Tatas move to buy partner’s AirAsia stake; GVK Group's troubles mount;
Railways contract sparks international race

The Tata group is in talks to buy out Berhad’s stake in their joint venture airline AirAsia in India. The government made the first move to monetise the landholdings of two state-owned telecom companies. The Enforcement Directorate charged the GVK Group and its promoters with money laundering. International technology companies will compete for a bid called to moderninse Indian Railways signalling system. Here is more on what made news this week.

Business Standard
11th July

  • Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group, is in talks to buy out AirAsia Berhad’s stake in their joint venture airline in India at a steep discount --taking into account the crash in valuations of airline stocks globally owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The Tata group is likely to tie up with other financial investors to acquire its Malaysian partner's 49 per cent stake.
  • Bombardier, Hitachi Rail STS, and Siemens are among international technology companies in the race for a tender floated by state-run Railtel Enterprises (REL) to modernise the national transporter’s signalling system. Railtel hasn’t mentioned the size of the tender, but it is expected to be worth Rs 1,000 crore to 1,500 crore.
  • The government has started the process of monetising landholdings of state-owned telcos BSNL and MTNL by appointing consultancy firms CBRE, JLL, and Knight Frank to look at the feasibility of such a sale during the coronavirus pandemic. The asset monetisation is estimated to fetch around Rs 37,500 crore.
  • The Enforcement Directorate pressed money-laundering charges against the promoters of the GVK group of companies, officials of Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), and a few other entities in connection with the alleged Rs 705-crore Mumbai airport scam. The Central Bureau of Investigation had earlier charged GVK group Chairman G V K Reddy and MIAL Managing Director G V Sanjay Reddy.
  • 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.
  • The government is considering a proposal to merge the direct and indirect tax boards as it aims to contain costs amid increasing revenue loss. It could freeze hiring for the Indian Revenue Service, change retirement rules, and curtail allowances of employees, Business Standard reported.
  • Amazon Inc. said it has stepped up its investment in India by pumping in Rs 2,310 crore into its marketplace. The investment was made into Amazon Seller Services (Amazon.in), which runs a marketplace that assists sellers to sell their products online. The new funding came through Amazon Corporate Holdings Private Limited, Singapore and Amazon .com Inc Limited, Mauritius, in exchange for 231 crore equity shares.

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A few links for further reading

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