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Corporate News - January 2024

RBI approves LIC's acquisition of 9.99% stake in HDFC Bank

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted approval to Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) for acquiring up to 9.99% aggregate holding in HDFC Bank, the nation's largest private sector bank. The approval, based on LIC's application to RBI, is subject to various conditions. As per the RBI directive, LIC is advised to complete the acquisition of the aforementioned major shareholder in HDFC bank within one year by January 24, 2025. Furthermore, LIC must ensure that its aggregate holding in the bank does not surpass 9.99% of the paid up share capital or voting rights of HDFC bank at any given time.

Shell to exit Nigeria's troubled onshore oil after nearly a century

British energy giant, Shell, is set to conclude nearly a century of onshore oil and gas operations in Nigeria, announcing the sale of its subsidiary to a consortium of mostly local companies for up to $2.4 billion. This agreement marks an important milestone for Shell in Nigeria, aligning with its previously announced intent to exit onshore oil production in the Niger Delta, simplifying its portfolio and focusing future disciplined investment in Nigeria on its Deepwater and Integrated Gas positions. The buyers, the Renaissance consortium comprises ND Western, Aradel Energy, First E&P, Waltersmith, all local oil exploration and production companies, and Petrolin, a Swiss-based trading and Investment Company.

Tata Consumer Products acquires 100% stake in Capital Foods for 5,100 crore

Tata Consumer Products Ltd. (TCPL) announced its plans to acquire a 100% stake in Capital Foods for Rs.5,100 crore. The deal includes an initial 75% equity purchase, with the remaining 25% to be acquired within the next three years. Capital Foods is known for brands such as Ching's Secret and Smith & Jones. TCPL said that this acquisition will empower the company to broaden its product offerings and enhance its pantry platform. The combined market size of the categories within which Capital Foods operates is estimated to be Rs.21,400 crore.

Synopsys to buy engineering software firm Ansys in $35 billion deal

Synopsys announced its acquisition of Ansys in a cash-and-stock deal worth around $35 billion. The deal is one of the biggest tech deals announced in recent years. Synopsys is a semiconductor design and software company, and Ansys is an engineering and product design software firm. Ansys is a Pennsylvania-based company that makes software used to analyze and simulate product designs for electronics manufacturers, carmakers, and defense contractors. Ansys software is used in the creation of products ranging from airplanes to tennis rackets. The tie-up comes at a time when leading companies like Nvidia and Intel are designing much more complex chips that are made of many pieces, as well as designing the massive computing systems that house the chips. Synopsys makes tools to design the chips themselves, a complement to offerings from Anysys, which makes software for evaluating larger electronic systems where those chips end up.

SBI raises $1 Billion from overseas for ESG financing market

State Bank of India (SBI) has raised $1 billion or about 8,300 crore to cater to the domestic ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) financing market. The bank has concluded the issuance of $1 billion ($750 million and green shoe of $250 million) through Syndicated Social Loan. The funds were raised through two tenures: a three-year and a five-year loan. These funds were raised at 80 basis points and 100 basis points over the secured overnight financing rate (SOFR), respectively.

Australia proposes new law requiring mandatory climate reporting for companies

The government of Australia announced the release of new draft legislation which would introduce mandatory climate-related reporting requirements for large and medium sized companies, including disclosures on climate-related risks and opportunities, and on greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain. Under the new requirements, companies would be mandated to report on material climate-related risks and opportunities, metrics and targets including Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions, as well as any governance or risk management processes, controls and procedures of the entity related to these matters. The new proposed legislation would apply to all public companies and large proprietary companies required to provide audited annual financial reports to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) that meet specific size thresholds, starting with companies with over 500 employees, revenues over $500 million or assets over $1 billion, as well as asset owners with more than $5 billion in assets, which would begin reporting for fiscal years starting from July 1, 2024.

