The AV Birla group has hired Boston Consulting Group to find a partner to foray into the country's fast-growing health insurance sector. The Indian conglomerate, led by billionaire Kumarmangalam Birla, is expected to hold 74% stake in the proposed venture. Mumbai-headquartered AV Birla group is already present in the life insurance segment through a joint venture with Canada's Sun Life. The Rs 12,606-crore ($2 billion) domestic health insurance business accounts for about a quarter of the total non-life insurance business in the country. The latest entrant into this segment is Cigna TTK, a joint venture between US-based Cigna and India's TTK Group, which started operations this month. (The Economic Times)

Red Sprout to raise Rs 60 crore to spice up Hello Curry business: Red Sprout Foods Private Limited, a Hyderabad-based start-up that operates quick service restaurant (QSR) business under the Hello Curry brand, is planning to raise anywhere between Rs 40 crore and Rs 60 crore ($6.5 million and $9.8 million) in a second round of funding to fuel its expansion plans during the next calendar, said director Raju Bhupati. Barely three months into operations with a pilot model of its business with two kitchens at Madhapur and Gachibowli in Hyderabad, Hello Curry today closed its first round of seed funding of Rs 3 crore ($0.4 million) from SRI Capital, a Rs 100-crore ($16 million) seed stage venture fund founded by Sashi Reddi, founder and former chief executive officer of independent software testing firm AppLabs. (Business Standard)

ONGC, OIL to pick 5% each in IOC next Friday: State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) would pick up a five per cent stake each in IndianOil Corporation (IOC) at Rs 220 a share in an off-market deal likely on March 14. As part of the divestment strategy, the finance ministry is looking to raise at least Rs 5,300 crore ($866 million) on this price. The price of Rs 220 apiece was decided on the basis of a 10% discount to the prevailing price of Rs 245 apiece on the day the proposal was cleared or taking six-month average. (Business Standard)

NLC plans to buy coal mines abroad to fuel power expansion: Navratna public sector enterprise Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) would acquire coal mines abroad to fuel its power sector expansion plans in the country. Miners in Australia, Indonesia and Mozambique have shown interest to work with us,” said B Surender Mohan, chairman and managing director of NLC. NLC targets to achieve a four-fold jump in power generation at 11,200-Mw by the end of 13th Five Year Plan from sources including coal, lignite, wind and solar. By the end of fiscal 2014-15, it would add 1,500-Mw capacity to its existing 2,700-Mw, which is mainly lignite-powered. Speaking at a conclave of public sector vigilance officers here, Mohan said the Rs 29,000-crore ($4.7 billion) NLC capital expenditure would be met 30% from its surplus and the remaining through lending from banks. (Business Standard)

Great Eastern Energy gets Sebi go-ahead on IPO: Great Eastern Energy Corp, a coal-bed methane explorer, has received market regulator Sebi's go-ahead to raise funds through an initial public offer (IPO). The company, in September last year, had filed its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with Sebi for the proposed public offer. Earlier in December 2008 as well, the company had filed papers with Sebi to raise funds through IPO. The company was expecting to mop-up Rs 400 crore ($65 million) through the public issue. Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas has 61.99% stake in Great Eastern Energy Corp, while YKM Holdings Pvt Ltd and YKM Holdings International Ltd has 26.34% and 10.53% holding respectively in the company. ICICI Securities is the book-running lead managers for the IPO, while Karvy Computershare is registrar to the issue. (The Economic Times)

SAIL-led group hopes to buy coal assets in Poland: Chairman: A consortium led by India's Steel Authority of India Ltd. the country's second-biggest steelmaker, hopes to buy coal assets in Poland in the next few months, Chairman CS Verma said. Most steel producers in India, the world's third-largest coal importer, depend on overseas coal shipments and are trying to buy mines in Africa and Europe. SAIL-led International Coal Ventures Private Ltd (ICVL), whose five participating firms are all state-owned or state-controlled, has been scouting for mines since 2009. JSW Steel Ltd. India's third-largest steel maker, has already bought US mines that produce the coal used in steel making. (The Economic Times)

Power equipment biggies Dongfang, Alstom eye TN boiler company Cethar's assets: Transnational power equipment giants Dongfang and Alstom have joined the race to buy parts of privately held power equipment maker Cethar, which are disposed to clean up its balance sheet. The Trichy --based Cethar founded by a first generation entrepreneur K Subburaj - counts Barings Private Equity Partner (BPEP) as its investor and claimed to be the second largest bolier maker for power plants, in India behind BHEL. Subburaj did not detail the contours of the proposed transaction, but confirmed talks with Dongfang and Alstom. "Yes, we are in talks with Dongfang and Alstom,b ut nothing has materialized as yet."  (The Times of India)

IL&FS Transportation Networks extends gain on fund raising plans: IL&FS Transportation Networks (ITNL) is trading higher by 3% at Rs 117, extending its previous day’s 6% rally, after the board has approved issue of debentures worth of Rs 100 crore ($16 million) via private placements. The company said that the Committee of Directors approved the allotment of 1,000 rated, listed, redeemable, non-convertible debentures of the face value of Rs 1 million each aggregating to Rs 100 crore. The company plans to mobilize about Rs 550 crore ($89 million) by issuing 52.4 million equity shares. (Business Standard)

SRI Capital shifts focus, to invest in more Indian firms: SRI Capital, a seed stage venture fund, is looking at investing in Indian starups, shifting focus from US-based technology companies. The investment firm, which typically puts in between Rs 5 to Rs 15 crore ($0.8 to $2 million), hopes to utilize the Rs 100 crore ($16 million) fund in the coming 18 to 24 months. The company have already invested a little over Rs 50 crore ($8 million) in 15 companies, most of which are in the United States. The largest ever investment we have made so far is in a Silicon Valley chip company, about Rs 12 crore ($1.9 million),” he said. Out of the four companies that are ready for Series B funding, one is based in Hyderabad. (Financial Chronicle)

Courtesy: VCCEdge

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