MUMBAI;  PVR Ltd has held conversations with various investors in recent weeks as India’s largest multiplex operator looks to raise around $100 million through a qualified institutional placement (QIP) offering, said two people aware of the development.

       “PVR has appointed investment banks Kotak Mahindra Capita and CLSA to manage the fundraising process. They have held domestic road shows to meet investors and they are likely to launch the offering soon, if market conditions are supportive for a trade. The company plans to use the funds for various purposes, including pursuit of inorganic growth," said the first person cited above, requesting anonymity.

      On 21 December, PVR’s board had approved raising up to RS. 750 crore through an issuance of equity shares via multiple routes, including a QIP. QIP is a capital-raising tool through which listed companies can sell shares, fully and partly convertible debentures, or any securities other than warrants that are convertible into stocks, to a qualified institutional buyer.

      The resolution has received approval from its shareholders, the company informed stock exchanges on 30 January. Stock exchange filings by PVR show that it held meeting with various institutional investors on 5 and 6 February, while towards the end of January, it met investors in Singapore and Hong Kong. PVR and CLSA declined to comment on the development. An email sent to Kotak Mahindra Capital did not elicit any response till press time.

       PVR operates 748 screens across 161 locations in 64 cities as on 23 January, according to its latest investor presentation. It claims to have a 32% market share of Hollywood box office and 22% share of Bollywood box office in the year ended 31 Marc

       For the nine months ended 31 December, PVR reported revenue of Rs. 2,272.5 crore, a jump of 28% over the revenue recorded in the same period last year. Between April and December 2018, it reported profit of Rs. 141.62 crore, up 44% from the corresponding period of the last financial year.

        PVR has focused on inorganic growth and has grown to its current leadership position on the back of several strategic acquisitions. Last year, it had acquired a majority stake in South India-based multiplex chain SPI Cinemas, which operated 76 screens across 17 properties in 10 cities under brands such as Sathyam, Escape, The Cinema and S2 Cinema, for Rs. 633 crore in an all-cash deal.

        Last August, The Economic Times reported that the company is also in talks to acquire North India’s Wave Cinemas, which could fetch a price tag of Rs. 450 crore. In 2016, it acquired 32 screens from real estate developer DLF, which operated under the DT Cinemas, for around Rs. 433 crore. In 2012, it acquired Mumbai-based Cinemax Ltd for Rs. 395 crore.





 NEW DELHI: The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)is looking to expand its presence in India by investing in refining and petrochemicals and strategic petroleum reserves, said Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ADNOC. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Petrotech 2019, he said,” India is very high in our strategic agenda to be discussed with our friends and counterparts in India”.

        India, the world’s third largest energy consumer, has drawn the UAE’s attention. The UAE is looking at investing in refining and petrochemical projects as well as stocking more crude in India. We are looking at the expanding investment portion in downstream sectors, refining and petrochemicals. We are looking at strategic partnerships given that we can also bring our own crude. India is not only an important market for us; India is a very strategic partner. We will continue to always look for ways to enhance our avenues of cooperation,” Al Jabber said.

        Last June ADNOC and Saudi ARAMCO had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for participating in the Ratnagiri refinery and Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd, which is building the 60 million tone refinery project in Maharashtra. The mega refinery to be set up with an estimated investment of Rs.3 lakh crore will be able to process 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day. The refinery project, which was announced in December 2015, was to be commissioned by 2022 but land acquisition delays have pushed the deadline to 2025.

       India has built 5.33 million tonnes of emergency storage sufficient to meet its oil needs for 9.5 days in underground rock caverns in Mangalore and Padur in Karnataka and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. It has allowed foreign oil companies to store oil in the storages on the condition that the stockpile can be used by New Delhi in case of an emergency. Aramco has also expressed its desire to venture into fuel retailing in India.     


 NEW DELHI: Twitter CEO and top officials have declined to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on IT, which had summoned them over the issue of safeguarding citizens’ rights on social platforms, source in the panel said on Saturday. The committee headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, had issued a summon to Twitter via an official letter dated 1 February. The meeting was scheduled for 7 February, but was later postponed to 11 February to allow Twitter CEO and senior officials more time to make themselves available.

