Weekend Bites: Beleaguered tycoon, GDP, Ambani children, and Wonderlust

In which we munch over the week's platter of news and views

Gautam Adani

Photo: Bloomberg

Suveen Sinha New Delhi
It feels odd to describe one of the world’s richest and most powerful businessmen as “beleaguered”. But it is not inaccurate right now.
As this Bloomberg piece pointed out in mid-August, Gautam Adani’s core infrastructure business is booming, but there is little reprieve from the governance issues that have dogged his group since Hindenburg Research’s allegations. Despite its strenuous denial of the report, the conglomerate’s market value has sagged more than $100 billion since January.
There could be relief on the anvil.
Story of the week
Sebi, tasked by the Supreme Court with probing whether Gautam Adani’s eponymous conglomerate violated securities laws, has not unearthed any major lapses, sources tell us. As a result, the group is unlikely to face serious regulatory action.
The markets regulator has been able to establish only one key allegation, which pertains to non-disclosure of related-party transactions. The alleged violation could make the group liable to a penalty of up to Rs 1 crore.
The other serious charges, such as alleged manipulation of stock prices and possible violation of insider-trading norms in some of the group stocks, did not see any adverse outcomes. On alleged price volume manipulation in seven Adani group scrips, the regulator concluded that the price rise was mainly due to a thin supply of shares, the sources said.
This would indeed bring relief, when the report becomes public.
Meanwhile, the opposite of relief has come.
Millions of dollars were invested in some publicly traded stocks of India's Adani Group via "opaque" Mauritius funds that "obscured" involvement of alleged business partners of the Adani family, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project said in an article on Thursday.
Here is more of what we know.
In other news…
India’s economy grew at its fastest in four quarters – at 7.8 per cent – in April-June, aided by a supportive base along with a robust increase in investment. The RBI had estimated India’s GDP to grow by 8 per cent in the quarter. A Bloomberg survey had put it at 7.8 per cent.
Reliance Industries on Monday announced the induction of the third generation of the Ambani family as directors on the company’s board, viewed as the start of a succession.
Reliance Retail Ventures, meanwhile, is in advanced talks with global investors to raise $2.5 billion by the end of September, ahead of a potential stock market listing, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
It is the unheralded Sahasra Electronics that is poised to steal a march over more fancied outfits in rolling out India’s first semiconductor chip. It was not supposed to.
The Indian Air Force’s plight stems, to a significant degree, from its unacceptably high accident rate, which has steadily eroded its bank of combat aircraft as well as skilled pilots.
The promoter entities of JSW Group are in talks with manufacturers in China to launch an electric car for the Indian market at Rs 15-20 lakh.
Tech that: Word from the world of technology and start-ups
Thirty-eight companies, including Foxconn, HP, Dell and Lenovo, have applied for incentives under the mega production-linked incentive IT hardware scheme for manufacturing laptops, PCs and servers.
Watch it: From The Morning Show
Has Gati Shakti changed India’s infrastructure push? How and how much? Watch it here.
What is Suveen obsessing over?
The iPhone X, pronounced "iPhone Ten", which came in 2017, featured a nearly bezel-less display, marking a departure from the traditional iPhone design with a physical home button that needed larger bezels. This allowed for a larger screen in a device that was physically smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone X replaced the Touch ID fingerprint sensor with Face ID.
These innovations had a profound impact on the smartphone industry and how Apple approached its product design and development.
To date, Apple has been building on the foundations of the iPhone X, with minor changes in design, such as the redesigned camera island on the iPhone 11 series, the flat frame in the iPhone 12 series, and a redesigned notch cut-out called Dynamic Island in the iPhone 14 Pro line. The upgrades have been incremental, largely in the camera and through newer iOS versions.
Wonderlust, Apple’s event on September 12, could change that.
It comes at a time when foldable phones are gaining popularity. Their market share figure may not be big, but, since foldable phones are expensive, it matters to Apple, given the iPhone’s play at the top end.
This means there may be something more in the iPhone launches this year.
However, more than iPhone features, a new charging system could make a difference to our lives.
This is Suveen signing off. Please send tips, comments, news, or views about anything from beleaguered tycoons to foldable phones to suveen.sinha@bsmail.in.
(Suveen Sinha is Chief Content Editor at Business Standard)

First Published: Sep 02 2023 | 07:30 AM IST

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