India may see $150 billion investment in hydrogen sector in 10 years, says RIL official

Source: Financial Express, 22 June 2022

India provides immense opportunities in the field of hydrogen and is likely to attract an investment of up to USD 150 billion, a RIL official said on Wednesday.

The industry has the potential to generate lakhs of job opportunities, Kapil Maheshwari, President, New Energy, Reliance Industries Limited, told PTI on the sidelines of the BNEF Summit.

When asked about the investment potential of the hydrogen sector, he said, “Opportunities exist. We (India) are already a market of 6-7 million tonnes that’s not small. In 10 years, 150-200 billion dollars could come (as an investment) and lakhs of jobs will be generated.” Earlier, industry players in a panel discussion on ‘India’s Hydrogen Opportunity’, stressed taking certain measures in the form of “penalty and taxes” by the government to create demand for hydrogen in India.

“The government should do something about the creation of demand for hydrogen by putting in obligations, carbon taxes, penalty taxes till the market adopts it,” Maheshwari said.

Besides, there is a need for policies which remain uniform in nature as it will build confidence among investors, he said.

“Make policies which are certain. No uncertainty in policies or changes so that an investor gets confidence that this is where I am investing and I will get my return on investments,” Maheshwari said.

Naresh Lalwani, Head of Strategy, Planning & Diligence, JSW Steel, said there is a need for public funding for the creation of the ecosystem of hydrogen.

He also said that there is a need to focus on production and the cost of hydrogen which is at USD 3-4 per kg at present. Technologies to produce hydrogen at a low cost must be developed and adopted.

Speaking on the use of hydrogen in the manufacturing of steel, he said, “If steel is produced using hydrogen at USD 3-4 per kg, the price of steel will go up by six times.”

Elest to set up India’s first display fab in Telangana

Source: The Hindu Businessline, 12 June 2022

To manufacture advanced AMOLED displays at an investment of ₹24,000 crore
Telangana’s dream to emerge India’s FAB Hub got a boost with Bengaluru-based Elest deciding to set up India’s first display fab for manufacturing advanced AMOLED displays at an investment of ₹24,000 crore in the State.

It will supply AMOLED displays to TV, smartphone and tablet makers globally.

Speaking at the occasion here on Sunday, Telangana Industries & IT Minister K T Rama Rao said: “Having a Display FAB in Telangana would put India on a global map at par with select few countries such as China, USA, and Japan. Since the announcement of India Semiconductor Mission, Government of Telangana has been working on a mission mode to have a Fab in the State and this investment will provide us further encouragement to continue our efforts.”

The State government is confident that having a Display Fab will be a major boost to the thriving Electronics and IT ecosystem in the State and its ancillaries, he said.

Elest has been incorporated by the promoters of Rajesh Exports, a Global Fortune 500 company, specifically for the purpose of manufacturing innovative technology products such as AMOLED displays, Lithium-ion cells, batteries, and EVs. Elest would be setting up the Display FAB in technological association and with technology inputs from some of the most advanced and finest research centres across the world.

With the announcement of this investment, Telangana emerges a front-runner in the semiconductor and Display Fab sector. It is one of the largest investments in the country’s electronics sector and the largest ever investment by size in the State.

Attracting global talents
The Display FAB would be set up under the India Semiconductor Mission programme of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology. Chairman of Rajesh Exports Rajesh Mehta said, “the Display FAB in Telangana would attract some of finest global talents in the next generation technology and would generate direct opportunity to more than 3000 people including scientists and advanced technology professionals. It would create a much larger ecosystem of partners, ancillaries, suppliers, generating thousands of jobs. Elest is confident that the setting up of the Gen6 AMOLED Display manufacturing facility will generate a global interest and would ensure future technology growth in our country.”

Elest would also be setting up a Research and Development centre for research in the next generation areas of advanced display technology.

