Aditya Birla in Talks with 3i to Sell Insulators Business - The Aditya Birla group is in advanced negotiations with the UK based buyout firm 3i to sell its electrical insulators business. According to the sources, the race for the acquisition of Aditya Birla Insulators, a part of Aditya Birla Nuvo, has narrowed down to one bidder, 3i, with other suitors, including Bain Capital and Carlyle, withdrawing from the fray. It is also learnt that the chances of 3i acquiring the electrical insulators business of the Birla group are bright. However, both parties are yet to agree on a valuation for Aditya Birla Insulators, which is India’s largest and the world’s fourth-largest maker of electrical insulators, used by major power companies across the globe. It is learnt that the Birla group has put a price tag of Rs 700 crore for the insulators business, which exceeds what 3i is currently willing to pay. (The Economic Times)

Nestle plans to invest Rs 400 crore in Himachal Pradesh - Food products major Nestle India wants to set up a food and beverage manufacturing unit in Himachal Pradesh and plans to invest about Rs 400 crore. Nestle has submitted a proposal. The government is now helping it identify the project site. The manufacturing unit is expected to provide direct employment to over 1,000 people. The state industrial department has offered plots in Solan and Una industrial areas. Nestle is yet to decided on an area for the manufacturing unit. (0The Economic Times)

Govt. to Raise $500 Million from World Bank for Non JNNURM Cities - The government plans to raise $500 million from the World Bank to finance urban facilities in 15 small cities that are not covered under the Rs 50,000-crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).  The funds will be used to finance facilities such as public transport, water management and sanitation projects. Long-term loans advanced by multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are usually given at low rates of interest. The ministry would examine the total transaction cost involved and then extend loans to state governments. (The Economic Times)

Gradatim Looks at Raising Series A Funding of $3 Million - Microfinance technology vendor Gradatim IT Ventures is looking at raising Series A funding of $3 million by the end of June this year as part of its aggressive expansion plans into the next phase of growth. The company had engaged in discussions with a few venture capital firms and strategic investors in this direction, and would be starting a valuation process in the next 2-3 weeks. Gradatim specialises in providing services in the microfinance, microinsurance, legal discovery and insurance spaces using the Business process utilities (BPU) model. (Business Standard)

Mahindra Lifespaces Appoints Anita Arjundas as President and CEO - Mahindra Lifespaces Developers (MLDL), the real estate and infrastructure development arm of the USD 6.7 billion Mahindra Group has appointed Anita Arjundas as president and CEO of the company with effect from April 01, 2009. She will report to Pawan Malhotra, managing director of the company. She was earlier the chief operating officer (COO) of MLDL. Arjundas has a Masters in Business Administration with 19 years of work experience. She joined Mahindra & Mahindra in October 2002 as vice president – marketing at Mahindra World City (MWC), Chennai.

Italian Firm Verlicchi Forms JV with Hema Engineering  - Italian auto components maker Verlicchi Group has announced a 50:50 joint venture with Hema Engineering Industries for manufacturing frames, fuel tanks and exhaust systems for two-wheelers in India. The JV will set up a facility at Hosur near Bangalore from where it will service existing Indian two-wheeler companies and also supply components to Verlicchi's clients across Asia as the Italian firm is making its Asian foray with this JV. (DNA)

FIBP Defers Vodafone’s Proposal to Hive Off Tower Business - The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has deferred a decision on Vodafone Essar’s proposal to hive off its tower businesses into a separate company, as the home ministry is understood to have sought more time to examine it.  Ortus Infratel, a new company formed by Vodafone, had applied to FIPB seeking approval to acquire 100% share capital of Vodafone Essar Infrastructure by subscribing to fresh shares. It had also sought approval to hold Vodafone Essar’s 42% stake in Indus Towers - an independent tower company jointly owned by Vodafone Essar, Bharti Airtel and Idea cellular - to provide shared telecom infrastructure to operators. The proposal envisages a possible foreign investment of $100 million. (The Economic Times)

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