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Business World News

Samsung’s Smartphone Profits Spike in Q3

Samsung Electronics narrowed the gap with Apple in terms of profit shares in the third quarter, with more than 30 per cent smartphone market share globally, a new report said on Friday.

The South Korean tech giant accounted for a 32.6 per cent share of profits worldwide generated from the smartphone segment in the third quarter, up from a 18.8 per cent share a year earlier, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics.

The latest figure was the largest for Samsung since the second quarter of 2014, when it took 37.9 per cent of global smartphone profits.

Apple defended its status as the world’s most profitable smartphone vendor with a dominant 60.5 per cent share in the third quarter. But its market share was down from 66.9 percent from a year ago, reports Yonhap news agency.

By shipment, Samsung was the leader in the third-quarter global smartphone market with a 21.9 per cent share, followed by Chinese brands Huawei Technologies with 14.1 per cent and Xiaomi with 12.7 percent.

Apple took the fourth spot with a 11.9 per cent share.

Strategy Analytics said the late release of the iPhone 12 dragged down Apple’s operating margin to 21 per cent in the third quarter, which was down from 23 per cent a year earlier.

In contrast, Samsung saw its third-quarter operating margin increase to 14 per cent from 11 per cent a year ago, thanks to its enhanced product mix covering both premium and midrange smartphones.

Samsung also narrowed the gap with Apple in terms of revenue in the third quarter.

Samsung took a 22.6 per cent revenue share in the third quarter, which was 6.9 percentage points fewer than Apple.

In the third quarter of last year, Samsung’s revenue share stood at 20.2 percent, while that of Apple reached 33.8 per cent.

Also Read: Samsung pips Apple in US smartphone sales

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Business Economy India News

RBI grants Rs 318.20 relief to LVB

In a sudden turn of events, some hours before the amalgamation of the Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) with DBS Bank India Ltd is to take effect, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gave a Rs 318.20 crore relief to DBS Bank.

The RBI wrote ti LVB’s Administrator on Thursday to write down Rs 318.20 crore worth of Unsecured Non-convertible Redeemable Fully Paid-up Basel III compliant Tier-2 Bonds before the scheme of amalgamation comes into effect on November 27.

The LVB had raised the money through Basel III Tier 2 bonds in three tranches.

The RBI cited the Information Memorandums of respective Basel III Tier 2 bonds issued by the LVB while communicating its decision to the LVB.

“If the relevant authorities decide to reconstitute the Bank or amalgamate the Bank with any other bank under Section 45 of the BR Act (Banking Regulation Act), such a bank shall be deemed as non-viable or approaching non-viability and both the pre-specified trigger and the trigger at the point of non-viability for write-down of the Bonds shall be activated. Accordingly, the Bonds shall be written-off before amalgamation/reconstitution in accordance with applicable rules,” the RBI told T.N. Manoharan, Administrator of the LVB.

According to the RBI, as Section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act has been invoked and the amalgamation scheme has been notified, the LVB is deemed to be non-viable or approaching non-viability and accordingly, the triggers for a write-down of Basel III Tier 2 bonds issued by the bank has been triggered.

“In light of the above provisions, such Basel III Tier 2 bonds would need to be fully written down before the amalgamation of the bank comes into effect,” RBI said in its letter.

The Central Government, in its notification, had written off the entire amount of the paid-up share capital and reserves and surplus, including the balances in the shares or securities premium account of the transferor bank and the delisting of the shares and debentures.

As a result, the shareholders of the LVB will not get anything for their shares.

Meanwhile, the shareholders of the 94-year-old Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) have started knocking the doors of justice for a fair valuation of their bank, the amalgamation of which takes effect from Friday onwards.

On Thursday, Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd, Kare Electronics and Development Pvt Ltd and others filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court praying for a stay of the notification issued by the Central government for amalgamating the LVB with DBS Bank India Ltd, a subsidiary of DBS Bank, Singapore.

The petitioners will also make DBS Bank as a party to the case by amending their petition.

“The petitioners had prayed for a stay of the Central Government notified scheme of amalgamation of LVB with DBS Bank India. The other prayer is to quash the writing off of the entire entire amount of the paid-up share capital and reserves and surplus, including the balances in the shares or securities premium account of the transferor bank and the delisting of the shares and debentures,” Paras Parekh, Partner, Parinam Law Associates representing Indiabulls Housing, told IANS from Mumbai.

The Bombay High Court, admitting the writ petition, refused to stay the Central government’s notification amalgamating LVB with DBS Bank India, and fixed the next hearing for December 14.

