SingTel Group has initiated talks to buy the stake held by Bharti Group in its international long-distance telephony venture. Bharti owns 9.9% stake in the venture, which offers communication services to multinational companies in India. The move follows the recent decision by the Government to permit 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the telecom sector. SingTel Australia Holding owns majority stake in the company. Bharti was roped into the venture because SingTel’s Australian subsidiary wanted to offer international connectivity to its corporate clients in India in competition with the likes of AT&T, BT and France Telecom subsidiary Orange Business Solutions. Sources close to the development confirmed that talks are in advanced stages and SingTel will soon approach the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for approval. (Business Line)
IFC plans to offer $1 Billion Rupee Bonds to Fund Investments: International Finance Corp., the World Bank’s investment arm, plans to sell a record $1 billion (Rs6,157 crore) of rupee bonds offshore to fund its investments as India struggles to lure capital amid the slowest growth in a decade. The bond sale aims to strengthen India’s capital markets and attract greater foreign investment in a time of renewed economic uncertainty across the world. India represents the biggest country exposure in IFC’s investment portfolio, with a total amount of $4.5 billion as of June. (Bloomberg)
Idea Cellular plans to announce Rs 3,000-crore QIP next week: Idea Cellular Ltd. is planning to announce qualified institutional placement of Rs 3,000 crore ($486 million) as early as next week, say sources. The company already has board and shareholders approval for the same. The pricing of the QIP is likely to be at Rs 190-195 per share. Citigroup and Axis Capital are bankers to the issue. The funds will be used by the company to repay debt and to meet capex requirements. The funds may also be used for renewal of telecom licence in 2015-16. (Economic Times)
Nod likely for State Bank of India’s Rs 8,000-crore QIP or FPO: The finance ministry is likely to allow State Bank of India to raise around Rs 8,000 crore ($1.29 billion) of equity capital either through a qualified institutional placement or a follow-on issue. The finance ministry is also likely to allow four other state-run banks, including Syndicate Bank, United Bank of India, and Union Bank of India, to raise capital through the qualified institutional placement (QIP) route. Three other banks, including Andhra Bank and Indian Overseas Bank, may raise funds through rights issues. (Economic Times)
R-Infra’s Rs 2,500-cr long-term debt plan gets board nod: Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. secured board approval to raise up to Rs 2,500 crore ($405 million) in long-term debt to refinance some of its debt. The company also secured the nod to extend the repayment period of some of its high-cost rupee debt. The long-term resources could either be raised through external commercial borrowings, foreign currency convertible bonds, rupee term loans or non-convertible debentures. (Business Standard)
India Equity Partners’ Sagar Ratna deal turns sour: New York-based private equity fund India Equity Partners (IEP) is headed for a showdown with the founder of Sagar Ratna Restaurants, a 27-year-old restaurant chain, in which IEP owns a controlling stake. Following the differences with IEP, Jayaram Banan, founder of Sagar Ratna Restaurants, is planning to buy the chain back from IEP by roping in an HNI (high networth individual) investor, according to sources in the know. Currently, IEP holds 75% stake in Sagar Ratna, while Arvind Nair, the current CEO of the chain, holds less than five per cent. The remaining is with Banan family. In 2011 that IEP bought a controlling stake in Sagar Ratna for about Rs 180 crore. Following the deal, IEP founder and managing director Gaurav Mathur joined the chain as a non-executive director. However, the exit of Mathur as well as principal Abhishek Sharman, who was handling the restaurant portfolio at IEP, has made things worse, said people in the know. (Business Standard)
Visa Steel joins race to buy Stemcor assets: Visa Steel has evinced interest to acquire assets of steel trading major Stemcor in Odisha that includes an iron ore pellet plant and stakes in an iron ore and manganese mine. The race for the Stemcor asset is already crowded with Tata Steel, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), Essar Steel and Mesco Steel announcing their intention to acquire the asset earlier. However, Goldman Sachs has projected that it could go as high as $1.3 billion with more companies joining the race. Stemcor property in Odisha includes Brahmani River Pellet Ltd (BRPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary and a majority stake in Aryan Mining & Trading Corporation (AMTC), which has operating iron ore and manganese mine. It also has 10 per cent stake in Mideast Integrated Steel Ltd (MISL) and trading rights of MISL, though the latter has questioned legal validity of the arrangements with Stemcor, which has backed out from financing its projects. (Business Standard)
Tata Steel might sell assets worth $1.2 billion: Tata Steel, planning to raise $1 billion through a foreign bond issue, is looking at the option to raise another $1.2 bn by selling stake in other Tata Group companies, according to reports. Tata Steel has 54.5% stake in Tata Sponge and Tayo Rolls, and a 5.6% stake in Tata Motors worth Rs 5,300 crore, apart from 4.4 % in Titan Industries. It could also sell stake in Dhamra Port and in African Alloys, bankers said. The Group’s holding company, Tata Sons, which made a record net profit of Rs 3,713 crore in 2012-13, is likely to pick up the stake in other Tata group companies. Ahmedabad-based Adani Group is said to be the frontrunner to buy out both Tata Steel and Larsen & Toubro’s stake in Dhamra. Tata Steel will use these funds to retire its consolidated debt of Rs 66,074 crore as of March, which it had taken to buy Corus in 2007. In FY13, it had sold a 4.37% stake in Titan Industries, the entire stake in subsidiary Sila Eastern Ltd and the entire stake in Wuxi Ltd (China), a profit of Rs 940 crore. (Business Standard)
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