Tuesday, 22 October 2019

ADNOC, Adani, BASF and Borealis sign MoU for Chemical Complex in Mundra, Gujarat.



ADNOC, Adani, BASF and Borealis vow to invest $4 billion for Propane DeHydrogenation Unit at Mundra, Gujarat.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Adani Group, BASF SE and Borealis AG have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to engage in a joint feasibility study to further evaluate a collaboration for the establishment of a chemical complex in Mundra, Gujarat, India. This is the next step of BASF’s and Adani’s investment plans as announced in January 2019. With the inclusion of ADNOC and Borealis as potential partners, the parties are examining various structuring options for the chemical complex that will leverage the technical, financial and operational strengths of each company. The total investment is estimated to be up to $4 billion.

The collaboration includes evaluating a joint world-scale propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant to produce propylene-based on propane feedstock to be supplied by ADNOC. Propylene will be partially used as feedstock for a polypropylene (PP) complex, owned by ADNOC and Borealis, based on proprietary state-of-the-art Borealis Borstar technology.

The PP complex will be the first overseas production joint investment by ADNOC and Borealis as part of a strategic framework with their current joint venture Borouge. Furthermore, propylene will be the key raw material for the previously announced acrylics value chain complex comprising glacial acrylic acid (GAA), Oxo-C4 (butanols and 2-ethyl hexanol), butyl acrylate (BA) and potentially other downstream products as part of a joint venture of BASF and Adani in which BASF holds a majority.

The chemical complex in Mundra is intended to be entirely supplied from renewable energy resources. The partners are evaluating co-investment in wind and solar park with the plans at an advanced stage of development. If realized, this would be the world’s first CO2-neutral petrochemical site to be fully powered by renewable energy, fully in line with the partners’ commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.

Commenting on the MoU signing, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, said: “This exciting collaboration is in line with ADNOC’s strategy to foster mutually beneficial partnerships. As a value-adding partner, ADNOC will play a crucial role as the propane feedstock supplier to this project. As the fastest growing global energy market, India is crucial to  our international growth ambitions in the downstream sector. As such, this project allows ADNOC  and its partners to capture the promising growth in the Indian polyolefins market.”

Gautam Adani, Chairman of the Adani Group, stated: “We are very pleased to collaborate with our international partners to establish a Chemical Manufacturing Complex at Mundra Port. We stand committed to the ‘Make in India’ initiative and serve the larger purpose of aligning growth opportunities with creation of goodness for the nation.”

“BASF remains committed to investing in India’s growth. We will play a key role in driving this joint collaboration which is also pioneering in terms of sustainability.  We look forward to working together with our partners in establishing a chemical cluster in Mundra and to supplying the Indian market with high-quality downstream products,” said Dr. Martin Brudermueller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE.

Alfred Stern, CEO of Borealis, added: “This partnership is a unique opportunity to strengthen our PP presence in India with proprietary Borealis Borstar PP technology and to create value and tangible benefits through innovation for customers across multiple industries.”


The partners aim to finalize the joint feasibility study by the end of Q1 2020. Production is intended to commence in 2024. Adani has allied infrastructure like sea port, airport and highway connectivity near the proposed unit. The designated site is planned at Mundra port in Gujarat, India, and the products are predominantly for the Indian market, serving a wide range of local industries, including construction, automotive and coatings.

ONGC signs MoU with EXXONMobil for study in PEL offshore blocks and open acreage areas.



Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with US petroleum giant EXXON-Mobil on 14 October 2019. This MoU will enable the two petroleum companies to undertake joint technical studies and cooperate in frontier areas like deep water and other Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) blocks of ONGC in the east and west coast and open acreages for joint bidding.

The MoU was signed on the side-lines of IHS-CERAWeek at Delhi by ONGC Director (Exploration) Mr R K Srivastava and EXXON-Mobil CEO, South Asia Mr William P Davis in the presence of Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Petroleum Secretary, Dr. M M Kutty and ONGC CMD Mr. Shashi Shanker.