The court said: “We are of the opinion, prima facie, that the petitioner’s claims being a monetary claim, can be considered at the time of disposal of the petitions.”

Also Read: Indian economy’s recovery better than expected: Das

Also Read: FIIs turn net buyers in India in 2020

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Business Economy India News

Majority ready to switch to WFH in India: Survey

More than half of the office-goers in India are willing to switch jobs if it meant they could work remotely, said a new survey on Thursday.

There has been a heightened interest in online learning since Covid-19 with 83 per cent of survey participants from India saying they are more interested in online learning/training, according to the research by Cloud software firm Salesforce.

“Amid the global pandemic, companies have been leveraging technology to pivot their businesses at hyperspeed. This new all-digital world poses an opportunity for business leaders to rethink how they not only connect with their customers, but also their employees,” Dulles Krishnan, Area Vice President, Salesforce India, said in a statement.

“By shifting our priorities on our employees, ensuring safety and reskilling for the future, we have the opportunity to use technology to make the future of work a more inclusive and resilient environment.”

This report surveyed 20,000 people across ten countries, including 4,000 people from India, focused on gaining insights about the participants’ perceptions of the future of work from around the world.

Also Read:Indian economy’s recovery better than expected: Das

Insights from the study revealed that remote work is a luxury not available for all and that working remotely will look different everywhere.

The pandemic has pushed companies to adapt to new realities that are radically transforming how they operate and serve both their employees and customers.

In fact, 79 per cent of the survey participants from India said technology should play a major role in workplace safety.

The survey showed that trust in business and government is significantly higher in India than the global population.

About 89 per cent of the survey participants from India said they trust businesses to create a better future.

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Business World News

Disney to lay off 32,000 employees

Disney has increased the number of people it is planning to lay off in the first half of fiscal 2021 from 28,000 to 32,000, the company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company is taking the step due to the impact of the pandemic mainly on its theme parks business.

In September, the company said it planned to reduced its staff by 28,000, two-thirds of whom are part-time staffers.

The new figure revealed in a 10-K filing on Wednesday includes the layoffs that were previously announced, Variety reported.

“Due to the current climate, including Covid-19 impacts, and changing environment in which we are operating, the Company has generated efficiencies in its staffing, including limiting hiring to critical business roles, furloughs and reductions-in-force,” said the company in the SEC filing.

“As part of these actions, the employment of approximately 32,000 employees primarily at Parks, Experiences and Products will terminate in the first half of fiscal 2021.”

Additionally, as of October 3, approximately 37,000 employees who are not scheduled for employment termination were on furlough as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the company’s businesses.

The company noted that Covid-19 and measures to prevent its spread impacted its business in a number of ways, most significantly at Parks, Experiences and Products where its theme parks were closed or operating at significantly reduced capacity for a significant portion of the year.

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Business Economy India News

FIIs turn net buyers in India in 2020

With over Rs 55,000 crore net purchase of equities, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have turned net buyers for the year 2020.

So far in November, FIIs have made net purchase worth Rs 55,576.84 crore including Rs 24.20 crore on Wednesday, the highest ever in a month.

Buoyed by the fund flow, both Sensex and Nifty have off late been on a record run and hit fresh highs. On Wednesday, the BSE Sensex touched an all-time high of 44,825.37, and the Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange hit a fresh high of 13,145.85 points.

During January-April, FIIs pulled out a net amount of Rs 89,069.01 crore, with nearly Rs 66,000 crore being pulled out in March due to the initial fears and uncertainties over the pandemic.

However, post the announcement of measures to boost liquidity and provide stimulus globally, including in India, FIIs started coming back in May. Except a blip in September, FIIs have been net buyers since May.

This trend is the likely to continue at least in the near term, according to analysts.

A report by Kotak Institutional Equities showed that the September 2020 quarter witnessed Rs 46,900 crore of buying by foreign portfolio investors (FPI) and FPI holding, including ADR and GDR in the BSE-200 Index increased to $415 billion in the September 2020 quarter from $360 billion at the end of the June 2020 quarter.

“FPI ownership in the BSE-200 Index stood at 23.3 per cent in September 2020. FPIs were net buyers in banks, diversified financials, IT services and oil, gas and consumable fuels’ sectors. DIIs holding in the BSE-200 Index declined to 13.6 per cent in the September quarter from 14 per cent at the end of the June 2020 quarter,” it said.

DIIs, however, sold IT services, oil, gas and consumable fuels and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Currently too, DIIs have been on a selling spree and have been net seller off late, contrary to the investments by foreign investors.

