February 2008
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Morgan Stanley picks up stake in TowerVision

In yet another deal in the telecom towers sector, Morgan Stanley has picked up a stake in stand-alone telecom infrastructure company, TowerVision. According to sources, TowerVision has raised about $300 million, with Morgan Stanley contributing a significant chunk of this for an equity stake. TowerVision CEO Amit Ganani confirmed the development but refused to divulge the stake details picked up by Morgan Stanley or the value of the transaction. “The investment led by Morgan Stanley will not only solidify the company’s position and long-term business prospects but will also ensure that TowerVision will continue to grow its business in line with market expansion,” Mr Ganani said. He also added that the company would use the proceeds of the deal to increase its tower portfolio to 6,000 within the next 12 months. […]

PEs set to abate in 2008 on fears of US economic turmoil

Private equity deals are set to shrink in number and size during 2008 on the back of fears over US economic slowdown while moderating valuations will throw up good investment opportunities too, industry players said on Thursday. The year would present a more difficult environment for PEs than 2007, when booming economy and entrepreneur activity attracted record investments in India, PR Srinivasan, managing director of CVC International said at the Venture Intelligence conference. “The rush would not be as big as 2007. So, expect a sedate year ahead in terms of large PE deals.” According to a report by IndusView, an India-focused cross-border investment advisory and financial services firm, private equity investment to India touched more than $13 billion in the period between January and October last year. “Although there is a buoyant entrepreneurial climate in the country, PEs would have problems in the coming year if the slowdown in the US continues at the same pace, as nearly 95% of the PE money coming to India is either from the US or Europe,” said Varun Sood, managing partner, Capvent. […]

Is real estate market slowing down?

The momentary uncertain economic scenario, slowdown in export-driven industries, high interest rates and lacklustre credit growth in the real estate markets have raised the question of a slowdown in real estate market in India. Historically, real estate development in India has been highly fragmented. The nascent growth in our realty market, aided by copious flows of private equity, is helping the real estate development process get organised with increasing corporate and institutional participation. These developments, coupled with healthy economic growth indicators and a new-found comfort in this sector triggered a lot of activity and capital appreciation in the sector over the past few years. While the overall activity in the market remains healthy, the past 12-18 months have seen some degree of rationalisation in residential prices. Even though this might be a result of increased interest rates, decreased holding power of speculative investors and sudden flush of supply in some suburban areas, there is probably a case to admit that if not a slowdown, the marginal rate of growth certainly seems to have come down significantly as compared to the past few years. Contrary to the above, the commercial and retail sectors continue to demonstrate record absorption and bullish price movement. One may however argue that significant supply on account of SEZs and other new projects may bring about some due rationalisation in prices in these sectors over the next few years. If at all there is a slowdown, it will be a mild one given the demand indicators across sectors and the attractiveness of India as an investment destination. Also, a slowdown will be the best thing to happen for the long-term potential and growth of this market. […]

Tata Chemicals to buy US chemical company for US$1 billion

Tata Chemicals Ltd. has signed an agreement to buy U.S.-based chemical company General Chemical Industrial Products Inc. for US$1.005 billion (€0.68 billion), company officials said. General Chemical Industrial Products is a major soda ash producer with a capacity of 2.5 million metric tons (2.76 tons) a year. Soda ash, or sodium carbonate, is used in the manufacture of glass. “This is a timely acquisition from an Indian viewpoint. We are picking up a U.S. asset at a time when the Indian rupee is strong,” Homi Khusrokhan, Tata Chemical's managing director, told reporters Thursday. “It's strategically important for us as a group. I think, this particular acquisition is going to change the fortune of Tata Chemicals in the years to come,” Khusrokhan added. Khusrokhan said the acquisition will be funded through a mix of debt and equity, but he declined to give details. Tata Chemicals didn't give a timeframe for closing the deal. R. Mukundan, Tata Chemical's executive vice president, said General Chemical Industrial Products has annual revenues of close to US$400 million (€270.09 million) […]