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Eurasian Business Briefing India

Vodafone and Idea join forces in to take on Jio in India’s ‘vicious’ price war

Idea and VodafoneIn the latest development in the struggle for domination of India’s mobile telecoms market, UK giant Vodafone’s wholly-owned India Mobile Services and the domestic Idea Cellular operator are to join forces, it was announced yesterday. The result (more…)

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BJP looks to trigger FDI surge into retail sector after election victory

Modi wins Uttar Pradesh March 2017Indian retail: BJP’s resounding victory in this month’s Uttar Pradesh assembly elections is expected to trigger a speedy relaxation in the rules governing inward investment into India’s fiercely protected multi-brand retail sector, the Times of India reported on Monday.
According to its sources, (more…)

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Indian Railways gives new push to North-South Transport Corridor

Indian RailwaysState-owned Indian Railways is to host a meeting of the heads of its fellow South Asian railway companies next week to discuss the possibility of pushing forward the development a transcontinental rail freight service that would run through Iran and Turkey. If the 6,000 km project were to be realised, (more…)

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Brexit could help EU-India FTA but report scotches hopes of UK side deal

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India and Russia close to reviving two-year Kamov helicopter JV deal

Kamov Ka 226 helicopterNew Delhi and Moscow are finally getting close to signing off on the $1bn joint venture for the construction of Kamov-226 helicopters after the idea was revived two years after it was first suggested by President Vladimir Putin. 140 of the 200 helicopters in the initial order will be built in India as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s drive (more…)

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Prospects of IPO for Vodafone India recede with merger talks

Mukesh AmbaniVodafone this week confirmed that it is discussing the possibility of merging its struggling India arm with domestic rival Idea in an attempt to create critical mass and counter the effects of the price war triggered by the entry into the market of petrochemical billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s 4G Jio network last September.
The merger talks were confirmed earlier this week after a spike in Idea’s share price. If successful, they would end hopes of the stock market flotation of Vodafone India that has been on the cards for over a year, but which were thrown into disarray by the Jio launch and its success in building up market share by offering free calls and internet access.
Idea and VodafoneThe deal would combine India’s second and third biggest mobile operators to create one of the largest in the world with nearly 400 million customers. Idea is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and is controlled by the industrial conglomerate Aditya Birla Group. It has 188 million customers, just behind Vodafone on 203 million and, like its potential merger partner, has invested heavily in building its market position, and is now saddled with heavy debts.
Vodafone’s Indian adventure has not been without its difficulties. It has invested more than £22bn and built a strong market position, but the business is valued at only around £6bn following a series of painful multibillion-pound write-downs.

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IMF upgrades China forecast – but downgrades India for demonitisation

Chinese metal workersChina’s economy will grow by 6.5% over the course of 2017, the IMF predicted yesterday, 0.3% more than previously forecast, on the expectation that the authorities in Beijing will continue to implement measures aimed at stimulating growth; but it nevertheless warned (more…)

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India looks for $13bn to fund Sagar Mala port upgrade programme

Vibrant GujaratHaving committed itself to spending $180bn to modernise the country’s ports and surrounding infrastructure by way of its Sagar Mala port expansion initiative, the Indian authorities have been wooing visitors at this week’s biennial three-day Vibrant Gujarat investment summit with a series of presentations aimed at raising $13bn to fund (more…)

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Islamic banking proposal could see ‘trillions of dollars’ flood into India

Islamic bankingIslamic banking: Moves by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to offer its banks an “Islamic window” through which they would be able to introduce a limited number of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking services could lead to “trillions of dollars” of Gulf money being invested in the sub-continent, the Indian Centre for Islamic Finance (ICIF) said yesterday. (more…)

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Protestors take to the streets as Modi urges Indians to join digital world

Indians protest against ban on large rupee notesWith banks overwhelmed by desperate account holders and crowds of Indians taking to city streets to protest at his decision to give the country four hours’ notice of a ban on 500- and 1000-rupee notes, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi used yesterday’s monthly radio broadcast to defend his actions and to call on the nation’s SMEs and casual work force to use digital payment channels as part of the fight against endemic corruption. (more…)

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Deutsche Bahn agrees to test drive new South West transport corridor to Iran

Deutsche BahnDeutsche Bahn, one of the world’s largest transport companies, has agreed to test drive the new South West Transport Corridor linking India, Iran and other Gulf states to Europeby the end of November. (more…)

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Demand for LNG set for bull run,say experts, with India leading charge

