Paula Hearn

Ford Likely to Forge Deal With Mahindra, End Independent Business

Ford Motors may soon end their independent business in India and start a new joint venture with Mahindra and Mahindra according to internal sources. The terms of the new deal are still discussed, but it seems more than likely that Mahindra will have a 51% stake in the new unit and Ford will hold 49% of the stakes. Ford may also transfer the current operative business to Mahindra including the employees, assets and other related resources.

Ford had in the past two decades invested close to $2 billion in the country but has not been able to generate the kind of interest it has seen in other countries and has struggled to make a mark in India. Though India is seen as the fastest growing market for cars globally, Ford has an India market share of only 3%. Not just Ford, even General Motors is also among those that could not taste success in this country and had to downsize its operations in 2017.

India is a tough market

India is a tough market especially for foreign companies as there is local domination of companies like Maruti and Hyundai and Ford’s decision to back out of the Indian market is a reminder that it is not easy to survive in India.

Ford could sell only 93,000 automobiles in India last fiscal which is far less when compared to Maruti which sold more than 1.7 million and has a market of over 51%. The reason for global companies failing to sell cars in India is due to lack of dealership networks and local team that quickly makes changes as per the market needs.

Though India is a major market for car manufacturers, the growth has been slow with only 3.3 million units or 3% sold last year compared to 8% the year before. But the forecast for India in auto sales is a sale of 5 million cars every year making it the third largest market for cars by 2023.

Though both companies denied making any comments, Mahindra in a statement said ‘it was working together in identified areas and will announce further definitive agreements as we progress on some of the other areas.’ Both companies are in talks with each other since 2017. Ford had earlier made an alliance with Mahindra to make new cars which includes SUVs and electric cars. The funds that Ford India gets from the deal will be used to clear dues because of losses.

Paula HearnFord Likely to Forge Deal With Mahindra, End Independent Business
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Environment Conscious Investors to Not Buy Into Lyft or Uber

The number of environmentally conscious people has increased by leaps and bounds as the fears over global warming have intensified over the past decade or so. To that end, many investors have also emerged over the years, which have made it their mission to invest in companies that do not damage the environment and stay away from companies that are not ‘green’ enough by their standards.

According to reports, such investors have now decided to stay away from the initial public offering of ride-hailing company Lyft and are all set to do so for the mega IPO of Uber. They believe that both these companies will eventually have a damaging impact on the climate as the number of cars rise after they raise billions of dollars from the stock markets. Lyft was the biggest IPO of the year so far, and when Uber goes public, it is all set to be the biggest one in history with a rumoured valuation of $120 billion.

New Alternatives Fund, which is regarded as socially responsible, is not going to invest in either of these companies and a money manager at the fund, Murray Rosenblith confirmed it. “As far as I can tell, they’re actually putting more cars into the congested areas, and they’re pulling business out of the transit systems. This is not an area where New Alternatives is going to get engaged.” In this regard, it is also important to keep in mind that most ride-hailing companies claim that due to their business model, people will buying fewer cars in the years to come and carbon emissions are going to reduce dramatically. However, researchers do not believe that it is going to be the case since commuters might use these services more than other forms of public transport like train, metro and buses.

In addition to that, many of these funds argue that the fact that drivers often have to drive for long distances before they reach their customers, also leads to higher emissions and that is not factored into the ‘distance travelled’ statistic by these companies. That being said, the companies are also working on bringing in alternative modes of vehicles that will help in curbing carbon emissions and both companies are engaged in electrical vehicles projects that could come to fruition in the years to come. However, as of now, that is a distant dream, and the small group of investors are going to stay away.

Paula HearnEnvironment Conscious Investors to Not Buy Into Lyft or Uber
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Seven Banks Charged with Monetary Fine for Violating Banking Norms by RBI

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed a monetary fine on seven public sector banks for violating various banking rules. The banks on which penalty have been imposed are Bank of Maharashtra, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank, Allahabad Bank, Andhra Bank, and Indian Overseas Bank.

The penalty has been imposed mainly for breaching various directions that were issued by the Central Bank (RBI), which included the norms on monitoring of the end-use of funds, reporting of frauds and classification, sharing of information with other banks and reorganizing of accounts. A fine of Rs 1.5 crore has been imposed on banks namely Allahabad Bank, Indian Overseas Banks and Bank of Maharashtra.

Taking into account the failure of the seven banks to hold on to the directions issued by RBI under Banking Regulation Act of 1949 and under the provisions of section 47A (1)(c) along with Section 46(4)(i) the penalties have been imposed due to exercise of power that is vested in RBI.

The RBI further announced that the action is due to lack in regulatory compliance and is not planned to affirm the transaction or agreement that are enrolled into by the banks along with their customers.

HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank have also imposed a penalty of Rs 20 lakh each by the central bank, i.e., RBI. The penalty has been imposed due to the violation of various norms of the bank mainly Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and Anti- Money Laundering (AML) standards.

Andhra Bank has been imposed a fine of Rs. 1 crore for violating similar rules of RBI.

In the previous week, the RBI had imposed fine over 11 more banks for non-compliance of various directions.

Paula HearnSeven Banks Charged with Monetary Fine for Violating Banking Norms by RBI
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Hermes Says Sales in China Still Going Strong

The slowdown in China has come as a bitter shock for some of the biggest corporations in the world, and a large percentage of business has recorded poor fourth quarter numbers due to the declining demand for a range of products in the country. However, for French luxury brand Hermes, the situation is different, and the company announced that their sales continued to be strong in the fourth quarter of 2018. This is in sharp contrast to what has been happening with many other luxury brands in China and without a doubt, a testimony to the appeal of its products.

Over the years, it has become abundantly clear that China is a huge factor in the continued growth of some of the biggest luxury products’ companies in the world. Not only are the sales in China a big revenue driver but Chinese tourists are also a big part of the equation, and overall the consumers in Asian country account for around 33% of their total sales.

It is hardly a surprise then that many of the biggest luxury names in the world have had a bit of a struggle after the slowdown in the Chinese economy. For instance, luxury jeweler Tiffany from the United States and Tapestry suffered depressed sales due to the shrinking of demand in China. However, for Hermes, which is famous for manufacturing the iconic Birkin bags, has not suffered at all and continue to report strong sales figures. The Birkin bags, which are usually priced more than $10000, are one of its most popular products and more often than not, customers are put on waiting lists if they want to buy it. In this regard, it is interesting to point out that Hermes’ rival and fellow French luxury brand Louis Vuitton has expressed the same thoughts. The company has stated that despite the slowdown, the sales in China are still on the rise.

Speaking to journalists, the Chief Executive Officer of Hermes, Axel Dumas said, “We are still growing strongly in Asia, we did not see any change in momentum in our stores in China.” On Friday, the group revealed its sales figures in the fourth quarter, and overall, sales went up by a healthy 9.6% in the quarter. In the Asia Pacific region alone, excluding Japan, went up by 13.1%. In the third quarter, the sales in that region had gone up by 11.7%. Last but certainly not the least, Hermes posted revenues of $1.93 billion, which reflected a 10.1% jump.

Paula HearnHermes Says Sales in China Still Going Strong
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Walt Disney Reports Profits Above Forecast

Walt Disney Company on Tuesday reported its earnings for this quarter and had surpassed the estimates of Wall Street. It is believed that the earnings increased due to the growing popularity of theme park business and also the diversification of investments in digital media through the ABC broadcast network. With this news, shares of the company increased by 0.8% and were at $114.70 in after-hours trading.

According to data from Refinitiv, analysts had expected shares to increase by $1.55 on an average. However, Disney reported their first-quarter earnings which ended in December of adjusted earnings of $1.84 per share. The earnings report also added that the company had made a reorg so that it can cater to digital streaming services and the operating income from the media network department rose by 7% and made $1.3 billion when compared to last year. The ABC broadcast unit also saw its profit increase by 40% as a result of revenue generation from affiliate fees, program sales, and advertising.

The popular theme park and the consumer products unit also brought in great revenue for the company with an increase in revenue by 10% and a profit of $2.2 billion compared to last year. The report also mentioned that the Disney theme parks in the US saw an increase in occupancy rates and more spending by guests.

ESPN, Disney Channels and the ABC network are some of the media properties that Disney owns and is looking to become a digital entertainment company on par with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. It is trying to deliver programming to the customers directly and has also started Disney+ and ESPN+ as some of the new streaming services. The company is also saving most of the content for its streaming services and plan to decrease operating income by $150 million this fiscal year. CFO Christine McCarthy said that the company plans to waive license revenue from others.

Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney in a conference call, said that there were up to 2 million subscribers for their streaming service ESPN+ and is twice the number five months ago. The company is also working on a family entertainment streaming service later in the year and is thus not providing programming to Netflix on movies like Captain Marvel. It is also investing in assets and movies from 21st Century Fox to add more variety to its portfolio. The company is heading into the competitive streaming market from a strong position, and that should help the company shares do better and keep the investors happy.

Paula HearnWalt Disney Reports Profits Above Forecast
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UN Warns of Currency Wars and Show of Protectionism if Trade War Persists

The United Nations warned in a report that the world might encounter currency wars, widespread protectionism, and billion-dollar losses if the trade conflicts between the U.S. and China persists.

