Episode 564

Business News at 09:30 am on 26th May 2023

In today’s audio, we take a look at Amul’s latest controversy, LIC’s future plans and latest from the share market.  

Today’s Latest Business News at 09:30 am on 26th May 2023.

[Disclaimer: This transcript is auto-generated]

Indian digital entrepreneurs on Thursday took full control of the Internet and Mobile Association of India with Big Tech firms like Google, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft not finding a place in the new 24-member governing council for 2023-25, following the recently held elections for new office bearers. This development, according to industry sources, would mark a major shift in the running of the association as Big Tech firms Meta and Google had a big say so far. In the run-up to the elections, the domestic digital players were bitterly opposed to the policy stance being adopted by the Big Tech firms on issues like digital competition policy and ex-ante regulations for digital firms. The domestic players had alleged that IAMAI was toeing the line of Big Tech firms who were opposed to these measures and the association was acting like their rubber stamp. Analysts maintain, however, this development does not mean that they will lose their influence in policy matters as they have presence in other associations like US-India Chamber of Commerce and US India Business Council.

Moving on. Ashwini Vaishnaw, communications and IT minister, on Thursday said the government is concerned over the delay by Vodafone Idea in raising funds. The ailing telecom operator has not been able to get either equity infusion by the promoters or funding through investors. Of course, there is a concern because investment is supposed to come. And only after investment, the company can revive. Everyone is concerned,” Vaishnaw told FE, adding that the government is constantly encouraging the promoters to invest in the firm. The government had in February converted Vodafone Idea’s interest dues worth Rs 16,133 crore into equity, following assurance from the promoters that they will bring in fresh investments. Such hopes had brightened when Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla rejoined the company’s board recently. However, Vodafone Plc, which holds a 32% stake in Vodafone Idea, last week did not indicate any fund infusion on its part in the ailing Indian venture in its FY23 earnings. This, according to analysts, has once again raised a question mark on the company’s survival once the government’s moratorium ends in FY26.

Meanwhile, Amul, the country’s top dairy brand, is in the centre of a controversy for the second time in a month, following its move to procure milk from Tamil Nadu. Last month, Amul, which is marketed by the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, had stirred up a storm after it entered the Bengaluru market, which is dominated by local brand Nandini from the Karnataka Milk Federation. While in Tamil Nadu, Amul has been selling its products for some time through local outlets, the move to procure milk from the state, using its multi-state co-operative licence is a first. Fearing that Amul’s entry in Tamil Nadu would be detrimental to local brand Aavin, state’s chief minister MK Stalin on Thursday asked Union home minister Amit Shah, who also holds the co-operative portfolio, to ask the dairy major to cease milk procurement in the state. When contacted, Jayen Mehta, MD, GCMMF, said there was no threat to local brands with their milk procurement in Tamil Nadu.

In other news, amid falling market share, Life Insurance Corporation on Thursday said more focus will be on “profitable” market share. Measured by first year premium income, LIC’s market share fell 67 basis points to 62.58% for FY23 from 63.25% for FY22, according to data provided by insurance regulator Irdai. The market share of the insurance behemoth was 66.24% during FY19.  “When you say market share, my understanding is profitable market share. We will grow that,” said LIC chairman Siddhartha Mohanty, at a conference call with analysts and investors, a day after the company declared its fourth quarter results. Mohanty, however, hastened to add that LIC would not ignore the conventional way that market share is defined. LIC on Wednesday reported an over five-fold year-on-year jump in its net profits to Rs 13,427.81 crore on a standalone basis for Q4FY23 as it transferred Rs 7,229.15 crore from non-participating policyholders’ accounts to shareholder’s accounts. On investment in Adani Group Mohanty said its investment policy is in place and a single stock movement does not affect the policy.

And lastly, an update from Dalal Street. The SGX Nifty lost 0.28% in trade on Friday morning, signaling that domestic indices NSE Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex would open on a negative basis. Nifty futures were 52.5 points lower on the Singaporean exchange at 18,414.  Benchmark indices NSE Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex ended the monthly F&O expiry session in green. The Nifty 50 ended near the day’s high, rising 0.20% to 18,321 and BSE Sensex rose 98.84 points to 61,873. HDFC, SAIL, Vedanta, Reliance Industries, Vodafone Idea, ONGC, Sun Pharma are stocks to watch today.

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Business News at 09:30 am on 26th May 2023