Indian billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s UltraTech Cement Ltd. is in talks to buy cement assets from Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, people with knowledge of the matter said. The two companies are in discussions about projects, including Jaiprakash’s Rewa cement-making complex in central India, said the people, who asked not to be named as the talks are private. Rewa has an annual capacity of 7 million tonnes, according to a presentation posted on Jaiprakash’s website. Selling additional assets would help Jaiprakash reduce its debt, which jumped more than fourfold in the five years through March to Rs.61,100 crore. UltraTech last year agreed to buy a Jaiprakash cement unit based in Gujarat. Birla is looking to purchase more cement plants in India and abroad, he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV India in September. (Live Mint)

SBI to merge five subsidiary banks with itself: State Bank of IndiaBSE -1.43 %, the nation's biggest lender, will kick off consolidation in the banking industry by combining five associate banks as it prepares to fund the economy that is on the cusp of a strong growth like China two decades ago. The combination of the associates will enhance the asset base of SBI to Rs 21.9 lakh crore, and add 5,658 branches to its 15,143 branches. The combined market share will rise to 24%, from 19%, making it a formidable force. "The timing is very conducive now," SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya told ET. "When I came in, there were a number of fires in the parent itself. So if you have to do something, first you need to look at the mother ship. Once the mother ship is in a better form, then obviously you can start looking at other areas. So I think that time has come, or it is approaching," said SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya.  (The Economic Times

IL&FS in talks with IFC to sell minority stake: IL&FS has begun talks with International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank group, to sell a minority stake in the company and seek loans for a $5-billion infrastructure debt fund that it plans to raise, a person with direct knowledge of the development said. The Mumbai-based infra development and finance company intends to raise a infra debt fund through IL&FS Asset Management Co (ILFSAMC) by 2015. The fund will lend to companies building power plants, roads and ports, and help local banks by taking over the loans given to these companies. "IFC is keen to buy a minority stake in the AMC and provide longer tenure loans to us," the person quoted earlier said. Both the institutions discussed the plan last fortnight in Washington. The AMC is also in active discussions with several pension funds from Canada and Australia.  (The Economic Times

L&T looks at acquisitions, Esops in run-up to unit IPOs: Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), India’s largest engineering and construction company, is readying to take two of its units public. In the lead-up to the initial share sales in L&T Infotech Ltd and L&T Technology Services Ltd, the $14 billion group plans to acquire smaller companies and offer employee stock options (Esops) to hire and retain top talent, group executive chairman A.M. Naik said in an interview on Tuesday. The initial public offering (IPO) process for L&T Infotech and L&T Technology Services will start in July 2016, Naik said. In terms of preparing the companies for the IPOs, the process will begin much earlier—on 1 October 2015. The two subsidiaries will follow L&T Finance Holdings Ltd, which in July 2011 became the first L&T subsidiary to go public, in tapping the capital market for funds. (Live Mint)

R-Com said to plan $300 million share sale to institutions: Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications Ltd (R-Com) is considering raising money through an institutional share sale, people with knowledge of the matter said. The company may seek about $300 million (Rs 17.72 billion), according to sources, who requested not to be identified as the deliberations are confidential. Reliance will probably start the sale in the next two months, sources said. India’s fourth-largest telecom operator by subscribers is seeking funds to cut debt after the country’s benchmark stock index Sensex climbed to an all-time high. R-Com had received shareholder approval in August to sell new shares equivalent to as much as 25% of its capital. The company’s net debt doubled to Rs 40,200 crore in the four years through 31 March, according to a presentation on its website. (Live Mint)

Essar Group revives talks to sell IT & BPO arm Aegis: Essar Group seems to have revived plans of selling its IT and BPO arm Aegis. The company was waiting for the election outcome reports CNBC-TV18 quoting sources. The group has resumed the talks with private equity players that they were talking to about two-three years back. Some of the big names include KKR, Blackstone, Warburg Pincus, General Atlantic, Temasek say sources. Sources also indicated that earlier the company was looking at selling 50-60 percent stake, but now they could even look at divesting 100 percent stake. However, except Wargus Pincus all the other players have plans of expanding their BPO business and it is understood that the interested parties have already sent expression of interest and are likely to begin the due diligence process by next month. Accroding to sources, the valuation of the deal is pegged at around USD 1.5 billion by Essar Group, which they plan to divest into other businesses like shipping, power, steel. However, the group refused to give an official comment and said they would not like to comment on speculation. (Money Control)

Courtesy: VCCEdge

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