Grapevine: Torrent Power eyes R-Infra discoms; BNP Paribas Wealth Management India shuts
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Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure has initiated negotiations with Torrent Power to sell its 51% stake each in its two Delhi discoms for an expected enterprise valuation of Rs 5,000 crore (about $655 million at current exchange rate), people in the know told The Economic Times.

The targets are BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd.

It was previously reported that three entities -- Italy’s Enel Group, Torrent Power and Greenko -- had submitted competing bids.

Enel Group opted out subsequently and Greenko’s offer, though it had a higher upfront payout, was time-bound, said the people.

Initially, the assets gathered interest from at least 11 parties including CDPQ and I Squared Capital.

Meanwhile, high costs, growing losses and shrinking margins may have prompted French bank BNP Paribas to close its domestic wealth management unit, people familiar with the matter told The Economic Times.

BNP Paribas Wealth Management is the largest foreign wealth manager in India with assets under management of $14.72 billion (about Rs.1.1 trillion) as of December 2019. Majority of the 60 executives have been asked to leave, two people in the know said.

“This decision has no impact on our continued wealth management growth strategy in Asia, which remains an important growth engine for our global franchise. We will accompany clients through every step of the transition,” the BNP spokesperson said.

BNP said that it will continue to focus on growth of its corporate and institutional banking franchise in India. 

The move to shut BNP Paribas Wealth Management India has come as a surprise as it was hiring even in early 2020, the report said. Ravinder Singh was appointed chief executive and managing director a year ago. 

In another development, billionaire stock market investor Radhakishan Damani, the promoter of Avenue Supermarts Ltd, is considering acquiring a controlling stake in India Cements Ltd, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

According to the people, he has informally reached out to the controlling shareholder, N Srinivasan, to explore a takeover, although a spokesperson for India Cements said the information isn’t correct.

The retail tycoon and his family quadrupled their holdings in India Cements this year to about 20% as of March 31, 2020.

Earlier this year, Indian detergent maker Nirma Ltd agreed to pay Rs 5,500 crore to acquire the cement business of Emami Group.

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