Google backs Jio Platforms;
India posts trade surplus, Walmart strengthens Flipkart

Reliance Industries announced a strategic partnership with Google and a plan to develop in-house 5G solutions. Auto sales in the country will take at least another three years to reach 2018 levels, said an industry body. India posted a trade surplus of $790 million in June, its first in over 18 years. Air India begun a cost-cutting drive that will send around 600 employees on furlough. Infosys beat Street estimates with a 12 per cent rise in profit before tax. Here is more on what made news this week.

Business Standard
18th July

  • Alphabet's Google will buy a 7.7% stake for $4.5 billion in Jio Platforms, taking a seat on its board alongside another big name backer Facebook to help the digital arm of Reliance Industries realise its lofty ambitions. The two companies will collaborate to develop affordable 4G and 5G smartphones and Android-based operating systems, said Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani in a virtual shareholder meeting.
  • India posted a trade surplus of $790 million in June, its first in over 18 years, with imports plunging as the coronavirus pandemic hit domestic demand for crude oil, gold and other industrial products, government data showed. Merchandise imports contracted 47.59% in June to $21.11 billion from a year ago, while exports fell 12.41% to $21.91 billion, leading to a marginal trade surplus
  • IT services major Infosys beat Street estimates with a 12 per cent rise in profit before tax (PBT), which stood at Rs 5,792 crore in the first quarter of financial year 2020-21 (Q1FY21), boosted by steady performance in most business verticals and geographies, and healthy order flow.
  • The government is considering import restrictions on more than 350 items, including electronic goods, toys, furniture, and textiles, by putting in place non-tariff barriers to support domestic industry. The move is in line with the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” objective to cut import dependence and encourage production of locally made goods.
  • Indian drugmaker Cipla Ltd has pricedits generic version of Remdesivir, Cipremi, at Rs 4,000 ($53.34) per 100 mg vial, news agency Reuters reported, making it among the lowest priced versions of the Covid-19 treatment available so far globally. Cipla had earlier said pricing would not exceed 5,000 rupees.
  • Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has led a $1.2-billion investment in Flipkart, valuing the e-commerce firm at $24.9 billion. The new investment would increase Walmart’s stake in Flipkart to about 80 per cent from 77 per cent; it would be funded in two tranches over the rest of the financial year.
  • Auto sales volume in the country will take another 3-4 years to reach 2018 levels, said an industry body, as the coronavirus-induced lockdown hurt monthly revenue and increased pressure on the sector. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said domestic car and SUV sales slumped 50% in June from last year, while sales of two wheelers fell 39%.
  • Air India has begun a cost-cutting drive and will send around 600 employees on furlough in the first such move by the state-owned carrier. The airline’s board approved on July 7 the scheme of ‘Leave Without Pay’ ranging from six months to five years.

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A few links for further reading

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