In the news:
Infosys, Future Group, HDFC Bank, RBI’s plans & more

Infosys said the US market regulator had cleared it on allegations made by a so-called whistle-blower last year. HDFC Bank CEO Aditya Puri said his successor would be named before April. To ease pressure on Future Group’s promoter entities to pay off its debt, the group is looking for a buyer for its insurance arm. The Reserve Bank of India announced term repo operations of Rs 1 trillion in two tranches to inject liquidity into the system. In other news, the government announced a Rs 1.7 trillion economic stimulus plan that will be released through direct cash transfers and food security measures aimed at giving relief to millions of poor hit by the nationwide lockdown.

Business Standard
28th March

  • The Future group is looking for a buyer for its insurance venture to ease pressure on the promoter entities to pay off its debt. With the share prices of group companies falling rapidly on the bourses, the group is facing margin calls from banks to either expedite the sale of its insurance arm or sell more stakes in its operating firms, say bankers..
  • Infosys, the country’s second-largest software services exporter, said the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had cleared it on allegations made by a "whistle-blower" last October. "The company does not anticipate any further action by the SEC on this matter,” Infosys told the stock exchanges. The whistle-blower had alleged the company’s chief executive and finance head inflated growth numbers through accounting irregularities.
  • HDFC Bank will announce the successor to its CEO Aditya Puri before April. The term of Puri, who has been at the helm of India’s largest private sector lender for decades, ends in October 2020. "An appropriate person who will take the bank into the future will be announced,” said Puri.
  • The Reserve Bank of India stepped in to infuse more liquidity into the system by announcing term repo operations of Rs 1 trillion in two tranches, even as it advanced a secondary bond-buying plan scheduled next week. The repo would take care of any frictional liquidity requirements of the banking system, the central bank said.
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a relief package for the poor and migrants workers in the country to help them during the 21-day lockdown against the coronavirus. The relief’s cash support include payments to farmers, free cooking gas to the poor for three months, state-sponsored contributions to retirement funds for the same duration, and insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh to medical workers, she said.
  • The Reserve Bank of India and major lenders are considering shutting down most branches across the country to prevent tens of thousands of employees from getting infected with the coronavirus. Under the plan, in major cities there would likely be only one bank open every five kilometres, Reuters reported, declining to be identified as it has not yet been publicly disclosed.
  • The government raised the threshold for invoking insolvency to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh, aiming to help small and medium enterprises battered by the coronavirus crisis. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said if the situation continued to be difficult, the government would consider suspending the provisions for triggering insolvency for six months.

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A few links for further reading

Hard path to growth

The signals for the economy are not positive: overall demand is yet to pick up; the share of total exports in India’s GDP is declining, and industrial output pattern remains worrying.

Small savings scheme

Investors breathed a sigh of relief when the government announced that interest rates on these instruments would not be revised for the fourth quarter of the calendar year.

Invest and emigrate

The great Indian dream of settling abroad is achievable if one has a few crores to invest. Rich nations offer a variety of investment options in a quid pro quo arrangement: immigrants get a better quality of life and revenue from them helps these countries’ finances. Wealthy Indians, troubled by polluted cities and the red tape holding up entrepreneurship, may want a quick ticket out of the country. Sanjay Kumar Singh lists a range of options: from a Canadian province’s investor programme to America’s US EB-5 plan.

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