RIL buys Netmeds, Apple plans India-made iPhone, Flipkart delivers for Walmart

Reliance Industries bought a majority stake in Netmeds, stepping up competition in India's online drug market. Apple will manufacture its upcoming iPhone 12 smartphones in India by the middle of next year. Walmart said Flipkart, its Indian subsidiary, was doing business at levels before the coronavirus pandemic. A court refused to allow the reopening of Vedanta’s Tamil Nadu copper smelter, more than two years after it was closed. Here is more on what made news this week.

Business Standard
22nd August

  • Market regulator SEBI proposed increasing the minimum free float for companies relisting after undergoing the corporate insolvency resolution process. It also called for greater disclosures to ensure better price discovery and transparency, reacting after extreme movement in the Ruchi Soya Industries' stock.
  • Reliance Industries bought a 60% stake in web pharmacy Netmeds for Rs 620 crore, facing up to in the competition for the country’s fast-expanding online drug market. It follows Amazon’s move to start online drug sales in Bengaluru, and comes amid intensifying competition in India’s e-commerce sector.
  • Apple will manufacture its upcoming iPhone 12 smartphones in India by the middle of next year, Business Standard reported. Apple's manufacturing partner, Taiwan-based Wistron, has begun a trial run for the iPhone 12 project at its new facility near Bengaluru. As yet, iPhone production in India is limited to older models at a lower price tag.
  • Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, said the gross merchandise value (GMV) of the products sold on Flipkart, its majority-owned subsidiary in India, had surpassed levels before the coronavirus pandemic. Walmart held government orders in India prohibiting Flipkart’s business for a while in the second quarter responsible for lack of growth in its international operations.
  • The government approved awarding airports at Jaipur, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati for redevelopment to Adani Enterprises Ltd. State-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) will get Rs 1,070 crore by handing over the airports. Kerala protested, saying it would be "difficult" for it to cooperate in the decision about Thiruvananthapuram airport.
  • India’s cricket board announced Dream11, a fantasy gaming platform, as this year's IPL title sponsor but not for the next two seasons. Title sponsors usually sign a three-year agreement but Dream11's proposal was rejected due to "low" bid amounts for 2021 and 2022. Dream11 won sponsorship rights for Rs 222 crore, replacing Chinese mobile phone company Vivo.
  • The Madras High Court refused to allow the reopening of Vedanta’s Tamil Nadu copper smelter, more than two years after it was closed because of pollution concerns that triggered violent protests. Vedanta claims it's losing Rs 5 crore daily due to the plant's closure. The judgment is the latest challenge confronting Vedanta, which has also faced legal action over its operations in Zambia.

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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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