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With stake sales, Yes Bank is now poised for a makeover

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Yes Bank’s shareholding structure may witness a major churn by the year-end as founder Rana Kapoor has initiated talks to sell a part of his holding to One97 Communications Ltd, the parent of Paytm and Paytm Payments Bank.

Independently, a Reuters story on Tuesday cited Yes Bank CEO Ravneet Gill as saying that the bank is close to selling a minority stake to a global tech company as part of its capital-raising exercise. Although the bank subsequently denied these reports, Mint has independently verified that such talks might have indeed progressed somewhat.

The tech firm’s association is expected to help further the bank’s digital ambitions.

The bank has already been talking to large private equity firms for capital infusion. On 30 August, Yes Bank’s board proposed to increase the bank’s authorized share capital from Rs 800 crore to Rs 1,100 crore to enable an expansion in the paid-up capital.

If Rana Kapoor does manage to sell his stake to One97 Communications, or any other shareholder, it will not make any difference to the bank’s capital structure. Fresh equity issuance, on the other hand, will lead to dilution in promoter shareholding.

According to senior executives at Yes Bank, the promoters are willing to reduce their shareholding following this stake sale and also amend the articles of association, letting new shareholders get a board seat.

“We are open to reducing stake if the bank decides to sell a minority stake to a global tech firm,” Shagun Gogia told Mint. Gogia is co-promoter Madhu Kapur’s daughter and an additional director on the Yes Bank board. Madhu Kapur and her offices hold 9.17% stake in the bank, as of 30 June.

Rana Kapoor and his family offices hold 10.6% stake in the bank. A person close to Yes Bank’s co-promoter Rana Kapoor’s family said the stake sale to One97 would be completed through the stake held by Kapoor and his promoter group entity Morgan Credits Pvt. Ltd (MCPL); the combined holding of these two entities in Yes Bank is around 7.34%.

“There have been discussions between Kapoor, Yes Bank and several fintech firms including One97 Communications Ltd since August,” said the person cited earlier.

A statement issued by the bank to stock exchanges said: “The Bank in its usual and ordinary course of business continues to explore various means of raising capital/funds through issuance of securities to diverse set of investors, in order to meet its business/regulatory requirements, subject to compliance with prescribed procedures and receipt of statutes/regulatory approvals.”

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A One97 Communications spokesperson declined to comment on the story. Kapoor also declined to comment on this story. An email sent to Yes Bank also did not elicit a response.

If true, the deal will require RBI’s approval, given that One97 holds the licence for a payments bank. Questions are bound to be raised over whether the licence holder of a payments bank should be allowed to acquire a stake in a universal bank as it might be seen as a workaround. In addition, the widening of One97 Communication’s losses, as reported in Mint on Tuesday, is bound to weigh on the approval process.

Kapoor and MCPL also need to obtain consent from Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd (RNAM) to sell their stake, given that around 7.34% is pledged with RNAM. When contacted, an RNAM spokesperson said, “Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management has not given any consent and is not in discussion with anyone about Yes Bank’s pledged shares.”

Yes Bank co-promoter Rana Kapoor and his family-owned firm MCPL had to pledge their entire 7.34% or 170.25 million shares with RNAM. This was done because RNAM wanted to convert a previously unsecured loan (given to MCPL through non-convertible debentures) into a secured loan as the bank’s stock has lost 80% over the past year.

Last year, MCPL raised Rs 1,160 crore by selling non-convertible debentures to RNAM. A prepayment of ?200 crore was made by MCPL to Reliance MF in November. The loan pact mandates that the value of Yes Bank shares (held by Kapoor and MCPL) should always be greater than double the loan outstanding.

The value of these 170.25 million shares as on Tuesday is around Rs 1,182.13 crore.

Yes Bank is in desperate need of fresh capital to improve its common equity tier-1 (CET-1) ratio adequately above the statutory requirement of 7.375% to stay afloat. The bank’s CET-1 ratio is marginally above this at around 8.6% after it completed its Rs 1,930 crore stock sale to institutional investors last month.

