The state government of Maharashtra tightened COVID-19 curbs further with private transport permitted only for emergency or essential services effective from 8 pm on April 22 till May 1. All government offices will only operate at 15% capacity. Wedding guests will be restricted to just 25 and ceremonies cannot extend for above 2 hours. Only government and healthcare workers will be allowed the use of local trains, metros and monorail. With active case load of nearly 6 lakhs, there was little choice in front of the state.
Bharat Biotech has announced 78% efficacy in its third interim analysis of the results of Covaxin. It is one of the approved vaccines in India for COVID, the other being AstraZeneca’s Covishield. This is slightly lower than the 81% efficacy indicated in first round. The final safety and efficacy results will be available in June. The Phase-3 had enrolled 25,800 participants. Dr. Sridhar Ella of Bharat Biotech has confirmed that protocols for manufacturing, testing and release had been validated as per the requirements of WHO.
It looks like the latest round of interest waiver will fall on the banks as the Finance Ministry has informally asked banks to reimburse the compound interest charged during the loan moratorium period. However, banks have been allowed to also adjust the amount against future liabilities of the customer. The Court had ruled that the compound interest waiver should be uniform irrespective of the size of loans. The government will only bear the cost for loans up to Rs.2 lakhs value. This will cost the banks Rs.7,000 crore.
FPI holding value in Indian equities touched an all-time record of $555 billion in FY21. That is a value accretion of $105 billion or 23% in just the last 6 months. The BOFA report pointed that in comparison, the holding value of domestic institutions was just about $203 billion. Apart from being long term key investors in Indian markets, FPIs have infused $37 billion in FY21 alone. This was the fourth fiscal year when FPI inflows into India had crossed the $20 billion, the previous instances being 2010, 2011 and 2013.
Indiabulls Housing Finance entered into a co-lending partnership with HDFC to offer home loans at competitive rates. Indiabulls has an asset book of Rs.70,282 crore compared to the Rs.552,000 crore book of HDFC. Such jointly-originated loans will dwell 20% in the books of Indiabulls and 80% in HDFC. Even as Indiabulls services the loan through the cycle, the balance sheet size of HDFC will help IBHFL reduce risk. Co-lending will be an asset-light strategy. HDFC alliance will give IBHFL exposure to tier-3 and tier-4 towns.
ICICI Securities reported doubling of net profits at Rs.329.47 crore in Mar-21 quarter. Even as revenues increased 53.9% to Rs.739.34 crore, it also benefited from higher, client reach, improved margins as well as market share. Its revenue traction came from across the board including broking, distribution and PWM. The cost to income ratio improved from 57% to 40% on a yoy basis while the ROE improved from 55% to 81%. I-Sec also improved its market share in equity broking by 50 bps in Mar-21 quarter to 9.5%.
Alternate energy start-ups continued to remain in the limelight as Freyr Energy, a solar rooftop company, got an equity investment of Rs.18 crore from TCNV, Schneider Electric Energy Access Asia and C4D Partners. Freyr applies cutting edge technology to change the way homeowners and MSMEs transition to solar. It will use the funds to accelerate growth. TCNV is the venture capital arm of Total of France. India has a rooftop solar capacity of just 5 GW against the overall solar installed capacity of 40 GW currently.
Upstox, the low-cost broking brand of RKSV Securities India, made a mark last fiscal with a total client base of 30 lakhs on the back of record growth. The growth of Upstox was largely driven by the migration of millennials to digital trading platforms. The pandemic only accentuated the trend. For example, in 2020 alone Upstox saw 5X growth in women opening trading accounts. Interestingly, 65% of women customers are first-timers. Their customer base has grown 4X in 4 years and they expect the trend to continue.