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Top 10 biz headlines: GST rate cut for Auto sector, Hyundai sales, and more

From Eveready's plan to sell battery business to Air India posting operational losses, here are the top business headlines for Monday

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Auto sector's rate-cut hopes fade as GST cess collection declines

Cess collection under the goods and services tax (GST) — to compensate the states for their revenue loss in the two-year-old indirect tax regime — has fallen short of requirements in the first five months of the fiscal year, dimming rate-cut hopes for the auto sector in the upcoming GST Council meeting on Friday. Some states have asked for rate cuts for five-star hotels. Industry, too, has requested cuts for biscuits and cement. Read More

Hyundai's share in passenger cars at 5-yr high as Maruti loses ground

The race between Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai in the passenger vehicle market has seen Maruti ceding some ground to its Korean rival. Till recently, Maruti sold a little more than one in every two cars. The two companies account for more than 68 per cent share in a market comprising 20 players, including latecomers such as MG Motor India and Kia Motors India.  Read More

Eveready's plan to sell battery business to pare debt tied in legal knots

Eveready initiated discussion early this year with some companies, including Energizer and Duracell, to sell its battery business to pare debt. Though Eveready informed the stock exchanges last week that no definitive decision had been taken, Duracell is believed to have emerged as the frontrunner and an offer of Rs 1,600-1,700 crore is under discussion. A latest legal twist, however, is likely to delay the plans. Read More

Quick-service food restaurants look up despite economic slowdown

Executives at Westlife Development, which runs McDonald’s restaurants in West and South India, say business has been reasonably good in the past few months despite an economic slowdown in other retail and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) categories. Officials at Jubilant FoodWorks, the master franchisee of Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin’ in India, also indicate the same, saying online sales have been brisk notwithstanding the weak sentiment in the market. Read More

Power gencos outstanding dues on discoms jump 57% to Rs 73,000 cr in July

The outstanding dues of distribution utilities from power producers have risen by more than 57 per cent to Rs 73,748 crore in July 2019 compared to the same month last year, showing stress in the sector. According to PRAAPTI portal, distribution companies owed a total of Rs 46,779 crore to power generation companies in July 2018. Read More

Adani Group, Reliance Industries to lock horns for India's data centres

Adani Group and Reliance Industries (RIL) seldom find themselves as competitors to each other. India’s data centre market would prove to be one, where both might be chasing the same set of clients, though for different reasons. At RIL’s annual general meeting last month, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, announced a partnership with Microsoft to launch data centres across India. Read More

Air India posts Rs 4,600 cr operating loss over higher oil prices in FY19

Air India posted an operating loss of around Rs 4,600 crore in the last financial year mainly due to higher oil prices and foreign exchange losses but the debt-laden carrier expects to turn operationally profitable in 2019-20, according to senior officials. Reflecting tough business conditions, the airline's net loss stood at about Rs 8,400 crore while total revenues touched around Rs 26,400 crore in 2018-19, one of the senior officials said. Read More

Warburg may buy 20.5% in IndiaFirst from Andhra Bank

The announcement of mega mergers of 10 state-run banks into four are beginning to have an impact beyond traditional banking. IndiaFirst Life Insurance, in which Andhra Bank owns 30% equity, might see Warburg Pincus emerge as its biggest shareholder., Economic Times reported. The PE investor, which owns 26 per cent in the IndiaFirst, might buy an additional 20.5 per cent stake from Andhra Bank. Bank of Baroda currently owns 44 per cent and Andhra Bank 30 per cent in the life insurer. Andhra Bank may earn  Rs 700 crore by selling the stake in IndiaFirst Life Insurance.

Amid a sharp auto slowdown, small towns drive up sales of used cars

Used car market is booming at a time when the domestic automotive industry is struggling. The demand in used cars is being driven by smaller towns and cities as stricter regulations, especially on emissions, and changing consumer preferences in major cities lead many to discard their older cars for new vehicles, Livemint reported.

Sales of pre-owned cars are estimated to increase to as many as 4.4 million units this fiscal from 4 million in the previous fiscal, according to used car dealer Mahindra First Choice Wheels. 

Lee Fixel sets sights on Indian startups again, may invest $1 billion

Lee Fixel, the former Tiger Global executive responsible for the firm’s most lucrative India investments, is set to return to his favourite stomping ground as early as next month; this time with his own money, three people directly aware of the matter said, according to a Livemint report. Fixel is looking to invest around $1 billion through his new fund, Addition, as soon as a non-compete agreement with his former employer expires, the people said, requesting anonymity.