World Reopening & more

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Tracking the world as it unfurls

Gradually, different parts of the world are making peace with the virus while maintaining safe distance from it. Today, there was an audible sigh of relief from the ladies in Mahrashtra as salons pulled up their shutters with enough T&C as part of the process. Gyms are purported to be next in line for the state. Escalators are being oiled up in Gurugram and Faridabad as malls get ready to open on 1st July. As for school kids, the HRD ministry has decided they are still your problem all day long till mid-August atleast. Regular train service also remains cancelled till 12th August. For now, DGCA has pushed the resumption of international flights to July 15th.

How does Unlock look across the world? Transit systems, the backbone of NYC, are now open and may touch a million commuters in a day soon. Although, in some areas, the reopening of bars is being reconsidered. Singapore, having gotten a handle on the new cases, is gearing up to open attractions like the zoo and Universal studios. Italy has now opened a few places for European continental tourists. Yes, we are not far from the complaints of dirty Venetian canals. The annual haj pilgrimage is still on, albeit with far fewer people.

The perils of reopening: Reopening the economy is not going to be smooth sailing for everyone, atleast initially. The biggest example could be seen in the case of Bajaj Auto factory at Aurangabad where 140 workers have tested positive, due to working in close proximity. Worse still, 2 of those have succumbed to the virus. While the company claims that the factory will continue operations, especially since two-wheelers are seeing a pick up as substitution for crowded public transport, the workers’ union is petitioning management to consider closure.

Carlyle group to buy 20% of Piramal Pharma

Ajay-Piramal headed Piramal Phramaceuticals is divesting 20% equity by selling it off to Carlyle group. The US-based group is picking up this meaty chunk for approximately $490 million or Rs. 3700 Crores.

Why is Piramal divesting? Certain reasons have been suggested for this move by Ajay Piramal in his video interaction with the media. The main idea is that the parent company will now be divided into two separate operating streams for financial services and pharma with little being done under Piramal Enterprises. Another reason for this fund infusion is the help it will provide to deleverage the company, and borrow further is business expansion plans so demand.

Who is Carlyle? With a $217 Billion AUM, Carlyle group is not new to India. Previously, it’s had fingers in what have turned out to be pretty sticky pies including the likes of HDFC, SBI Cards and IIFL. It’s no stranger to the healthcare business either with big-ass global investments and owning a share in Medanta hospital and Metropolis.

ITC Q4 Results

ITC is a company which is in transition from a cigarette dominant business to more of a conglomerate. So, almost any development in the economy has an impact on the group, good and bad, coronavirus being a point in case. Q4 saw their stationery business suffer in peak exam time and hotels bore the brunt too. Higher excise duty and lower office sutta breaks led to a drop in revenue from cigarette business, too. This showed in the fall in operations from Rs. 12,206.03 Crore to Rs. 11,420.04 Crores.

That’s not the full picture: Despite the drop in operating revenue, thanks to better margins, standalone net profit rose by 9.05% to reach Rs. 3797.08 Crores. Although, their poster child of FMCG & other businesses, on which they have built many a hopes of becoming a diversified business presented a mixed picture with a 2.8% YoY decline but a 12.6% jump in EBIT.

Making hay with corona: Like a lot of it’s FMCG peers, ITC is betting on the hygiene market. During the lockdown, they have already launched three products made much more relevant by the pandemic – Nimwash vegetable washing solution, Savlon Surface Disinfectant Spray and Savlon Germ Protection Wipes. So, we know which marketing team has been working their ass off from home in this time.

IN SNIPPETS

Axis Bank and S&P do the tango: On Friday, global rating agency S&P announced downgrading of ratings for Axis Bank and four NBFCs. However, come Saturday Axis Bank filed with the regulator that S&P had made an “editorial error”. As per the filing, S&P has confirmed the stable outlook of the bank.

Make My Trip’s loss widens 8 times: FY20 Q4 witnessed some brunt of the coronavirus fallout for Make My Trip, announcing a loss of $338.6 million as compared to $40.4 million in the same quarter last year. This variance in the loss is highly attributed to a one-time charge of a goodwill amount of $272 Million attributable to their Goibibo business.

Battle against Facebook heats up: Unilever and Coca Cola joined the Boycott Facebook bandwagon over the weekend. Starbucks felt the FOMO and made the call late last night to pause paid advertisement across social media channels. Shareholders rewarded these moves by selling and leading to a drop in the Facebook share price by 8.3% on Friday, maximum seen in 3 months.

Paytm Payouts crosses transfers of Rs. 1,500 Crores: Launched early this year, this baby from Paytm stable aids SMEs to make transfers, including salaries. Paytm took to the media to announce this milestone.

IRDAI crowd sourcing names for it’s product: If you fancy your creative chops, this is your chance at creating a legacy. IRDAI has invited names for 3 insurance policies with more details to the brief. Get your brain to start racing to send in your entries by 10th July.

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WILD CARD

If you thought Tik Tok was a silly medium only for a chattering gaggle of teenagers, think again. Today, 11 of the world’s best museums with the likes of Prado in Madrid and Rijks in Amsterdarm are now active Tik Tokers. The Uffizi, an art museum in Florence, is the latest to join the bandwagon, making a splash with this highly unusual video

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