Dabur Puts Wellness Chain, New-U On The Block – Dabur India has put its wellness retail chain ‘New-U’ on the block, just two years after announcing its launch in March 2007. The Delhi-based FMCG company has mandated Grant Thornton to get a buyer for its retail venture. According to sources, Dabur has lost interest in the chain as the economic downturn has made the environment tough for the company to pursue its retail plans. The venture had a struggling existence marked by slow growth – there are just 11 ‘new-u’ stores. CEO Peter Baker and merchandise head Graham Fraser also exited a couple of months ago. However, Dabur Spokesperson has denied any plans to sell the chain. Instead, he added that the chain plans to add another 12 stores this year. (The Economic Times)
RBS to Sell Retail, SME Assets Worth Rs 7000 Crore – Royal Bank of Scotland is looking at selling around three-fourths of its branches along with its £982 million (Rs 7,000 crore) retail and SME portfolio in India. The move, which is subject to regulatory approval, would enthuse foreign banks that have been eyeing RBS’ retail business. The deal can occur in broadly two ways – it could be an asset and liability sale, or it could be a sale with the blessing of RBI, of potentially the licences. RBS plans to retain its global banking and markets (GBM), global transaction services (GTS) and also private banking in India. A host of banks, which are said to be interested in this sale, includes ANZ, StanChart, HSBC and DBS. Among the Indian private sector banks, Kotak Mahindra Bank and IndusInd Bank could be possible contenders. (The Economic Times)
Binani Cement Plans to Get Listed on LSE – Binani Cement, part of the Rs 2500 crore Braj Binani group is looking at getting listed on the London Stock Exchange to attract international investors. The company at present has production facilities in China and is scouting for coal properties in Indonesia. It is in the last leg of finalising long term mining lease contract for a coal block in Indonesia. The company is looking at making Binani Cement a global company and hence is planning to get it listed on the London Stock Exchange. The company is in talks with a couple of merchant bankers. (Business Standard)
L&T Agrees To Disburse 4 Years’ Pending Dividend to Grasim – Larsen and Toubro (L&T) took an initial step towards settling a long-standing dispute with Grasim Industries over cross-holdings, by agreeing to disburse four years of pending dividend for shares held by the Aditya Birla Group firm in the engineering major. The Bombay High Court in its order on March 12, 2009 said L&T was willing to pay the dividend to Grasim, along with arrears and interest at 18%. Grasim would receive around Rs 12 crore as dividend for its 3.85 million shares, in addition to the interest. Sources close to the development said L&T had approached the court in the middle of last year, seeking permission to deposit dividends payable to Grasim in an escrow account. ()
Tech Mahindra Bags Rs 1,500 Crore Credit Line to Back its Satyam EoI – Tech Mahindra has secured a line of credit for Rs 1,500 crore from five banks – SBI, IDBI, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HSBC and PNB – to back its expression of interest (EoI) for Satyam Computer Services. company is submitting a solo EoI, though it may tie up with a private equity player to make a final bid. While the other two main Indian bidders – L&T and the Spice Group – have the requisite money, Tech Mahindra has less than Rs 100 crore as cash on its books. Parent Mahindra & Mahindra may infuse part of the money for the bid, if required. (The Economic Times)
Reliance Industries to Induct JV Partner for Fuel Business – India’s most valuable company, Reliance Industries (RIL), will induct a partner into a planned new venture that will house its loss making fuel retail business. state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and the Indian unit of Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell are the frontrunners for the 50% stake it is willing to offer. The company has no plans to completely exit fuel retailing in the country, but is, at the same time, keen to recoup some of its past losses, estimated to be several thousands of crores. The group recently invited bids from a raft of Indian and overseas companies, notably IOC, Shell India, BPCL and HPCL. According to sources, the company could also consider offering a majority stake of 51% to the partner. (The Economic Times)
Maytas to Exit Projects – Maytas Infra is set to fully divest its stakes in some projects that it will not be able to execute. The company will appoint investment advisors to value the projects that Maytas wants to exit, said officials familiar with the development. The company has an order book of around Rs 20,000 crore and is a partner in several consortia, including the Hyderabad Metro Rail. (The Economic Times)
Praj Industries Secures Rs 20 Crore Equipment Order for Range Fuels – Pune, India-based distillation equipment maker Praj Industries signed a Rs 20 crore ($3.89 million) order to supply processing equipment from Broomfield, Colombia-based cellulosic ethanol producer Range Fuels. Range Fuels uses a thermo-chemical conversion process, dubbed K2, to convert biomass to a synthetic gas, and then uses catalysts to convert syngas to ethanol or methanol.)
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