Hero MotoCorp, the world’s top two-wheeler maker, said on Monday it plans to invest up to $66.5 million in Ather Energy, a promising electric vehicle startup in India whose fast-growing fortune had to hit brake after a local policy change.
Hero MotoCorp, which already owns a 33.1% stake in the Bengaluru-headquartered Ather Energy, disclosed (PDF) in a stock exchange filing that its board of directors had approved a fresh investment of up to $66.5 million in the rights issue of Ather Energy.
Prior to the new investment, Ather Energy has raised $336 million over the years from investors including Tiger Global, Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, and India’s quasi-sovereign fund NIIF, according to Tracxn. It was valued at $739 million in a round last year.
Ather Energy, which was on track to hit $1 billion in revenue by December this year, recently hit a roadblock after the Ministry of Heavy Industries cut the subsidy it offers for two-wheelers, dealing a blow to Ather, that like many other EVs, has been a huge beneficiary of state and federal subsidies in recent years.
Prior to the policy change, Ather was in talks to close a round of about $250 million at a valuation of over $1 billion. Binny Bansal, an investor in Ather, in fact, told a podcast’s audience that Ather had become a unicorn.
How Ather Energy will be valued in the rights issue hasn’t been determined yet, Hero MotoCorp suggested, but added that its stake will increase in the startup. Ather Energy had a turnover of $218.3 million in the financial year ending March this year, according to Hero.
Two-wheelers are leading the charge for electrification in India, as the costliness of battery-powered cars remains prohibitive for many consumers. By transitioning over 70% of India’s total vehicles, which are two-wheelers, to greener alternatives, the South Asian nation can address its air pollution issues. Consultancy firm Arthur D. Little projects that by 2030, electric vehicles will constitute roughly 30% of all vehicle sales in India.
Hero MotoCorp’s fresh investment in Ather comes at a time when the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters is increasingly trying to expand its electric vehicle portfolio. Last year, Hero MotoCorp launched its first electric vehicle.
Tense diplomatic relations may not impact trade, investment ties between India, Canada: Experts
NEW DELHI: The tense diplomatic relations between India and Canada are unlikely to impact trade and investments between the two countries as economic ties are driven by commercial considerations, according to experts. Both India and Canada trade in complementary products and do not compete on similar products.
“Hence, the trade relationship will continue to grow and not be affected by day-to-day events,” Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) Co-Founder Ajay Srivastava said.
Certain political developments have led to a pause in negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
On September 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau India’s strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada that were promoting secessionism, inciting violence against its diplomats and threatening the Indian community there.
India on Tuesday announced the expulsion of a Canadian diplomat hours after Canada asked an Indian official to leave that country, citing a “potential” Indian link to the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader in June.
Srivastava said these recent events are unlikely to affect the deep-rooted people-to-people connections, trade, and economic ties between the two nations.
Bilateral trade between India and Canada has grown significantly in recent years, reaching USD 8.16 billion in 2022-23.
India’s exports (USD 4.1 billion) to Canada include pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles, and machinery, while Canada’s exports to India (USD 4.06 billion) include pulses, timber, pulp and paper, and mining products.
On investments, he said that Canadian pension funds will continue investing in India on grounds of India’s large market and good return on money invested.
Canadian pension funds, by the end of 2022, had invested over USD 45 billion in India, making it the fourth-largest recipient of Canadian FDI in the world.
The top sectors for Canadian pension fund investment in India include infrastructure, renewable energy, technology, and financial services.
Mumbai-based exporter and Chairman of Technocraft Industries Sharad Kumar Saraf said the present frosty relations between India and Canada are certainly a cause for concern.
“However, the bilateral trade is entirely driven by commercial considerations. Political turmoil is of a temporary nature and should not be a reason to affect trade relations,” Saraf said.
He added that even with China, India has acrimonious relations but bilateral trade continues to remain healthy.
“In fact, bilateral trade is an effective tool to improve political relations. India must make special efforts to increase our bilateral trade with Canada,” Saraf said.
India and Canada have a strong education partnership. There are over 200 educational partnerships between Indian and Canadian institutions.
In addition, over 3,19,000 Indian students are enrolled in Canadian institutions, making them the largest international student cohort in Canada, according to GTRI.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), Indian students contributed USD 4.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.
Indian students are the largest international student group in Canada, accounting for 20 per cent of all international students in 2021.
Benefits of educational partnerships are mutual and hence the current situation may have no impact on the relationship, Srivastava said.
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double India jobs and investment
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double its workforce and investment in India by next year, a company executive said on Sunday.
Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, has rapidly expanded its presence in India by investing in manufacturing facilities in the south of the country as the company seeks to move away from China.
V Lee, Foxconn’s representative in India, in a LinkedIn post to mark Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 73rd birthday, said the company was “aiming for another doubling of employment, FDI (foreign direct investment), and business size in India” by this time next year.
He did not give more details.
Foxconn already has an iPhone factory employing 40,000 people in the state of Tamil Nadu.
In August, the state of Karnataka said the firm will invest US$600 million for two projects to make casing components for iPhones and chip-making equipment.
The company’s Chairman Liu Young-way said in an earnings briefing last month that he sees a lot of potential in India, adding: “several billion dollars in investment is only a beginning”.
Taiwan election: Foxconn’s Terry Gou taps star-powered running mate
Last month, Foxconn’s billionaire founder Terry Gou said he would run for the Taiwanese presidency in next year’s election, as an independent candidate.
He said the ruling and independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was unable to offer a bright future for the island and left Foxconn’s board following his decision to run.
The firm operates the world’s largest iPhone plant, in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province.
Foxconn to double workforce, investment in India by ‘this time next year’
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