September 2007
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Tatas plans buyout of UK's Liberty

The Tata Group is planning to buy UK-based specialty tea company Liberty Tea to expand its presence in the global beverages market and acquire a larger share of the retail shelf space. The talks are still at a nascent stage and senior Tata Tea officials are examining the synergies that the acquisition would bring to its UK presence, the group sources said. Tata Tea's almost total dependence on black tea revenues has forced the beverages major to look at other product categories. The company is now the world's second-largest global branded tea player with a presence in 40 countries and owns brands such as Tetley and Good Earth. Tata Group sources say acquisition of Liberty Tea would benefit Tetley the most, as the 'Super Brand' is currently looking to grow in the rest of Europe, particularly in the former eastern block countries and in the Caribbean. (ET) […]

PE majors, Carlyle & TPG eye stake in NIIT

The promoters of Delhi-based IT company NIIT Technologies (NTL)are in talks with private equity (PE) players Carlyle and TPG for selling a majority stake. Promoters, who currently hold 40% in NTL, may sell anywhere between 25-40%, the sources said. This will trigger an open offer, where investors can buy 20% more in the company. “NIIT (through its wholly-owned subsidiary Scantech Evaluation Services) holds 25% in NTL with a vision to attract strategic partners, if required, and to help in its next level of growth. There is no change in that position. Since NTL has a market capitalisation of Rs 1,309 crore, a 60% stake in the company will cost around Rs 1,000 crore, depending on the premium that the investors are willing to pay to the promoters. If the deal goes through, this could be one of the biggest deals in the IT sector. (ET) […]

PE presence what’s in it for investors?

First came the foreign institutional investors and changed the landscape of the Indian equity market and also investing styles. Now that they have settled down, we have a new breed of investors, the private equity funds, who are creating ripples in the global market, have started to make their presence felt in India too. Recent deals like the Blackstone Group buying out the majority stake in textile company Gokaldas Exports and also taking a stake in Nagarjuna Construction Company and General Atlantic, Warburg Pincus and the Blackstone Group eyeing a larger share in Infomedia India, have started to garner attention. As an investor, it becomes paramount to understand the dynamics of the funds and be armed with the information. With global experience, PE funds can, to a great extent, determine the future of the company that they have invested in. After all, PE investing is not merely portfolio investing as in the case of FIIs. PE funds go beyond and influence management decisions and in many cases are the management themselves. […]

Del Monte Pacific picks up 40% in Bharti’s Field Fresh

Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Enterprises on Friday announced inclusion of a third partner, the over $300 million, UK-based Del Monte Pacific Ltd, in its joint venture Field Fresh Foods Pvt Ltd. Field fresh, an agro-based company was a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and UK's EL Rothschild Ltd, with both holding 50% each. However, now Bharti will hold 50% share, Del Monte 40% stake and EL Rothschild’s stake will get diluted to 10%. The development is essentially seen as a back-end support to the Bharti Retail initiative, which has entered into a technical alliance with the world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart. Field Fresh will also be serving the wholesale or the business-to-business models, which means it will also serve stores like the Metro Cash and Carry and the Bharti-Wal-Mart stores, which are going to come up by December 2008. Field Fresh was essentially an export agro-based company and has been exporting fresh fruits and vegetables to various markets including UK, the Middle East and Europe. But now with the retail scene becoming increasingly attractive, Field Fresh will now be venturing into food processing as well. […]

Four Interactive gets $10 mn to fund growth

Bangalore-based local search company Four Interactive Pvt. Ltd has received $10 million (39.8 crore) in its second round of funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, SVB India Capital Partners and Matrix Partners India. The company had earlier received funding of $2 million from Matrix Partners when it set up operations in December 2006. Four Interactive launched its service, local information search site for Bangalore city in August. The portal allows users to search for places or utilities in areas within the city. Four Interactive will use the funding primarily to scale up services across the country and for technology investments to add product features and enhance its information database. The company will also use the capital to double its current headcount of 18 . “The first round of funding helped us with product trial in one city,” said Shriram Adukoorie, co-founder, Four Interactive. “The additional capital will help us expand faster into more cities.” The company will launch services in Mumbai by end-October, and expand into New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad in the next 10 months. […]