The work under the MoU will be carried out in three phases. This will lead to a joint technical study for potential collaboration areas.

Talking after the MoU, Vice President Asia Pacific ExxonMobil Mr. Michael Deal said, “We welcome the opportunity to work with ONGC and apply our collective expertise to be an even bigger part of India’s bright energy future”.

ONGC CMD Mr Shashi Shanker said, “This meaningful partnership with EXXONMobil will be a step towards unlocking value in ONGC PEL offshore blocks, study open acreage areas and enable us to get closer to meeting Country’s energy aspirations”.

Source - ONGC.

Monday, 14 October 2019

France's Total acquires 37.4% stake in Adani Gas to supply and market Natural Gas in India.



With this announcement of Total’s Acquisition of 37.4% Stake in Adani Gas, Adani and Total join to create one of India’s largest Downstream Energy Partnerships.

As part of its strategy to develop new gas markets, Total, the world's second-largest LNG player, expands its partnership with the Adani Group; the largest energy and infrastructure conglomerate in India, to contribute to the development of the Indian natural gas market.

The Indian natural gas market represents a substantial growth perspective. It is currently only 7% of the energy consumption but has grown over the last 3 years by more than 5% per annum, supported by an active policy of the Indian Government that aims to diversify its energy mix and develop domestic use of gas in cities and as fuel for vehicles. India has set the ambitious target of increasing the share of natural gas in its energy mix to 15% by 2030.

The partnership between Adani (50%) and Total (50%) includes several assets across the gas value chain notably two imports and regasification LNG terminals: Dhamra in East India and potentially Mundra in the West, as well as Adani Gas Limited, one of the 4 main distributors of city gas in India of which Adani holds 74.8% and of which Total will acquire 37.4%.

Adani Gas shall also pursue fuel retail business in India and target to setup 1,500 fuel stations offering top of the line products in the coming years.

Adani Gas Limited aims to expand its distribution of gas in the next 10 years through its 38 concessions covering 7.5% of the Indian population and market natural gas to industrial, commercial and domestic customers, targeting 6 million homes as well as through 1,500 CNG retail outlets across 71 districts, 68 towns across 15 states in India.

Speaking on the occasion, Adani Group Chairman, Mr. Gautam Adani, said, “Adani is delighted to deepen its strategic partnership with Total, a global energy major, to one of the largest downstream gas partnerships in India. Total’s investment in Adani Gas reinforces India’s natural gas and demand potential. The partnership will derive significant synergies between Adani’s capabilities of developing world-class assets and Total’s global best practices as well as leveraging business synergies across LNG, Fuel Retail and City Gas distribution. We look forward to working together towards delivering India’s vision for clean and green energy”

As part of this partnership, Total will bring its LNG and retail expertise and will supply LNG to Adani Gas Limited. Total and Adani will also establish a joint venture to market LNG in India and Bangladesh.

“Energy needs in India are immense and the Indian energy mix is key to the climate change challenge. Firmly investing to develop the use of natural gas in India is in line with Total’s ambition to become the responsible energy major. The natural gas market in India will have strong growth and is an attractive outlet for the world's second-largest LNG player that Total has become. Adani will bring its knowledge of the local market and its expertise in the infrastructure and energy sectors. This partnership with Adani is the cornerstone to our development strategy in this country.”, said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total.

Disclaimer: Shareholder of Adani Gas.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Indiabulls Shubh trading app offers ‘Truly Unlimited Plans’ for new-age investors.


Shubh trading app

India’s economy and its bustling stock market have witnessed a phenomenal rise in the last decade. Such has been the success that many few would believe that BSE Sensex was trading below 10,000 points just 9 years back. With reforms at the fore-front agenda, World Bank predicts that India’s economy is set to reach $5 trillion by 2025. Most leading brokerage houses have a bullish outlook on Sensex and Nifty especially after the recent historic announcements on corporate tax by FM Sitharaman. We all will unanimously agree that stock market investments, be it equity or commodity, are one of the only few investment avenues which have the potential to beat ever-rising inflation.

