National Innovation Council Chairman Sam Pitroda today said the council will launch its Rs 5,000- crore venture fund aimed at supporting small enterprises by March. "We are creating a Rs 5,000-crore venture fund which will be operational by the end of March. We have already spent a year-and-a-half structuring, working on it and getting government approvals," Pitroda, who is the advisor to the PM on public information infrastructure and innovation, told a CII conference. He further said though the government is providing the seed capital, some banks have already committed money for the fund and eventually, we will also see private capital flowing into the corpus. (Business Standard)

IFCI Stake Sale after Recast: The government may opt to sell stake in the now state-owned financial institution IFCI after it revamps the company’s board. A finance ministry official told ET that the move will be in line with the business model being envisaged for the company, four of whose directors resigned from the board last week. “The aim of converting the loan into equity was to improve the functioning of the company. The second step is to induct a strategic partner or divest stakes through the offer for sale route,” said the official. The government’s stake in IFCI rose to 55.57% after the company board last month allocated equity shares to the government against the Rs 923 crore it infused through optionally convertible debentures. The Cabinet had approved the conversion of debentures to equity in August. (The Times Of India)

SBI to raise Rs 3,000 cr by March 2013: State Bank of India (SBI) today said it would raise about Rs 3,000 crore through preference shares in the next 3 months but ruled out the possibility of it coming out with a rights issue. "As of now it will be through preferential allotment. The government has indicated about Rs 3,000 crore. It should happen by March 31," SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri said here. This is part of Rs 12,000 crore infusion plan approved by the Finance Ministry recently. The Cabinet is likely to consider the same during this week. Last fiscal, the government had infused Rs 7,900 crore in SBI to increase the Tier-I capital of the country's largest bank. (Business Standard)

Belgian MNC close to acquiring Ashirvad Pipes in $150 mn deal: A Belgium-based MNC is close to acquiring Ashirvad Pipes, the Bangalore-based pipes major, in a transaction worth $150 million. The company had opened discussions with a bouquet of strategic and private equity players during late 2012. A transaction, most probably with the Belgium major, is expected to be sewn up within fiscal 2013. “We want to take the company to the next level in terms of variety of products and technologies. We are discussing with private equity funds, strategic players as well as thinking of a public offer. We should be zeroing in on an option pretty soon,” Pawan Poddar, one of the three-founding brothers of Ashirvad Pipes, told Business Standard. (Business Standard)

ABG looks to sell stake in cement business: The country's top private sector ship builder, ABG Group, is in talks with private equity and financial firms to sell a minority stake in its cement business for about $150 million, a senior executive of the Mumbai-based enterprise told TOI. People familiar with the matter said that private equity A-listers like Blackstone and KKR have held initial round of talks and that Rishi Agarwal-promoted ABG Group could sell up to 49.9% stake in the cement venture. Investment bank o3 Capital is managing the fund raising process for ABG Cement. (The Times Of India)

Karaikal Port mulls loan recast to ease debt burden: Karaikal Port Pvt Ltd (KPPL), a unit of Chennai-based realty and infrastructure group MARG, is considering options to refinance or restructure debt. It might look for hiving off berths as terminals to get upfront money for loan repayments. KPPL is working on several options. The company will look for terminalisation – carve out berths for inviting operators to run them as separate units. This will get us upfront money which could be used for servicing debt, executive director M L N Acharyulu told Business Standard. (Business Standard)

Courtesy: VCCEdge

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