Hindustan Sanitaryware sues ICICI Securities for report saying Jaquar became top brand
Leading sanitaryware brand, HSIL Limited, has a filed a case against prominent brokerage ICICI Securities for a "defamatory and disparaging" research report, which said that Jauguar has become Indias No. 1 sanitaryware brand.
 
HSIL said the report led to "widespread defamation" of HSIL and "disparagement of its products and brand".
 
This is one of the rare cases where a company filed a suit against a leading brokerage for a research report. There have been some instances in the past, but they have been far and few. Brokerages have analysts tracking sectors and companies who then put out research reports about a company.
 
"A highly defamatory, libelous, false, disparaging and malicious report published by ICICI Securities Ltd. titled 'Jaquar pips HSIL; becomes India' No.1 sanitaryware brand' on 28th April 2020 which was intended to be read by the public and it was widely publicised to all their clients, thereby leading to widespread defamation of the HSIL Ltd. (now Brilloca Ltd. post demerger) (hereinafter referred to as Company) and disparagement of its products and brand," HSIL said in a filing.
 
On the failure of ICICI Securities to withdraw the report and issue a clarification as to the efalse and misleading' contents of the said report, the company has filed legal a suit titled eHSIL Ltd. & Anr Vs ICICI Securities & Ors' at the Delhi High Court.
 
The Delhi HC vide the above said order directed deletion of the report from Linkedin by Jaquar & Company Pvt. Ltd, HSIL said in the filing.
 
The said report was based on complete falsehood to substantially lower and damage the reputation and goodwill of the company, HSIL said. The report was also uploaded by Jaquar & Company on its Linkedin account.
 
"The report was brought to the notice of the company on April 28 whereby the company contacted the concerned persons at ICICI Securities and brought to their notice the fallacies and illegalities of their report. On May 6, ICICI Securities, after acknowledging the incorrect data in its report, suo moto published an addendum (second report) to its false report to cover and save its reputation," it said.
 
During the hearing, ICICI Securities undertook to withdraw the report dated April 28, and substitute it with the report dated May 6.
 
"The Delhi High Court was pleased to pass the order, directing ICICI Securities to communicate the fact of the substitution of the report to all concerned. The court vide its order also directed deletion of the report dated April 28 from Linkedin by Jaquar & Company," HSIL said.
 
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    Jio Platforms Gets 5th Investor, KKR to Buy 2.32% stake for Rs11,367 crore
    US private equity fund KKR became the fifth big investor to buy stake in Jio Platforms Ltd, a unit of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). This Rs11367 crore investment is KKR's largest in Asia and will translate into a 2.32% stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis.
     
    Over the last month, leading technology investors, such as, Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista, General Atlantic and KKR have announced aggregate investments of Rs78,562 crore into Jio Platforms.
     
    Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, said: "I am delighted to welcome KKR, one of the world's most respected financial investors, as a valued partner in our onward march to growing and transforming the Indian digital ecosystem for the benefit of all Indians. We are looking forward to leveraging KKR's global platform, industry knowledge and operational expertise to further grow Jio."
     
    According to Henry Kravis, co-founder and Co-chief executive of KKR few companies have the potential to transform a country's digital ecosystem in the way that Jio Platforms is doing in India, and potentially worldwide. "We are investing behind Jio Platforms' impressive momentum, world-class innovation and strong leadership team, and we view this landmark investment as a strong indicator of KKR's commitment to supporting leading technology companies in India and Asia Pacific," he says.
     
    Jio Platforms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, is a next-generation technology platform focused on providing high-quality and affordable digital services across India, with more than 388 million subscribers. 
     
    Jio Platforms has made significant investments across its digital ecosystem, powered by leading technologies spanning broadband connectivity, smart devices, cloud and edge computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, augmented and mixed reality and blockchain.
     
    Founded in 1976, KKR has a long history of building leading global enterprises and successfully investing in businesses in the technology sector, including BMC Software, ByteDance and GoJek through its private equity and technology growth funds.
     
