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Walden to to invest $150 million in India

U.S.-based venture capital Walden International plans to launch a global fund early next year to raise up to $500 million as it steps up investment in China and India, a top official said on Tuesday. Walden manages more than $1.9 billion in assets, mainly in China and the United States. It aims to invest up to $150 million in the next 12-18 months in India's education, financial and healthcare service firms, Managing Director Rajesh Subramaniam told reporters in Mumbai.The firm was among the first investors in India's Mindtree Ltd , and currently owns 17 percent of the software services firm. It has also bought into unlisted Indian back-office firm Anantara and outsourcer Sierra Atlantic. […]

SatyaVani in talks with European REITs to raise $150 mn

Hyderabad-based real estate firm SatyaVani Projects and Consultants is in talks with European real estate investment trusts to raise $150 million in private equity, which will form the bulk of the $190 million it plans to spend on projects in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Visakhapatnam. Besides private equity, SatyaVani Projects is looking at raising cash through a combination of internal accruals and private placement, company director P Surya Prakash said. He declined to name the potential investors. A 5 million sq ft medical tourism project in Hyderabad will be the biggest, costing $120 million and consisting of two hospitals, a health resort and service apartments. […]

MTN says no advances made to Bharti

South Africa's MTN Group said on Tuesday it had made no advances to talk to India's Bharti Airtel , but was still talking to Reliance Communications. “MTN has not made any advances to Bharti. Normally we don't comment on speculation, but this time we refute this (that MTN has made fresh advances to Bharti),” Nozipho January-Bardill, MTN's spokeswoman, told Reuters. Economic Times reported on Tuesday that MTN has sounded out Bharti Airtel for reviving merger talks if it fails to agree a deal with Reliance Communications. (Reuters) […]

PE players all powered up to plug into energy businesses

Private equity (PE) firms operating in India are plugging energy as the next sunshine industry for investors. And the number of investments made in the sector so far this year seems to bear them out. In the last six months, private equity and venture capital firms have invested $890 million, or Rs3,818 crore, in 14 big and small energy deals, compared with four transactions worth $123 million a year earlier, according to local private equity tracker Venture Intelligence. Reason? In a power-starved nation that is getting more prosperous, energy presents a business opportunity that can be readily scaled up. “PE players look out for scalable businesses and enormous growth prospects. The energy sector in India provides potential for both, as the supply and demand gap is huge,” says Raja Kumar, founder, chief executive and managing director of UTI Ventures. UTI Ventures has invested in half-a-dozen energy or related companies, including Ind- Barath Power Infra Pvt. Ltd and Pesco Beam Environmental Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Apart from project-specific risks, experts say energy-business revenue, particularly in the power sector, can easily be predicted for as long as 10 years. Power requirements aren’t prone to fundamental shifts, they reason. […]

Gopinath to raise PE funding of $50m for cargo biz

The man who revolutionised aviation in India with his low-cost airline, Air Deccan, is set for a new beginning in the cargo and logistics space. Capt G R Gopinath is planning to raise $50 million through private equity to part-fund his $200 million cargo venture. Confirming the move, Gopinath told TOI that Mumbai-based investment banking firm Edelweiss Capital has been asked to seek investors. Gopinath owns 100% of the company, Deccan Cargo, which he plans to build as “an end-to end express logistics service provider delivering cargo to one's door step”. The business will include ground logistic services via road and rail similar to that of global giants FedEx and UPS. Earlier he had told TOI that he would also look at selling his stake in Deccan Aviation to fund the cargo business. Gopinath holds a little over 8% stake in Deccan Aviation, which after the merger with Vijay Mallya owned UB Group's Kingfisher Airlines would be called Kingfisher Airlines. […]

ONGC to buy stake in UK firm

ONGC group, India's top oil & gas exploration firm, may have set off on a new oil chase. And this time the target seems to be Imperial Energy Corporation, a $20-million British company with oil-producing assets in the Tomsk region of western Siberia of Russia and north-central Kazakhstan. The LSE-listed oil and gas exploration and production company currently produces 10,000 barrels per day of oil. A source said ONGC is in talks with Imperial Energy to form an “alliance”, which could include the former buying an equity interest in the latter. A board member of ONGC Videsh, ONGC's foreign investment arm, said the company doesn't comment on market speculation. John Hamilton, Imperial Energy finance director, did not respond to emails and phone calls from TOI. Imperial Energy's stock on Friday closed at £ 772 on LSE. With skyrocketing global crude prices, oil companies' valuations have touched new highs and acquisition battles have got tougher. From $101 a barrel on April 1, oil prices crossed the $147-a-barrel mark on July 11. Imperial Energy has a market capitalization of £789.31 million. […]

MTN sends feelers to Bharti for fresh talks

South African telco MTN is learnt to have sent feelers to Bharti for reviving talks, if it fails to clinch a deal with Reliance Communications, according to a source linked with discussions between the two companies. MTN and Bharti Airtel, which were in merger talks in May, but the Indian telco had called off talks after both companies failed to agree on the corporate structure of the combined entity. The source close to deliberations between Bharti and MTN also added that “the Indian telco was very open to take the discussions with MTN forward if such possibilities existed.” When contacted, the Bharti spokesperson said the “company does not comment on market speculation.” Last week, MTN and India’s second-largest mobile operator Reliance Communications (RCOM) agreed to “extend their period of exclusivity for talks until July 21.” Therefore, a formal approach by MTN appears unlikely for the time being. […]

VC firms invest $158m in April-June 2008

Venture Capital firms invested $158 million in over 26 deals in the country during the three months ending June 2008, according to a study by Venture Intelligence. The study done in partnership with the US-India Venture Capital Association reveals that during the first six months of 2008 investments of $340 million across 51 investments were completed. “VC investment activity as well as amounts invested during the first half of 2008 has not been affected much by the turmoil in the global financial markets,” said Arun Natarajan, CEO of Venture Intelligence. “While IT companies continue to account for a majority of investments, it is quite significant that the proportion of non-IT investments – both by activity and value – has now climbed up to 40%. VC investments are increasingly focusing on alternative energy, media, retail and other consumer demand-led sectors,” Natarajan added. […]

Wilbur Ross invests Rs 345 cr in SpiceJet

SpiceJet on Tuesday said the private equity firm led by billionaire Wilbur Ross will invest $80 million (about Rs 345 crore) in the low cost airline. The board of directors of SpiceJet has accepted an offer in-principle from the US-based PE firm that would make available about Rs 345 crore to SpiceJet, a joint statement issued by SpiceJet and WL Ross & Co said. “We are delighted to have WL Ross as an investor in SpiceJet. WL Ross is one of the largest and the most experienced investor in the world. With this investment, we have no doubt that SpiceJet will fulfill its promise of emerging as India's leading airline,” SpiceJet board member Bhulo Kansagra said. “We believe in the long term validity of the low cost airline model in India and that fuel prices eventually will stabilise,” Chairman & CEO, WL Ross & Co LLC Wilbur L Ross said. […]