Sanofi Emerges as Frontrunner in Race to Acquire Piramal Healthcare - French drug major Sanofi-Aventis has emerged as the front-runner to buy a substantial stake in Piramal Healthcare (formerly Nicholas Piramal) at over 50% premium to the Indian company’s current share price. Sanofi-Aventis has completed due diligence and the deal is expected to be closed soon. if the deal goes through, it would be Sanofi-Aventis’ second acquisition of a generic company in less than a year. In September last year, Sanofi outbid a rival suitor to buy Czech generic drugmaker Zentiva for $2.6 billion. The transaction was completed on Wednesday, making it the world’s 11th-largest generic drug company. (The Economic Times)

GMR Energy Acquires Indonesian Coal Mining Company for $80 Million - GMR Energy, a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure, has acquired 100% stake in Barasentosa Lestari PT, an Indonesian coal mining company, for $80 million to fortify back-end integration for its future power projects. GMR has paid $40 million towards the acquisition, while the balance will be paid in multiple tranches over the next two years. The company has raised 80% debt and 20% through equity to fund the first tranche of $40 million towards the acquisition. GMR is also open to buy more coal mine assets abroad. (The Economic Times)

Paramount Airways to Buy Back 5% - Coimbatore-based business-class airline, Paramount Airways, is in advanced stages of discussion to buy back a 5% stake held in the company. A substantial part of the stake is held by Kotak Mahindra group’s private equity arm, India Growth Fund. The deal is expected to be announced in a few weeks. Paramount’s valuation has been pegged at $200 million by the analysts, placing the 5% holding at $10 million. According to sources, the buy back is likely to be funded through Paramount’s group companies. Paramount’s promoters currently hold 95% stake in the company. (The Economic Times)

IFFCO to Enter into JV with Quatar Fertiliser Firm - Fertiliser co-operative IFFCO has signed an agreement with Qatar Fertiliser Company SAQ (QAFCO) for a joint venture to establish projects in the oil-rich country to produce fertilisers and chemicals. According to the pact, QAFCO will be the majority shareholder with a 51% stake in the JV while IFFCO will own the rest. An agreement to this effect was signed yesterday by QAFCO Acting Managing Director Yousef Al-Kuwari and IFFCO Managing Director US Awasthi. Iffco will buy the entire quantity of fertilisers to be produced by the JV company based on market price and terms and conditions agreed upon by the two companies. (The Economic Times)

FDA Charges Ranbaxy of Falsifying Data and Test Results - The US health regulator FDA on Wednesday said Ranbaxy has falsified data and test results in its drug application, prompting it to take necessary actions. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement that it has taken new regulatory action against Ranbaxys Paonta Sahib Plant in India and has halted review of drug applications from plant due to evidence of falsified data. The facility, Paonta Sahib, has been under an FDA import alert since September 2008. FDA said that it is continuing to investigate this matter ensure the safety and efficacy of marketed drugs associated with Ranbaxys Paonta Sahib site. (The Economic Times)

LIC to Invest Rs 2,000 Crore in SBI - State Bank of India plans to raise around Rs 2,000 crore through the issue of upper Tier-II bonds to Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) by the end of this month. The bonds will have a maturity of 15-years and the capital will be used to fuel the business expansion plans of SBI. Country's largest lender has plans to raise around Rs 18,000-crore worth funds over a period of 1-2 years, out of which it has already raised Rs 4,000-crore. (The Economic Times)

Deloitte faces Heat Over Subhiksha’s Audit - Deloitte, one of the Big Four audit firms, is facing the heat its audit of the collapsed retail firm, Subhiksha. Deloitte is the statutory auditor of Subhiksha, but has not been able to prepare the accounts for the past 22 months. Renuka Ramnath, MD & CEO of ICICI Venture, which holds 23% stake in Subhiksha, claims that Deloitte was not given the books of account by the management led by R Subramanian. As a result, the shareholders received the last audited accounts only in March 2007. (The Economic Times)

Income Tax Dept. Orders Special Audit for DLF - The Income-Tax department has ordered a special audit of the accounts of DLF Ltd and would take necessary action after scrutiny. A special audit under section 142(2A) of the I-T Act has been ordered in the case of Delhi Lease and Financing Ltd, also known as DLF for the assessment year 2006-07. According to a DLF spokesperson, the assessment of the audit report is still to be done. (The Economic Times)

HDFC Re-appoints Deepak Parekh as Managing Director - Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) has re-appointed Deepak S Parekh as the Managing Director of the company with effect from March this year. The appointment would be subjected to shareholders approval at the ensuing Annual General Meeting. Parekh had joined the Corporation in a senior management position in 1978. He was inducted as a whole-time director of the Corporation in 1985 and was appointed chairman in 1993. He is the chief executive officer of the Corporation. Parekh was also appointed on the board of Satyam Computer Services. In January this year, the government appointed the noted banker to the infotech company's board. (The Economic Times)

Essar Group appoints Navin Kaul as CEO - The Essar Group on Wednesday announced the appointment of Navin Kaul as the Chief Executive Officer of Essar Telecom Infrastructure, the infrastructure arm of the telecom firm. Prior to this, Kaul has worked with Spice Communications as the CEO. He has also held key positions with companies like Samsung SDS InfoTech and Usha Martin Group in marketing and business development roles. (The Economic Times)


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