Private equity firm Baring Asia is in advanced talks with the Indian arm of French cement maker Lafarge SA, to invest about $240 million (INR 1,287 crore) for a minority stake. The deal is likely to be announced soon. Globally, Lafarge has been shedding non-core assets to cut its debt. Lafarge was also looking to sell its South Korean unit. Lafarge started its India operations after buying out Tata Steel's cement business in 1999 and buying Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro's ready-mix concrete business in 2008. (Reuters)

Medanta exploring options to offer an exit to Avenue Capital: Medanta -The Medicity, the multi-speciality hospital founded by cardiac surgeon Naresh Trehan , is exploring options to offer an exit to US-based Avenue Capital Group Llc , which holds a 27.96% stake in the company that runs the hospital. Medanta-The Medicity is owned by Global Healthcare, in which Trehan has a 54.84% holding and construction firm Punj Lloyd Ltd owns a 17.2% stake. Three investment banks, two local and one global, have approached Medanta-The Medicity for the mandate to find a buyer for Avenue Capital stake. The deal is pegged at around $150 million (INR 804 crore), including returns of nearly $100 million (INR 536 crore) for Avenue Capital. (Live Mint)

Petronet LNG says keen to buy 25% stake in Gujarat LNG terminal: Petronet LNG is interested in buying a 25% stake in a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Gujarat state. Gujarat State Petroleum Corp plans to commission a 5-million-tonne-a-year LNG terminal at Mundra in the western Indian state by 2016. Gujarat State Petroleum holds 50% stake in the project, while Adani group has 25%. Essar group, which held a 25% stake, has withdrawn from the project. ()

HDFC Life and Bharti AXA Life Insurance are among six best bidders for HSBC's 26% insurance stake: HDFC Life, Birla Sun Life Insurance, and Bharti AXA Life Insurance are among the six best bidders HSBC has chosen to sell its 26% stake in the Indian life insurance joint venture with two state-run banks. The fourth bidder is Manulife; the remaining two bidders are unknown. The sale of stake in the Indian insurance venture is part of HSBC global chief executive Stuart Gulliver's plan to exit insignificant businesses. The joint venture sells products through 951 branches of the three banks. ()

Bank of India may go for a QIP in 2nd half: Bank of India is looking to raise funds through qualified institutional placement in the second half of the current year. The company required about INR 2,000 crore ($372.80 million) for the current financial year. The firm is also looking to launch new products. (DNA)

Aircel lenders mull equity infusion from Maxis, merger with Tata Teleservices: Lenders to Aircel are taking pre-emptive action to prevent their loans, amounting to INR 23,000 crore ($4.28 billion), from turning into a non-performing asset. They are exploring a range of options, including a possible merger with Tata Teleservices as well as infusion of addition equity from Maxis, which owns 74% of Aircel. The company recently initiated informal talks with lenders regarding a possible corporate debt restructuring on the ground that it would find it increasingly difficult to service its debt. Aircel owner Maxis' share sale negotiations with Russia's Sistema too met a similar fate. Aircel has taken loans are from State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, and Punjab National Bank among a clutch of 15 banks. ()

Courtesy: VCCEdge

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