Thursday, 16 May 2019

BSE launches 'BSE stAR MF' Android app for its mutual fund platform


BSE StAR MF, India's largest Mutual Funds Distributor platform, launched its mobile app - ‘BSE StAR MF’ at BSE International Convention Hall, Mumbai. The newly-launched app would look at enabling more participation from Mutual Fund Distributors (MFDs) by helping them process transactions on the go! The app would further ease the process of purchase and redemption of mutual fund units on behalf of their clients.

BSE StAR MF Mobile app supports real-time client registration and paperless transactions, creates and uploads mandate for SIPs, generates the basket of multiple of orders, tracks and allows the distributor to analyse his business at his fingertips.

In April 2019, the platform processed 42.6 lakh transactions. In FY2018-19, BSE StAR MF crossed 3.5 crore transactions witnessing 111% growth as compared to 1.70 crore transactions in FY2017-18.

Commenting on the launch of BSE StAR MF app, BSE MD & CEO, Ashishkumar Chauhan said, “BSE StAR MF platform has become a benchmark for the fintech industry in India by e-enabling more than 24,000 direct IFAs and 200,000 indirect IFAs to automate end to end processes in their front and back offices. The launch of the app would further provide the comfort of doing business to our 24,000 members. This app would not only increase their productivity, but would also enable IFAs to take their business anywhere, anytime. BSE StAR MF has seen more than 100% year on year growth every year for the last 10 years consistently. With the launch of the app, we look forward to help IFAs grow their business and retain the No. 1 position in the online MF distribution platform segment. This mobile application will also be provided to individual investors shortly.”

Overall, the superior support system and distribution reach of BSE StAR MF has enabled the platform to grow exponentially with the registered distributors soon to touch 24,000 in India. The launch of the StAR MF app is expected to further increase the number of distributors significantly. In the future, the app aims to support online video KYC to onboard new investors.  The BSE StAR MF app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Once the app is downloaded, the sign up can be done by providing the member identification number.

Source: Press Release.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Cashkrupt Pakistan receives $6 billion bailout from International Monetary Fund.

Security at China owned Port of Gwadar, Balochistan.

Failed economic policies, sponsorships for Islamic terror, high inflation and active corruption at all stages of government has taken down India's enemy neighbour, Pakistan at its knee. Pak PM Imran Khan has put the onus of degrading economic position on former PM Nawaz Shariff. The much touted economic corridor of prosperity, CPEC, has turned into an economic nightmare for taxpaying Pakistani citizens. For instance, the Chinese owned Gwadar Port in Balochistan rarely has any shipping calls. China has assured continuous economic help for the fulfillment of CPEC, as of now. After personally escorting Saudi King, Pakistan has received moratorium for deferred oil payments for one year. But this was not enough to save Pakistan's depleting economic reserves.

In April 2019, the finance minister of Pakistan requested the 13th bailout since the 80s from International Monetary Fund (IMF). In response to a request by the Pakistani authorities, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Ernesto Ramirez Rigo visited Islamabad, Pakistan from April 29 to May 11 to discuss IMF support for the authorities’ economic reform program.

The Pakistani authorities and the IMF team have reached a staff-level agreement on economic policies that could be supported by a 39-month Extended Fund Arrangement (EFF) for about US$6 billion. This agreement is subject to IMF management approval and to approval by the Executive Board, subject to the timely implementation of prior actions and confirmation of international partners’ financial commitments. The program aims to support the authorities’ strategy for stronger and more balanced growth by reducing domestic and external imbalances, improving the business environment, strengthening institutions, increasing transparency, and protecting social spending.

At the end of the visit, the IMF representative Mr. Ramirez Rigo made the following statement:

"Pakistan is facing a challenging economic environment, with lackluster growth, elevated inflation, high indebtedness, and a weak external position. This reflects the legacy of uneven and procyclical economic policies in recent years aiming to boost growth, but at the expense of rising vulnerabilities and lingering structural and institutional weaknesses. The authorities recognize the need to address these challenges, as well as to tackle the large informality in the economy, the low spending in human capital, and poverty. In this regard, the government has already initiated a difficult, but necessary, adjustment to stabilize the economy, including thorough support from the State Bank of Pakistan. These efforts need to be strengthened. Decisive policies and reforms, together with significant external financing are necessary to reduce vulnerabilities faster, increase confidence, and put the economy back on a sustainable growth path, with stronger private sector activity and job creation."

"The EFF aims to support the authorities’ ambitious macroeconomic and structural reform agenda during the next three years. This includes improving public finances and reducing public debt through tax policy and administrative reforms to strengthen revenue mobilization and ensure a more equal and transparent distribution of the tax burden. At the same time, a comprehensive plan for cost-recovery in the energy sectors and state-owned enterprises will help eliminate or reduce the quasi-fiscal deficit that drains scarce government resources. These efforts will create fiscal space for a substantial increase in social spending to strengthen social protection as well as in infrastructure and human capital development. The modernization of the public finance management framework will increase transparency and spending efficiency. Provinces are committed to contributing to these efforts by better aligning their fiscal objectives with those of the federal government."

