Ultratech joins race to buy Ambuja and ACC, submits non-binding bid
Ultratech has joined the race to purchase Holcim’s stake in Ambuja and ACC along with the Adani and JSW groups. India’s largest cement maker has submitted a non-binding bid. The Adani group is seen as a frontrunner for its cash-rich balance sheet and fundraising capacity.
Why it’s important: Swiss multinational Holcim is exiting India by selling its cement assets. The conglomerate acquiring it will become a strong player in India’s rapidly expanding cement sector.
Hindalco’s American arm to invest $2.5 billion to build US plant
Novelis, the American unit of Hindalco Industries, will invest $2.5 billion to build a new recycling and rolling plant in the US in the largest greenfield expansion plan by the parent Aditya Birla group. The facility in Alabama will have an initial annual capacity to produce 600 kilotons of finished aluminum goods and will be completed by 2025-26.
Why it’s important: The decision to build the factory is backed by strong North American demand for flat-rolled, low-carbon aluminum from can makers and beverage companies. It will be the first fully integrated aluminum mill built in the US in 40 years that will power mainly by renewable energy.
ArcelorMittal, Ruias may soon reach settlement on Hazira dispute
ArcelorMittal and the Ruias of Essar are set to resolve their dispute over a captive port in Hazira in Gujarat and adjoining power assets, with both parties making a verbal commitment to settle the matter. The Ruias are seeking about $2.5 billion for the assets. The final number, closer to $2 billion, will be largely to pay off the bank debt on these assets, estimated at around $3 billion. A final decision is expected soon.
Why it’s important: For the last three years, the two groups have had a running legal dispute relating to the transfer of ownership. The Hazira steel plant in the coastal complex was acquired by ArcelorMittal in bankruptcy proceedings in 2018-19.
Reliance, Amazon and Flipkart to join ONDC network
Ecommerce giants Flipkart, Reliance Retail and Amazon are in talks to join India’s ambitious Open Network for Digital Commerce. Flipkart’s logistics unit Ekart and Reliance’s Dunzo have integrated with ONDC for logistics services, while PhonePe is in advanced stages of integration. Paytm is a part of the network.
Why it’s important: ONDC is being seen as a solution to break the dominance of large ecommerce firms. The network’s pilot program to onboard small grocers, and small and medium businesses is underway in Bengaluru and four other cities.
Indian businesses to be hit by interest rate hike and rupee’s decline
Corporate India is looking at a further decline in operating margins and profitability in the coming quarters dur to the depreciation in the value of the rupee against major currencies, and a rise in interest rates after a surprise intervention by the Reserve Bank last week.
Why it’s important: The rupee’s fall is expected to raise the prices of crucial industrial inputs. The rate hike and upward revisions in lending rates by banks will raise the companies’ funding costs.
Morgan Stanley slashes India’s 2022-23 growth forecast to 7.6 percent
Morgan Stanley has pared India’s growth forecast for 2022-23 to 7.6 percent from 7.9 percent estimated earlier. The Reserve Bank of India has already revised its growth projection for 2023-23 to 7.2 percent from 7.8 percent earlier.
Why it’s important: A slowdown in global growth, higher commodity prices and risk aversion in global capital markets have exposed Asia’s third-largest economy to downside risks, the US bank said.
Vedanta to invest $20 billion, grow revenue to $80 billion
In the next 4-5 years, Vedanta will invest $20 billion, chairman Anil Agarwal said. In oil and gas, it will invest $4 billion, in technology $2-3 billion and another $2 billion each in aluminum and zinc. With these investments, it expects to become a $75-80 billion company from $30 billion currently.
Why it’s important: The Vedanta group is set for aggressive growth as it enters newer areas such as semiconductor fabs.
Centre to offer loans to beleaguered power plants to avert crisis
The central government has directed state-run Power Finance Corporation and REC to offer short-term loans to stressed power plants using imported coal to help them restart production. The development comes after the government invoked a legal provision to make it compulsory for all such plants to generate power at their full capacity to avert an energy crisis.
Why it’s important: Efforts are required to tackle a power crisis that has triggered widespread blackouts and threatens to hurt India’s economic growth.
Government to hold 33 percent in Vodafone Idea after dues are converted into equity
The central government will hold around 33 percent in Vodafone Idea after conversion of the telecom operator’s accrued interest liability on deferred dues into equity, while the promoters, the UK’s Vodafone and India’s Aditya Birla group, will together hold 50 percent in the company.
Why it’s important: The cash-strapped the telco will require external fundraising and further tariff hikes to meet its upcoming Rs 82 billion debt repayment in 2022-23. It will repay a portion of the debt out of cash margins, while the rest will be cleared from internal accruals.
Uber to boost India hiring amid worldwide belt tightening
Uber Technologies is doing a fresh round of recruitment for its India centers and is planning to hire 500 more tech employees by December. At present, the app-based mobility and delivery company has a 1,000-member tech team in its centers in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
Why it’s important: The hiring in India is taking place at a time when Uber is tightening its belt as investors were asking questions about profitability and cash flows. The company has said it will hire only if it needs and will cut down on marketing budgets.Disclaimer: Moneycontrol is a part of the Network18 group. Network18 is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.