        Twitter cited “short notice of the hearing” as the reason, despite being given 10 days to travel, said the sources quoted above. The letter sent to twitter by the committee on 1 February clearly stated that “it may be noted that the Head of the Organisation has to appear before the Committee”. It further stated that “He/ She may be accompanied by another representative.” The committee received a letter on February 7 from Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s global lead for legal, policy trust and safety, stating, “No one who engages publicly for Twitter India makes enforcement decisions with respect to our rules for content or accounts in India”. Deputing a junior employee to represent Twitter at the committee has not gone down well with Indian lawmakers, especially since they have no decision making authority, the letter from Gadde said.

        A Twitter spokesperson told PTI: “Given the short notice of the hearing, we informed the committee that it would not be possible for senior officials from Twitter to travel from the United States to appear on Monday”. “Our CEO, Jack Dorsey, and other senior Twitter executives visited India in recent weeks because it is an important market for Twitter and we value the growing interest in Twitter in India… We have suggested that we work with the Lok Sabha Secretariat to find mutually agreeable dates for this meeting so that a senior Twitter official can attend,” the spokesperson added.

      Twitters conduct is being watched globally and their response is being seen with concern as India’s Parliamentary hearing is among the fourth in the world after the US Congress, Singapore and the EU.       





Bengaluru: Tata Motors Ltd on Thursday posted a loss for the third-quarter, hurt by an impairment charge for its luxury car unit Jaguar Land Rover. The automaker's loss came at Rs. 26,993 crore ($3.78 billion) for the three months ended 31 December, compared with a profit of Rs. 1,199 crore in the year-ago period.Revenue rose 5.8% to Rs. 76,265 crore, the company said.

       Troubles at the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) unit, which has been hit hard by US-China trade tensions, low demand for diesel cars in Europe and Brexit worries, had tipped Tata Motors into its first loss in three years in the quarter ended June 2018.While Tata Motors has announced plans to turn around JLR, the slide in the unit's sales has continue for now. The company took a non-cash charge of Rs. 27,838 crore ($3.90 billion) to cover the impairment at JLR in the three months to 31 December. Changes in market conditions, especially in China, technology disruptions and rising cost of debt resulted in the charge.

       "...Overall performance continued to be impacted by challenging market conditions in China. We continue to work closely with Chinese retailers to respond to current market conditions with a 'Pull' based approach to vehicle sales," JLR CEO Ralf Speth said in a statement on Thursday. JLR said last month it would cut 10% of its workforce, mostly in its home market, as Britain's biggest carmaker responded to lower Chinese demand and a slump in European diesel sales.Tata Motors has been facing a decline in sales in India as well.

      Fitch Ratings said on Wednesday placed the credit rating of Tata Motors Ltd on negative watch, stating increasing risks for its British luxury car unit — Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) — over a potentially chaotic Brexit. This comes after the ratings agency placed the credit ratings of JLR, Britain's biggest carmaker, under review for possible downgrades. "Trade barriers and logistic issues from a disorderly Brexit could have an impact on JLR's competitive positioning and lead to significantly lower sales and profitability," the credit rating agency said, placing the parent's long-term issuer default rating on "rating watch negative".

 MUMBAI: Financial services firm Avendus capital on Thursday launched a $1- billion fund toinvest solely in companies that promote environment, social, and governance (ESG) values. The Avendus India ESG Fund, house under the company’s alternate asset management arm, will raise money from domestic and international investors.

        The fund said it will on the basis of predetermined ESG factors, alongside in-depth financial analysis, with the aim of generating long-term risk adjusted returns. Avendus had said in August that it plans to launch an ESG fund. ESG investing, while seeking positive returns, also considers and evaluates the long-term impact that business practices have on society, the environment, and the performance of the business itself. Corporate governance in India attracted attention in 2018 with questions about corporate and board practices at ICICI Bank Ltd, Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) group and many midcap companies.

