial year, as it expands its network and gets a boost in premium-class occupancy following the closure of Jet Airways.

Vistara had reported a loss of Rs 431 crore in the previous financial year. (Read more here)

8) Fortis files suit to recover Rs 520 crore from Malvinder, Shivinder Singh

Hospital major has filed a civil suit against its former promoters — brothers Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh — and other entities to recover Rs 520 crore from them. The lawsuit was filed in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.

The Gurugram-headquartered firm confirmed the development. “Fortis Hospitals has filed a suit against Best Healthcare, Fern Healthcare, Modland Wears, Malvinder Mohan Singh, Shivinder Mohan Singh and certain other entities... The suit is sub-judice. At present, we have no further comments,” the company said. (Read more here)

9) Banks debited Rs 758 crore from IL&FS accounts despite NCLAT order

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has told the Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in an affidavit that banks and financial institutions deducted more than Rs 758 crore for servicing their debt from the accounts of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) and its group companies between October 2018 and June 2019, despite orders from the Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) against the same.

“These include amounts debited (without authorisation or instruction) towards repayment or redemption of term loans availed or debentures issued by the relevant IL&FS group entities (including towards interest payments) and by lenders to the current accounts of certain IL&FS group entities in respect of cash credit facilities,” the MCA said in its affidavit. (Read more here)

10) Moody's downgrades ratings to Ba2 from Ba1

Moody’s has downgraded Ltd's (IBH) long term corporate family rating to Ba2 from Ba1, with a ‘negative’ outlook, which generally mean the ratings won’t improve in the next 12-18 months. The ‘Ba’ rating, as per Moody’s rating scale, is “judged to be speculative, subject to substantial credit risk.”

“The outlook has been changed to negative to reflect the possibility that the tight funding conditions may persist for some time, which could further pressure other aspects of IBH's credit profile, such as profitability and asset quality,” the rating agency said in a statement. (Read more here)

First Published: Thu, August 15 2019. 07:52 IST