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Wednesday,28-July-2021

Business

SBI, NPCI launch UPI awareness campaign for YONO users

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The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) and the umbrella body of retail and digital payments National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) have joined hands to launch a dedicated campaign to focus on deepening the reach of UPI transactions across all sections of the population.

The joint initiative aims at encouraging users of SBI’s banking and lifestyle platform YONO to opt for UPI payments which is easy, safe and instantaneous.

Since its inception in 2017, YONO has observed 34 lakh UPI registrations with over 62.5 lakh transactions worth more than Rs. 2,520 crore at current daily average of nearly 27,000 transactions (in last 30 days).

Through this campaign both NPCI and SBI will put in efforts to on-board more customers into YONO platform and educate them about UPI’s benefits so that there are more and more UPI users in the ecosystem, a statement announcing the initiative said.

Praveena Rai, COO, NPCI said, “Customers just need to know their UPI ID and use it so they can enjoy the convenience of making or receiving payment from their YONO app to any other bank or payment app. With this campaign, we aim to witness increasing numbers of UPI users which is a step further towards less-cash economy.”

Ravindra Pandey, DMD (Strategy & Chief Digital Officer), SBI said: “UPI has been witnessing a strong month-on-month growth which is a testament of customers’ willingness to adopt digital payments. In this FY, the YONO platform recorded 5.30 million transactions worth Rs 2,086 crore. UPI is currently one of the most preferred digital payment modes in India with more than 207 banks linked to it. The State Bank of India (SBI) was leading the segment by processing about 664.75 million transactions, as of January 2021.”

Business

Vedanta to invest Rs 6.6K cr on Balco expansion

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Vedanta

Oil and gas and metals company Vedanta plans major expansion at Bharat Aluminium Company’s (Balco) smelter capacity which will involve an investment of Rs 6,611 crore over the next 18-24 months.

This would be first major investment after a long gap by Vendanta in the entity it acquired by purchasing majority government shareholding nearly two decades back.

As part of the expansion, Balco’s smelter capacity will increase by 414 KTPA, taking its total capacity to close to 1 million tonnes. With this fresh investment, Balco’s value-added products portfolio will increase to 92 per cent.

In addition, the carbon plant adequacy business at Jharsuguda (Odisha) will set up a new carbon facility at a cost of Rs 635 crore.

“Balco’s expansion is a very important project for us. We hope to ramp up the smelter capacity over the next 18-24 months. Post this expansion, Vedanta’s aluminium capacity will increase to 2.8 million tonnes,” Vedanta’s Group CEO Sunil Duggal said.

In February this year, Vedanta’s Board of Directors had approved the expansion of Lanjigarh Alumina Refinery (Odisha) to 5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) from the present level of 2 mtpa at a cost of Rs 3,780 crore.

Completion of this project will place the refinery as one of the world’s largest single-location alumina refinery complex.

Vedanta’s aluminium business posted a strong momentum during the first quarter of FY2021-22 with highest-ever production of 549 KT, and margin of 36 per cent.

The company has recently been awarded the Kuraloi (A) North coal block in Jharsuguda, which will be an optimal fit for its smelter unit.

Duggal also said that the company is focused on reducing its cost of production by nearly $300 per tonne to around $1,200 in the next two years. This will help improve the realisation and profitability from the aluminium business significantly, he added.

Vedanta on Monday announced a 79 per cent increase in its consolidated revenues to Rs 28,105 crore in Q1 FY2022. The company clocked its highest ever quarterly EBITDA of Rs 10,032 crore, which is 150 per cent higher year-on-year. Attributable PAT (before exceptional items) was 314 per cent higher at Rs 4,280 crore.

During the first quarter, the company reduced its debt by Rs 6,989 crore, while Net Debt/EBITDA ratio at 0.6x is the lowest in the past four years. The company has a strong liquidity position with cash and cash equivalents at Rs 31,318 crore.

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Bollywood

Disney+ Hotstar announces upcoming slate featuring Ajay Devgn, Shabana Azmi

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Bollywood-seeries

Content streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar on Tuesday announced its lineup, headlined by Bollywood personalities like Shabana Azmi, Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan and Pratik Gandhi among many others.

Ajay, who makes his digital debut with crime-drama series “Rudra – The Edge of Darkness” said: “Today, the quality of entertainment being delivered via digital platforms is remarkable and has opened up avenues for filmmakers to experiment and scale-up. The sheer scale of production of these projects has multiplied significantly in the last few years.”

Opening up about his upcoming series, he says it is bigger than anything he has done before.

The platform is also roping in Sushmita Sen, Kunal Kapoor, Kirti Kulhari, Shabana Azmi, Shefali Shah, Richa Chadha; superstars from the south Sathyaraj, Sarath Kumar, Siddharth; award-winning directors and showrunners including Nikkhil Advani, Neeraj Pandey, Ram Madhvani, Vipul Shah, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Habib Faisal, Nagesh Kukonoor, Rajesh Mapuskar, Siddharth Kumar Tewary, Mitakshara Kumar, Vikrant Pawar; along with captivating stories across genres.

