Millennium Post

Japan's SoftBank powers Ola by ₹1,675 cr to take on US Uber

Japanese investor SoftBank has pumped in about Rs 1,675 crore in fresh funding in Indian transportation startup Ola to give it more muscle to take American rival Uber head-on.

SoftBank subsidiary SIMI Pacific Pte picked 12,97,945 shares valued at Rs 10 at a premium of Rs 12,895 in ANI Technologies -- which runs Ola -- filings with the Registrar of Companies showed.

The allotment of shares was done in November last year, it added.

The latest funding, however, is believed to have come at a lower valuation.

According to sources, the move comes at a time when Softbank is working on selling Snapdeal, an e-commerce platform it invested heavily in India, to larger rival Flipkart.

The Bengaluru-based firm was aggressively looking at raising funds to compete with Uber, the world's most valuable start-up. After selling its Chinese business to Didi last year, Uber has now set sights on India making it one of its top priorities.

Though Indian Internet companies have seen a boom in user base, their valuations have come down as investors are now focussing on path to profitability and building a sustainable business model. Flush with private equity and venture capitalist money, many start-ups continue to have high burn rate that has been a concern for investors. Earlier this week, India's largest e-commerce firm Flipkart raised $1.4 billion from Tencent, eBay and Microsoft in a round that saw its valuation fall from $15 billion to $11.6 billion now.

India, Japan discuss increase of bilateral trade, investment

India on Friday said Japan is a "natural partner" in achieving the goal of increasing the share of manufacturing in GDP to 25 per cent in the coming years. Both the countries discussed ways of increasing bilateral trade and investments during a day-long conference in Nagoya in Japan. A business delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman participated in that event.

"India wants to increase the contribution of manufacturing sector to GDP to 25 per cent and Japan is a natural partner in our goals," an official statement quoting Sitharaman said here.

Currentl, the manufacturing sector contributes about 17percentt to the country's GDP.

The government is taking steps such as improving ease of doing business and relaxing FDI norms to boost the sector. Sitharaman also met Governor of Aichi Prefecture Hideaki Ohmura in Nagoya. Hideaki acknowledged that the India Conference will further encourage the companies in Aichi Prefecture to invest in India.

Japan said although it is the third largest foreign investor in India ($25.2 billion during the April 2000 December 2016), behind Mauritius and Singapore, it can be considered a top investor as the other two countries are used by companies from across the world to route investments.
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