The times they are a changin’! From floor-based trading to branch-based services and now trading on-the-go with smartphones. A data released by National Stock Exchange states mobile trading share has more than tripled to 10.7% as on August 2019 from 3.3% in April 2016. Catching the bandwagon, Indiabulls has launched Shubh – a mobile trading platform with subscription based plans for seamless trading experience. Indiabulls Ventures Limited is one of the earliest capital market company providing securities and derivative broking services.

Karo Shubh Se Shuruat!

Shubh trading app is the newest offering from Indiabulls Ventures Limited. The discount broking platform is India’s first truly unlimited trading platform with 'Subscription based' monthly pricing options. Shubh gives the customers a choice of monthly plans that suit their broking needs starting at 1000 where they can enjoy the benefit of 0*% brokerage on both Intraday and Delivery. No need to panic on the asterisk (*) symbol, as Shubh charges maximum 0.01 brokerage per order as per SEBI rules.

Indiabulls Shubh is basically the ‘Netflix of Trading’. Once the investor is on-board and subscribed, the platform offers a transparent trading experience like never before at fixed rates. Many may not know this, but the volume of ‘Buy Today and Sell Today Tomorrow’ trades is such that several investors end up paying brokerage value amounting in thousands in just single trading day. By renewing subscription plan every month, investors can protect their capital from hefty brokerages and trade as much they want.

On plans onwards 2000 per month, Shubh trading app offers an attractive margin trading facility from 1 lakh to 50 lakh at 0% interest rate. Indiabulls Shubh is perfectly placed for new-age investors who trade in equity (NSE & BSE), futures & options (NSE F&O) and currency segments. The intraday exposure offered by Shubh is upto 4x in F&O, 5x in equity, and 4x for margin trading. As an introductory offer, the company has announced free trading for the first 30 days with no subscription charges for new customers. The one time account opening charges of Shubh is just 500 inclusive GST. Existing 7.1 lakh Indiabulls clients can also enjoy the benefits of the new plan by upgrading their current one.

Trading Made Easy

Indiabulls Shubh trading app is available on both Android and iOS platform. For the ease of trading, investors can execute trades at a lightning fast speed on app, web and on desktop. If in a hurry, no worry! Users can even place trading orders on the phone at no additional charges. The Shubh app is built on the philosophy of speed, stability and simplicity.

With an enormous amount of data and continuous transactions, traders often complain of mobile app downtimes. This is unique to sentimental capital markets like India. Be it budget, government policy, US fed, or China- US trade war, the downtime of trading apps is a major issue where traders may potentially lose their hard-earned money. Unlike some newbies in the business, Indiabulls leverages its market experience of the past 20 years to offer seamless trading experience even during major events.

Shubh’s subscription plans have been designed keeping in mind the needs of today’s new-age traders. We have built a clean, vanilla type of product where customers can trade through app, web, and even through calls with ease. We invite traders to experience our all new Shubh platform” - Divyesh Shah, CEO, Indiabulls Ventures Limited.

The Indiabulls Shubh app and web platforms offer an entirely online process for opening a Demat Account. Open the app, fill out the e-KYC details with e-signature Et Voila! Traders can further subscribe to monthly plans as per their needs.

Download the Indiabulls Shubh app from Play Store and Apple App Store and try it yourself!

Monday, 26 August 2019

Bank of Baroda board approves to raise Basel III complaint Tier 1 bonds upto Rs 1650 crores.



Bank of Baroda (BoB) board - Capital Raising Committee of the bank has approved Issuance of Basel III Compliant Additional Tier I Bonds for aggregate total issue size not exceeding Rs1,650cr, with a base issue size of Rs500cr and a Green Shoe Option to retain over-subscription up to Rs1,150cr.

Further, the Bank of Baroda board said that issuance of Basel III Compliant Tier II Capital Bonds Compliant with Basel III Capital regulations of the Reserve Bank of India for aggregate total issue size not exceeding R500cr, with a base issue size of Rs250cr and a Green Shoe Option to retain oversubscription up to Rs250cr.

