By Abhiruchi Ranjan
Air India might have found a taker after Qatar Airways seems to be looking at buying a stake. In other news, Facebook has zeroed down on Singapore to set up its data centre worth $1 billion. Here are some business stories you may have missed last week.
Air France-KLM looks to reinforce its association with Jet Airways
Despite Jet Airways’ reporting consecutive losses, Air France-KLM is looking at strengthening its alliance with the distressed carrier. KLM’s President and Chief Executive Officer Pieter Elbers is keen on utilising its three-year-old partnership to attain double-digit growth in Indian and North American air travel markets. After working on connections and code-share on each other’s networks by connecting India to the vast Trans-Atlantic network via Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol hubs, the airlines are looking at aligning their frequent flyer programmes. However, Elbers refrained from commenting regarding Air France-KLM investing in the Indian carrier.
Vodafone Idea to recover its Rs 72.49 billion from DoT
After the telecom industry witnessed the largest merger and acquisition, Vodafone Idea is set to take its first big regulatory move. The newly created entity is expected to move Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to recover nearly Rs 72.49 billion that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had forced them to pay to give them a go-ahead for the merger.
The DoT claimed the money on grounds of one-time spectrum charges and other spectrum-related dues from Idea Cellular and Vodafone India, with Rs 39 billion being in cash and Rs 33 billion being a bank guarantee. It is imperative for the telecom giant to have the money as it would strengthen their balance sheet and enable them to take on competitors Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio effectively.
Qatar Airways willing to invest in Air India sans baggage
There might be light at the end of the tunnel for Air India. Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker stated that the airline would be interested in the divestment plans provided they had a strong partner and the ‘baggage’ of subsidiaries such as Air India Express and ground handling company Air India Singapore Airport Terminal Services were not part of the deal. Baker believes that the civil aviation ministry has been unfair towards granting Qatar Airways by not increasing bilateral rights. The Indian government wished to wind up the 76% stake sale of the national carrier May 31, 2018, however, failed to attract any bidders.
Facebook to set up $1 billion data centre in Singapore
Facebook has chosen Singapore as its location to set up its new data centre. The facility which is estimated to cost over $1 billion would be ready by 2022. This decision has manifested the country’s popularity with many large tech firms which have their headquarters there. The building has been designed as an 11-storied structure that would be powered by 100% renewable energy and aimed to minimise water and power consumption.
The tech giant’s decision to have its data centre in Singapore is being viewed as a positive move towards boosting local employment and the recognised technological hub of Asia is ideal for connectivity to China, Hong Kong and Australia. The downside being, this decision is being viewed as a snub to India.
SEBI and NRI-PIO fund managers at loggerheads
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) restated that the H R Khan Committee would go over the issues raised by a group of non-resident Indians and people of Indian origin (PIOs) who manage funds abroad that are invested in the domestic market. The committee was set up by market regulators in order to review the rules and regulations for foreign portfolio investors (FPIs).
The group of NRI-PIO fund managers have voiced their concerns that if SEBI didn’t lift its restrictions on the ownership of their India shares, close to $75 billion worth of funds would flow out of Indian markets. SEBI retaliated by criticising the group for their estimate on the quantum of funds and terming the regulator as ‘racial’.
Abhiruchi Ranjan is a writing analyst at Qrius