ONGC may buy into BHP blocks: State-owned ONGC is likely to buy stakes in 9 exploration blocks that BHP Billiton decided to surrender last month. This move is seen as the government's desperate attempt to woo Australia's mining giant back into India ahead of the next round of NELP bidding in January 2014 and send a positive signal to international investors. Over half-a-dozen international firms have exited exploration activities in India after inordinate delay in getting government approvals. The latest being the decision of BHP Billiton, which surrendered oil blocks with potential reserves of 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent. ONGC has been asked by the government to buy a stake in its blocks to de-risk the Aussie mining giant. With ONGC on board, BHP will be able to secure the necessary approvals easily. BHP holds 26% interest in the six blocks awarded during NELP-7 and 100% in the three blocks awarded during NELP-8. (The Times of India) 

RIL, Cairn eye relinquished blocks: Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries (RIL) and Anil Agarwal-led Cairn India are expected to make a strong bid to regain lost ground by attempting to buy stakes in fields relinquished by them. Cairn had surrendered a part of Rajasthan oil block, with prospective oil reserves, while RIL was asked to give up a part of the KG-D6 gas block, with discoveries worth $10 billion. The relinquished blocks are among the 86 fields that the government is putting up for bids in January 2014. Both the relinquished Rajasthan oil block and KG-D6 block will be put up for bids without any precondition. None of the companies will have any right of first refusal in those oil blocks and will have to bid like any other operator. So, Ambani, who has gas in the KG blocks may look at Cairn-relinquished fields in Rajasthan, while Agarwal's firm could look at blocks in KG. (The Times of India) 

Vedanta plans $500 million loan facility to repay bond in 2014: Vedanta Resources Plc , the oil and metal producer controlled by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, plans a two-stage syndication to raise $500 million (Rs 3,107 crore) to repay a dollar-denominated bond obligation falling due early next year. The London-based company hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Plc, DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Deutsche Bank AG, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Standard Chartered Plc to arrange the four-year borrowing. Vedanta has $500 million of an 8.75% dollar-denominated note due in January. The company is also marketing a separate five-year, $1.2 billion (Rs 7,457 crore) loan facility at a margin of as much as 275 basis points more than the London interbank offered rate. The proceeds from this borrowing will be used to refinance debt used to buy Cairn India Ltd. (CAIR) from Cairn Energy Plc and other investors in 2011. (Bloomberg) 

Symphony eyes overseas buyouts to expand footprint: Air cooler maker Symphony Ltd, which entered the industrial cooling business with the acquisition of Mexico’s Impco in 2010, has set aside $30-40 million (Rs 190-250 crore) for more overseas buyouts to expand its presence in the segment. The company is targeting firms in the industrial cooling segment across Europe and South America. The BSE-listed firm has commissioned a pilot project to air-cool a super market chain, Makro, in Colombia. It has already tied up with global companies, including US-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc, French cash-and-carry firm Carrefour SA and General Electric Co. (Business Line) 

NHC Foods to raise Rs 50 cr through QIP: NHC Foods plans to raise Rs 50 crore ($8 million) through qualified institutional placement to acquire new units and ensure financial stability. The company has called for an extraordinary general meeting on Thursday to seek shareholder approval for the proposal. The company has zeroed in on two plants in central India and would utilise the funds for its acquisition plans. (Business Line) 

Blackstone Real Estate Partners to exit Synergy Property for Rs 260 crore: Blackstone Real Estate Partners, an affiliate of The Blackstone Group LP, is exiting its investment in Bangalore-based Synergy Property Development Services in a deal valued at Rs 260 crore ($42 million). The private equity investor invested Rs 60 crore in the property management company in 2008. The due diligence is over. Blackstone would either sell the stake to another fund or go for public listing of the property consultancy firm. Blackstone Real Estate Partners hold 35% stake in the real estate consultancy firm, while majority is held by founder and promoters of the company. ( The Economic Times) 

Saroj Poddar plans to sell MCFL shares to Vijay Mallya by December: Zuari Agro Chemicals Ltd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Zuari Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd is likely to sell the 16.43% stake it holds in Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd (MCFL) to its promoter Vijay Mallya. Vijay Mallya has indicated his interest to buy back shares of MCFL from Zuari Agro and the deal is expected to be finalized by December. Zuari Fertilisers raised its stake in Mallya’s MCFL to 16.43% from 10% after rival firm Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corp. Ltd (DFPCL) acquired just under 25% in MCFL for Rs 180 crore in July. (Live Mint) 

AB Group plans to up stake in Hindalco, Grasim: Home-grown conglomerate Aditya Birla Group aims to hike stake in group companies. The company may spend Rs 6,000 crore ($963 million) for stake hike. It is looking to hike stake in Hindalco and Grasim to 40-45%. As of June 30, 2013, promoters' holding in Hindalco stood at 33% and that in Grasim at 25.5%. Sources say the group plans to buy 8% (valued at 1,955 crore at CMP) in Hindalco and 19.5% (valued at 4,600 crore at CMP) in Grasim. The AB Group is likely to use creeping acquisition and open market purchases. Sources say hiking stake in Grasim is top priority for the group to thwart any bid for a hostile takeover. In June, promoters raised stake in Aditya Birla Nuvo Limited to 53.75% and their stake in Ultratech stands at a comfortable 61.96%. (Money Control) 

Lupin looks to brands, new markets for growth: Lupin Ltd, India's No. 4 drug maker by revenue, may come from the land of cheap generics but it is betting on high-margin branded drugs in the United States to drive growth. The company also wants to expand beyond its core US, Indian and Japanese markets into Latin America, Eastern Europe and China, and is prepared to spend as much as $1 billion ($6,214 crore) to buy brands and companies in coming years. In August, Lupin struck a deal with US-based Romark Laboratories L.C. to exclusively market Alinia, a diarrhoea treatment for children, and Lupin wants to maintain sales of such branded drugs at about 20-25% of US revenue, with the remainder coming from generics. () 

Courtesy: VCCEdge

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