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Voda Idea dips 11% as SC rejects telcos’ plea for new schedule for AGR dues



Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices had filed modification applications on the time schedule to make payments of over Rs 1 trillion that they owe to DoT as AGR

SI Reporter  |  Mumbai 

Shares of reversed their early morning gains and dipped 11 per cent to Rs 3.96 on the BSE on Friday after the Supreme Court rejected the telcos’ plea seeking new schedule of adjusted gross revenues (AGR) payments.

Coming down heavily on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for not taking coercive action against telcos for failing to repay, the apex court ordered contempt proceedings against Bharti Airtel and READ MORE

Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices had filed modification applications on the time schedule to make payments of over Rs 1 trillion that they owe to DoT as AGR.

The apex court also pulled up the DoT desk officer who wrote to the Attorney General asking him to not insist on payemnt of dues. The SC issued a contempt notice to the officer to explain why no action should be initiated against him.

The court summoned managing director, director of all telcos including Bharti Airtel, and others on March 17 to explain why these dues were not deposited despite orders and why contempt action must not be taken against them for non-compliance of order.

Other telecom stocks also declined. Bharti Infratel slipped 5 per cent to Rs 227.95 while Tata Teleservices was locked in 10 per cent lower circuit at Rs 3.28. Bharti Airtel also slipped 1 per cent before quickly paring the losses.

Yesterday, Vodafone Idea had also reported a consolidated loss of Rs 6,439 crore for the December quarter (Q3FY20). The telecom services provider had posted loss of Rs 5,005 crore in the same quarter of last fiscal.

In two weeks prior to the Q3 results, Vodafone Idea’s stock had underperformed the market by falling 24 per cent, as compared to a marginal 0.18 per cent rise in the S&P BSE Sensex. It hit an all-time low of Rs 2.61 on November 15, 2019 on the BSE.

Vodafone Idea posted revenues of Rs 11,089 crore during the quarter under review, down 6 per cent over the year-ago quarter, and this was in line with analyst estimates.

However, on a sequential basis, the company posted a growth rate of 2.3 per cent. While the price hike has not so far been reflected in the performance, the gains on a sequential basis were led by 4G additions and improvement in average revenue per user (ARPU). While 4G addition growth was 9.4 per cent, ARPU growth was 1.8 per cent. On a YoY basis, ARPUs were up 22 per cent.

In Q3FY20, the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda) margins (excluding Ind AS 116 impact) stood at 11.6 per cent vs 10.2 per cent in Q2FY20.

First Published: Fri, February 14 2020. 10:34 IST

Source: Business Standard


India breathes easy in lockdown: 90 cities record dip in air pollution




The government has urged people to avoid unnecessary travelling, significantly reducing the traffic movement across the country.

With a nationwide lockdown in place, over 90 cities, including Delhi, recorded minimal air pollution in the last few days.

Welcoming the reduction in pollution, environmentalists urged the government to treat it as a “wake-up call” and stop its “obsession” with “development” at the cost of the environment.

India is currently under the biggest lockdown with around 130 crore people asked to stay home in view of the outbreak, which has claimed 19 lives and infected over 900 people in the country.

The government has urged people to avoid unnecessary travelling, significantly reducing the traffic movement across the country.

According to the Centre-run System of and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the impact of the measures taken due to the outbreak has resulted in a drop in PM2.5 (fine particulate pollutant) by 30 per cent in Delhi and by 15 per cent in Ahmedabad and Pune.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus LIVE: PM to speak on Mann Ki Baat, explain 21-day lockdown

The level of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) pollution, which can increase the risk of respiratory conditions, has also reduced. NOx pollution is mainly caused due to a high motor vehicle traffic. In Pune, NOx pollution has reduced by 43 per cent, in Mumbai, by 38 per cent and in Ahmedabad, by 50 per cent.

Gufran Beig, a scientist at SAFAR, said generally in March, pollution is in the “moderate” category ( Index range: 100-200) while presently, it is in the “satisfactory” (AQI 50-100) or “good” (AQI 0-50) category.

“It is the lockdown impact. Local factors like shutting down of industries and construction and traffic have contributed in improving the Rain is also helping, but the curbs on local emissions are playing a significant role,” he said.

Under the “good” category, pollution is considered to be at the lowest and the air is believed to be the healthiest to breathe.

According to the data of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality in the national capital is presently in the “good” category. In Kanpur, which has high pollution levels, it is in the “satisfactory” category. Moreover,92 other cities with CPCB monitoring centres have recorded minimal air pollution, with the air quality in the range of “good” to “satisfactory”.

As many as 39 cities have recorded “good” air quality and 51 cities have recorded “satisfactory” air quality in the last few days, the CPCB data showed.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 severe.

Environmentalists believe that the reduced pollution levels should act as a wake-up call for the government.

Jyoti Pande Lavakare, co-founder, Care for Air NGO, said the low AQI and the blue skies proved beyond doubt that a lot of the polluted air was “anthropomorphic, that is, man-made”.

“Obviously, slowing down the economy to such a degree is not the ideal way to bring down air pollution, but at least it proves that it can be done. We can achieve the same outcome by doing this mindfully, using technology and low-emission alternatives,” she said.

