February 2008
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Amul may buy Kochi-based Vanilco

Acquisition to help dairy major gain toehold in South, access natural vanilla for ice-cream. Cooperative dairy products manufacturer Amul plans to buy Kochi-based Vanilla India Producers Company (Vanilco), which processes and markets natural vanilla. The acquisition will help the dairy major gain a foothold in the southern markets and secure natural vanilla stocks ahead of a launch of natural vanilla-based ice creams in March. Vanilco Managing Director Paul Jose said the companies had received in-principle approval for equity participation. Further rounds of discussion will take place after the launch. “There is strong possibility for the equity participation leading to a merger of the two companies. The amount of investment and other details will be decided later. I don’t think that there are many hurdles to this as Amul is one of India’s top consumer companies,” Jose said in a telephonic interview. Vanilco, a company formed in 2003 by 2,500 vanilla growers, already has an agreement with Amul to supply it 20 tonnes of natural vanilla essence annually, mainly for the Real Vanilla ice cream range. [...]

RCom looks for possible takeover of Capgemini

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications is looking for a possible takeover of French IT services group Capgemini, a report in the online edition of The Times on Thursday said. When contacted by media, a Reliance Communications spokesperson declined to comment. The report said that Reliance Communications has held early-stage talks with Capgemini. Quoting sources, the report said, “Times Online can reveal the French-based group has met with Reliance Communications, the technology and telecoms arm of Anil Ambani's Reliance ADAG group in recent months.” “The initial discussions failed to make progress after the parties could not agree on a price,” it added. According to the report, Reliance Communication's interest confirms Ambani's hopes to build a significant IT business. “A move on Capgemini would give it access to a client base in continental Europe and catapult it among the world's top ten IT groups by market share,” it said. In recent months, there were also reports that Capgemini had held talks with India's leading IT firms Wipro and Infosys on a possible takeover. However, the rumours were denied by Wipro and Infosys later. [...]

IDG Ventures India Invests $3 Million In Aujas

A Bangalore-based startup Aujas Networks Pvt Ltd, has recieved $3 million funding from IDG Ventures India. Aujas, a provider of digital security services, plans to utilise the investment to build its sales presence in India, Middle East, Europe, Asia Pac, and North America, and to enhance its service offering development initiatives. Aujas offers security services across a range of technologies, including core wireless networks, VoIP and cyber forensics. It also offers specialised domain specific security services in telecom and BFSI sectors. “The successful closure of this deal with a keenly short listed A-grade founding team validates the potential of our Entrepreneur-In-Residence model. Aujas is our second investment in the promising information security space. The company has hit the ground running with a channel partnership MoU already inked with iViZ, our first investment in information security software product sector from India,” said Sudhir Sethi, founder, chairman and managing director, IDG Ventures India. [...]

New York Stock Exchange to Buy MCX Stake

The New York Stock Exchange will buy a 5 percent stake in the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd., the nation's biggest commodity bourse, the Economic Times reported, without saying where it got the information. The stake acquisition may be announced later this week and comes after the government's decision last month to cap foreign investment in commodity exchanges at 49 percent, the newspaper reported. Joseph Massey, deputy managing director of the Multi Commodity Exchange declined to comment. The exchange will hold a news conference to announce a global strategic initiative, an e- mailed invitation from the company said late yesterday. MCX is the world's third-biggest gold bourse and accounts for more than four-fifths of gold futures traded in the South Asian nation. Fidelity International Ltd. has a 9 percent stake in the exchange, while Citigroup Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. own 5 percent each. (Bloomberg) [...]

Lakshmi Mittal Buys Stake in Indiabulls Power Unit

Billionaire Lakshmi Mittal and Farallon Capital Management LLC invested a combined $399 million in a power unit of Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd., India's fourth- biggest developer by market value. The developer, partly owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co., said it sold 37.5 percent of Sophia Power Company Ltd. Farallon will buy 23.4 percent and Mittal will buy the rest, the company said in an e-mailed statement from Mumbai. Indiabulls is investing more in electricity as the nation seeks funds to bolster power generation, roads and ports to sustain a 9 percent target for economic growth. The world's fastest-growing major economy after China faces a peak electricity shortage of 13 percent and plans to add 78,577 megawatts of capacity in the five years to March 2012. The combined stake bought by Mittal and Farallon will drop to 28.6 percent after a proposed merger between Sophia Power and Indiabulls Power Services Ltd., a fully owned unit of Indiabulls Real Estate, said Ajit Mittal, head of investor relations at Indiabulls Real Estate, in a telephone interview. Indiabulls Real Estate may raise $1.2 billion selling shares in a proposed investment trust to be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, two people familiar with the sale said earlier this month. [...]