India In-Focus — China’s Great Wall Motor halts $1bn India plans; Ban on single-use plastic; Toyota unveils hybrid car

India In-Focus — China’s Great Wall Motor halts $1bn India plans; Ban on single-use plastic; Toyota unveils hybrid car
Great Wall’s India entry plan was announced with great fanfare during the country’s biennial auto show in January 2020. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 03 July 2022

India In-Focus — China’s Great Wall Motor halts $1bn India plans; Ban on single-use plastic; Toyota unveils hybrid car

India In-Focus — China’s Great Wall Motor halts $1bn India plans; Ban on single-use plastic; Toyota unveils hybrid car

MUMBAI: China’s Great Wall Motor has shelved plans to invest $1 billion in India and laid off all employees at its operations there after failing to obtain regulatory approvals, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

Without directly commenting on the exit, a Great Wall statement said the company “would like to thank all the members of the Indian team for their contribution,” adding that it would continue to study the Indian market and look for opportunities in the future.

Great Wall’s India entry plan was announced with great fanfare during the country’s biennial auto show in January 2020. India was a key market for the Chinese SUV manufacturer’s global expansion plans and the company had envisioned a plant that would be its biggest outside China.

Months later, after Great Motor began hiring staff in India, New Delhi increased scrutiny of investments from countries with which it shares a land border to deter opportunistic takeovers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crackdown deepened after a border clash between India and China later that year, which has since held up billions of dollars of capital inflow in the auto and technology sectors among others.

The sources, who declined to be named, said that Great Wall laid off about a dozen employees at its Indian business on Friday after telling them it had failed to obtain foreign direct investment approval from the government to buy a former General Motors plant in the country.

India imposes ban on single-use plastics

India on Friday imposed a ban on single-use plastics on items ranging from straws to cigarette packets to combat worsening pollution in the country whose streets are strewn with waste.

Announcing the ban, the government dismissed the demands of food, beverage and consumer goods companies to hold off the restriction to avoid disruptions.

Plastic waste has become a significant source of pollution in India, the world’s second-most populous country.

Rapid economic growth has fueled demand for goods that come with single-use plastic products, such as straws and disposable cutlery.

But India, which uses about 14 million tons of plastic annually, lacks an organized system for managing plastic waste, leading to widespread littering.

India’s ban on single-use plastic items includes straws, cutlery, earbuds, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice cream, and cigarette packets, among other products, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said in a statement.

PepsiCo., Coca-Cola Co, India’s Parle Agro, Dabur and Amul had lobbied for straws to be exempted from the ban. 

Toyota unveils first mass-market hybrid car

Toyota Motor Corp. on Friday unveiled its first mass-market hybrid car for India, a sport utility vehicle, charting a new course for the Japanese automaker in one of the world’s fastest-growing car markets.

The Urban Cruiser Hyryder SUV, the first car to be built by Toyota as part of a global alliance with Suzuki Motor Corp., will compete with Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motor Corp. in a segment that accounts for a large portion of auto sales in India.

The new model will be an “ultimate game-changer” for the company in India’s electrified auto space, Vikram Kirloskar, vice chairman of local unit Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said at a launch event in New Delhi.

It also reinforces Toyota’s decision to take the hybrid route in developing markets like India, where it says infrastructure is not ready for battery electric vehicles and much of the electricity is generated using coal or other fossil fuels.

The new SUV is expected to be 40 percent to 50 percent more fuel-efficient than a comparable gasoline-powered car and reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent, Toyota said. 

About 90 percent of the car’s parts are sourced from local suppliers — a move that will help it price the car competitively when it goes on sale later this year. 

(With inputs from Reuters)


Saudi Arabia implemented over 600 reforms to improve business environment, says deputy minister

Saudi Arabia implemented over 600 reforms to improve business environment, says deputy minister
Updated 14 sec ago

Saudi Arabia implemented over 600 reforms to improve business environment, says deputy minister

Saudi Arabia implemented over 600 reforms to improve business environment, says deputy minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has implemented over 600 structural and legislative reforms that contributed to accelerating and improving the country’s business environment, deputy minister at the Ministry of Investment told CNBC Arabia. 

Saad Al-Shahrani said (the reforms) included facilitating the procedures for issuing investment licenses, whether from inside or outside the Kingdom.

He noted that a total of 150 deals, valued at SR19 billion ($5 billion), were signed during the first half of 2022, reflecting the attractiveness of Saudi Arabia for investors. 

This comes as part of the ministry’s efforts to enhance the Kingdom’s competitiveness as a regional business hub through a series of incentives and initiatives, Al-Shahrani added. 


