November 2007
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India's Fortis Financial buys 76 pct of Australia's Capital Market Solutions

India''s Fortis Financial Services Ltd said it has a acquired a 76 pct stake in Australia-based capital market software provider, Capital Market Solutions Pvt Ltd, for an undisclosed sum. Fortis said it made the acquisition through two special-purpose vehicles, Regius Infotech Pvt Ltd and Regius Overseas Holding Co, created specifically for this purpose. The company also said it had settled its court case against Netherlands-based Fortis NV for using the word ''Fortis'' for all its activities except for financial products and services. (Euro Today) [...]

DHFL to acquire 19.9% in Wadhwan Food Retail

The Board of Directors of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL), the second largest housing finance company in the private sector in India, on Tuesday announced the approval of 19.9% stake in Wadhawan Food Retail Pvt. Ltd. Wadhawan Food Retail is the retail arm of the Wadhawan Group which operates more than 90 food and grocery stores and 6 home decor stores across India. “The food and grocery segment accounts for 63% of the total retail expenditure. Out of this, 11% is organized retailing. This represents a big opportunity for us to invest in Wadhawan Food Retail, which has huge expansion plans of opening 1,500 stores in the next 4-5 years,” said Kapil Wadhawan, Vice Chairman and MD, DHFL. [...]

ING Investment launches global realty fund

ING Investment Management India has launched a global real estate fund that will invest in REITs and real estate operating companies abroad. It is an open-ended feeder fund that will primarily invest in Cayman Islands and is registered as ING Global Real Estate Securities Fund. The fund will invest in global property markets. ING Clarion Real Estate Securities will be sub-advisor to the fund. The fund will have a large allocation to Asia-Pacific followed by North America and Europe. In selecting investments for the fund, the investment manager seeks out companies that derive at least 50 per cent of their total revenues or earnings from owning, operating, developing and/or managing real estate. [...]

Comat raised about $8-10 million from Avigo Capital

E-governance services firm Comat Technologies has raised about $8-10 million from Avigo Capital in its second round of funding. Earlier this year, the firm had raised around $4 million from Intel Capital in what was the chipmaker’s first strategic investment in the e-governance space. Mauritius-based Avigo Capital Partners (Avigo) is an independent private equity firm with a focus on investments in the SME sector in India. Its earlier investments have been primarily in traditional sectors and portfolio companies including Tecpro Systems, Privi Organics, Get Engineering & Construction and Spykar Lifestyles. Comat Technologies president Sriram Raghavan told ET: “The money will be used mainly for setting up of e-governance kiosks and platform innovation.” Investment bank 03 Capital advised Comat in sealing up the transaction. It is learnt that the latest fund raising values Comat at $70-80 million. Comat is believed to have a turnover of around $10-15 million. [...]

PEs & regulatory infancy

Over the last year or two, they have been the target of policy change agents in the West. With their investment numbers swelling by the day, private equity, which has been dubbed by some of its adversaries as the new barbarians, is set to come under greater scrutiny in the markets here just as it is in the UK and Europe. India’s financial regulators — RBI and SEBI — and the government are expected to sit together to consider the approach to adopt towards this asset class. The banking regulator has already indicated to the government its uneasiness about PE in certain segments. Like in the US and some other markets, regulation is yet to embrace buyout funds or PE as they are popularly known here. But with the growth in their size and the perception of such funds operating in a twilight zone away from regulatory glare (considering that requirements of registration with regulators are not mandated), policymakers appear to be on course to take a close look at their operations. It sounds strange, but it is a fact that policy managers in India are yet to collate the figures of PE funds in India to ascertain in which sectors and firms the buyout funds are pouring money into. They appear to be in good company. In many other jurisdictions, too, the availability of quantitative data is limited. Policy prescriptions need to wait until then, those associated with the exercise say. [...]