So far in November, DIIs have made a net selling of Rs 39,950.17 crore of equities.

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Business USA

US grants seven more days to transfer TikTok’s ownership

The Donald Trump administration has granted China’s ByteDance further seven-day extension to sell its short video-sharing platform TikTok’s American business.

The US Department of Treasury on Wednesday said that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) allowed the one week extension, from November 27 to December 4, in order to review revised submission that the committee recently received, according to a report in Variety.

Citing national security concerns, the Trump administration had earlier ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US operations by November 12. That deadline extended to November 27 when the company received a 15-day extension to reach a deal with American buyers. The latest extension pushes the deadline to December 4.

If the revised proposal submitted by ByteDance is rejected by the Trump administration, TikTok could be effectively banned in the US.

The company is also engaged in a legal battle to block such a potential ban.

TikTok had earlier disclosed that it reached a deal with Oracle and Walmart to address security concerns raised by the Trump administration which had alleged that Chinese government could have access to data of the platform’s American users.

Both TikTok and China rejected the allegations.

On August 6, Trump had issued an executive order banning US transactions with TikTok and ByteDance after 45 days, citing national security concerns.

On August 14, Trump signed another executive order that forces ByteDance to sell or spin off its US TikTok business within 90 days, setting the deadline of November 12.

In September, Trump gave a preliminary approval for ByteDance to sell the app to US buyers, and then a potential deal among ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart emerged.

However, the US administration had offered no feedback in nearly two months.

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Business Economy India News

Festive spike in E-Com demand lesser than expected: Report

This festive season has seen 30-40 per cent growth in e-commerce volumes with overall growth similar to that witnessed last year.

A report by financial services major, Bernstein, said: “While not a negative surprise, we had anticipated a much higher growth for online sales this season given the Covid impact.”

This festive season has seen 30-40 per cent growth in e-commerce volumes with overall growth similar to that witnessed last year, the report said.

“This, in our view, either reflects unlocking ensuring a better than expected offline momentum or the impact of weak economy on overall festive demand. Our offline checks suggest a mixed read on festive trends with some categories seeing strength and some others still down year on year,” the report said.

Another interesting read was that there were no major supply constraints this season suggesting adequate channel re-stocking.

The just-concluded festive season in India was expected to have an increased dependence on e-commerce channels given the impact of Covid.

“Our analysis of consumer income and demand patterns over the past few months had suggested a better situation for Tier 3/4 geographies and e-commerce trends suggest a similar pattern,” the report said. While growth for e-commerce channel emerged from all geographies, Tier 3/4 outpaced Metro and Tier 1/2 with booking from these markets increasing to 60 per cent of mix vs 55 per cent last year.

Tier 1 and 2 mainly comprised existing shoppers who are buying more, while Tier 3 and 4 reflect new online shoppers.

Apparel (including footwear and sportswear) continues to be the largest category in e-commerce with consumer electronics (mobiles, laptops etc) being the No 2 category.

Categories which are gaining scale are grocery, home personal care and household goods. The widening of category choices from consumers also reflects the willingness of consumers to experiment, reflecting their trust on online platforms. Consumer durables have seen 165 per cent growth in volumes this festive season with almost all products (TV, AC, washing machine), witnessing a spike in growth.

Comfort on online shopping is increasing. Sharp reduction in return orders which declined by over 25 per cent, and is a good indicator of increased consumer engagement with the online platform and also reflects the quality of growth. Increasing trust on online payments as indicated by lower share of COD (cash on delivery) orders (55 per cent now vs 65 per cent pre-Covid). While COD as a mode of payment may remain relevant due to ease of use (Quicker checkout, consumer comfort on delivery timelines etc.) online payments should continue to gain ground, the report said.

The analysts interacted with the top management of Delhivery, India’s largest independent private e-commerce logistics company, to understand the consumption trends this season.

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Business Tech Lite World News

South Korea fines Facebook for sharing private information

South Korea’s information watchdog on Wednesday fined Facebook Inc. 6.7 billion won (US$6 million) for passing information of at least 3.3 million South Koreans to other companies in its first crackdown on the U.S. tech giant.

The Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) said Facebook violated the country’s personal information law by providing personal information of at least 3.3 million of the country’s total 18 million local users from May 2012 to June 2018 to other companies without their consent.

It marked the commission’s first punishment against Facebook since it was launched in August this year, reports Yonhap news agency.

The commission said that when users logged into other company’s services using their Facebook accounts, the personal information of their Facebook friends was also shared to such service providers without consent.