PE investors eye captive power cos

The widening demand-supply gap in power generation is turning out to be a ‘blessing in disguise’ for India’s leading captive power and diesel generator manufacturers. While Goldman Sachs is set to buy around 10% stake in Delhi-based Sudhir Gensets for $100 million, Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) is buying 11% stake in Mumbai-based Powerica, another leading equipment maker, for around $50 million. Investment banking sources said the power sector, particularly captive power companies, is attracting private equity (PE) investors. “Even if the government initiates any action today, it would take at least five years for the demand-supply gap to narrow. Till then, captive power is the only solution,” says a senior country manager at a UK-based PE firm. For Goldman Sachs, investments into India’s infrastructure, especially the power sector, will remain key, said sources. The global investment banking firm has already invested around $800 million across various sectors in the country since early 2006. […]

NIIT Tech may sell majority stake

NIIT Technologies is reportedly in talks with private equity majors Carlyle and TPG (Texas Pacific Group) for selling a majority stake in the company. A financial daily reports that a strategic investor is also believed to be interested in the deal. At present, the promoters' stake in NIIT Technologies is around 40%, and the newspaper report says that the company may sell anywhere between 25% and 40% to the potential suitor(s). This would trigger an open offer for an additional 20% in the company. […]

Deutsche Bank, Funds Invest $425 Million in Lodha

Deutsche Bank AG, Germany's biggest, led a group of private equity firms in investing $425 million in Indian real estate developer Lodha Group to tap a market where property prices have doubled in two years. The funds will be used for three real estate projects in India's commercial hub of Mumbai, Lodha Group said in an e- mailed statement. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and ICICI Bank Ltd.'s venture capital unit have already invested in the group, it said. Deutsche joins Emaar Properties PJSC in investing in India, where the fastest wage growth in Asia Pacific is helping more of the nation's 300 million-strong middle class buy homes. JPMorgan expects developers may sell as much as $10 billion of shares in the next 18 months as the world's second-fastest pace of economic growth boosts demand for offices and homes. […]

Citigroup , Merrill acquired stakes in Multi Commodity Exchange of India

Citigroup Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and two other investors acquired stakes in the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. as trading surges in the Asian nation, the world's second-largest sugar and rice producer. The U.S. investment banks acquired 5 percent stakes, Ravi Muthreja, a spokesman for the Mumbai-based company said today. Passport Capital acquired 3 percent and GLG Partners LP purchased 2 percent in MCX, as the exchange is known. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Fidelity International Ltd. have invested in Indian markets as the fastest pace of economic growth since independence in 1947 spurs commodity demand. Overseas capital may help MCX, the world's third-largest gold exchange, develop products as the metal rises to near a record. “The foreign companies will bring in their expertise from overseas and help enhance the Indian commodity market,'' Amol Tilak, an analyst at Kotak Commodity Services Ltd., said by phone from Mumbai. “It's a good time to be in.'' […]

India's Wipro to acquire Oki Electric's subsidiary

Wipro Ltd , India's third-biggest software exporter, said on Friday it was acquiring the wireless design subsidiary of Oki Electric Industry Co Ltd to help it expand in Japan and east Asia. Wipro will also set up a dedicated development center for Oki, with which it had signed a strategic partnership agreement in the area of design services for the semiconductor market, the Indian company said in a statement. “As part of this partnership, Wipro has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Oki Techno Centre Singapore Pte Ltd (OTCS), including its own intellectual property rights in an all-cash deal over a period of one year,” it said. Wipro did not disclose the cost of acquiring OTCS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Oki. “The acquisition also provides a solid base for addressing the large market in Japan and east Asia,” said Ramesh Emani, head of Wipro's telecom and product engineering solutions division.( Reuters) […]