Novatek CEO Leonid MikhelsonGlobal demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is set to double over the next 15 years, Russian gas producer Novatek’s CEO Leonid Mikhelson told the Eurasian Forum in Verona yesterday, giving extra weight to predictions set out in a report from Citi Research earlier this month that consumption in India – the world’s fourth largest LNG market – would increase by 100% by the end of the decade. (more…)

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Turkmenistan secures $700m from IDB for TAPI pipeline to India

TAPITAPI: Turkmenistan has secured a $700m loan from the Islamic Development Bank to lay the long-awaited TAPI pipeline from its giant Galkynysh gas field to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan, it announced last week.
On completion, the $10bn pipeline will have the capacity to carry 33 bcm a year from Gaskynish to the Indian sub-continent and is intended to ease Turkmenistan’s dependence on Russia and China as export markets for its hydrocarbons. It is to use the 15-year IDB loan to finance construction work and equipment purchases, the country’s state news agency said.
TalebanTurkmenistan and Pakistan signed an MoU for the construction of the pipeline as far back as 1995, but concerns about security in Afghanistan – where Taliban insurgents have intermittently controlled swathes of the territory earmarked for the pipeline’s route – have led to lengthy delays in securing the requisite finance; on Friday, however, the head of Pakistan’s state-owned Inter State Gas Systems Mobin Saulat, told Reuters that “significant progress” had been made and that investor roadshows were being planned “in all the major financial hubs,” for November. 

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Essar acquisition gives Rosneft foothold in Indian energy market

Sashi and Ravi RuiaEssar: Russian oil giant Rosneft’s ambitions to secure a foothold in the Indian energy sector looks set to become a reality this week with the announcement that it is to buy a 49% stake in Essar Oil, (more…)

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VW looks to India for new ideas

Volkswagon IndiaVW: German car manufacturer Volkswagon is considering setting up a major R&D and engineering centre in India from where it can develop and test new models and products also intended (more…)

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Vodafone ready to pump $3bn into India before spectrum auction

Vodafone IndiaVodafone: Faced with increasing competition from Mumbai’s Reliance Jio Infocomm and with a national spectrum auction due to take place at the beginning of October, Europe’s largest mobile phone operator is said to be planning to invest $3bn in its Indian operation in (more…)

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Indian manufacturing bucks global trends with 9% growth rate

High-tech Manufacturing IndiaIndian manufacturing sector: After clocking up a growth rate of above 9% for the second quarter in a row, India is on the way to becoming a ‘pivot’ for high-tech world manufacturing, according to UNIDO’s quarterly World Manufacturing Report, while global manufacturing growth (more…)

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ADB forecasts India to lead economic growth as China and SE Asia slip

Indian shoppersADB forecasts: Brisk consumer spending and the growth of its rural economy will help the Indian economy outperform its Asia Pacific neighbours this year, the ADB predicted today. The bank expects South Asia to be the fastest growing sub-region, with India likely to meet its 2016 projected growth targets (more…)

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UK ministers begin post-Brexit trade talks with visits to India and China

UK Business Secretary Sajid Javidpost-Brexit trade talks: UK Business Minister Said Javid was due to hold preliminary talks with government ministers in Delhi today, at the start of of world tour and probably years of negotiations as London seeks to establish new trade deals with individual countries to replace the 50-odd such agreements it enjoyed as part of the EU. 
“Following the referendum result, my absolute priority is making sure the UK has the tools it needs to continue to compete on the global stage,” he said. “That is why I am in India today to launch these initial trade discussions. There is a strong bilateral trade relationship between our two countries and I am determined that we build on this.”
UK Chancellor George Osborne in ParliamentThe discussions kick off a schedule of trips to the US, China, Japan and South Korea over the next few months, and come after George Osborne met a Chinese government delegation in London on Thursday and promised to foster “stronger trade ties” with the world’s second largest economy.The chancellor is undertaking a four-day trip to China later this month for the G20 finance ministers’ meeting and will visit several cities to promote UK-Chinese relations.
Javid will also meet Tata board members on Saturday to discuss the company’s efforts to find a buyer for its British steel business, which includes the blast furnaces at Port Talbot in South Wales. The sale process is understood to have been put on hold amid the economic uncertainty created by the vote to leave the EU.

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National Highways Authority planning 36,000 km Indian road network

 Indian road congestionIndian road network: The National Highways Authority of India is drawing up plans to build a national road grid of 27 highways with a total length of 36,600km crisscrossing the country. Upgrading existing highways and building new roads to achieve this goal is expected to cost (more…)

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