IBM and Japanese Firm Ricoh in Sales Alliance - IT giant IBM and Japanese equipment maker Ricoh Co Ltd have decided to share each other's sales network from this year onwards. The companies’ servers and printers will be promoted together. Ricoh expects the new business ties with IBM to help boost its sales by 100 billion yen ($1.10 billion) in two to three years. )

ICICI Buys Back Bonds Worth $84.58 Million - ICICI Bank bought back bonds worth $84.58 million (Rs 414.44 crore) on Thursday. The bonds were issued by the Bank’s Bahrain branch and were bought back primarily on falling bond prices. The bank has repurchased bonds worth $79.58 million out of a $2-billion tranche issued in October last year, while bonds worth another $5 million have been bought back from another set of $750 million issued in January 2007. The buyback comes as a result of the widening and the spreading of the CDS (Credit Default Swap) and the decline in the bond prices.(Business Standard)

JSL Acquires Chrome Ore Assets in Europe and Middle East - India’s largest stainless steel manufacturer Jindal Stainless (JSL) has acquired chrome ore assets in the Middle East and Europe. JSL has also formed a joint venture with a group of chrome ore miners in UAE, in which it will hold the majority stake. The acquired mines costed the company $2 million. These mines will not only meet the internal chrome ore requirements but will also serve the demand of Asian, European and American markets. (The Economic Times)

Cochin Port to Invest $2 Billion for Setting Up ICTT - The Cochin Port will invest about $2 billion (Rs 10,000 crore) for setting up a new International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT), an LNG terminal, and for reconstructing old berths. The investments include $500 million (Rs 2,500 crore) from Dubai Port World for the ICTT coming up on the Vallarpadam Island on a build, operate and transfer basis. It would be commissioned in November 2009 and will have a capacity to handle three million containers a year. Rs 1,100 crore would be spent by the trust for creating a rail connectivity, increasing the draft to 14.5 metre from the current 12.5 m and strengthening the road network to the terminal. (Business Standard)

IDRA Expected to Allow LIC to Retain Over 10% Stake in Companies - The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IDRA) is expected to allow Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to retain over 10 per cent stake in companies for now. LIC is in talks with the insurance regulator on the issue. As per IDRA’s new investment norms, insurance companies are not allowed to hold more than 10 % stake in a company. However, LIC holds over 10% stake in a number of companies including Larsen & Toubro and ITC.(Business Standard)

Bank of America Completes Merrill Lynch Acquisition - The Bank of America Corp completed the acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co on Thursday. The acquisition has resulted in the creation of the largest US bank. The closing allows Bank of America to bypass JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc in size , giving it about $2.7 trillion of assets. BofA had expected to issue 1.71 billion common shares, equal to $24.1 billion, plus 359,100 preferred shares in the merger.    (Reuters)

Alok Industries to Raise Rights Issue by 50% - Mumbai-based vertically integrated textile firm, Alok industries will increase its proposed rights issue by 50% to Rs 450 crore from the earlier Rs 300 crore. Till September 2008, the company had a total debt of Rs 5,916.21 crore at the gross level and a net debt of Rs 4,540.12 crore. Of these, about Rs 3,000 crore is under the Technological Upgradation Fund Scheme. (Business Standard)

Shishir Bajaj Hikes Stake in Bajaj Hindusthan - Shishir Bajaj, chairman and managing director of Bajaj Hindusthan, has increased his stake in the company to 32.31% post the settlement of a dispute with his elder brother Rahul Bajaj. Shishir Bajaj has acquired 4,16,96,440 shares, or 29.49 per cent stake in the company, through off-market deals. Shishir Bajaj now holds 4,56,84,000 shares or 32.31%  stake in Bajaj Hindusthan. (Business Standard)

GACL Shareholders Decline Govt.’S Charity Proposal - Shareholders of Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals (GACL) have declined the government’s controversial charity proposal. According to the proposal, state PSUs were required to contribute 30% of their pre-tax profit to social projects. Reports suggest that both institutional as well as individual shareholders blocked the proposal. (Business Standard)

Moser Baer Photo Voltaic to Raise Rs 200 Crore - Moser Baer Photo Voltaic, a subsidiary of Moser Baer India Ltd. will raise Rs 200 crore from a group of investors to fund the expansion of its solar business. The money will be raised through the convertible debt instruments. The company is expected to close the deal by March, 2009. The closing of the deal got delayed owing to the volatile market conditions. (DNA Money)

Hiranandani Group to Restructure Hirco - Hiranandani Group’s real estate fund, Hirco’s leading share holders are expected to support the group’s decision to restructure Hirco, by merging two real estate subsidiaries with itself. Reports suggest that about 90% of the shareholders are supporting the move. However, the decision is being strongly opposed by another section of shareholders who feel that it would give the Hiranandani group, control over Hirco. An extraordinary general meeting will be convened on January 16, in Mumbai, for the shareholders to vote on the restructuring proposal. Hirco will begin roadshows for investors early next week. (The Economic Times)

Finance Ministry Seeks Doubling of Price for 3G Spectrum - The finance ministry is seeking a doubling of the reserve price for bidding for the 3G or the third generation telecom services spectrum. This may lead to a delay in the auction of the spectrum. According to reports, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as signed on a note saying the reserve price for pan-India 3G spectrum should be increased to Rs 4,040 crore, up from the current Rs 2,020 crore. The finance ministry note also mentions that the reserve price for broadband wireless access must be doubled from the current Rs 1,000 crore for pan-India allocation. (DNA Money)

United Phosphorus Plans Acquisitions in Latin America and Europe - United Phosphorus (UPL), the agrochemical firm, is planning more acquisitions in Latin America and East Europe to expand its footprint in the global market. Other than giant companies, UPL is also looking at small companies with a turnover of Rs 50-100 crore. The firm has bought two companies and added two more plants in Argentina. (Business Standard)

Tata Group Plans Acquisition in Beverage and Retail Sectors - India’s second biggest business group, The Tata Group is planning acquisition in the beverage and retail sectors to grow their respective businesses. Croma, the group’s consumer durable retail chain, plans to invest Rs 350 crore in the next 12 months to double the number of its stores to 50. The retail chain expects to turn to profit by 2011. (Business Standard)

Magma Fincorp Calls Off Stake Sale

Retail asset financing firm, Magma Fincorp has called off the acquisition of its 38.80% stake by the Glacier Farms. The move comes in the wake of the current economic crises and the down trend in the market conditions. Business Standard

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