On 16 August, Mint reported that the bank is looking to raise an additional $600 million after raising $270 million from large investors through a qualified institutional placement.

The Yes Bank stock has been falling steadily since RBI indicated in August 2018 that Kapoor’s term as the bank’s CEO would not be renewed after January 2019. Since 20 August last year, Yes Bank shares have lost over 80% to Rs 63.10 as of Monday on the BSE.

Both MCPL and Yes Capital (India) Pvt. Ltd (which holds 3.26% in the bank) are fully owned by Kapoor’s three daughters.

In September 2018, after Yes Bank co-promoter Madhu Kapur sold a part of her holding, Rana Kapoor had tweeted how he regarded his shares as “diamonds”.

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Zepto, 10-minute grocery delivery app, raises $100 million

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Only five months subsequent to dispatching, 10-minute basic food item conveyance application Zepto on Tuesday reported it has raised $100 million driven by Y Combinator, taking its valuation to $570 million.

Other than the raise money, Zepto has been developing staggeringly rapidly and is significantly increasing its client base consistently.

In the course of recent months, Zepto has extended past Mumbai by dispatching in Bengaluru, Delhi, Gurgaon, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Pune (Kolkata to follow), the organization said in an assertion.

“Financial backers are reliably deciding to back Zepto due to our top tier execution. This is giving us extraordinary energy – we’re developing at an amazing rate, clients are adoring the item experience, our center unit financial matters are solid, and we have one of the most outstanding startup groups in India today,” said Aadit Palicha, Co-Founder and CEO.

The Series C raising money round saw support from new and existing financial backers, including Glade Brook, Nexus, Breyer Capital, Lachy Groom, Global Founders Capital, Contrary Capital, and that’s just the beginning.

The round came 45 days later the organization reported its $60 million raise money in November.

Conveying food in a short time is a game-changing encounter for clients in the nation, and a few players are presently joining the race.

“We are eager to twofold down and lead this round in Zepto. They initially dispatched with an alternate model, quickly turned to speedy trade in August 2021, and are presently adding 100,000 new clients consistently, 60% of the ladies,” said Anu Hariharan from Y Combinator.

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One stuck box of fertilizer shows the global supply chain crisis

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Somewhere in the world’s busiest port of Shanghai, a container of fertilizer sits among tens of thousands of boxes, waiting for a ride to the U.S. It’s been on the dock for months, trapped by typhoons and Covid outbreaks that have worsened major congestion in the global supply-chain network.

While the fertilizer has been stranded there since May, the port is just one stop on the long journey from central China to the U.S. Midwest. Delays have stretched a delivery that ordinarily would take weeks to more than half a year. And that time frame will keep expanding, as the goods have barely started the roughly 15,000 kilometer (9,300 mile) trek.

This is the tale of one humble shipment and its arduous journey across the world. While some of the barriers keeping it from its final destination may be specific to this particular case, the journey is emblematic of the inertia that has gripped global trade during the pandemic.

From the U.S. to Sudan to China, container boxes have been lying at ports, railyards and in warehouses as the pandemic rages on. In an industry with 25 million containers and some 6,000 ships hauling them, it’s easy to see disruptions as one big headache confined to the shipping world. But each container that’s delayed is economic activity that’s restrained, heaping costs one box at a time on consumers and making it more challenging to put corn on consumers’ tables or deliver presents for the holidays.

It’s also a lesson in the ripple effects across global supply chains, showing the limits of diversification as all networks are still closely connected with China.

“All roads lead back to China, and that has a major effect across the entire supply chain,” said Dawn Tiura, head of U.S.-based Sourcing Industry Group. “Congestion at one port or factory has far-reaching implications for neighboring facilities, which trickles out across the world.”

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Bharat Biotech’s BBV154 leads global race for intranasal COVID-19 vaccine

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Bharat Biotech’s nasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate BBV154 has become the front runner globally to likely commercialise an intranasal vaccine, following green signal from the government to conduct a combined Phase II and III final clinical trials in India. At present out of the 110 vaccines under clinical development globally, only eight are intranasal vaccines and three are oral vaccines. So far none of these vaccines have entered the final phase of trials and most are still in the first phase.

