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Nirma may buy US firm; AION eyes Alok Industries; Warburg, KKR seek Air India details
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Detergent maker Nirma Ltd has emerged as a key contender to acquire US-based Tronox Alkali for $1.5-2 billion, The Economic Times reported, citing multiple sources aware of the development.

Tronox Alkali is the world’s fourth-largest producer of soda ash while Nirma is the largest soda ash producer in India. Tronox decided to sell its alkali chemicals business in February after signing a pact to acquire titanium dioxide producer Cristal TiO2, the report said.

The development comes just a year after Nirma, in July 2016, agreed to acquire cement maker Lafarge India Pvt Ltd for $1.4 billion.

In another report, the newspaper said special situations fund AION Capital Partners Ltd and distressed assets fund management firm SSG Capital are in talks to buy a controlling stake in debt-laden textile company Alok Industries Ltd.

Alok Industries is one of 12 companies that the Reserve Bank of India has identified for bankruptcy proceedings after they failed to repay debt. Alok owed lenders Rs 23,400 crore as of 31 March 2017.

Both AION and SSG have valued Alok around Rs 6,000-7,000 crore, the report said, citing three sources. However, lead lender State Bank of India has sought Rs 3,000-4,000 crore higher valuation than what AION came up, said the report.

AION is a private equity fund jointly sponsored by Apollo Global Management India Advisors Pvt Ltd and ICICI Venture Funds Management Company Ltd.

Meanwhile, the Mint newspaper reported that private equity firms KKR and Warburg Pincus have sought details on the proposed sale of national carrier Air India.

Citing people aware of the development, the report said that the discussions are at a very early stage and may gain momentum once there is more clarity on the divestment process.

In another report, the Mint reported that Singapore-based SSG Capital Management Group is raising close to $2 billion across two Asia-focussed funds.

Citing two people aware of the development, the report said that SSG Capital is looking to raise around $750 million to $1 billion for a special situations fund and another $1 billion for a private credit strategy fund.

Separately, the Mint reported that private equity giant Blackstone Group is exploring a plan to set up an asset reconstruction company in India, according to two people aware of development.

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