Punjab National Bank’s (PNB’s) woes don’t seem to be ending with the state-run lender reporting a loss of £475 million in the March quarter. The losses have come down drastically when compared with the fourth quarter of 2017-18, when the bank was forced to report a record loss of £1.34 billion due to the fraud orchestrated by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. Total income during the March quarter of 2018-19 rose nearly 14% to £1.47 billion. In the same period, the bank’s performance was weighed down by provisions for potential loan losses, although it is yet to set aside funds for an exposure of over £350 million to problem cases such as Jet Airways and IL&FS group. “We suffered a setback last year, of which 50% provisioning was done last year and 50% has been made this year. We have taken a conscious step to clean up the book and take provision coverage ratio to a reasonably high level, which gives a high degree of safety to our stakeholders,” PNB managing director Sunil Mehta said.
Air India seeks nod for loan from NSSF
Disinvestment-bound Air India has sought the government's approval to borrow £240 million from National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) to meet its working capital requirements. The airline, which has seen its total debt ballooning to £5.8 billion, made the request at a meeting on May 14 of all the top bosses of agencies working under the Civil Aviation Ministry. The meeting was chaired by Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola. The Aviation Secretary is, however, learnt to have advised Air India to discuss its financial issues separately. "This is fresh requirement beyond what had been approved earlier," said a senior Air India official. Explaining the justification for fresh demand, the official said that the government was to give Air India a financial support of £248.4 million, the balance of the budgetary support.
11 Indians get notices from Swiss authorities
The Swiss authorities have issued notices to at least 11 Indian clients of Switzerland-based banks in which they have been given one last chance to appeal against sharing of their details with India. As Switzerland strives hard to re-establish its global financial centre position after clamping down on secrecy walls of its banks, there has been a significant surge in the number of cases where it has initiated process to share information on Indians with Swiss bank accounts. An analysis of the notices issued by the Federal Tax Administration, Switzerland government’s nodal department for sharing of information on foreign clients of Swiss banks, shows that the Swiss government has stepped up its efforts in sharing such details with a number of countries in the recent months, but the surge in India-related cases is noticeable in the past few weeks.