Lohia Group invests Rs 100 cr in aerospace and defence plant in Kanpur

Source: Business Standard, Jan 27, 2019

Lucknow: The Lohia Group has invested nearly Rs 100 crore in a greenfield aerospace and defence hardware plant in Kanpur.

The Group expects the commercial production to begin from March 2020, company’s director Anurag Lohia told Business Standard today.

“We will produce composite parts for the aerospace and defence manufacturers at our plant, which is spread over about 10 acres of land in Kanpur industrial area,” he informed.

The plant, which is an export-oriented unit, will be positioned to showcase the ‘Make in India’ capabilities of Uttar Pradesh, especially in the defence manufacturing sector.

Lohia has already signed an offset memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel’s largest defence company for sourcing of structural parts and components for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and cargo aircraft. It is also in ‘advanced’ talks with a European firm for supplying military-grade carbon composites.

“While commercial production will commence in March 2020, we are currently manufacturing components and hardware for display at the Defence Expo (DefExpo) in Lucknow next month,” Lohia added.

The 11th edition of DefExpo, India’s premier biennial land, naval and internal security exhibition being held between February 5 and 8, will cover the entire spectrum of the country’s aerospace, defence and security interests.

Top defence manufacturers from the US, Russia, Australia, Israel and Germany are expected to participate in the event, which is being organised in Lucknow at the initiative of defence minister Rajnath Singh, who represents the constituency in Lok Sabha.

In his recent visit to Lucknow, Singh had said this edition of Expo would be the largest in terms of the exhibition area and number of national and international participants, apart from the value of MoU likely to be signed.

India is the world’s largest military hardware importer and among the top military spenders.

For meeting modernisation needs of the armed forces, India will acquire equipment worth $250 billion by 2027, however, the current delivery capacity of the domestic defence sector is merely $75-80 billion annually, indicating huge potential for indigenous industry.

“We identified composites as the cutting-edge technology that we wanted to bring to India.

This critical and strategic technology is for the world of tomorrow and we wanted India future ready,” Lohia noted.

In February 2019, the Group had acquired Israel-based Light & Strong Limited, Israel’s largest private producer of aerospace focused carbon fibre composite components for Israel’s aerospace and defence industry.

“In this process, we became the first Indian company to acquire and own an international composites company,” he informed adding Lohia had hired an Israeli composites expert for 2 years for executing the technology transfer from Israel to India. Under the ‘Skill India’ initiative, the company has recruited 30 people from UP and sent them for training at its Israeli facility for six months.

Japan's NTT to invest estimated $1.5 billion in data centres in India

Source: Business Standard, Jan 22, 2019

Mumbai: Japanese tech major NTT on Wednesday said a significant part of its USD 7 billion global commitment for data centres business would be spent in India over the next four years.

The company also feels that there will be margin compression issues for the data centres business in India as capacity supply goes up along with an increase in competition, NTT’s country chief executive for global data centres and cloud infrastructure, Sharad Sanghi, told PTI.

In the last few months, a string of corporates, including the Adani Group, Hiranandanis and Reliance Industries have announced investments in data centres, on the back of regulatory moves like data sovereignity which makes it incumbent upon financial institutions to house their data locally.

“India is the fastest growing region for NTT and a substantial amount of the USD 7 billion commitment will be invested here,” Sanghi said.

When asked if the money will be equally split between the four regions the company operates in, Sanghi said the overall investments are bound to be shared proportionately, hinting that over USD 1.5 billion or nearly Rs 11,000 crore will come into India.

The company, whose revenues have been growing at 30 per cent every year, is targeting to more than double its capacity in the next three years through the investments, Sanghi said.

Its overall capacity, which stands at 1.2 million sq ft at present spread across Mumbai, Noida, Chennai and Bengaluru, will go up by 1.5 million sq ft, he said.

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NTPC to invest Rs 50k crore to add 10GW solar capacity by 2022

Source: Financial Express, Dec 26, 2019

State-owned power giant NTPC is planning to add 10 GW of solar energy generation capacity by 2022, which entails an investment of around Rs 50,000 crore, to be funded mainly by green bonds, a source has said.