The personal information that was shared with other companies included users’ names, their addresses, dates of birth, work experience, hometowns and relationship statuses.

The watchdog said the exact amount of the shared information is unclear as Facebook did not provide relevant documentation.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. (File Photo: IANS)

Considering the information could be provided to at most 10,000 other companies, the watchdog said a considerable amount of personal information could have been shared.

The commission said it will refer Facebook Ireland Ltd — which was in charge of Facebook operations in South Korea from May 2012 to June 2018 — to the prosecution for a criminal investigation.

Facebook Ireland’s director in charge of user privacy could face up to five years in prison or a maximum of 50 million won in fines if convicted of violating South Korea’s relevant personal information law.

It added that Facebook was uncooperative in its investigation as it submitted incomplete or false documents.

The commission also levied Facebook with a separate penalty of 66 million won for the false documentation.

Facebook expressed regret at the commission’s move.

“We cooperated with the investigation in its entirety,” Facebook said in a statement. “We have yet to closely review PIPC’s measure.”

In 2018, the Korea Communications Commission, South Korea’s telecommunications regulator, started investigations into Facebook before handing it off to the commission.

Also Read: Facebook removes racist posts about US Vice-President-Elect

Also Read: Facebook Extends Ban On Political Ads in US

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Business India News USA

Air India set to connect Bengaluru and San Fransico

India’s national carrier Air India is set to connect Bengaluru and San Francisco via a non-stop flight from 2021, the Kempegowda International Airport said on Wednesday.

The airline is expected to launch a twice weekly service, scheduled to commence from January 11, 2021.

“This would be the first non-stop flight between Bengaluru and the United States, connecting the world’s two tech hubs — the original Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley of India.

“The first non-stop flight between Bengaluru and San Francisco is a significant milestone for BLR Airport and will transform it as the new gateway to India. This will tremendously help passengers, enabling faster and easier access to cities on the West Coast of the United States.”

As per the statement, the new non-stop service is expected to meet the demand of corporate customers for travel to San Fracisco and adjoining areas in the US.

“Air India plans to operate a 238-seater Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft, to serve the largest unserved international origin/ destination (O/D) market for BLR Airport. Bengaluru and San Francisco are ranked first and second, respectively, among the world’s top 45 digitally advanced cities.”

“The new route sets two records — it would be Air India’s longest route at 14,000+ km (8,698 miles) and longest flight to and from India (over 16 hours). The national carrier has opened ticket booking from November 25.”

Also Read: Air India Express records highest ever profit

Also Read: Air India commences London-Kochi direct flight

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Business Economy

Finance, Banking sectors garner most FPI investment in Nov

Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI) have been bullish on the Indian equities off late and a significant portion of those investments are going into finance and banking stocks.

Financial services stocks attracted a net investment of Rs 16,389 crore during the first two weeks of November, with banks receiving Rs 11,519 crore out of it while other financial stocks received net investment of Rs 4,870 crore, as per NSDL data.

Capital goods, consumer durables, and oil and gas stocks followed the financial stocks in terms of FPI inflow with Rs 1,709 crore, Rs 1,532 crore and Rs 1,289 crore during the first half of November.

During November 1-15, 2020, FPIs made a net investment of Rs 29,436 crore into equities in India. So far, during the month, net FPI inflow has surged to Rs 53,167 crore.

FPIs made a return in October, after foreign investors made a pullout in September.

This trend is the likely to continue at least in the near term according to analysts, with high liquidity in the market post the measures announced by governments and central banks globally.

Experts noted that investors are looking for yield across the world and India provides them an opportunity where the cost of capital is low and can provide relatively higher growth over the long term.

A report by Kotak Institutional Equities showed that the September 2020 quarter witnessed Rs 46,900 crore of buying by FPIs. FPI holding (including ADR and GDR) in the BSE-200 Index increased to $415 billion in the September 2020 quarter from $360 billion at the end of the June 2020 quarter.

“FPI ownership in the BSE-200 Index stood at 23.3 per cent in September 2020. FPIs were net buyers in banks, diversified financials, IT services and oil, gas and consumable fuels’ sectors. DIIs [Domestic Institutional Investors] holding in the BSE-200 Index declined to 13.6 per cent in the September quarter from 14 per cent at the end of the June 2020 quarter,” it said.

DIIs, however, sold IT services, oil, gas and consumable fuels and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Currently too, DIIs have been on a selling spree and have been net seller off late, contrary to the investments by foreign investors.

Also Read: Centre to boost jobs, infra and rural economy with stimulus 3.0