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QBiz: Jet Airways Suspends Op; FB Working on Voice Assistant

1. Grounded! Unable to Land Funds, Jet Taxies to a Halt

Jet Airways, India’s oldest private airline, decided to suspend all flights from Wednesday night, 17 April, as cash ran out and banks refused to give more money. It became the second major airline to shut down operations, even temporarily, this decade after Kingfisher in 2012.

“Since no emergency funding from lenders or any other source is forthcoming, the airline will not be able to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going. Consequently, with immediate effect, Jet is compelled to cancel all international and domestic flights,” the airline said in a statement. Its last flight was from Amritsar to Mumbai on Wednesday night.

(Source: The Economic Times)

Also Read: ‘Gave Our Blood, Soul to Jet Airways, See it Dying Now’: Employees

2. Facebook Working on Voice Assistant to Rival Amazon's Alexa

Facebook Inc is working to develop a voice assistant to rival the likes of Amazon.com Inc's Alexa, Apple Inc's Siri and Alphabet Inc's Google Assistant.

“We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products,” a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters in an e-mailed response on Wednesday.

(Source: Livemint)

Also Read: Not Just Alexa: Even Apple & Google Employees Listen To Your Voice

3. Haldiram Among Cos in Race for Kwality Dairy

A mix of strategic and financial investors have submitted expressions of interest to buy out loss-making Kwality Dairy, which is facing insolvency proceedings, two officials aware of the developments said.

The bidders include TPG Capital, Aion affiliate Arcion Revitalisation, IndiaRF — a joint venture between Piramal Enterprises and Bain Capital Credit — Haldiram Snacks and JK Group’s LVP Foods.

(Source: The Economic Times)

4. Mindtree Board Proposes Special Dividend of Rs 20/Share Amid L&T Takeover Bid

Ahead of a potential takeover of the company by L&T, Mindtree’s board on Wednesday, 17 April, proposed to pay a special dividend of Rs 20 per share translating into a total payout of over Rs 320 crore to its shareholders, including promoters. The company said the move was in line with its capital allocation policy and did not go against corporate governance norms.

Mindtree will, however, seek the approval for its proposal at the forthcoming annual general meeting likely to take place in June or July, but there will be no extraordinary general meeting for the same.

(Source: Financial Express)

Also Read: Mindtree Board Evaluating ‘Several Options’ to Stave off L&T Bid

5. Taxes on Telecom Similar to Non-Essential Items Like Liquor: Vodafone Idea CEO

The telecom sector is being taxed like non-essential items such as liquor and cigarette, instead of being treated as a critical infrastructure, according to Vodafone Idea.

"We have got customs duty at 23 percent, GST at 18 percent. This is pretty similar to the way you treat non-essential items like for liquor or cigarette or something.

(Source: Livemint)

6. Amazon to Make Premium Phones Affordable

Amazon is working towards making premium smartphones more affordable for Indian customers by partnering with banks, financial institutions and credit rating companies to offer buyers credit options to pay for the devices at their convenience.

These steps, along with efforts to constantly bring on board a broader selection of smartphone brands, are aimed at widening and expanding Amazon’s footprint in this category.

(Source: The Economic Times)

7. Hyundai Sets up the ‘Venue’ to Launch a Bid for SUV Crown

South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor has set itself a target of gaining pole position in the Indian SUV market in the next 12-18 months by overtaking Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra & Mahindra, a top official said.

Hyundai Motor, which will launch its new compact SUV Venue next month, expects it to generate annual volumes of close to 100,000 units and boost its overall UV sales in the country to more than 250,000 units a year.

(Source: The Economic Times)

8. Reliance Industries in Talks to Buy British Toymaker Hamleys: Report

Reliance Industries Ltd is in talks to buy British toy store chain Hamleys, business news website Moneycontrol reported on Wednesday, 17 April, citing multiple sources, as the Indian conglomerate seeks to expand its footprint in the consumer space.

Reliance Retail, the retail arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries, is "aggressively pursuing the deal", the website quoted one of the sources as saying.

(Source: Livemint)

9. A320 Neo Fiasco: DGCA Raps Indigo, Orders Special Safety Audit of Airline

In a significant development, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered special safety audit of IndiGo planes after several glaring lapses on its snag-prone Airbus A320 Neo aircraft.

The audit has been ordered after incidents of non-reporting, malafide maintenance practices and non-documentation of maintenance.

(Source: Moneycontrol)

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