Troubled carrier Air India is carrying out a fiscal revamp that could make it eligible for more government money. Mint has learnt its revamp involves getting a government guarantee that will help it negotiate interest rates. The plan will also allow it to replace some existing loans with new ones that have lower interest. An Air India official has told Mint the airline expects the process to save Rs750 crore in interest costs every year. Until recently, Air India’s borrowings stood at Rs16,000 crore on an equity capital of Rs145 crore. The government has already infused Rs945 crore into Air India.
On Thursday, Wockhardt said its deal with health company Abbott was dead. Wockhardt was supposed to sell it nutrition business to Abbott for an estimated Rs650 crore. But the agreement fell through because Wockhardt could not resolve some of its debt restructuring issues.
A new army of mutual fund sellers could change the face of their industry. Mint has learnt that State Bank of India has put 18,000 of its employees through a training programme that will make them eligible to sell mutual funds. There are currently more than 100,000 eligible sellers across India. But informal estimates put the active sales force at 30,000-40,000 people. India’s mutual fund industry is worth Rs781,000 crore.
On Tuesday, Standard Chartered filed a draft prospectus for its issue of Indian Depository Receipts or IDRs. It plans to raise some $750 million in India by issuing some 220 million IDRs.
On Tuesday, the department of telecommunications published a list of pre-qualified bidders for the 3G spectrum auction. Out of a total of nine bidders, six have applied for spectrum in all 23 telecom circles in India. They are Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Vodafone Essar. The auction for both the 3G and broadband spectrum are expected to take place on 9 April.
Manufacturing output has slowed down in March. The Purchasing Managers’ Index stood at 57.8 in March compared to 58.5 in February. Any figure above 50 on the index indicates a gain.
Harley-Davidson is revving up for the Indian market. On Wednesday, the company announced it had appointed its first five domestic dealers. Harley will offer 12 models in India and bookings will start on 20 April.