Saudi agricultural fund signs $40m deal to finance import of 130K tons of barley

Saudi agricultural fund signs $40m deal to finance import of 130K tons of barley
Updated 3 min 14 sec ago

Saudi agricultural fund signs $40m deal to finance import of 130K tons of barley

Saudi agricultural fund signs $40m deal to finance import of 130K tons of barley

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Agricultural Development Fund has signed a SR150 million ($39.8 million) contract to finance the import of around 130,000 tons of barley.

It is part of the fund’s initiative to finance the import of agricultural products, according to the Saudi Press Agency. 

The fund aims to enhance the strategic stock of agricultural products and compensate for any agricultural commodities’ supply shortages, as well as ensuring the stability of food supply chains.


Saudi healthcare provider Naba Alsaha reports 24% profit growth ahead of IPO

Saudi healthcare provider Naba Alsaha reports 24% profit growth ahead of IPO
Updated 12 min 22 sec ago

Saudi healthcare provider Naba Alsaha reports 24% profit growth ahead of IPO

Saudi healthcare provider Naba Alsaha reports 24% profit growth ahead of IPO

RIYADH: Naba Alsaha Medical Services Co. has posted 24 percent profit growth for the first half of 2022, ahead of an initial public offering on Saudi Arabia’s stock market.

This was coupled with a year-on-year revenue jump of 13 percent, CEO Nathir Al-Jishi told Argaam.

The executive noted that Naba Alsaha will open a new pharmacy in Riyadh, adding that it’s studying opening new branches in other neighborhoods.

The company is also looking to expand in non-medical operation segments by providing medical maintenance services as well as cleaning healthcare facilities and complexes, Al-Jishi said.

This comes amid plans to float 1.4 million shares on Saudi Exchange’s parallel market. With an IPO price of SR57 ($15), the subscription period is currently in progress and will end on Aug. 14.


Green bond sales drop 19-month low to $24bn amidst tight issuance windows: Bloomberg 

Green bond sales drop 19-month low to $24bn amidst tight issuance windows: Bloomberg 
Updated 28 min 13 sec ago

Green bond sales drop 19-month low to $24bn amidst tight issuance windows: Bloomberg 

Green bond sales drop 19-month low to $24bn amidst tight issuance windows: Bloomberg 

RIYADH: Global sales of green bonds, the largest category of sustainable debt by amount issued, fell to a 19-month low in July. 

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, green bond sales fell to about $24 billion in July from more than $45 billion the previous month. 

This is the lowest since December 2020, when companies and governments issued about $7.7 billion in green debt.

This happened as opportunistic borrowers have also preferred traditional bond offerings that are faster to complete, Bloomberg reported. 

This is also because July, August and December are historically considered the slowest issuance months for green bonds.

 


India In-Focus — Shares inch higher; Bajaj Housing Finance to issue 3-year bonds; DLF Cyber City to issue 2-year bonds

India In-Focus — Shares inch higher; Bajaj Housing Finance to issue 3-year bonds; DLF Cyber City to issue 2-year bonds
Updated 10 August 2022

India In-Focus — Shares inch higher; Bajaj Housing Finance to issue 3-year bonds; DLF Cyber City to issue 2-year bonds

India In-Focus — Shares inch higher; Bajaj Housing Finance to issue 3-year bonds; DLF Cyber City to issue 2-year bonds

RIYADH: Indian shares edged higher on Wednesday — led by the consumer goods and banking sectors — while losses in tech stocks kept gains in check as traders looked ahead to US inflation data for clues on the pace of rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.07 percent at 17,538.10, as of 0357 GMT, and the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.09 percent to 58,904.24, having hit a near four-month high in the previous trading session. Indian markets were closed on Tuesday for a holiday.

Nifty’s private bank index was up 0.38 percent and the fast-moving consumer goods index advanced 0.34 percent.

India’s Bajaj Housing Finance to issue 3-year bonds

India’s Bajaj Housing Finance Ltd. plans to raise at least 100 million rupees ($1.26 million) through a sale of bonds maturing in three years, three merchant bankers said on Wednesday.

The housing finance company has invited bids from bankers and investors for the same on Thursday, they said.

The notes are rated AAA by CRISIL and the issue will close for subscription on Friday.

The issue has a greenshoe option to retain an additional 9.90 billion rupees and will mature on Aug. 12, 2025.

DLF Cyber City to issue 2-year bonds

India’s DLF Cyber City Developers Ltd. plans to raise 5 billion rupees ($62.86 million) through the sale of bonds maturing in two years, three merchant bankers said on Wednesday.

The real-estate company will pay a coupon of 7.80 percent on this issue and has invited commitment bids from bankers and investors for the same on Thursday, they said.

The notes are rated ‘AA’ by CRISIL and the issue has a call option at the end of one year and nine months.

The issue will close for subscription on Friday and will mature on Aug. 12, 2024.

(With input from Reuters)