Coca-Cola and Reliance Retail launch a circular economy initiative in India

Coca-Cola India and India's largest retailer, Reliance Retail, announced the launch of a sustainability initiative titled 'Bhool Na Jana, Plastic Bottle Lautana', focused on post-consumer PET collection at Reliance Retail stores in Mumbai through Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) and collection bins. With a vision for a circular economy, this pilot project, aligned with the Government's Swachh Bharat Mission, has commenced in 36 Reliance Retail stores including Smart Bazaar and Sahakari Bhandar stores in Mumbai and Delhi, and will expand to 200 stores across the country by 2025 with a target of collecting 5,00,000 PET bottles annually in the pilot phase.

India plans 'Bharat Park' trade zone in UAE for global showcase

The Indian government is planning to build a commercial zone in the UAE called 'Bharat Park'. The park will include showrooms and warehouses for displaying and storing Indian-made items for a global audience. The park will facilitate international transactions and will enable other countries to easily purchase Indian goods. This initiative is expected to provide a significant boost to Indian exports and further strengthen the country's position in the global market.

India and France agree on a mutually beneficial defence industrial partnership roadmap

Defence sectors in India and France are set to come closer, with the two countries finalizing a defence industrial road map during French president Mr. Emmanuel Macron's visit to India. The road map is expected to help the Indian and French defence sectors partner in projects requiring joint design and production. It will focus on air, space, maritime, land warfare, robotics and artificial intelligence technology, besides other areas. The two sides also agreed to sign a letter of intent to boost defence space cooperation.

Mr. Vinay Kumar Tripathi appointed as new Chairman and CEO of the Railway Board

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Mr. Vinay Kumar Tripathi, General Manager, North Eastern Railway to the post of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Railway Board, New Delhi. Mr. Tripathi did B.Tech (Electrical Engineering) from IIT- Roorkee and joined railways through the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE) batch of 1983. Mr. Tripathi has wide experience in railway management and administration.

Vodafone Idea Director Mr. P. Balaji moves to Air India

Vodafone Idea director (regulatory and corporate affairs) Mr. P. Balaji has resigned the telecom operator, and has joined Air India in a newly created role of Group Head (governance, regulatory, compliance and corporate affairs). He was the key person at Vodafone Idea interacting with officials in the government. Mr. Balaji assumed his role on January 11, 2024 and reports to the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Mr. Campbell Wilson.

CoRover.Ai introduces BharatGPT, India's first Large Language Model

CoRover.ai, a leading player in the Conversational AI space, has recently introduced BharatGPT, India's first Large Language Model (LLM). This groundbreaking development aims to revolutionize AI conversations across 22 Indian languages, addressing the language diversity challenges prevalent in the country. Positioned as an Indigenous Generative AI platform, BharatGPT integrates seamlessly with both voice and text modalities, offering a unique solution to the complexities of linguistic diversity.

Microsoft's 'AI Odyssey' to upskill 100,000 Indian developers: boosting AI talent in India

Microsoft has announced the launch of an initiative called AI Odyssey, to train 100,000 developers in India in AI tools and applications. The month-long program held in January was open to all AI enthusiasts regardless of their background or experience in the industry. The program comprised two levels. The first level of the course showed how Azure AI services can be used to build and deploy AI products and solutions for various use cases. Participants had access to resources like code samples and guides to develop their practical skills. In the second level, they were tested via an online assessment with interactive lab tasks that earned them Microsoft Applied Skills credentials.

PFRDA has modified rules enabling subscribers to withdraw partial amounts from their pension wealth in the National Pension System

The Authority has issued a master circular dated January 12, 2024 to facilitate partial withdrawals and guarantee compliance with legislation. Subscribers can withdraw up to 25% of their individual pension account contributions (excluding employer contributions) upon filing the withdrawal form. Partial withdrawals are allowed for a few specified purposes such marriage, higher education, treatment of specified illnesses, purchase, or construction of a residential house, expenses for start-up, etc.

SEBI launches information database on Municipal Bond

The Securities and Exchange Board o f India (SEBI) launched an information database on municipal bonds. The database is available on SEBI's website and contains information such as Statistics, Regulations, Circulars, Guidance notes, FAQs. The database is intended to help municipal debt issuers and other stakeholders in the municipal debt market.

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