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Sequoia may cut size of 6th India fund; Elliott eyes Fortis

19 March, 2018

Global venture capital firm Sequoia Capital may target raising $650-700 million for its sixth India fund, down up to 30% from the $920 million it secured in its previous outing, The Times of India reported.

The fund will invest in Internet, consumer and healthcare companies in India as well as Southeast Asia, the report said, citing sources it didn’t identify.

The report also said that Sequoia may make larger, growth-stage investments in India from its new global fund. The VC firm is raising as much as $8 billion for its latest global fund.

In another development, US-based activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. has started picking up shares in hospital chain Fortis Healthcare Ltd, The Times of India reported.

Citing sources, the report said Elliott has started buying shares and is in talks with Fortis creditors which have converted debt into equity.

Elliott is being advised by professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal, the report added.

The move comes after it was disclosed that siblings Shivinder and Malvinder Singh, part of the founding family, now own a stake of only 0.77% in Fortis Healthcare compared with nearly 25% at the end of December. The Singh brothers stepped down from the board of Fortis in February.

According to media reports, Malaysia-based IHH Healthcare and a consortium of private equity firm TPG and Manipal Health Enterprises are also interested in acquiring Fortis.

Separately, UltraTech Cement Ltd has challenged the decision by Binani Cement Ltd’s creditors to approve a joint bid by Dalmia Bharat Ltd and Bain-Piramal’s India Resurgence Fund for the debt-laden company, Mint reported. UltraTech pointed out lack of transparency in the bidding process.

UltraTech had approached the National Company Law Tribunal in Kolkata on Friday and the matter is slated for hearing on Monday, the report said.

UltraTech’s chief financial officer, Atul Daga, told the financial daily that the creditors of Binani Cement overlooked important aspects of the resolution plan submitted by the company.

Last week, Binani Cement’s committee of creditors had recommended the proposal submitted by the Dalmia Bharat consortium to the tribunal. Dalmia Bharat had said that the resolution plan it proposed involved more than Rs 6,300 crore payment to Binani’s lenders and capital infusion.

Binani Cement has an annual manufacturing capacity of 11.25 million tonnes globally, with plants in India and China, and grinding units in Dubai, according to its website.

In another development, Jaipur-based housing finance company Aavas Financiers Ltd is in talks with investment banks for managing its proposed initial public offering (IPO), Mint reported.

Aavas is the housing finance unit of AU Small Finance Bank. Private equity firm Kedaara Capital and Swiss investment firm Partners Group are major investors in Aavas.

Citing sources, the report said the proposed IPO will comprise both primary and secondary share sales, with both Kedaara and Partners expected to make partial exits in the process.

Separately, French multinational utility company Engie SA is looking to divest its holding in subsidiary Solairedirect India, Mint reported.

It has a solar power capacity of 800 megawatts, commissioned and under-construction, in India.

Citing a source, the report said all operational solar projects in India will be transferred to a subsidiary in which the equity stakes will be sold.

The development comes after a deal between Engie and Dubai-based private equity investor Abraaj Group for a wind power platform in India fell through, prompting the French firm to look for a new partner.

In another development, oil giant Saudi Aramco is in talks with India’s state oil refiners to acquire a majority stake in the proposed 60-million-tonne-a-year refinery set to be built on the coast of Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, The Economic Times reported, citing sources.

Aramco is also looking to market fuel and petrochemicals produced at the complex, the report added.

Indian Oil Corporation owns a 50% stake in the proposed Rs 3 lakh crore refinery-cum-petrochemical complex. Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum hold a 25% stake each, according to the report.

Separately, US-based software company Ebix Inc. has received approval from a committee of creditors for its insolvency resolution plan to acquire bankrupt Educomp Solutions Ltd, The Economic Times reported, citing people aware of the development.

The matter is slated for hearing at the National Company Law Tribunal on 4 April, the report added.

With the company’s debt at Rs 3,000 crore, Ebix has agreed to invest Rs 400 crore, out of which Rs 310 crore will be paid to creditors, according to the report.

Ebix and Luxembourg-based Boundary Holding had submitted bankruptcy resolution plans for the company.

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Sequoia may cut size of 6th India fund; Elliott eyes Fortis

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