At present, NTPC has installed renewable energy capacity of 920 MW, which includes mainly solar energy. It has formulated a long-term plan to become a 130 GW company by 2032 with a 30% non-fossil fuel or renewable energy capacity. “The company will complete tendering of 2,300 MW of solar energy capacity by the end of this fiscal. Thereafter, it has planned to add 4GW each in 2020-21 and 2021-22. “The company is open to any borrowing option in the market, which is economical. However, the company would mainly rely on green bonds which are offered for pure clean energy projects. The company wants to raise money through domestic as well as overseas green bonds,” the source said.

NTPC’s plans to add 10 GW solar energy capacity assumes significance in view of India’s ambitious target of having 175 GW of clean energy by 2022.

The source said that the company would also set up some of its solar energy projects under scheme where it gets viability gap funding to keep the tariff below Rs 3 per unit level.

Besides, the company will also set up solar energy projects without any long term (for 25 years) power purchase agreements (PPAs) as it intends to sell the electricity to industrial as well as commercial consumers and also at energy exchanges, the surce added.

The sector regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Authority (CERC) has already approved the real-time power market, which is expected to kick in by April 1, 2020.

In the real-time power market, there would be 48 sessions of half an hour each in a day.

This will allow consumers to get desired power supply within an hour of buying at the energy exchanges. At present, power is traded for two hours in a day from 10 am to 12 am, where consumer can schedule delivery in a day advance.

The source also said the company intends to capitalise on real time power market, which is just three months away.

Government plans to invest $1.39 trillion in infrastructure to spur economy

Source: The Economic Times, Dec 01, 2019

NEW DELHI: Government will unveil a series of infrastructure projects this month as part of a plan to invest Rs 100 lakh crore ($1.39 trillion) in the sector over the next five years, the finance minister said on Saturday, in a push to improve the country’s economy.

Nirmala Sitharaman’s comments, as cited in local newspapers, followed data released on Friday that showed India’s economic growth slowed to 4.5% in the July-September quarter – its weakest pace since 2013 – upping the pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to speed reforms.

“A set of officers are looking into the pipeline of projects that can be readied so that once the fund is ready, it could be front-loaded on these projects,” Sitharaman said at a business summit in Mumbai, the newspapers reported.

“That task is nearly completed. Before December 15, we will be able to announce front loading of at least ten projects,” she said.

Modi came to power in 2014 on the promise to improve India’s economy and boost foreign investments, but he has struggled to meet those aims due to a lack of structural reforms. Modi won a second term in May and has taken various measures since 2014 to spur growth, including cutting the corporate tax and speeding up privatisation of state-run firms.

But several economic indicators show domestic consumption is weak, and many economists expect the current slowdown could persist for another two years.

AIIB plans $2.5 billion investment in India’s metro, road projects

Source: The Economic Times, Nov 20, 2019

MUMBAI: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is planning to invest up to $2.5 billion in urban transport projects, such as Metro commuter-rail networks and radial roads, giving a boost to New Delhi’s Smart City initiative.

AIIB is in advanced talks with different nodal agencies, including Chennai Metro Rail and the Mumbai Metro Rail Corp, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told ET. The supranational lender is expected to sign financing agreements with these two railroad operators.

It may invest $400 million each in the two metro projects. In Bangalore, it has decided to invest $350 million. “I can confirm we are in talks, but there is still due diligence to be completed and board approvals needed before we can say definitively that these projects will be funded by AIIB,” said Laurel Ostfield, director general, communications, at AIIB.

Current proposals include lending another $500 million to the Mumbai Urban Transport Project 3A (MUTP 3A), which consists of infrastructure projects worth around Rs 34,000 crore. AIIB may also extend credit of $350 million to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority. In a commercial project, AIIB expects an IIR (Internal Rate of Return) of about 10-12%. The global lender, which has a disposable sum of $20 billion, wants to increase the share of lending in India, where banks often shy away from long-term project financing due to billions of dollars in bad loans.

In Chennai, AIIB plans to invest another $400 million in a ring road project that is supposed to connect the main city with its Information Technology hub. “AIIB is keen on India’s urban infrastructure development as it provides long-term financing. It is currently finalising terms of agreements with multiple metro rail corporations and nodal agencies,” said an executive with direct knowledge of the matter.

AIIB now predominantly invests in projects owned by the government. Besides transport and railways, it loans funds to sectors such as energy (transmission) and water. It is now only into dollar-denominated lending but plans to develop a system where it can extend credit in rupee terms. “AIIB is now developing a rupee lending system through hedges and swaps,” DJ Pandian, VP at AIIB, said last week in Mumbai.

