A residential building stands under construction, center, as traffic passes between commercial and residential buildings in the Pedder Road area of Mumbai, India (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On Nov. 28: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes 

This is a roundup of the top stories of the day.

1. Official GDP Back Series = New Growth Trends

The debate over economic growth in past years and under previous administrations continues, with the government now releasing official back-data for GDP growth as measured by the new series.

  • According to the new series, growth in 2008-09 plummeted to 3.1 percent compared to the old series estimate of 3.9 percent.
  • In 2009-10, GDP growth was at 7.9 percent as per the new series as compared to the 8.5 percent estimated under the old series.
  • In 2010-11, the new series shows growth at 8.5 percent compared to the estimate of 10.3 percent under the old series.
  • The data is not comparable to a study conducted by the National Statistical Commission released in August.

The latest, and now official, back-series tilts the political debate over growth back in favor of the NDA.

2. Rana Kapoor's Web Of Family Businesses

As Rana Kapoor, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Yes Bank Ltd., prepares to exit office two months from now, both he and the bank he built have become subjects of intense scrutiny.

  • On Tuesday, rating agency Moody’s Investors Service cut the bank’s rating citing corporate governance concerns.
  • The agency cited recent resignations from the bank’s board as one of the triggers for the downgrade.
  • There are other governance concerns, too, which have emerged. Among them is the overlap between the businesses run by the Kapoor family and Yes Bank.

A more critical question is whether there were any dealings between the family businesses and the bank.

Also read: India's Fallen Angel Yes Bank Suffers Share, Bond Price Plunge

3. Indian Markets Rise Again; U.S. Stocks Advance

Indian equity benchmarks ended higher for the third day, led by the gains in Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. and Reliance Industries Ltd.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex Index ended 0.57 percent or 204 points higher at 35,716.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 Index ended at 10,729, up 0.4 percent or 43 points.
  • Six out of 11 sectoral gauges compiled by NSE fell, led by the NSE Nifty PSU Bank Index's 1.9 percent decline.
  • On the flipside, the NSE Nifty IT Index was the top sectoral gainer, up 2.86 percent.
BQuick On Nov. 28: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes 

U.S. stocks advanced for a third day amid solid earnings from a giant cloud-computing firm, though gains were tempered as investors awaited developments in the trade war and a speech from the Federal Reserve chairman.

  • Salesforce.com surged after reporting strong third-quarter results, lifting investor confidence in the economy and helping to push the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 indexes higher.
  • The 10-year Treasury yield edged higher and the dollar was steady before a speech by the Fed’s Jerome Powell at noon New York time that traders will scour for hints on the whether the central bank will stick to a path of gradual rate hikes next year.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.6 percent to $51.27 a barrel.

Get your daily fix of global markets.

4. Horlicks May Not Be Such A Sweet Deal

Unilever has edged out Nestle SA in the contest for GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s $4 billion Indian consumer-health unit, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News.

  • The consumer goods giant has offered to pay roughly $3 billion for about 70 percent of the division, the people said.
  • Both sides are working toward reaching an agreement in coming weeks, though talks may yet fall apart, they said
  • However, this may not be a sweet deal for Unilever.
  • Horlicks is facing a challenge, even in India. The drink is losing its star status as the “healthy” morning and after-school drink of choice pushed by Indian parents on their children.
  • In a worst-case scenario, it could wind up with the image it has in the U.K., its home market: a sleep-inducing bedtime drink for the elderly.

There are other issues to contend with, write David Fickling and Nisha Gopalan.

5. REC-PFC Merger In The Works

India is considering a proposal to combine two state-run lenders to utilities, REC Ltd. and Power Finance Corp., people familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg News, as it seeks to raise funds to bridge a budget gap.

  • The first phase of the deal will see REC acquiring a majority stake valued at about $2.5 billion in Power Finance, possibly by the year ending March 2019, the people said, asking not to be named as the talks aren’t public.
  • Subsequently, the plan is to merge the subsidiary with REC, a departure from the original plan to keep their operations separate.

6. IL&FS Puts Renewable Energy Assets On The Block

Debt-laden Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. has decided to gauge investor interest for its renewable energy assets after it received a strong response from buyers for two securities clearing services subsidiaries.

  • The government-appointed board, led by veteran banker Uday Kotak, will solicit expressions of interest for selling controlling stake in renewable energy assets and businesses held by the IL&FS Group.
  • The second leg of asset monetisation may be carried out for individual assets or as a basket, or a combination of both, the company said in a press statement.
  • The move will help the group “ascertain investor interest and examine feasibility of maximization of value in an orderly and transparent manner”.

7. Taking Leela Global

A consortium including investment firm Trinity White City Ventures is planning to aggressively expand Hotel Leelaventure Ltd. if its bid for the Indian hospitality firm is successful.

  • The investor group plans to expand Hotel Leelaventure’s business in India, Asia and other parts of the world after fixing its immediate financial issues, according to a letter to the company and its creditors obtained by Bloomberg.
  • The consortium, which is also backed by Thailand’s Minor International Pcl, has earmarked $100 million for growing the Mumbai-based hotel chain, the letter shows.
  • The suitors have offered $350 million to take over the business and are seeking a 90 percent stake, according to the letter, dated Nov. 27. The bid includes a mixture of equity and debt.

The consortium intends to grow Leela’s operations organically and through acquisitions.

8. Battle For Essar Steel Continues

Lenders of insolvent Essar Steel Ltd. asked for the company’s petition at the National Company Law Tribunal to be dismissed, calling the new offer by the Ruias “not maintainable”.

  • Ravi Kadam, arguing on behalf of Essar Steel’s creditors’ committee, requested for a day-to-day hearing of the matter.
  • Justice HP Chaturvedi deferred the matter for hearing on Dec. 10, saying the bench was not in full strength.
  • Mihir Joshi, arguing for Essar Steel, countered that the action being taken by the committee of creditors was “unusual” and “in haste” when the company is willing to pay Rs 54,000 crore, Bloomberg reported.

9. Signs Of Revival

Demand for heavy equipment by Indian companies, an indirect measure of economic growth, is showing signs of rebound driven by government spending on railways, roads and smart cities ahead of the next general election.

  • Siemens India Ltd., ABB India Ltd., Thermax Ltd. and Cummins Ltd. beat sales and operating income estimates in the quarter ended September, though higher input costs put pressure on margins.
  • While Thermax and state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. felt the impact of a slowdown in the power sector this financial year, brokerages said the government’s infrastructure push led to new orders for others.
  • Investment cycle continues to strengthen and presents one of the best pictures in a long time, suggesting a strong pick-up even if eye-grabbing large-scale projects are yet to start, Lokesh Garg, analyst at Credit Suisse, wrote in a report.

It’s the strongest sales growth for industrials in 28 quarters.

10. Coalition Governments And Markets

India’s stock markets cheered when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was swept to power in 2014. As the nation heads into the next general election in six months, Modi is likely to face a united opposition. And market experts are keenly watching the ongoing state elections as the results may offer a glimpse of what 2019 could throw up.

  • The possibility of a “weak and unstable” coalition would be a matter of concern for foreign investors, Jonathan Schiessl, fund manager at Ashburton, said in an interview with BloombergQuint.
  • Yet, consistent policy making will be a bigger factor than the majority a government enjoys, he said.
  • Ajay Srivastava, managing director of Dimensions Consulting, said it doesn’t matter which party comes to power as investors are the lowest priority for political parties. Moreover, he said, coalition governments are more likely to take responsible decisions because survival is at stake.

Also read: Rajasthan Elections And The Politics Of Healthcare