Piyush Goyal meets global leaders, pitches India among best investment destinations

Source: Economic Times, 24 May 2022

Pitching India as one of the best investment destinations globally, Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday asked global business leaders at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting to “come to India and grow with India”.

Goyal, who has been meeting a host of global leaders here since Saturday, reiterated India’s position as one of the world’s most preferred investment destinations and told them about the massive scope and range of opportunities it presents to investors globally.

The Commerce and Industry Minister, who addressed a breakfast session on Tuesday morning, said there was so much interest in India among those present here that he was finding it hard to adjust his calendar, but was trying to accommodate everyone as all of them are important and are keen to make large investments.

On Monday evening, he also met John Kerry and discussed future tracks for India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership.

In his meeting with Deutsche Bank chairman-elect Alexander R Wynaendts, he discussed how the financial institution can further complement the Indian government’s sustainable growth agenda.

The two leaders also explored how digitisation can aid businesses pursue environment, social and governance-linked goals.

He also addressed a global investors roundtable here.

His other meetings included those with Standard Chartered Bank Group CEO Bill Winters, Micron Technology CEO Sanjay Mehrotra and Brookfield Asset Management CEO Bruce Flatt.

Exide announces Rs 6000 Cr investment in lithium-ion cell unit in Bengaluru

Source: Economic Times, 31 March 2022

Exide Industries on Thursday announced that it will invest about Rs 6000 crore in a state-of-the-art lithium-ion cell manufacturing unit in Karnataka.

The battery manufacturer’s announcement followed a meeting between its managing director Subir Chakraborty and chief minister Basavaraj Bommai. The project is expected to add about 1400 jobs.

The battery maker has proposed one of India’s largest giga factories for advanced cell chemistry technology. The company has sought 80 acres of land at Haraluru industrial area near the Bengaluru international airport.

Industries Minister Murugesh R Nirani welcomed the investment and said the government will extend support to see early commissioning of the project. He also assured the investors that Karnataka provided them with the best investor friendly climate and cited the highest FDI inflows in the last three quarters as evidence to this.

Industrial Development Commissioner Gunjan Krishna said Exide’s proposed venture will help the state to build products for a global market. The government, she added, will do its best to encourage big ticket investments around Bengaluru.

India, France push blue economy & investment partnership

Source: Economic Times, 21 December 2021

François Delattre, Secretary-General, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, is on an official visit to India from December 20-22. The visit comes on the heels of the Annual Defence Dialogue held on December 17 in New Delhi between Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister and Florence Parly, French Minister for Armed Forces.

Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, had bilateral talks with the Secretary-General on December 21. Both sides took stock of the bilateral relationship and discussed the potential for cooperation in sectors such as defence and security, space, cybersecurity and the digital economy, blue economy, education and people-to-people contacts, energy, health and climate change. Ambassadors of India and France joined the talks.

India’s trade with France has witnessed a steady rise in the last decade reaching USD 10.75 billion in 2020. Despite the pandemic, it is estimated that bilateral trade between the two countries in 2021 has reached USD 8.85 billion. To tap the full potential of bilateral trade and economic relations, both sides reiterated their commitment to restarting negotiations on the India-EU Free Trade Agreement.

France has emerged as a major source of FDI for India with more than 1,000 French establishments already present in India. France is the 11th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative investment of USD 9.86 billion from April 2000 to June 2021 which represents 1.80% of the total FDI inflows into India. Most big French groups have their subsidiaries in India such as BNP Paribas, Capgemini, Airbus, Dassault, Arkema, L’Oréal, Sanofi, Total, etc. There are around 200 subsidiaries of Indian businesses established in France, which employ more than 6,000 people. Among Indian investments in France, majority are in IT services, pharmaceuticals/biotechnologies and hospitality sectors.

Reaffirming their shared commitment to a multipolar world and faith in multilateralism, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary-General also held discussions on a number of regional and global issues of mutual interest, including cooperation in the European Union in view of the forthcoming French Presidency, Indo-Pacific, UNSC, situation in Afghanistan, among others, according to officials.