According to the Mint report, the bank plans additional exposure of Rs10,675cr to NBFCs in the second quarter of FY20. The bank is also looking to purchase NBFC assets worth Rs5,600cr, co-originate loans of Rs1,000cr, provide loans of Rs3,575cr for on-lending to the Agri sector and has set aside Rs500cr for “high-ticket balance sheet takeover".

After the announcement, the shares of Bank of Baroda traded on NSE index was more than 3% up at Rs 98.

Source: Bombay Stock Exchange.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Govt of India sanctions subsidy for 5595 electric buses in 64 cities under FAME II.

Tata Ultra Electric bus has been deployed in Lucknow, Kolkata, Guwahati, Jammu Kashmir under FAME I scheme.


The Department of Heavy Industry has approved the sanction of 5595 electric buses to 64 Cities, State Government Entities, State Transport Undertakings (STUs) for intra-city and intercity operation under FAME India scheme phase II in order to give a further push to clean mobility in public transportation.

The Department had invited the Expression of Interest (EoI) from million-plus cities, smart cities, State/UT capitals and cities from special category states for submission of proposal for deployment of electric buses on an operational cost basis.

Eight six proposals from 26 States/UTs for the deployment of 14988 e-Buses were received. After evaluation of these proposals as per EoI, on the advice of Project Implementation and Sanctioning Committee, the Government sanctioned 5095 electric buses to 64 Cities / State Transport Corporations for intra-city operation, 400 electric buses for intercity operation and 100 electric buses for last-mile connectivity to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Each selected City/STUsis required to initiate the procurement process in a time-bound manner for the deployment of sanctioned electric buses on an operational cost basis. As per EoI, buses which satisfy required localization level and technical eligibility notified under FAME India scheme phase II will be eligible for funding under FAME India scheme phase II.

Tier 1 cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore will receive 300 electric buses each. Surprisingly, Chennai's proposal seems to be rejected. Pune and Surat are set to get 150 electric buses each. 400 electric buses will be deployed towards intercity operations and will be handed over to State Transport Corporations. Maharashtra has received highest allocation of 775 buses followed by Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu.

These buses will run about 4 billion kilometers during their contract period and are expected to save cumulatively about 1.2 billion liters of fuel over the contract period, which will result into avoidance of 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 emission.


Source - PIB.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

AIIB approves $100 million to Larsen Toubro Finance arm for wind and solar projects


The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) latest project will increase the supply of renewable energy in India by mobilizing private capital. The project provides a $100 million loan to L&T Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (LTIF), a subsidiary of L&T Finance Holdings Ltd and a leading non-bank financier of renewable energy in India. The financing marks AIIB’s first loan to a non-banking finance company (NBFC). 

The loan proceeds will be used to on-lend to wind and solar power infrastructure projects throughout India. The loan mobilizes private capital from sponsors, other financiers and LTIF’s own sources.

India is committed to reducing its carbon intensity by 30 to 35 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 under the Paris Agreement. The country will need to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix if it is to achieve this target. Investment in renewable energy is an efficient way for India to reduce its carbon intensity while meeting its growing energy needs. NBFCs play a crucial role in broadening access to financial services, enhancing competition and diversity in the financial sector, and has emerged as key financiers of renewable energy. 

“AIIB’s financing will help secure the funding supply for renewable energy project development in India,” said AIIB Vice President and Chief Investment Officer D.J. Pandian. “The project supports AIIB’s commitment to sustainable energy for Asia to reduce the carbon intensity of energy supply.” 

LTIF’s collaboration with AIIB will also help the company develop its environmental and social capabilities which will in the future enable it to tap the international market for green finance.

Source - AIIB.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Tamal Bandyopadhyay’s HDFC Bank 2.0 book narrates the Puri legacy.


