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News in brief

March 18, 2023 at 1:43 a.m.

Walmart puts $200M in India's PhonePe

Walmart Inc. has invested $200 million in PhonePe, an Indian digital payments company, as the startup aims to raise $1 billion in primary capital.

Walmart remains a majority shareholder in both PhonePe and online marketplace partner Flipkart, which split into separate companies in December.

PhonePe said in a news release Friday that it recently raised a total of $450 million in capital from General Atlantic, Tiger Global, TVS Capital Funds and Ribbit Capital. The company said it plans to use the funds to branch out into new businesses such as insurance, wealth management and lending.

Walmart has a relationship with Ribbit going back to January 2021, when it said the companies were working together to create "next-generation digital financial products" for Walmart employees and customers.

Judith McKenna, president and chief executive of Walmart International, said India "is one of the world's most digital, dynamic and fastest-growing economies."

The Bentonville-based retailer is confident in how PhonePe "continues to expand its offerings and provide access to financial services for Indians at scale," she said.

Walmart paid $16 billion for a 77% stake in Flipkart in 2018 to create a digital marketplace that complied with India's stricter regulations on foreign businesses. It competes with Amazon and Indian firm Reliance Industries for an e-commerce market expected to be worth $200 billion by 2027.

-- Serenah McKay

Kuria gets go-ahead on ocular treatment

A division of the Federal Drug Administration has given Kuria Therapeutics of Little Rock permission to move forward in developing a topical solution to treat patients with eye disease, including cataracts.

The pharmaceutical company was given approval by the pre-Investigational New Drug (IND) interaction program with the FDA, Kuria announced Friday.

The company can move ahead with nonclinical studies and received feedback from the FDA on the design of clinical trials.

"We are delighted by the positive, constructive, and practical feedback provided by the FDA during this pre-IND interaction," said Dr. Keith Ward, president and chief executive officer of Kuria. "We look forward to continued partnership with FDA on our future development program."

-- Andrew Moreau

Index drops 18.91 with only 2 gainers

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Friday at 742.97, down 18.91 or 2.48%.

Only two of the index stocks closed with gains on Friday, with Walmart Stores Inc. up 0.81% and Tyson Foods Inc. up 0.02%. Uniti Group Inc. was the biggest decline, dropping 7.2%, and Simmons First National Corp saw the next highest drop, down 6.27% in trading Friday.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Print Headline: Walmart puts $200M in India’s PhonePe Walmart investors set May 31 meeting Index drops 18.91 with only 2 gainers


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