The report was published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Monday. It also said that while some countries would see a surge in exports, negative global effects were likely to dominate.

China and the United States have been engaged in trade conflict since early 2018. In September, the U.S. increased tariff by 10 percent on around $200 billion of Chinese imports, and it planned to increase those rates to 25 percent in January. However, the head of the two Governments agree to adopt a freeze the increment until March 1, and in the meantime, they are supposed to have talks.

The Damage-

As per the UN report, continuing or increasing tariffs between the two superpowers would have an unavoidable impact on the “still fragile” global economy, including disturbances in commodities, financial markets, and currencies.

UNCTAD’s report said, “One major concern is the risk that trade tensions could spiral into currency wars, making dollar-denominated debt more difficult to service, another worry is that more countries may join the fray and that protectionist policies could escalate to a global level.”

Generally, a currency war occurs when nations depreciate the value of their national currency deliberately for stimulating their economies.

The report also noted that protectionist policies usually hurt weaker economies the most, while moves like tit-for-tat of the trade giants will have a domino effect affecting other dependent countries.

The report noted, “Tariff increases penalize not only the assembler of a product but also suppliers along the chain.”

UNCTAD said the Chinese exports affected by the United States’ tariff measures are likely to hit East Asian value chains the most, and it is estimated to be around $160 billion.

Gains-

Out of the total $250 billion worth of exports which is subject to U.S. tariffs, about 82 percent will be covered by other countries. And 12 percent is expected to be retained by the Chinese firms only. And a mere 6 percent would be captured by U.S. firms.

The same way, of the U.S. exports to China which is subject to Chinese tariff, about 85 percent would be covered by other countries, as per the study. U.S. firms, however, will retain less than 10 percent of exports. And the Chinese firms would capture around 5 percent.

The countries which are expected to benefit from the scuffle are those capable of replacing American and Chinese firms. EU exports would be getting $70 billion from U.S. – China trade war. And the major economies like Japan, Mexico, and Canada would each gain around $20 billion.

However, the countries which are going to see the highest change in their export share are Australia, Brazil, and India.

Pamela Coke Hamilton, head of UNCTAD’s international trade division, said at a press conference on Monday, “Because of the size of their economies, the tariffs imposed by the United States and China will inevitably have significant repercussions on international trade.”

“While bilateral tariffs are not very effective in protecting domestic firms, they are valid instruments to limit trade from the targeted country. The effect of U.S. & China tariffs would be mainly distortionary. U.S. & China bilateral trade will decline and be replaced by trade originating in other countries.”

Paula HearnUN Warns of Currency Wars and Show of Protectionism if Trade War Persists
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CoinBene Partners with Komodo to Boost Its Security System

Crypto market is prone to numerous frauds and scams as it is highly unregulated. So, in a way to tackle and avoid these frauds, CoinBene has taken a big step by partnering with a modular multi blockchain ecosystem Komodo.

CoinBene is among most trusted cryptocurrency exchange platforms that have more than 170 listed digital assets for trading. Moreover, it has over $330 million in daily trading volume.

Komodo is a modular and multi blockchain ecosystem which is independently scalable and highly secure. It is a flexible, interoperable blockchain ecosystem that encourages developers for an end to end blockchain solutions.

This planned technical partnership between these two firms will look for solutions for encouraging CoinBene’s 2019 security initiative. In 2018, crypto communities had a bad experience due to various attacks on digital asset exchange platforms. Numerous victims to this attack lost millions of dollars.

Bittrex had a hack attack that led to a loss of $18 million. Victims asked for the compensation against their losses. But they could not get any compensation. Verge also had a similar attack and lost almost $3 billion.

Not only this, hacker trend kept continuing till 2019 when Cryptopia was attacked and lost a lot of crypto funds. Ethereum Classic was also attacked and lost around $1 million.

Happening of such incidents worries and threatens several investors, developers and the integrity of the crypto industry.

Komodo’s security system can be the impactful solution to these hack attacks. This system works on delayed proof of work (dPoW) technology for enhancing the security in the blockchain industry.

Now, Komodo has become the verified third-party security solution of CoinBene. Also, it is going to be listed in CoinBene’s trading platform. Moreover, KMD will be engaged in trading with three pairs like ETH, BTC, and USDT.

Komodo’s security system is quite popular for offering high-level blockchain security. Various projects such as GAME Credits, HUSH and GinCoin are using Komodo’s powerful security system.

CoinBene has partnered with Komodo to get its powerful security. It will help in offering excellent user experience and high-level security. Experts from CoinBene have checked and reviewed all the technical aspects of the Komodo’s security. Now, CoinBene is ready to utilize this security in their platform.

Paula HearnCoinBene Partners with Komodo to Boost Its Security System
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