February 2008
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Puravankara in talks with PE firms for funds

Real estate firm Puravankara Projects is in talks to sell stakes in some projects, to fund expansion in a booming market where it sees annual growth rates of 30-40 percent, a top official said on Monday. Earlier in the day the Economic Times reported that the Bangalore-based firm plans to raise up to 20 billion rupees through stake sales in five real estate projects. “We have been cognizant that Puravankara maintains a strong balance sheet. This enables us to embark on our strong growth plans,” Ravi Ramu, director and chief financial officer, told Reuters in an interview. “Until the deal is closed we cannot specifically comment. But private equity is definitely a source we are looking at actively,” he said, adding that stake sale will be only at project-level and there will be no dilution of the parent company's equity. Recent projects lined up by the company involve an investment of 9 billion rupees each in a Kochi residential project and a residential-cum-commercial project in Hyderabad, 5 billion rupees in a Chennai project and 3 billion rupees in Coimbatore. [...]

ICICI arm buys Vernon's 40% in Updater Services

ICICI Venture has picked up New Vernon Bharat’s 40% stake in Chennai-based Updater Services (UDS), India’s largest integrated facility management company, for close to Rs 100 crore. Founded in 1985, UDS manages over 50 million sq ft of space across all segments including corporate, IT parks, industrial and retail. It also offers production support services for auto major Hyundai Motor India and French glass major Saint Gobain. UDS, which closed 2006-07 with a top line of Rs 82 crore, expects to achieve Rs 120 crore for the current fiscal. A couple of other funds including Actis and Future Capital were also in the race to pick up New Vernon’s stake in UDS. Veda Corporate Advisors facilitated the deal. Earlier, US-based venture fund, New Vernon Bharat, had picked up a minority stake in UDS in January, 2006 by pumping in $10 million. While UDS has been valued at Rs 200 crore – Rs 220 crore for the deal based on last year’s turnover, New Vernon has more than doubled its investment in just two years. Currently, the organised facility management service in India is estimated around Rs 600 crore per annum and growing at 40-50% year-on-year. [...]