Delattre will be visiting Mumbai on December 21-22, where he will meet other Indian officials.

UAE based retail giant, Lulu Group will invest Rs. 2,000 crore in Gujarat to set up a shopping mall

Source: Economic Times, 11 December 2021

This was announced during a meeting between Bhupendra Patel, Chief Minister of Gujarat and Yusuff Ali MA in Dubai. An MOU in this regard was signed by Rajiv Kumar Gupta, additional chief secretary signed on behalf of Gujarat Government and Yusuff Ali CMD of Lulu Group.

According to the MOU, Lulu will set up a shopping mall between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar which will create employment to more than 5,000 people. The construction is expected to start by the first quarter of 2022 and be completed in 30 months.

Government of Gujarat will facilitate Lulu Group with all necessary assistance and clearances and also depute a senior IAS official to follow up the procedures.

Apart from this, Lulu Group will also set up food processing and logistics centers in Baroda and Surat for exports.

“The government will make every effort to ensure that land and any other assistance is provided to the group so that they can begin work,” said the Chief Minister.

“Gujarat holds a very special place in my heart, this is where I first learnt the basics of business as my father had family business in Ahmedabad. So I feel very excited to invest in Gujarat and hope we can expand further in this Vibrant state,” said Ali.

The group has also recently opened Lulu Hypermarket in Bangalore, spread across 2 lakh sq ft, while Funtura is set up across 60,000 sq ft – the largest indoor entertainment zone in India.

Lulu currently operates more than 220 hypermarkets and shopping malls in the Middle East, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. Globally, Lulu Group employs more than 57, 000 people. Lulu hypermarkets and department stores have a 32 per cent share of the retail market in Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

The group also has invested in India’s retail market with malls in Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. Group’s latest mall is slated to be opened by next week at Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram while Lucknow Lulu Mall is expected to be open for shopping by march 2022.

RBI wants tax sops for Retail Direct Scheme investments, may approach govt

Source: Economic Times, 15 November 2021

The central bank is likely to approach the Centre to secure tax benefits for retail investments in sovereign securities under the Retail Direct Scheme (RDS), which takes India into an elite club of nations democratising ownership of government debt.

About 20,314 accounts to own government securities have already been opened till 9 pm on Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the programme Friday.

Tax exemptions, people familiar with the matter told ET, have the potential to burnish the allure of the scheme. Experts believe it could also attract global fintech companies such as BondEvalue. The Singapore-based company, which runs the world’s first fractional bond exchange, is keen to enter India after the central bank launched the programme.

“If retail taxation of direct debt investments is brought in line with investing through debt funds, we should see some retail interest emerging,” said Ananth Narayan, associate professor at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research. “This could in turn attract intermediaries including global and local fintech companies. Also currently, small savings schemes offer much higher rates than GoI securities.”

Not as Successful as Equities
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did not respond to ET’s mailed query.

BondEvalue, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has already reached out to local fintech companies and banks to start in Mumbai immediately after New Delhi’s formal announcement.

“We will soon be opening our first India office in Mumbai,” said Rahul Banerjee, CEO, BondEvalue. “We see massive demand from NRIs globally to invest in India. Using our digital platform, we want to allow every man’s money to be invested in government securities and government linked securities.”

Bonds globally haven’t been as successful as equities in drawing retail investors. However, countries such as Japan have funded their development using domestic retail bond markets. The US and Brazil, too, have put in dedicated efforts.

In India, fixed-income products such as small savings schemes or debt mutual funds offer better returns with similar tax structures.

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana accounts, for instance, earn 7.6% while the Debt GILT funds offer on average 8.77% through a 10-year period, show data from Valueresearch Online. By contrast, benchmark bonds now yield 6.36%.