Lavakare emphasised on the need to realise that air pollution weakens the lungs, so countries like India with higher pollution and lower nutrition levels will be more affected by COVID-19, and morbidity and deaths are likely to be higher.

Ravina Kohli, environmentalist and part of the #MyRightToBreathe campaign, said it was a “huge wake-up call” for governments obsessed with development at the cost of the environment.

“We the people are the problem. Our communication on solutions now also includes how to reduce pollution at a personal level by being able to understand our behaviour and its consequences on our environment.

“For the first time, I believe our present generation will discover the critical importance and need for a focus on public health and the quality of air we breathe,” she said.

Jai Dhar Gupta, environmentalist and founder of Nirvana Being that sells masks and purifiers to combat pollution, said humans need to figure out if they wish to go back to the normal that was there before or find a more sustainable normal.

“This has been a fantastic wake-up call and I think we had a reality check and we need to figure out a new normal. This is an opportunity, a chance to find a new sustainable life,” he said.

First Published: Sun, March 29 2020. 10:31 IST

Source: Business Standard

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FPIs pull out over Rs 1 trillion in March over coronavirus scare




This is also the highest withdrawal ever since the FPI data was made available on National Securities Depository Ltd.

As the pandemic is triggering fears of a global recession, have started rowing back from the Indian capital by withdrawing a massive over Rs 1 lakh crore in March after remaining net buyers for six consecutive months.

In order to contain the spread of coronavirus, lockdowns have become a norm world over and have led the FPIs to adopt a cautious stance, market experts said.

The depositories data showed that a net amount of Rs 59,377 crore was pulled out from equities and Rs 52,811 crore was withdrawn from the debt segment by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) between March 2-27.

The total net outflow stood at Rs 1,12,188 crore in March, which comes after six consecutive months of investment by FPIs since September 2019.

This is also the highest withdrawal ever since the FPI data was made available on National Securities Depository Ltd.

“With complete lockdown announced by the government, the businesses and trade have come to a halt, which could further slow down the pace of domestic economic growth,” said Himanshu Srivastava, senior analyst – manager research at Morningstar India.

On March 24, Prime Minister announced a nationwide lockdown for 21 days as part of efforts to stem the outbreak of infections.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus LIVE: PM to speak on Mann Ki Baat, explain 21-day lockdown

“While the world has intensified its fight against coronavirus, the signs of it abetting is yet to be observed. Though several measures have been announced to fight the disease and resources have been put in place, the concerns about the global economy witnessing a prolonged downturn have gained momentum. This is what is keeping away from emerging like India, which are considered to be more susceptible towards these events,” Srivastava added.

In the current scenario, FPIs have preferred to take a flight to safer investment options, such as dollar denominated asset classes and gold, as against investing in fixed income securities of emerging like India, he said.

Regarding the future of FPI flows, he said the situation should stabilize as and when there are visible signs of coming under control. However, until then, this will continue to be one of the major focus areas for FPIs, since it may have a more serious impact on the already slowing global economy.

According to Harsh Jain, co-founder and COO, Groww, “measures announced by the Finance Minister and RBI are encouraging but we will have to wait and see what impact it will have. We have to keep an eye on future announcements and their effects on the economy.

First Published: Sun, March 29 2020. 09:53 IST

Source: Business Standard

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China reports 45 new coronavirus cases, death toll rises to 3,305




has reported 45 new cases including one locally transmitted case while the death toll due to Covid-19 reached 3,300 with five new fatalities, health officials said Sunday.

The new domestically transmitted case was reported in Henan province on Saturday, the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) said.

The five new fatalities were all reported from the epicentre Hubei province, taking the death toll to 3,300, it said.

With 44 new imported cases, their number has gone up to 693, the NHS said.

The overall confirmed cases on the mainland has reached 81,439 by the end of Saturday. This included 3,300 people who have died, 2,691 patients still undergoing treatment and 75,448 discharged after treatment.

The condition of the 742 people in hospital is severe, the NHS said, adding that 174 people are still suspected of being infected with the virus.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus death toll in Europe crosses 20,000, Italy, Spain worst hit

By the end of Saturday, 582 confirmed cases including four deaths have been reported in Hong Kong, 37 in Macao and 283 in Taiwan including two deaths, it said.

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak first emerged, began lifting a two-month lockdown on Saturday by restarting some metro services and reopening borders, allowing some semblance of normality to return and families to reunite.

After being cut-off from the rest of the country for two months, the reopening of Wuhan marks a turning point in China’s fight against the virus, though the contagion has since spread to over 200 countries.

The country has cancelled visas for foreigners, restricted flights, imposed strict quarantine procedures for people returning from abroad to prevent the second wave of the attack in the country.

According to multiple reports, more than 30,500 people have died due to the disease across over 170 countries. Italy has the highest number of deaths at 10,023, followed by Spain 5,982 and 3,350.

The United States leads in the number of Covid-19 with 123,750 infections confirmed so far, followed by Italy (92,472) and (81,439).

First Published: Sun, March 29 2020. 09:40 IST

Source: Business Standard

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