Indian Telcos Look to Enter Syria, Lebanon - Indian telecom companies Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, BSNL and MTNL are looking to bid for licences and buy telecom companies in the West Asian countries of Syria and Lebanon. Last week, the Syrian government announced that it would soon put up the country’s third mobile licence for auction. Besides, it also wants to privatise state-owned Syria Tel Mobile Telecom. Similarly, Lebanon has two state-owned mobile companies and its government has announced that it wants to privatise both the companies. The telcos will have to compete with their counterparts in the West Asia, as many regional players in the Gulf region, including the UAE’s Etisalat, have already announced that they are eyeing the telecom space in Syria and Lebanon. (The Economic Times)

Indian Hotels Company to Acquire Sea Rock Hotel - Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), owners of the Taj group of hotels, is in negotiations to acquire Mumbai’s Sea Rock hotel in a deal estimated at Rs 650-700 crore. IHCL, through one of its associate entities, is arranging a debt facility, which, along with some internal accruals, will fund the transaction that has been in the making for a few months now. IHCL will acquire Sea Rock from the Delhi-based Claridges group, which had bought the hotel in 2005. (The Economic Times)

Lazard Seeks FIPB Nod to Launch VC Fund in India - Lazard Group is learnt to have seeking Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) nod to launch Venture Capital fund in India. Lazard will start Lazard India Growth Fund based out of Mauritius and will invest $25 million as part of sponsor commitment. The Fund primarily is looking to invest into mid market companies especially in infrastructure and some of the other growth areas. Lazard Group will also approach IL&FS to act as trustee to the fund. (

Piramal Health Eyes Acquisitions in US, Europe - Piramal Healthcare Ltd is looking for acquisitions in the U.S. and Europe. The healthcare major is expected to buy 2-3 companies in advanced markets like the U.S. and Europe. Piramal recently acquired US-based inhalation anaesthetics maker Minrad International Inc to boost its presence in the global critical care business and its director Swati Piramal said they were looking for more. (Reuters)

ITC Warns Food Division to Turn Profitable Within Specified Period - ITC Foods is gradually moving out of low-margin food products and will focus on building a more profitable portfolio, under pressure from an ultimatum set by its parent to turn profitable. Cigarettes-to-hotels conglomerate ITC has warned its foods division that it will withdraw financial support unless it turns profitable within a specified period. ITC’s foods division, which owns top-selling brands such as Aashirvaad Atta, Sunfeast biscuits, Bingo snacks and confectionery items such as Mint-O and Candyman, has revenues of Rs 800-1,000 crore, but is yet to report operating profits. (The Economic Times)


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