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Grapevine: Tatas tweak GMR airport deal; Coca-Cola may sell some India bottling plants
Photo Credit: Reuters

Tata Group will acquire a lower stake than earlier planned in GMR Airports Ltd to comply with regulatory norms, multiple media reports said on Wednesday.

The conglomerate will now buy 15% of GMR Airports compared with about 20% earlier, the reports said, citing sources. This would keep the group’s effective stake in Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), the GMR unit that runs the airport in the national capital, below 10%, the reports said.

The move is aimed at complying with a rule that bars airline owners to hold more than 10% in an airport operator. Tata Group holds a 51% stake in two airlines, AirAsia India and Vistara.

GMR Infrastructure Ltd had, in March, signed a deal to sell a stake in its airports arm to Tata Group, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and stressed assets investment firm SSG Capital Management for a total of Rs 8,000 crore. GIC was to buy a 14.8% stake and SSG 9.9%.

Under the new formula, GIC will buy an additional 5% stake in GMR Airports, the reports said. GMR Infrastructure’s stake in GMR Airports will remain around 54%, as earlier planned.‘

In another development, The Economic Times reported that beverages giant Coca-Cola was close to finalising deals to sell some bottling plans in India to three franchise partners as part of a global strategy to divest asset-heavy operations.

The three partners are Moon Beverages, Ladhani Group and the Kandhari Group, the report said.

The deals are likely to be closed next month, the report said, citing three officials directly aware of the development. It added that the total value of the deals is estimated at Rs 1,500-2,000 crore.

Coca-Cola’s India unit, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd, has 18 bottling plants and accounts for two-thirds of the US company’s volumes in the South Asian country. The maker of Coke and Thums Up colas also has 13 independent franchise bottlers.

Meanwhile, bus aggregator Shuttl is raising about $42 million (Rs 297 crore) in its Series C round of funding from Toyota Group’s trading arm, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, and other investors, Moneycontrol reported, citing data platform Paper.vc.

The new round would value Gurugram-based Shuttl at $213 million, up from $150 million in March when it raised about $20 million, the report said.

In another development, US-based private equity firm Blackstone is looking to create a large portfolio of warehousing assets in India, The Economic Times reported, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Blackstone is in talks with Hiranandani Group to acquire a 50% stake in the developer’s logistics venture that has over 12 million sq ft of assets under construction in Pune and Chennai for about $60 million, the report said. Following this acquisition, Blackstone will create a platform with Hiranandani to build, own and operate logistic parks across various cities in India.

Blackstone is also in advanced talks with Allcargo Logistics to pick up around 70% stake in its 9 million sq ft warehousing portfolio for about $90 million, the report said.

Separately, Karvy Fintech plans to buy back some of the shares held by private equity firm General Atlantic, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the development. Karvy’s board had recently approved a buyback 9-10% of its shares. General Atlantic had acquired a majority stake in Karvy for Rs 1,529 crore in August 2017.

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