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PE firms line up $2 bn for maritime logistics

Private equity and venture capital investors are readying funds in excess of $2 billion (about Rs8,500 crore) to invest in India’s maritime infrastructure and logistics, as the country strengthens cargo handling facilities to meet rising demand for exports and imports. About 95% of India’s external trade by volume and 70% by value move by sea, but cargo handling and logistic costs are high because of deficient infrastructure and delays in shipments. “The sector is underdeveloped in terms of setting up of port capacities and related support infrastructure,” said Vipin Agarwal, assistant vice-president at Kotak Private Equity, part of the Kotak Mahindra Group. “As a result, the sector will witness lot of expansion activities.” The national maritime development programme, drafted by the shipping ministry, envisages an investment of Rs1 trillion to spruce up India’s maritime sector including ports, shipyards, marine logistics parks, inland container depots and related support services. Of this investment, 64% is expected to come from private firms. […]

Rice king faces hostile takeover

Suddenly, the aroma of Indian basmati has got mixed up with the scent of gunpowder. A bitter battle is brewing as India’s biggest player in the rice market, Kohinoor Foods (formerly Satnam Overseas), which accounts for about 38% of the country’s basmati market, is trying to ward off what it sees as a hostile takeover bid. The Kohinoor management has petitioned the Securities and Exchange Board of India and Company Law Board (CLB) accusing Mumbai-based Temptation Foods Ltd of leading a consortium that has covertly acquired a shareholding of almost 30% in Kohinoor Foods. These frantic calls to SEBI and CLB have happened in the last 15 days. The acquisitions, Kohinoor’s petitions to Sebi and CLB alleged, are in violation of the market watchdog’s takeover code, which mandates public disclosure by anybody seeking to acquire more than 15% of a company. It sought an ex parte interim stay from CLB on any further acquisition of Kohinoor shares by Temptation and 45 other entities listed as ‘‘acting in concert’’ with Temptation and a suspension of their voting rights. […]

Star, Balaji to part ways soon

In one of the biggest splits in the media and entertainment industry, Star India, one of India's leading broadcasters, will soon part ways with Balaji Telefilms, known for its saas-bahu serials. Star, which holds 25.99 per cent stake in Balaji through Asian Broadcasting, is looking at selling its stake. Sources close to the developments said the exclusivity contract between the two firms may not be renewed. While Balaji has the first right of refusal, sources close to the company said the its promoters were not inclined to buy Star's stake. Since this opens the door for Star to sell its stake to a third party, negotiations are on with investment bankers to find potential buyers. Jeetendra, Shobha Kapoor, Tushar Kapoor and Ramesh Gopaldas Sippy together hold 40.01 per cent stake in Balaji. […]