BBV154 is an intranasal replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus SARS-CoV-2 vectored vaccine, in-licensed from the Washington University in St Louis, USA. Nasal and oral vaccines are expected to be a game-changer second-generation COVID-19 vaccine, as they stimulate a broad immune response and prevent both infection and transmission. The non-invasive, needle-free vaccines do not require trained health care workers to administer the vaccine, have no risks of injuries and infections and is suited for children and adults. Unlike Covaxin, which is difficult to make, manufacturing can be scaled up fast and easily.  Compared to injectable vaccines, nasal and oral vaccines are expected to provide long-lasting protection.

Bharat Biotech is yet to announce its plans and timeline for the nasal vaccine’s future development.

Serum Institute of India and Codagenix have done a 48-subject Phase I clinical trial in the UK for an intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, COVI-VAC. This live attenuated candidate vaccine is expected to have potential to provide a broader immune response, in comparison to most COVID-19 vaccines that target only a portion of the virus. Codagenix has recently completed dosing for its Phase I trials and data is expected to come out in the third quarter of the year.

Nasdaq listed US biopharmaceutical company Altimmune, which was developing a three-dose intranasal vaccine candidate  AdCOVID, discontinued the project on July 29, as its first phase trials did not stimulate an adequate immune response in healthy volunteers. “The top-line Phase 1 clinical data are disappointing given the encouraging preclinical data and our substantial efforts in advancing a differentiated, intranasal vaccine candidate in the fight against COVID-19,” said Vipin K Garg, Altimmune’s India born President and Chief Executive Officer.

The University of Hong Kong, Xiamen University and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy in China are trying a Phase II clinical trial of a two-dose influenza virus vector COVID-19 vaccine as an intranasal spray (DelNS1-2019-nCoV-RBD-OPT1). Its one year long second phase trial among 240 volunteers is going on and will conclude only by mid-December 2021.

The University of Oxford is conducting a single dose Phase I study of AstraZeneca’s ChAdOx1 nCOV-19 (Covishield in India and manufactured by the Serum Institute) to be administered intranasal among 54 volunteers in three groups. According to the trial design, the study started in April is estimated to complete the first phase only by February 2022.

Cuban government’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, which developed Latin America’s first COVID-19 vaccine Abdala, is undertaking a Phase I/II study of an intra-nasal three dose protein subunit vaccine candidate Mambisa (CIGB-669). According to the research agency, Mambisa is based on the formulation of the RBD (Receptor Binding Domain) protein and an immuno enhancer, Hepatitis B nucleocapsid antigen.

Canadian biotech Symvivo Corporation has ‘bacTRL-Spike’, as an oral capsule DNA vaccine candidate for the prevention of COVID-19, is undergoing Phase I trials in Australia. The trial was started only in November, last year. The global drug major Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, has taken exclusive license of Symvivo’s bacTRL platform of oral vaccines.  Symvivo has funding of about $4.57 million from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to develop this vaccine.

US biotech Meissa Vaccines’s MV-014-212, a single dose intranasal recombinant live attenuated COVID-19 vaccine, is undergoing Phase I trials and its interim trial data will come out by the end of this year. Another small US biotech, Vaxform and the US Specialty Formulations LLC (USSF) are developing an oral COVID-19 vaccine, which is also in its first phase. Similarly, another US small biotech CyanVac LLC is also attempting an intranasal parainfluenza virus based COVID-19 vaccine (CVXGA1), now in the first phase and its results are also expected only by the end of the year.

Mexican veterinary pharmaceutical company Laboratorio Avi-Mex is testing a live influenza virus based vaccine, both as an intranasal spray as well as an injection. It is starting Phase I trials and is funded by Mexico’s foreign ministry and the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt). The Mexican authorities hope to commercialise this vaccine by the end of the year.

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