Tamal Bandyopadhyay book Aditya Puri


Indian banking industry is not in the pink of health now but that’s largely the story of the government-owned banks. If we look at the private sector, barring a few odd banks which are not the best examples of corporate governance, over the last three decades, the industry has witnessed phenomenal growth with consumerism. The privitisation push in 1991 was a defining moment for the financial sector in India. What we have achieved today would not have been possible without India’s private sector banks like HDFC Bank. It is a child of economic liberalisation.

In the 1990’s, talking about banks as dinosaurs, Bill Gates of Microsoft famously said, “We need banking, but we don’t need banks anymore”. Three decades later, a bank is still relevant and will continue to do so if it’s willing to reinvent itself to be in sync with the changing milieu where it operates – by embracing digitalisation.

From a nimble start-up in 1995 to India’s most valuable banking brand, HDFC Bank has a made  gigantic strides into the world of digital banking under the leadership of Mr Aditya Puri. In a sector marred by controversies, Mr Puri has not just been the longest serving chairman of any bank globally but the face of a world class bank in India. Tamal Bandyopadhyay’s latest book “HDFC Bank 2.0: From Dawn to Digital” narrates this unique story of the  transformation of India’s most valued lender from a life cycle bank to a lifestyle bank. 

For starters, let me remind you that this book is not a sponsored project. It chronicles the HDFC Bank story warts and all. While highlighting the bank’s unique features, Tamal also criticises the unforgivable mistakes done by HDFC Bank during this journey through his unparalleled  writing skills. 

One of the key reasons why Indian banks were largely unaffected  during the Global Financial Crisis of 2009 was the fact that they were truly connected with their roots. During that  period, Mr Puri had guided HDFC Bank to add branches and ATM network in tier three cities and rural areas. The expansion drive created the credit card, auto and home loan boom. The book describes how  a bank reaching out to person for a loan – and not  the other way round - creates a new sense of trust in the aspirational class of India.

The era of Digital Disruption

Mr Puri believes that digitalisation and disruption are intertwined. Whenever there’s change, people tend to panic but if handled correctly, it can open up new beginnings. HDFC Bank saw this transformation ahead of others. During his Silicon Valley trip in 2014, Mr Puri saw how the fintech companies – the new kids on the  tech block – were venturing into fund transfers, mobile banking and shopping. They could build products that could give instant loan with slick user interface on their phones. Home grown fintech innovations like the United Payments Interface (UPI) were set to transform the way we Indians bank.

“Why don’t we disrupt ourselves instead of waiting to be disrupted by fintech companies? Why can’t we give a loan in 10 seconds? Why can’t we invent something to transfer money in just a click? HDFC Bank aspires to become a financial marketplace. It wants to be India’s Alibaba or Netflix when it comes to banking”. - Mr Aditya Puri, Chairman & Managing Director, HDFC Bank.

HDFC Bank first tied up with Chillr, an app which sends money over the phone using a UPI technology. A BharatQR code-based payments service named PayZapp is popular in many stores. The bank has also used AI for many applications like chatbots and social media interactions. Indigenously developed IRA robots have been deployed at several branches to solve customer queries. 

While adopting this technological shift, there were times when the bank failed on the customer front. For instance, the HDFC bank app crash in November 2018 became a hot topic in the media and  the bank was subjected to national outrage and ridicule. The book – “HDFC Bank 2.0: From Dawn to Digital” – clinically  chronicles the journey over the years.

About the book

Tamal Bandyopadhyay’s HDFC Bank 2.0: From Dawn to Digital is published by Jaico Publishing House. The book was launched by Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, State Bank of India at Nehru Centre, Mumbai. Aditya Puri, Managing Director, HDFC Bank Ltd  and many  luminaries in the financial services industry were present there. Tamal Bandyopadhyay is an author, columnist and keen watcher of banking and finance. His Banker’s Trust column, which now appears every Monday in Business Standard, is the most popular column on banking and finance with over half a million followers on the Linkedin platform.

