A man looks at his mobile phone while sitting at bus stop in Nashik, India (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On May 6: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

Here is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.

1. Earnings: ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel

ICICI Bank Ltd.’s quarterly profit missed estimates but its asset quality improved.

  • Net profit fell 5 percent year-on-year to Rs 969 crore.
  • Net interest income rose 26.54 percent to Rs 7,620 crore.
  • Gross NPA ratio fell to 6.7 percent from 7.75 percent in the December quarter.

The bank has stepped up provisions to turn around its asset quality.

Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s revenue in India grew at its fastest pace in three years and margin improved in a quarter when the telecom operator changed strategy to turn around its fortunes.

  • India mobile revenue grew 4 percent—a 12-quarter high—to Rs 10,632 crore.
  • Net profit rose 24 percent sequentially to Rs 107 crore.
  • Margin expanded by 150 basis points to 32.2 percent.

Airtel's strategy to shed low revenue customers may have started paying off.

2. Yes Bank’s Anil Ambani Problem

Private sector lender Yes Bank Ltd., which reported a large loss in the fourth quarter of the last financial year, may see pain emerging from its exposure to the Anil Ambani Group.

  • That exposure, according to information provided by the bank’s management in investor interactions held this week, could be close to Rs 13,000 crore, said three people familiar with the conversations, at least two of whom were part of direct conversations with the bank’s management.
  • This exposure is across companies of the Reliance - Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group, and includes fund-based and non-fund based facilities, such as letters of credit and guarantees.
  • The bank’s exposure to the Anil Ambani group may also run foul of the Reserve Bank of India’s large exposure framework, which kicked in starting April 1.

Here’s why the ADAG exposure matters.

3. 'No Substance' In Allegations Against Chief Justice

An in-house inquiry committee of the Supreme Court headed by Justice SA Bobde “has found no substance” in the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by a former woman employee of the apex court.

  • A notice by the office of Supreme Court secretary general also said the report of the committee constituted as part of the in-house procedure is not liable to be made public.
  • The notice said: "The in-house committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint dated April 19 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India and others, it has been held that the report of a committee constituted as a part of the In-House Procedure is not liable to be made public."

The report wasn’t submitted to the judge next in seniority after Justice Bobde. Here’s why.

4. India’s Services Sector Slows Down

Expansion in India’s dominant services sector weakened in April ahead of an election, a private survey showed on Monday, suggesting a delayed recovery to Asia’s third-largest economy.

  • The Nikkei India services Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to a seven-month low of 51 in April from 52 in the previous month on the back of slower increases in new business and output growth.
  • A survey last week showed manufacturing also weakened in April.
  • The PMI survey showed input costs and output charges remained weak by historical standards, helping to keep inflation anchored well below the central bank’s 4 percent medium-term target.

Companies are, however, foreseeing improvement once the election is out of the way.

5. Nifty Slumps On Trump’s Tariff Threat

Indian equity benchmarks registered their biggest single-day drop in two weeks amid a global selloff after the U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to hike tariffs.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex ended 0.93 percent or 363 points lower at 38,600.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 Index closed below 11,600, down 0.97 percent.
  • The NSE Nifty 500 Index closed 1.15 percent lower.
  • Talks between U.S. and China to end their trade standoff appeared to be on life support after Donald Trump tweeted an escalation of tariffs by the end of the week.
  • That threat has rocked markets across the globe.
BQuick On May 6: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

6. Bharti Infratel: A Dividend Play?

There are now more tower companies in India than there are telecom service providers. And that’s telling on the country’s largest tower player.

  • In the last six quarters, Bharti Infratel Ltd. lost more than 47,300 tenancies, bringing down total tenancies on its network to the lowest in the last five years.
  • The company’s tenancy ratio dropped below 2 in the three months ended December 2018—the first time in 19 quarters.
  • At the end of March 2019, the ratio showed no improvement. As a result, the tower major’s stock price dropped 16 percent in April.

But it’s not all gloomy for shareholders.

Also read: China's War on Healthcare Costs Lures India's Biggest Drugmaker

7. McDonald’s, Vikram Bakshi Working On Out-Of-Court Settlement

Estranged partners McDonald's Corp. and Vikram Bakshi told the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal that they are working towards an out-of-court settlement to end their over five-year-old dispute.

  • Counsels for McDonald's India Pvt. Ltd. and Vikram Bakshi told a two-member NCLAT bench, headed by Chairperson SJ Mukhopadhyay, that they are trying to work out a settlement.
  • The bench directed that either of the parties may file an affidavit including the terms of the settlement being arrived at on the next date of hearing on May 13.
  • McDonald’s and Bakshi had in 1995 signed a partnership agreement to open outlets of the U.S. fast food chain in India.

It was for a period of 25 years.

8. Elections 2019: Ram Madhav’s Prediction

A senior leader of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party forecasts it will require the support of allies to form India’s next government, the first time the prospect of a coalition has been raised as the country heads into the final two weeks of its marathon election campaign.

  • The conservative prediction by Ram Madhav, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national general secretary, is just short of a clear majority in the 543-seat parliament, and is far below what other party leaders including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and party President Amit Shah have publicly claimed.
  • "If we get 271 seats on our own, we will be very happy," Madhav said in an interview with Bloomberg.
  • "With NDA we will have a comfortable majority," he said referring to the National Democratic Alliance.

Madhav said BJP will continue its pro-growth policies and remains hopeful of peace talks with Pakistan.

9. Strange NSE-SEBI Case: No Wrong-Doing, Yet Clobber ’Em

I find it a real tragedy that the community which did the Indian equity market reforms of the 1990s—one of the nice pieces of nation-building—is now being put through this, writes Raghav Bahl.

  • Progress in India’s financial markets has stopped as SEBI is hostile to reformers.
  • It sends out a bad signal to all future initiatives in the public policy process.

This order could stymie, even abort, the critical efforts of sifting through the wreckage of the Indian financial system and build solutions.

10. Rs 1 Lakh Crore To Rebuild Odisha

The eastern Indian state of Odisha, battered by one of the strongest cyclones in two decades, needs at least Rs 1 lakh crore ($14 billion) to rebuild damaged houses and public infrastructure, a government official said on Monday.

  • About 5,00,000 people have lost their houses and would need reconstruction, said Bishnupada Sethi, special relief commissioner with the Odisha government.
  • Almost 1.4 crore people were affected by the storm last week, while 35 lost their lives, he said.
  • The state government had evacuated about 13.9 lakh people to temporary shelters.

The monsoon season is approaching and that too is a matter of concern.