“Retail Direct needs awareness among senior citizens who can benefit from it,” said Vikram Dalal, CEO at Synergee Capital. “A tax break is also needed to bring parity with existing savings plans, including mutual fund debt schemes. GOI bonds can be an alternative to LIC annuity plans as retail investors can invest in the longest maturity until 2061.”

If an investor sells bonds from a demat account after holding them for more than a year, s/he will have to pay a 10% capital gain tax on investment appreciation. Moreover, the annual coupon rate is taxed as per income tax slabs. Collectively, that eats into investment returns. In the February credit policy, Governor Shaktikanta Das had suggested retail participation in government bonds. While the minimum investment is ₹10,000, the maximum a retail saver can invest is ₹2 crore per security without tax breaks.

Rs 3.9 lakh crore alcohol beverage market to grow at 6.8 pc: ICRIER

Source: Economic Times, 16 August 2021

India is one of the fastest growing alcoholic beverages markets globally with an estimated market size of 52.5 billion dollars (about Rs 3.9 lakh crore), the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) has said.

The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8 per cent till 2023, it said. The industry contributes to around 15 lakh jobs.

ICRIER said over 70 per cent of the growth in alcoholic beverages consumption in India in the next decade will be driven by the lower middle and upper middle-income groups, and there is a growing trend towards product premiumisation.

The sector is open to foreign investments and many states offer subsidies for local manufacturing (like Maharashtra and Karnataka for wines).

From the demand side, said ICRIER, factors such as rapid urbanisation, changing consumer preferences and a sizeable and growing middle-class population with increased purchasing power have contributed towardsgrowth in demand for alcoholic beverages.

The number of people consuming alcohol increased from 21.9 crore in 2005 to 29.3 crore in 2018 and is projected to increase to 38.6 crore by 2030.

The share of the upper-middle income group in alcohol consumption has increased steadily from 7 per cent to 21 per cent and is expected to increase to 44 per cent by 2030.

Alcoholic beverages are among the top three sources of revenue earning across most states.

Yet, said ICRIER, there seems to be a lack of transparency, predictability and clarity in the tax regime to ensure that revenue earning objective is aligned with other objectives of the government like ‘Make in India’ and exports from India.

The governance and pricing models for alcoholic beverages vary widely across the states. The statesthrough their excise policies, control the entire supply chain of alcoholic beverages from manufacturing and distribution to registration and retail.

ICRIER said there are frequent and ad-hoc changes in these policies, creating uncertainty and preventing manufacturers/distillers to plan their investment.

Hence there is need for adopting clear and predictable policies, develop data-driven models and technology interventions.

The government should focus on phased tariff and other duties reduction and Indian companies should beencouraged to export to improve the trade balance. Duty reduction for intermediate products can enhancevalue addition in India and boost domestic manufacturing potential.

This can help India in bringing in more investments into the sector, encourage innovation, improve ease of doing business, increase domestic manufacturing capabilities and enhance exports, said ICRIER.

Tata Motors seeks to raise $1 billion for new EV biz, values it at $7 billion

Source: Hindustantimes, 13 August 2021

Tata Motors, which got shareholders’ approval to separate its passenger vehicle business in March, is in the process of transferring the EV portfolio into a step-down arm in which the proposed investment will be raised.

Tata Motors Ltd, India’s largest vehicle maker, is in talks with bulge bracket buyout funds to raise as much as $1 billion for its new electric vehicles (EV) division, valuing the business at nearly $7 billion, two people directly aware of the discussions said.

Tata Motors, which got shareholders’ approval to separate its passenger vehicle business in March, is in the process of transferring the EV portfolio into a step-down arm in which the proposed investment will be raised.

“The talks are at an early stage, and several global PE firms, including Blackstone Group, TPG Capital and KKR & Co., have been approached,” one of the two people said seeking anonymity. “The company is also in the process of hiring an adviser and is in talks with several global investment banks,” the first person added.