“Tamal combines his financial knowledge, eye for detail, and an excellent storytelling style to create a vivid portrait of India’s most valued bank and its path to future” - Nandan Nilekani, Co-foundar & Chairman, Infosys & founding chairman of UIDAI, has written in his forward to the book.

HDFC Bank 2.0: From Dawn to Digital (ISBN: 978-93-88423-35-9) are now available at Crossword, Amazon, Flipkart and other leading book stores.

Friday, 12 July 2019

TVS launches India's first Ethanol based Motorcycle - Apache RTR 200 Fi Ei100 at Rs 1.2 lakhs.

Ethanol Bike In India


A #MakeInIndia products which runs on #MakeInIndia fuel.

TVS Motor Company, a reputed manufacturer of two-wheelers and three-wheelers in the world have created a benchmark in the industry by launching India’s first Ethanol based motorcycle – TVS Apache RTR 200 Fi E100. The motorcycle was launched by Shri. Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport and Highways of India & Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Shri. Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, and Shri. Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor Company.

TVS Motor Company first showcased the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V Ethanol concept in Auto Expo 2018 held in Delhi. TVS Apache is the flagship brand of TVS Motor Company with over 3.5 million happy customers across the globe.

Commenting on this launch, Shri. Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor Company, said, “We are delighted to launch the TVS Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 in the presence of Hon’ble Minister for Road Transport & Highways of India; & Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Shri. Nitin Jairam Gadkari who has created a roadmap for the implementation of future mobility in the country.”

Shri. Srinivasan further added, “Today, the two-wheeler industry is looking at green and sustainable future mobility solutions spanning across electric, hybrid and alternate fuels. TVS Motor Company believes that Ethanol-based products are an important option for our customers. This is due to the easy compatibility in the transition to Ethanol and its sustained positive impact on the environment without compromising on performance and total cost of ownership. TVS Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 is a breakthrough in the two-wheeler space that will set the trend for a green future in India.”

Ethanol will be domestically produced by the farmers of this country. It is cost-effective, import free and environmentally sustainable fuel.

Ethanol is domestically produced from renewable plant sources. It is non-toxic, biodegradable, as well as safe to handle, store and transport. An oxygenated fuel that contains 35% oxygen, Ethanol reduces nitrogen oxide emissions from combustion. Apart from this, Ethanol also helps reduce carbon monoxide emissions, particulate matter, and sulphur-di-oxide. Use of Ethanol as a fuel will also reduce dependence on the import of petroleum and increase energy security.

The TVS Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 sports a vibrant interplay of green graphics seamlessly woven with the ‘Ethanol’ logo. It is equipped with a Twin-Spray-Twin-Port EFI technology. This ensures better drivability, faster throttle response and reduction in emission levels. It delivers better usable power under varied ambient conditions. This motorcycle boasts of impressive peak power of 21 PS @ 8500 rpm with a torque of 18.1 Nm @ 7000 rpm and has an ascending top speed of 129 kmph.

Promising consistent performance coupled with a sustainable green solution, the TVS Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 is a winner for both the rider and the environment. This special edition would be available in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka at an attractive price of Rs. 1,20,000.

- Press Release.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Shapoorji Pallonji's renewable energy arm Sterling and Wilson Solar Ltd ranked World's Largest Solar EPC Service Provider: IHS Markit.



Sterling and Wilson Solar Limited, a Shapoorji Pallonji group company, has been ranked as the world's largest Solar EPC service provider by IHS Markit in its recently announced Solar EPC and O&M Provider Tracker Q1 2019 report. The ranking is basis the annual installations of utility-scale PV systems of more than five MWp in the year 2018. As the largest global Solar EPC solutions provider, Sterling and Wilson Solar had a global market share of 4.6% in the year 2018 - a number more than double that of the 2nd largest company globally - according to IHS Markit. The company was also ranked as the largest Solar EPC solutions provider in India with a market share of 16.6%, 3 times the size of its closest competitor.

Declining costs, advancing technology trends and favorable regulatory environments across the world are some of the factors driving the growth of solar energy globally. Sterling and Wilson Solar has built more than 6 GWp of solar plants across the globe and the recognition as the world's largest solar EPC provider is a significant milestone in its trajectory.

