Sahara's luxury hotels in London and New York are drawing interest from Gulf billionaires. The Al Thani's, members of the Qatar royal family, Global Investment House one of Kuwait's largest investment banks and MBI International which is controlled by billionaire philanthropist Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber had offered to buy the hotels Dream Downtown and The Plaza in New York and Grosvenor House in London. The ownership of these properties is with Aambey Valley (Mauritius), an offshore arm of the embattled Sahara group. Sahara was made initial offers of Euro1.2 to 1.4 billion by these parties, according to three people close to the development. One of the bidders was willing to pay Euto 850 million for Grosvenor House, the 424-room hotel in central London that was once residence to Dukes of Westminster. Even though Sahara may not have any immediate plan to sell the properties, Sushanto Roy, Sahara chief, Subarata Roy's son, is believed to have made frequent trips to London to figure out the offers. (The Economic Times)

Essar Steel plans to raise $ 2 billion by June to pare rupee debt: Essar Steel, part of the diversified Essar Group, hopes to raise $ 2 billion (Rs 12,127 crore) from overseas by the end of first quarter of the current financial year, to retire the rupee debt, which will help reduce its interest outgo, a top company official said. We hope to complete the raising of $ 2 billion loan from overseas market by June, which will help us in dollarising our balance sheet with reduction in interest rate," Director-Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Essar Steel, Mahadev Iyer, said. In June last year, the steel firm had raised $ 1 billion (Rs 6,063 crore) through external commercial borrowings, with an annual cost saving of around Rs 450 crore. (The Economic Times) 

Tata Tele may look to merge with rival, sell Viom stake: With Japanese telecom company NTT Docomo announcing it would exit Tata Teleservices by June, the options before Tatas include merging its operations with a rival, selling a stake in telecom tower company Viom Networks, or exiting the telecom business. Bankers say the Tatas are looking at merging Tata Teleservices with Vodafone or with loss-making Aircel and Norwegian telecom group Telenor. It is vital Tata Teleservices raises funds fast. Tata Sons will require about Rs 7,250 crore ($1.19 billion) to buy back the 26.5% stake of co-promoter Docomo, according to an agreement signed in 2009. Tata Teleservices itself will need another Rs 2,000 crore ($329 million) in two years to pay its creditors. This is after Tata Sons invested Rs 2,500 crore in January in Tata Teleservices to repay its loans. Till date, the Tatas have invested Rs 25,947 crore in Tata Teleservices. (Business Standard) 

Tech edge may help BSE regain market share; IPO likely by year-end: Asia’s oldest bourse Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which has been losing market share to the National Stock Exchange (NSE) for the past few years, is banking on its new technology that has reduced response time of orders to gain market share, and is gearing up for an initial public offering (IPO) by end of 2014. We need two approvals form regulators. We hope to dilute either 10% or 25%, depending on how many shareholders would like to exit. We hope to complete the IPO by end of 2014,” said Ashish kumar Chauhan, managing director and CEO of BSE. BSE has brought in the new technology from Deutsche Bourse. During the past few years, Chauhan said, NSE had been executing orders about 10 times faster than BSE. (Business Standard)  

Air India to put overseas assets on the block to rake in resources: Air India is considering selling off its properties in foreign destinations like Hong Kong, Nairobi and Mauritius as part of asset monetization to garner resources. The national carrier has started approaching Indian banks and public sector undertakings for disposal of these properties including floorspace in prime locations, airline officials said. The plan to monetize real estate assets is an important ingredient of Air India's financial restructuring and turnaround plans, under which the airline aims to raise an estimated Rs 5,000 crore over a period of ten years, with an annual target of Rs 500 crore from 2013-14 onwards. Air India was also exploring other avenues for generating ancillary revenues, including leasing out space in some of its booking offices for banks to install ATM outlets. (The Times of India) 

UCX promoter Commex Technology may dilute stake: Commex Technology, the promoter of Universal Commodity Exchange (UCX), is seeking to dilute its stake in the country's newest bourse within a year of the exchange becoming operational, two persons aware of the development said. The development arguably underscores the difficulty of an anchor investor in enabling a new bourse to gain traction in the decade-old market dominated by two entrenched players metals and energy bourse MCX and agri futures exchange NCDEX. The dilution of Commex's 40% stake will take place by the promoter relinquishing its rights in favour of existing shareholders during a proposed rights issue. This could be followed by the company selling equity to a new investor, the persons said. (The Times of India) 

Courtesy: VCCEdge

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