    Since inception, KKR has invested over $30 billion (total enterprise value) in tech companies, and today the firm's technology portfolio has more than 20 companies across the Technology, Media and Telecom sectors. In addition, India has been a key strategic market for KKR with a history of investing in the country since 2006.
     
    KKR is making the investment from its Asia private equity and growth technology funds. The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.
     
    Earlier this week equity firm General Atlantic had bought 1.34% stake in Jio Platforms for Rs6,598.38 crore (about $875 million). 
     
    Earlier this month, investment firm Vista Equity Partners invested Rs11,367 crore for a 2.32% stake in Jio Platforms, the holding company of Reliance Jio Infocomm.
     
    In April 2020, Facebook invested over Rs43,000 crore for a 9.99% stake in India's oil-retail-telecom conglomerate-led Jio Platforms -- the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world and the largest FDI in the Indian tech sector.
     
    This was followed by US private equity firm Silver Lake, which invested Rs5,655 crore (nearly $750 million) for 1.15% stake into Jio platforms.
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    Aluminium Makers in Good Shape to Bear 4-Year Low Prices: CRISIL
    Fiscal 2021 has started on a jarring note for aluminium makers with the price of the metal plumbing four-year lows of $1,450 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange, and domestic demand evaporating because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-driven lock-down. While that will squeeze bottom-lines this fiscal, efficient cost structure and adequate cash would buffer credit profiles and help Indian aluminium makers weather the viral disruption, says a research note from CRISIL.
     
    Rising exports, cost efficiencies and healthy cash buffers would support credit profiles for aluminium makers in India, the ratings agency says, adding, "The lockdown has not affected production because aluminium is an essential commodity. However, domestic demand – largely from the power transmission, automobiles and construction sectors – has plummeted. This domestic sales loss has been offset by companies adroitly exporting more, thanks to high cost-competitiveness that stems from improved sourcing and lower input costs." 
     
    According to CRISIL, over the past two fiscals, Indian producers have improved their bauxite access and coal linkage to about 70%. These two accounts for a significant portion of input cost. While bauxite security helps maintain higher operating rates and profits, it is the improved coal linkage and cheaper e-auctioned coal that are making the big difference now, it added.
     
     
    Manish Gupta, senior director of CRISIL Ratings says, “Linkage coal is 30-40% cheaper than imports and is seeing higher materialization due to lower industrial activity. On the other hand, e-auction coal has seen average premiums falling steadily from a high of 131% in December2018 to 36% as of March 2020. This has lowered the cost of electricity, which accounts for about 40% of the cost to produce aluminium.”
     
    That competitiveness, the ratings agency says, has helped smelters almost fully offset domestic volumes by exporting almost their entire production since the lockdown. 
     
    Aluminium exports had already risen over the past few years to more than 50% of production in fiscal 2020.
     
     
    With only a partial loss in revenue during the lockdown and continued cost efficiencies, CRISIL estimates that even at current realisations, companies will reel in operating profits of over $200 per tonne in fiscal 2021.
     
    According to Naveen Vaidyanathan, who is associate director of CRISIL Ratings current operating profitability of the industry would still be only 60% of the average per tonne profitability over the past five years. However, he says, "what cushions their credit profiles is the strong cash buffer, which is three times the debt obligations for this fiscal.”
     
    Domestic as well as global aluminium demand is expected to witness de-growth in fiscal 2021 amidst the Covid-19. However, with likely strong demand fundamentals, in the post-COVID19 era, global aluminium demand may grow about 3% annually, supported by increasing penetration in the automobile, construction and packaging industries, CRISIL says. 
     
     
    Domestic demand is presaged growing around 5%, owing to increasing penetration in the power transmission and automobile sectors and this bounce-back may see aluminium makers restore their financial metrics.
     
    "The key monitorables in the road ahead will be extent of lockdown and pace of economic recovery, which can curb demand for, and prices of, aluminium. That, in turn, would have a bearing on the credit profiles of producers," CRISIL concludes.
     
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