With a strength of 1179 employees across the world including 138 in design and engineering, Sterling and Wilson Solar has been executing projects globally. Today, it has over 6062.83 MWp of solar EPC projects as part of its portfolio in different stages of implementation (commissioned and contracted). This impressive global portfolio also includes a 1,177 MWp single location Solar PV plant in Abu Dhabi - one of the world' s largest such Solar PV plants.

Sterling and Wilson Solar is present in 26 countries today, with operations in India, South East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Australia. The company has been strategically focusing on markets that have conducive solar power policies and investing resources in geographies that have long-term solar opportunities in utility-scale solar power projects and rooftop solar projects.

In the year 2018, according to IHS Markit, the company was also the largest solar EPC solutions provider in Africa and the Middle East with a market share of 36.6% and 40.4% respectively. Today, Sterling and Wilson Solar is expanding its global presence through strategic acquisitions in its target markets. The company recently acquired a 76% equity interest in GCO Electricals Pty Limited, an electrical contracting company based in Australia with expertise in the execution of solar power projects in the region. 

The company provides EPC services primarily for utility-scale solar power projects with a focus on project design and engineering and manage all aspects of project execution from conceptualizing to commissioning. As the global solar market is likely to grow substantially in the years to come, Sterling and Wilson Solar has positioned itself well to be at the forefront of this tremendous opportunity.

Source: Press Release/PTI.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Morocco to inaugurate Africa's Largest Seawater Desalination Plant by 2021.

Desalination Plant in Sorek, Israel.

India has a coastline of 7500km and yet it struggles to provide unlimited water to its citizens, farmers and industries. In the words of Socialist Dr. Lohia, 'India's Shakti (here women) are capable to solve innumerable problems of themselves and Bharat Bhoomi in whole but first, we need to provide them with toilets and water'. India's newly formed Jal Shakti Ministry has released the target to provide potable tap water to every household by 2024. 

Despite having such a huge coastline and massive rivers like Ganga, Godavari and Brahmaputra, we Indians suffer due to lackluster planning and low investments in Water Technology. Israel, the land with no river provides 24x7 potable water to its citizens and farmers, thanks to the adoption of scientific Sea Water Desalination technology. 

It's not that desalination tech is something new to India. Reliance Industries produces desalinated water for its Jamnagar refinery and even provides additional water to Jamnagar Municipal Corp at a fee. Chennai drinks desalinated water from one of its desalinated plants on East Coast Road. In fact, Indian companies like VA TECH WABAG, Essel Infraprojects and L&T have been awarded works to set up desalination plants in abroad and India. City nations like Singapore, Qatar, Kuwait are using Desalination for decades. Recently, Morocco has awarded a contract to a Spanish firm to build 'Africa's Largest Seawater Desalination Plant' in the city of Adagir.

In 2017, Spain's Abengoa signed contracts to develop a desalination and irrigation project in the Agadir region. The project, valued €309 million, involves the construction of a desalination plant with a 275,000 m3 total production capacity of desalinated water per day which will be the largest plant designed for drinking water and irrigation. The contract also provides for the possible capacity expansion to up to 450,000 m3/day.

The project involves increasing plant capacity to 150,000 m3/d of drinking water. And the second project calls for the additional production of 125,000 m3/d of irrigation water as well as the construction of the corresponding irrigation network for a total of 13,600 ha. Project operations can be powered on renewable power with a focus to meet the demand for water for domestic use in addition to irrigation water needs in the area of Agadir.

Farmers have also contributed MAD 10,000 (1 MAD - INR 7.24) to the financing of the station. The government has promised them desalinated water for irrigation at a low price of MAD 5 per cubic meters in exchange for the investment in construction.

As of now, the world's largest sea water desalination plant is located in Saudi Arabia. The Ras Al Khair plant has a desalination capacity of 1,036,000 m3/day.

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.