Actor Shefali Shah, who will be seen in medical-drama “Human”, said: “I choose stories that leave something back for me and for the viewers. Characters that leave an impact or touch their hearts or disturb their comfort zone. As much as mine.

“‘Human’ is all of it and more. It’s about the underbelly of the medical world. Raw, real, gritty. I am thrilled to be part of this journey, not only because this is a new genre for me, but I’m playing a character I’ve never ever played before.”

The new line-up has its period-action drama magnum opus series “The Empire” starring Kunal Kapoor.

The lineup also features strong characters and women-centric narratives like the second season of “Aarya”, “Fear” a supernatural thriller starring Tisca Chopra, apart from medical drama “Human” starring Shefali and Kirti.

It will also showcase Kay Kay Menon-starrer “Special Ops 1.5”, murder mystery “Six Suspects” starring Pratik Gandhi and Richa Chadha, tech-thriller “Escaype Live”, political dramas “City of Dreams” (Season 2) and “Gharshana”, novel adaptation “Those Pricey Thakur Girls”, dance reality series “Dance+”, the third chapter of popular franchise “Criminal Justice” starring Pankaj Tripathi and more.

Actor Pratik Gandhi on his first-ever murder mystery Six Suspects, said: “Whether it’s lean-back content or complex storylines, digital platforms have explored multiple formats to relay stories in exciting new ways. As an actor, this has allowed me to expand my horizons and work on stories and roles that challenge and teach me.

He added: “Tigmanshu Dhulia has created some of my favourite movies. It is an absolute honour to work with a stalwart like him on Six Suspects.”

The line up also features blockbuster movies “Bhuj: The Pride of India” and horror-comedy “Bhoot Police featuring” Saif Ali Khan, Arjun Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Yami Gautam.

In the all-access to content, viewers will be able to enjoy an extensive collection of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

“The content slate demonstrates our relentless pursuit of bringing original and locally relevant stories to our consumers. With our fresh slate of movies and shows, we are proud that India’s top stars and industry stalwarts have chosen to debut with us to present stories that are genre-defining clubbed with high-quality production that makes Har Watch, Top Notch,” said Sunil Rayan, President & Head, Disney+ Hotstar.

Gaurav Banerjee, President & Head, Hindi and English Entertainment, Star India added: “At Disney Star, we believe in the power of great storytelling.”

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Business

Adani Ports & SEZ 1st Indian infra firm to raise 20-year’s money from markets

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Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), the transport and logistics arm of the diversified Adani portfolio, had successfully priced a $750 million senior unsecured dollar notes issuance with 20 years and 10.5 years tranches at a fixed coupon of 5.0 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively.

The issuances were closed on July 26, 2021 and was oversubscribed by over three times. APSEZ has continued to receive exceedingly strong participation (for its successive bond offerings) from its high-quality real money investors across all geographies.

This issuance establishes the Adani Group as an issuer with the ability to access international capital markets across all market cycles. APSEZ is the only infrastructure company in India to raise 20 years money from international markets, an achievement that underscores the strength of the company’s unique business model and strong fundamentals as well as APSEZ’s commitment to ESG and the UN Sustainability Development Goals.

Within the Adani portfolio, APSEZ is the third issuer of long tenor bonds after energy utilities Adani Green Energy Ltd (‘AGEL’) and Adani Transmission Ltd (‘ATL’).

Having issued the long tenor bond in developed markets, APSEZ has elongated the debt maturity to over 7 years from 6 years. APSEZ’s natural hedge through its foreign currency earnings allows the company to manage its foreign currency exposure. This issuance has also reconfigured the ratio of APSEZ’s debt from overseas investors from 69% to 73%.

Karan Adani, CEO and Whole Time Director of APSEZ, said, “APSEZ is proud of being India’s first infrastructure company to raise $750 million of dual tranche 10.5-year and 20-year unsecured bonds in global capital markets. This issuance reflects the confidence international financial markets have in the fundamentals of the Adani Group’s business model and its ability to execute.”

“It further demonstrates our ability to mobilise global resources commensurate with our long asset life and is a part of our capital management program to lock lower interest rates over an extended tenor and extend debt maturity. The reduced cost of capital will translate into greater capital efficiency as well as enhanced shareholder returns.”

Following this issuance, APSEZ has raised the national bar for issuing long tenor bonds and has established a robust financial foundation that will help continue support the development of large infrastructure assets.

The JLMs to the transaction were Axis Bank, Barclays, Citigroup, DBS Bank, Emirates NBD, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Mizuho Securities, MUFG Securities, SMBC Nikko, and Standard Chartered Bank.

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