Tata Motors’ focus on EVs also comes amid pressure from investors to back environmentally sustainable businesses.

Tata Motors chairman N. Chandrasekaran announced the funding plan for the EV unit in June at the company’s 76th annual general meeting, where he also announced plans to launch 10 EV models by 2025.

Tata Motors is in the process of hiving off the passenger vehicle business, including the EV division, to a new entity, valuing the business at ₹9,417 crore. According to ratings firm Crisil, the domestic passenger vehicle business, with its marginal presence and high capex needs, has been a drag on the firm. However, the business has been turning around with models such as Tiago, Nexon and Harrier gaining traction. PV sales rose 33% in the nine months through December 2020 from a year ago, helping the company lift its market share to 7.8%. Tata Motors is also exploring the possibility of inducting a strategic partner for new product development.

“The valuation being sought for the EV unit is relatively high, but the firm plans to add a new line of business and products in the division, which it feels, justifies the valuation,” said the second person.

A spokesperson for Tata Motors declined to comment, and so did spokespeople for Blackstone, TPG and KKR.

Indian UHNIs to invest up to $30 billion in country’s tech startups by 2025: Report

Source: Retail Economic Times, 18 June, 2021

NEW DELHI: Indian UHNIs (ultra high net worth individuals) are expected to invest up to $30 billion in tech startups in the country by 2025, reflecting the growing investment opportunity for home-grown tech ventures, a report by 256 Network and Praxis Global Alliance said.

The report titled, ‘Turning Ideas to Gold’, also noted that India could add 95 new tech unicorns to its 56-strong unicorn pool by the same time period.

“India is expected to have approximately 10,000 UHNIs, which will include business leaders, celebrities, NRIs, and digital entrepreneurs with a cumulative wealth of $700 billion by 2024.

“Family offices are being set up as full-service private wealth management services to cater to one, or a small clutch of these ultra-high-net-worth individuals,” the report said.

The report defines UHNIs as those having net worth of more than $30 million.

Currently, India has about 140-plus family offices catering to Indian UHNIs and heavily investing in the Indian startup space, it added. They have been pro-actively involved in over 50 such deals every year since 2015.

Speaking about the opportunity for Indian family offices investing in technology companies, Kris Gopalakrishnan, the co-founder of Infosys and promoter of Pratithi Family Office, said: “Investments in innovative startups have emerged as a lucrative alternate asset class when compared to traditional investments like equity, debt, commodities, and real estate.”

However, it is difficult to get exposure to high-growth portfolios that use innovations to solve real challenges and build large companies in a relatively short period of time, he added.

“Backing such companies requires deep expertise, strong networks, patience, and sufficient capital. Funds run by professionals provide that opportunity to Indian Family Offices and UHNIs,” he said.

Dhruv Sehra, founder of 256 Network, said many family offices prefer to keep their portfolios wedded to conventional asset classes like stocks, real estate, and gold, and do not benefit from the healthy returns generated by VC investments.

“This is because the risk-reward payoff for such investments is not well structured for potential investors. 256 Network aims to bridge this gap through this report,” he added.

256 Network is a peer-built network of decision-makers investing in the global alternatives market.

Sunil Kant Munjal, chairman of Hero Enterprises, said the pandemic has seen the rise of a new entrepreneurial class that is savvier.

“Several startups are launching India-specific solutions while repeat founders are targeting bolder issues. Many are unlocking value through private markets and I am heartened to see multi-generational entrepreneurs viewing this space as a vehicle to create wealth,” he added.

Madhur Singhal, managing partner and CEO of Praxis Global Alliance, said private wealth in India is burgeoning and UHNIs are increasingly turning to venture capital and the private equity ecosystem as an asset class.

“Incumbents, digital entrepreneurs, celebrities, and NRIs are setting up family offices and investing in the Indian startup ecosystem which has generated 14 new unicorns in 2021 so far.