Billion-dollar boost: AIIB plans $1 billion investment in India

Source: Financial Express, Nov 16, 2019

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) plans to invest $1 billion funds in India over the next one year. The multilateral development bank has already approved a project loan worth $500 million (Rs 3,589 crore) to Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) towards the development of suburban infrastructure around Mumbai.

“Within the next year or so, (we have committed) at least an additional $1 billion in projects, primarily power and water projects… There is a power distribution project in Assam (with a funding requirement of Rs 400 million), there is also another project in the works in West Bengal,” Laurel Ostfield, director-general, communications, AIIB told FE. AIIB was started by 67 countries, and India is its second largest shareholder in it after China.

The Beijing-headquartered bank also approved $75 million (Rs 538.39 crore) in September to renewable energy financier Tata Cleantech Capital for onward lending to projects. The total committed financing by AIIB in India as of now stands at $2.9 billion (Rs 20,817 crore).

“The MUTP project is mainly to make a four-lane between Virar and Dahanu, and also to introduce a new two-lane from Panvel to Karjat. In addition to that, in 36 places we want to strengthen the crossings,” said D J Pandian, vice president and chief investment officer, AIIB. He added that the MUTP funding will be disbursed after 90% of the land acquisition is completed. Currently, around 50-60% land acquisition is done for the project. The loan for the project will be for a duration of 35 years and local authorities will pay 0.75- 1.40% over the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) as interest, Pandian said.

Apart from MUTP, the bank is in talks with authorities for funding metro railway projects in Mumbai as well. India is the largest borrower from AIIB, with 30% share of the bank’s total lending coming to the country. Pandian said the bank aims total funding approvals to reach $10 billion per annum by 2025, and expects investments into India growing proportionately. Apart from these projects, AIIB has also approved an investment of up to $50 million in Oriental Structural Engineering’s infrastructure investment fund and $100 million funding for L&T Infrastructure Finance.

Uber gives another push to its India plans with Rs 1,767-cr investment

Source: Business Standard, Nov 13, 2019

Bengaluru: Ride-hailing major Uber has infused Rs 1,767 crore in fresh capital into its Indian entity, Uber India Systems Private Limited.20191113-10

According to the company’s regulatory filings sourced from business intelligence platform Paper.vc, Uber India has allotted 11.12 million equity shares, valuing Rs 10 each at a premium of Rs 1,578.20 to the Netherlands-based entities Uber International Holding BV and Uber International BV.

The board of directors of Uber India passed this resolution at a meeting held on October 29, 2019, the company filing says. This was around the time Uber Technologies’ Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi was on a visit to India.

Uber has already transferred its Indian ride sharing and Uber Eats business to Indian entity Uber India System from the Netherlands entity. The capital infusion is expected to bolster its presence in the country by funding its key businesses to take on Indian rival Ola.

“This is the single-largest foreign direct investment by Uber into its Indian operations and follows the transfer of its India business from a Dutch entity to an Indian entity,” said Vivek Durai, founder of Paper.vc.

In its board meeting held on October 1, Uber India board had passed a resolution to allot close to 15.99 million shares to Uber BV with a face value of Rs 10 and premium of Rs 1578.20 each, to raise Rs 2,539 crore, according to data sourced from business intelligence platform Tofler. “We estimate that a large part of this allocation would go towards to (Uber) Eats business, therefore posing a direct challenge to other food delivery companies such as Swiggy and Zomato,” said Durai of Paper.vc.

Last month, Khosrowshahi was in Delhi to announce a partnership with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) under which the Uber app would get integrated with the city’s Metro and public bus service to provide commuters a seamless experience while travelling from one point to another.

The company is planning to double the headcount of its Hyderabad and Bengaluru research and development (R&D) centres to 1,000.

It has already developed key products like Uber Lite for the India market, which is now being used globally.

The mega capital infusion by Uber into its India arm comes at a time when rival Ola is coming up with a slew of new products and services.

Last month, the Bengaluru-headquartered firm unveiled ‘Ola Drive’, a self-drive car-sharing service, with a plan to host a fleet of 20,000 cars by 2020. Ola plans to invest $200 million for the new platform initially and raise the investment to up to $500 million in the next couple of years. The company is also planning to launch a portfolio of in-house food brands and take them across the country.