"The forthcoming budget for FY2019/20 is a first critical step in the authorities’ fiscal strategy. The budget will aim for a primary deficit of 0.6 percent of GDP supported by tax policy revenue mobilization measures to eliminate exemptions, curtail special treatments, and improve tax administration."

What Next?

The State Bank of Pakistan has assured the IMF that it will focus on reducing inflation, which disproportionately affects the poor, and safeguarding financial stability. A market-determined exchange rate will help the functioning of the financial sector and contribute to better resource allocation in the economy.

While a $6 billion bailout comes as a breather for tumbling Pakistan. The question arises that till when will this $6 billion help last. Will Pakistan stop the financing of Jihad for the moment at least to avoid the hanging sword of Paris based FATF? Any adventure with the world's fastest growing economy, India could spell doomsday for Pakistan at this very moment.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

Source: IMF.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Reliance Industries acquires 100% stake in global toy retailer Hamleys.

Hamleys Store in Singapore.


Reliance Brands Limited, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, and Hong Kong-based C Banner International Holdings have signed a definitive agreement for Reliance Brands to acquire 100% shares of Hamleys Global Holdings Limited, which owns and operatives Hamleys brand worldwide, from C Banner International. The acquisition is valued at approx Rs 620 crores in an all-cash deal.

Founded in 1760 by Williams Hamley in London, Hamleys has over 250 years of celebrated history of being the oldest and largest toy shop in the world and bringing smiles to children all over the world. From soft toys to dolls and GenX remote control cars, Hamleys truly represent a unique model leveraging the quality and wide range of toys.

Globally, Hamleys has 167 stores across 18 countries. In India, Reliance has the master franchise for Hamleys and currently operates 88 stores across 29 cities. Hamleys started with the India journey by opening a 22,000 sq feet store at Phoenix Malls in Lower Parel, Mumbai. The first Hamleys store in London is as huge as 7 floors and covers 54,000 sq feet store area with over 50,000 lines of toys at the sale. The London Hamleys store is UK's prominent tourist attraction with 5 million visitors every year. In early 2018, Hamleys opened its largest ever store of 1,15,000 sq feet in Beijing, China. This acquisition will catapult Reliance Brands to be a dominant player in the global toy industry.

While kids dream to have every single toy on display at Hamleys, Mukesh Bhai has fulfilled RIL's long cherished dream by acquiring the World's largest toy store chain in an all-cash deal altogether. The worldwide acquisition of the iconic Hamleys brand and business, places Reliance into the frontline of global retail.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Piramal and CPPIB to launch India's maiden Renewable Energy focused InvIT.



CPPIB has committed $360 million while Piramal will provide $90 million

Piramal Enterprises Limited (“PEL”) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (“CPPIB”), a Canadian pension fund, to co-sponsor a renewable energy-focused Infrastructure Investment Trust (“InvIT”). With an initial corpus of US$ 600 million, and the option to scale further, the InvIT would seek to acquire up to 1.5-2GW of stable and cash generating renewables assets on a hold-to-maturity basis, with a firm focus on diversification of both asset type as well as off-taker profile.

"Piramal is pleased to partner with CPPIB on the launch of the first ever InvIT in India, focused on renewables. The foundation of this partnership is based on a shared ethos and values that leverage CPPIB’s global track record of value creation in the infrastructure space with PEL’s long term strategy and goodwill in India. We are enthusiastic about the opportunity as it is truly scalable and continue to remain committed to creating value for our shareholders." - Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Group.

Mumbai based Piramal Enterprises Limited (PEL) is one of India’s large diversified companies, with a presence in Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Insights & Analytics with a consolidated revenue of over US$1.9 billion in FY2019, with ~40% of revenues generated from outside India.

Headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, New York City, São Paulo, and Sydney, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is governed and managed independently of the Canada Pension Plan and at arm's length from governments. In mid-2018, CPPIB announced that it would foray in Green Bonds.

Both PEL and CPPIB will act as Co-Sponsors of the proposed InvIT and hold up to 75% of the units (with CPPIB committing US$360m and holding up to 60%; PEL committing US$90m and holding 15% ) and seek to raise capital from other like-minded investors for the remaining 25%. In the interim and prior to its launch, PEL and CPPIB will jointly warehouse seed assets for the proposed InvIT. PEL would act as the sole Investment Manager as well as Project Manager for the proposed InvIT.

The renewable energy sector is at an inflection point and is witnessing significant consolidation, the pace of which is likely to increase in the near future.  The timing of the issue is therefore opportune for aggregating assets in this sector given that the existing players are willing sellers in light of a constrained capital market environment - both debt and equity. This is the first truly neutral ‘white-label’ InvIT – led by a fiduciary and supported by patient capital with a strong record of corporate governance. Renewable InvITs can serve as a strong catalyst for the Green Energy sector as a whole.

Friday, 3 May 2019

BHEL and LIBCOIN to Build India’s First Lithium Ion Giga Factory.


Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Libcoin are in dialogue to form a world class consortium to initially build 1GWh lithium ion battery plant in India. Its capacity will be scaled up to 30GWh in due course. With this, India has finally taken steps into its energy security and clean energy commitment to the world.

