ICICI Seeks Independent Audit for Subhiksha - ICICI Venture, one of the key investors in discount retailer Subhiksha, has written a letter to the Registrar of Companies (RoC) in Chennai asking for an independent auditor to be appointed to scrutinise the ailing company’s accounts. According to sources, ICICI Venture said the Chennai- based retailer has not presented them or the board with the 15 month audited accounts ending June 31, 2008, so they are apprehensive of the company’s financial stability and health. Meanwhile, differences have developed between ICICI Venture and Subhiksha Managing Director R Subramanian with both denying that they control the company. (Business Standard)

UB Group to Offload Stake in Aventis Pharma - UB Group is planning to offload its stake in drug firm Aventis Pharma India as part of the group’s plans to deleverage by selling its non-core investments. In a presentation to its investors, the group said it planned to sell its non-core investments, including Aventis Pharma within 12 months, although the group has no intention to sell its stake below the existing market price. (Business Standard)

Reliance Retail Open to Partnerships - Reliance Retail is engaged in preliminary negotiations with a large retailer to forge an alliance for its main retail business comprising 750 stores of Reliance Fresh, Reliance Super and Reliance Mart. ago, may get a boost from last week’s announcement on new foreign direct investment (FDI) norms. The exact nature of the tie-up is not clear. The alliance could be at the level of value formats, which include hypermarts and smaller formats such as supermarkets. The Reliance group is not looking for equity investments at the level of Reliance Retail. (The Economic Times)

Bidder’s Will Not Get to See Satyam Accounts - The suitors seeking to take over the scam-hit Satyam Computers will not be able to go through the restated financial statement or the third quarter results prior to the bidding, a senior company official said. With market regulator SEBI amending the takeover code, this move will help the company to move quickly on the sale process. Satyam’s investment bankers, Goldman Sachs and Avendus, are preparing the bidding norms for suitors and are learnt to have stressed on the credential of promoters and details of their other businesses, if any, to avoid a similar situation, in which Satyam found itself after its founder and Chairman B Ramalinga Raju confessed fudging company’s accounts. (Business Standard)

Firms Turn FDI Violators Overnight - The new norms for computing foreign investment in Indian companies have created confusion, converted compliant companies into violators of foreign investment norms and necessitated amendment of the Companies Act to clarify what constitutes beneficial ownership, a newly-introduced concept. The government plans to provide a six-month amnesty for Indian companies with foreign investment to comply with the new foreign direct investment (FDI) rules finalised last week. According to sources, a number of companies would be breaching sectoral FDI ceilings once the new norms come into play. Violations could occur since FII holdings, ADRs/GDRs, NRI investment and foreign investment through foreign currency convertible bonds would now be included calculating FDI levels of Indian companies. These instruments were not part of FDI calculation till now. An announcement specifying a compliance period is expected within a week. (The Economic Times)

Piramal Glaxo Deal May Lead To Top Level Exits - Many top executives of Mumbai-based generic drug maker Piramal Healthcare and the Indian arm of British pharma company GlaxoSmithKline a possible acquisition of the Indian firm. Those who have contacted executive search firms for scouting new opportunities are among the top-management teams, besides a few business vertical heads. (The Economic Times

Subhiksha Founder Pledged Shares to Raise Rs 205 Crore - R Subramanian, the founder and managing director of troubled Subhiksha Trading Services, had pledged shares with ICICI Venture and other lenders to borrow as much as Rs 205 crore to pay dues to banks last year. Subramanian, who owns about 59% stake of the cash-starved discount retailer, pledged the shares between September and December. According to Subramanian, the shares were pledged with a view to ensure that the banks support the company by providing extra funding, which was critically required by the company. (Business Standard)

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