       Mutual fund veteran Ajith Dayal, former Tata brand custodian Mukund Rajan and at least three other former Tata group executives have floated a $1 billion ESG fund with Quantum Advisors mutual fund to invest in listed companies. According to Andrew Holand, chief executive at Avendus Capital Public Markets Alternate Strategies, Indian investors have warmed up to the idea of ESG values. “Six months ago, a lot of investors would not be too enthused by ESG. However, more recently, when I spoke to investors, ESG is resonating well with them because of the fact that we are looking at these issued and scoring companies,” he said.

        Globally, investors are increasingly looking at ESG parameters while investing in companies and the same trend is expected to be replicated in India, said Abhay Laijawala, managing director and fund manager, Avendus Capital Public Markets Alternate Strategies. Avendus plans to close the first domestic tranche of fund-raising by the end of February.




 A ministerial panel led by deputy chief minister of Gujarat Nitin Patel has favored lowering the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on under-construction properties to 5% without credit for taxes paid on raw materials. The seven-member panel, which met in the capital on Friday, also favored lowering GST on affordable housing from 8% to 3%, said an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.The ministerial panel was set up in January to consider a scheme that will boost the real estate sector, which has been struggling with record inventories. At present, the effective rate of GST on under-construction flats is 12% after allowing for the cost of land, which is out of GST. Constructed properties attract stamp duty, not GST.

     The panel examined the quantum of tax cut needed in housing, said the official quoted above. “Real estate is a major industry after agriculture. We are working out tax relief measures for residential flats. Recommendations on real estate will be finalised in two-three days."The move to lower the tax rate sharply with no input tax credit is aimed at giving relief to homebuyers, but it remains to be seen whether the GST Council will approve it without changes considering the complications involved. Denial of rebate for taxes already paid on raw materials could lead to padding up of the cost and result in an increase in the price of the final product. Cement, for example, is taxed at 28% and accounts for roughly a fifth of the construction cost, for which the builder will not be able to claim credit if the ministerial panel’s proposal is implemented without modifications.

       Experts said while the intention of the government is to provide relief to the end customer, from a structural standpoint, it is desirable to ensure that the chain of GST credit is not broken. “Perhaps a better approach would be to reduce the prevailing GST rate on residential property, say bringing the effective tax rate down to 8% from 12%, while continuing the benefit of input tax credit," said Pratik Jain, partner and leader of indirect tax, PwC India.

 “For real estate properties where the cumulative impact of tax cost on account of denial in credits and 5% output GST rate is lesser than the current rate of 12%, this rate cut would be quite positive. But where the cumulative cost is higher than 12%, this rate reduction could entail an increase in the tax cost," according to Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY.

       The GST Council has been slashing tax rates to provide relief to consumers. Revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said in an interview to Mint on Monday that because of the rate reductions, benefits amounting to almost Rs. 90,000 crore a year had been given to consumers.



Bengaluru: Indian drug maker Lupin Ltd posted a surprise quarterly loss on Wednesday after taking a one-time charge related to litigation over a blood pressure drug. Lupin made a provision of Rs.342 crore ($47.7 million) after the General Court of the European Union in December upheld a 2014 European Commission decision on a fine against Lupin related to the blood pressure drug Perindopril, it said.Lupin had a net loss of Rs.152 crore compared to a profit of Rs.222 crore in the same quarter last year, the company said.

      An average of estimates from 18 analysts had expected a profit of Rs.289 crore, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. Lupin's sales rose 12.2% to Rs.4, 370 crore in the quarter. Revenue from North America, which accounted for nearly a third of total revenue, slipped 1 percent.

      "After a tough H1, we are now starting to see growth in the U.S.," said Nilesh Gupta, managing director of Lupin Ltd. Indian pharmaceutical companies have struggled with weak sales in the US on account of regulatory bans and warnings over quality control at production plants. Sales have also been hit by pricing pressures as competition heats up in the US generics market. 

       The company's revenue in India jumped 11.4% to Rs.1,190 crore. Shares of Lupin fell 1.2% after the results were announced, while the broader Mumbai market rose over 1%. 


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