BHEL will be sending a team of senior officers for the study of the facilities, R&D infrastructure and other techno-commercial issues soon. Based upon the evaluation and recommendations of the team, further process towards the formation of Joint Venture will be carried forward.

This project will bring energy independence by replacing oil imports with abundant renewable. This project also includes “Made by India, for India”, with focus on core-cost components manufactured domestically. It will also create an integrated manufacturing ecosystem resulting in self-reliance and lower cost.

A holistic view of the supply chain in combination with cutting edge digital technologies to replace high CAPEX and high OPEX processes will be the highlight of this project in India. 

Various Indian cities including Delhi have been struggling to cut down their pollution level for the last several years and electric transportation has been considered as one of the viable approaches to cut down emission. The number of electric cars in the world already hit million-mark last year and the International Energy Agency has projected almost 140 million electric cars globally by 2030, if countries meet Paris climate accord targets, in which India has already committed to actively participate.

Source: PIB.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Amazon Pay launches P2P payments through UPI in India.


NPCI's United Payments Interface is widening in footprints in India through Indian and International apps and services. In its continuous effort make payments more convenient and foster everyday habits, Amazon Pay today announced the launch of person-to-person (P2P) payments for Android users. 

Amazon customers can now make instant bank-to-bank transfers using UPI platform on the Amazon app. Customers can use this functionality to settle bills/expenses with friends, lend/return money to family, pay rents, pay for services like house-help, newspaper bills, milk subscription and more. Customers can also make payments from their bank account to local stores nearby or to Amazon delivery associate at doorstep by scanning UPI QR codes using the Amazon app. Built on the Govt. of India backed UPI platform, customers can send or receive P2P payments by simply selecting a contact from their phone contact book or entering UPI ID or Bank Account of the recipient. Money transfers have never been more easy and convenient.

Customers can now send or request money instantly directly from the Amazon Mshop app. Further, Amazon Pay has made it easier for customers to make repeat payments by displaying recent transactions. The customers can easily access their phone contact book and initiate payments by simply tapping on the contact. Amazon auto-detects if the contact is a registered Amazon Pay UPI customer and enables instant bank to bank transfer. If the contact is not registered for Amazon Pay UPI, the customer has the option to pay using any another BHIM UPI ID or contact’s bank account. After selecting contact, the customer inputs the amount and enters UPI PIN to confirm payment. All P2P payments are secured through multi factor authentication involving customer’s phone, SIM details, and UPI PIN. The money is transferred instantly and both customer and receiver are notified through SMS alerts and in-app notifications.

Amazon customers can make instant bank to bank transfers through the ‘Send Money’ or ‘Request Money’ link on through their Amazon Android app. As a launch offer customers can get up to Rs 120 cashback on Sending Money through UPI.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

TCS will digitally transform India Post's 1,50,000 post offices with ERP solutions.


Indian MNC Tata Consultancy Services has received an order to digitally transform India Post's 1,50,000 e-postal network with next-gen ERP solutions. TCS has partnered with the Department of Posts in its multi-year transformational journey to become a multi-service digital hub, modernize the delivery of mail and packages, enhance customer experience, and launch innovative services that will drive new revenues.

At the heart of this transformation is the Core System Integration (CSI) program designed and implemented by TCS. This involved deploying an integrated ERP solution that caters to mail operations, finance and accounting, and HR functions, and connects its vast network of more than 150,000 post offices, making this the largest distributed ePostal network in the world.

The integrated solution is built to cater to the Department’s immense scale, and future needs. It supports the HR needs of over 500,000 employees, services over 40,000 concurrent users, and processes over 3 million postal transactions a day, making this one of the largest SAP implementations in the world.

On the front-end, TCS has implemented its Point of Sale (PoS) solution across 24,000 post offices with over 80,000 PoS terminals, making this amongst the largest such implementations in the world. Additionally, TCS has built a web portal with consignment tracking capabilities, and set up a multi-lingual call center for customer support.

To enable India Post to benefit from the burgeoning ecommerce opportunity, while fulfilling a vital social obligation, the web portal has an e-marketplace to help rural artisans, self-help groups, and women entrepreneurs reach out to buyers throughout the country.

An important objective of the transformation is to use the Department’s nation-wide reach to drive financial inclusion and accessibility of citizen services in remote areas. This is being accomplished through over 130,000 DARPAN hand-held devices that Gramin Dak Sevaks use to provide postal, banking, insurance, and cash management services in remote villages, even those without network connectivity.

Salim Haque, Member, Postal Services Board, said, “A program of this scale, spread and complexity, required meticulous planning and adroit execution. The TCS team has shown sheer rigor, passion, dedication and attention to detail, which have been commendable. Their maturity in understanding the requirements of India Post has been par excellence, yielding a robust design, which makes the solution state-of-the-art and adaptable to future needs.”

Department of Posts is pioneering in an initiative to build a world class, future-ready digital platform that the nation can be proud of. With the implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning solutions, the department can offer smart postal services, enriched customer experiences, and innovative value-added services to the citizens of India.