MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - A day’s hike away from phone connectivity, news filtered up the snowclad Himalayas from one tea-shack to the next of India’s explosive second wave of Covid-19. It was a harsh jolt back to reality after a week of blissful trekking. Like far too many in India, for the past six months I felt comfortable flying around the country. Everything has turned on its head. The only safe space now, it seems, is my Mumbai home.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Adar Poonawalla should be a walking advertisement for India’s pharmaceutical prowess. Instead the billionaire owner and chief executive of the Pune-based Serum Institute, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has become a symbol of India’s fraught ties with its private sector.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - India’s virus resurgence is alarming almost everyone except foreign investors. As hospitals in New Delhi run short on oxygen, funeral pyres burn across the capital and residents wonder which city will get overwhelmed next, local markets are ticking along in the expectation of attractive returns.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - India has slender room to act if economic activity follows its medical infrastructure into a virus-induced state of collapse. So far there’s a wide gap between the two measures of health. Optimists hope antibodies and vaccines will cause the Covid-19 contagion to burn out quickly. The government will have a hard time softening the financial pain if it doesn’t.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Silicon Valley investor Altimeter Capital has sketched a handy roadmap for speeding hot Asian technology companies to overseas public markets. Southeast Asian ride-hailing-to-delivery-to-payments group Grab is listing in New York via a combination with a blank-cheque firm. It’s the largest so-called SPAC merger, with a structure that cushions the SoftBank-backed company’s amped-up $39.6 billion equity valuation.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - CapitaLand wants to build something new in Singapore. The $15 billion owner of shopping malls and office parks stretching from the Lion City to Britain to China is trying to carve itself up, with the help of its biggest backer. Even if investors are willing to embrace the intricate deal, achieving the desired post-transaction valuation will be difficult.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Southeast Asian technology companies are complex versions of their American counterparts. Singapore’s Grab might list in New York, via an acquisition by a blank-cheque firm, valuing the ride-hailing and food delivery outfit at as much as $40 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. But newer bets in finance and more give Anthony Tan’s nearly ten-year-old company a more convoluted path to profit than its peer and backer Uber Technologies.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ready to cut his losses in banking. His government wants to privatise lenders long seen as untouchable, aiming to sell two in the next financial year. Earnings from one potential candidate, Tamil Nadu-based Indian Overseas Bank, show why he’s keen.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Jeff Bezos has the patience and gritty determination it takes do business in India. The Amazon boss is locked in an ugly fight to stop a troubled big-box retailer from selling itself to his biggest rival, Mukesh Ambani’s $166 billion Reliance Industries. Any victory by the U.S. e-commerce giant could wind up costing thousands of jobs and spark a nasty political backlash, but the standoff also might deliver longer-term rewards.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Indian farmers have dragged India’s “double A” tycoons into a spat over agricultural policy. Reforms passed by the government overturn antiquated rules, cut out greedy middleman and could boost incomes for 150 million or so growers. Yet protesters fear Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani will be able to take advantage of the changes.