August 2011
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India relaxes stake sale curb on insurance firms

India has freed Indian promoters of insurance companies to cut equity stakes to 26 percent within less than the decade previously required, a senior finance ministry official said on Thursday, marking a step set to hasten industry consolidation. “An Indian promoter can scale down its equity up to a level of 26 percent at any time after registration under the Act,” S.K. Mohanty, an official of the finance ministry's department of financial services, said in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters. When contacted, Mohanty confirmed the letter, but declined further comment. The move, long sought by industry, could clear the way for a deal by Reliance Life Insurance, a unit of Reliance Capital, to sell a stake of 26 percent to Japan's Nippon Life Insurance Company for $680 million. […]

'India, China enjoy 68% of total emerging market PE investment'

The lion's share of private equity funds targeted at emerging markets goes to faster growth countries like India and China, with the two Asian giants cornering 68 per cent of the total invested value, says a study by the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association. According to the EMPEA, which manages a global proprietary database of private equity activity across emerging markets, “China and India together captured 68 per cent of the total invested, with USD 5.8 billion going into China and USD 3.8 billion into India.” Calculated on this basis, private equity investments in emerging market economies totalled a little over USD 14 billion in the first six months of this year. Moreover, India and China account for 54 per cent of the total number of completed PE transactions in the January-June period this year. China accounted for 136 completed transactions, compared to 142 in the case of India. […]

Aditya Birla taps PE firms for BPO arm

The diversified Aditya Birla Group is looking to unlock value for its BPO-IT business, Aditya Birla Minacs. According to two independent sources in the know, the group is exploring the possibility of tapping private equity investors for a significant minority stake in the company or may even exit the business, provided it gets a significant exit premium. Investment bank UBS is believed to have reached out to marquee fund houses and strategic investors for an initial due diligence exercise. However when contacted, Deepak Patel, CEO, Aditya Birla Minacs said: “We do not comment on market rumours.” Aditya Birla Minacs is part of Aditya Birla Nuvo, the $4-billion diversified group company with businesses across sectors, including financial services, apparels, telecom and fertilisers. In a space where scale is increasingly becoming critical, Minacs, with its focus on voice-based work and specialised verticals like auto and telecom, has not grown the way many of its peers have. According to some analysts, its focus on North America has also made it more vulnerable to the volatility in those markets. […]

Ajmera Realty to acquire 90% stake in Laudable Infra

Ajmera Realty & Infra has approved the proposal to acquire the 90% stake in Laudable Infrastructure LLP Ajmera Realty & Infra India said Laudable Infrastructure LLP (Laudable) has entered into a partnership with Ajmera Bora Associates, wherein Laudable holds 67% stake and rest 33% vests in Bora Group. This partnership firm holds land of about 1.87 lakh square feet (sq.ft.) in Pune. Ajmera Realty's consolidated net profit fell 7.4% to Rs. 2.75 crore on 28% fall in total income to Rs. 3.98 crore in Q1 June 2011 over Q1 June 2010 […]

Sequoia, Nexus Venture put $12 mn in India IT co

e equity firms Sequoia Capital and Nexus Venture Partners together invested $12 million in unlisted technology firm Druva for a minority stake, the Indian firm said on Wednesday. Druva, which provides advanced enterprise data-protection solutions for corporate networks, will use the funds for its expansion plans, in a statement. Druva's software provides data back-up for enterprise laptops including supports for smart phones and tablets, it said. […]

Firepro eyes $200 mn fund raise

Global buyout funds, including Apax Partners and few more major strategic global players are looking at investing around $200 million to wrest control of Bangalore-based FirePro Systems. FirePro Systems, with a topline of Rs 700 crore is among the established players offering integrated solutions for fire protection, security and building management systems. According to investment bankers close to FirePro Systems, there has been immense interest and the buyout funds and strategic players are keen to take control of the company which is growing at a healthy pace. The company is looking to touch a topline of Rs 1,000 crore during the ongoing fiscal and has an impressive list of clients across various parts of the globe. […]

SREI Infrastructure Plans $1B Fund

SREI Infrastructure Finance plans to raise $1 billion through an infrastructure equity fund that would invest in areas such as roads, power and ports, a top company official said on Thursday. The firm plans to start overseas roadshows from September, its chairman and managing director, Hemant Kanoria, said on the sidelines of a FICCI industry conference. “We are looking at $500 million for the first closing. The investments will primarily be for roads, ports and power,” Kanoria told reporters, adding that the first tranche would be raised in the next six months from overseas investors . India requires infrastructure investment of $1 trillion over the five years beginning April 2012, according to government estimates, with much of that expected to come from private investors. […]

Gitanjali to buy Chinese jewelry firm

Looking to expand its global footprint and boost sales, Gitanjali Gems will acquire a Chinese manufacturing unit and jewelry retail firm by year end. Gitanjali, India’s largest jewelry retailer retails diamond jewelry under the brands Gili, Nakshatra, Asmi and D’Damas. It recently acquired four Italian jewelry brands from Dubai’s Damas International. Gitanjali plans to open a few more stores in the Middle East by March 2012. In India, the company plans to invest Rs 2 billion to add 350 to 400 stores across various retail formats in the current fiscal year. In FY ’11 it opened 300 stores in the country and has added four new Indian diamond jewelry brands to its kitty. […]

New York PE fund India Equity Partners buys Sagar Ratna for 180 Crore

New York-based private equity fund, India Equity Partners, has bought a controlling stake for 180 crore in Sagar Ratna Hotels, a 25-year-old popular chain specialising in South Indian cuisine. The funds will be used to open 200 more outlets over three to four years and revamp the format of the existing 70 restaurants, most of which are in North India, said a person close to IEP. […]

Peepul set for exit from UniverCell

After scripting a blockbuster exit by earning about four times its investment in Hyderabad-based discount pharmacy chain MedPlus, Peepul Capital the $700 million private equity fund, is setting the stage for yet another healthy exit. This time, from the Chennai-based mobile phone retail chain UniverCell. According to investment bankers close to Peepul Capital, the company may be looking at atleast 2x its investment of $25 million which Peepul made during late 2008. UniverCell, with a strong presence in South India, has expanded into Maharashtra and has close to 300 stores with plans for a gradual expansion. Starting nearly a decade ago, UniverCell has been growing at a healthy pace with a topline of around Rs 500 crore. The company operates in a fast growing sector as India is adding as much as 10 million subscribers a month. India’s total mobile phone base is now in excess of 852 million and is among the top three fastest-growing markets in the world. UniverCell is up against players like Sangeetha Mobiles, Spice’s retail chain, RPG among others in the market which is estimated to be upwards of Rs 70,000 crore. […]