Thursday, July 29, 2010

NEWS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

INDIAN ECONOMY
UK willing to do more biz with India
British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed possibilities of increasing co- operation between Indian and British firms in key sectors, such as education and infrastructure, in his meeting with industrialists in the Capital on Thursday. The British PM, who is leading a business delegation on his two-day India visit, spoke of refreshing the relationship between the two countries and creating a stronger bond,CII president Hari Bhartia told ET. UK is willing to do more business with India and the PMs visit is directed towards finding new ways to do so, he said. Ficci president and Bharti Groups Rajan Mittal, JK Paper managing director Harsh Pati Singhania, Modi Enterprises chief K K Modi, Fortis Healthcare managing director Shivinder Singh, Max India chairman Analjit Singh and HSBC India country head Naina Lal Kidwai were among those who attended the meeting. British finance minister George Osborne and Britains business secretary Vince Cable were also present in the meeting that was addressed by Indian commerce minister Anand Sharma besides HRD minister Kapil Sibal and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

World Economy
Panasonic to buy sanyo, another unit for $9.4 bn
Japan's Panasonic Corp plans to buy out subsidiaries Sanyo Electric and Panasonic Electric Works for up to $9.4 billion to strengthen its push into greener businesses. The world's number four flat TV maker will raise up to 500 billion yen in a new share issue to help finance the buyouts, sending its shares down as much as 11 per cent. Under President Fumio Ohtsubo, Panasonic has been shifting away from low- argin home electronics products and investing more aggressively in solar cells, batteries and other energy- elated areas which offer promising growth prospects. "The cost may not be small, but I think investors will welcome the deal as Panasonic can boost its rapidly growing environment- related business," said Okasan Securities analyst Kazumasa Kubota. "With only its audio and visual business the firm could not expect to grow dramatically." Panasonic shares dived to its lowest since March 2009 after Reuters and other media reported the buyouts, on concerns the move would dilute existing shares. The fall wiped as much as $3.5 billion off the company's market value. 

Corporate News
For Fame, RMW offers to buy Inox
Reliance MediaWorks has offered to buy a majority stake in multiplex operator Inox Leisure in an attempt to end a prolonged tussle between the two companies over a smaller cinema chain. Two persons close to the development said the company,owned by billionaire Anil Ambani, has offered Rs120 for every share to the owners of Inox, valuing the company at a little over Rs740 crore. But the two sides were still talking about valuation and a final agreement had not been reached, the people close to the deal said. The owners of Inox the Delhi-based Jain family who also own Gujarat Fluorochemicals are holding out for a higher price, said to be around Rs140, they said. The Jain family owns just under 67% of Inox. Deepak Asher,a member of the boards of Inox and Gujarat Fluorochemicals, denied they were negotiating with the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group company. Its not true. We are not in talks with anyone to sell Inox, he said. A detailed set of question sent by e-mail to the ADAG spokesperson did not elicit any response at the time this story was written and senior officials did not respond to text messages and calls on their mobiles. Dabur plans to raise rs 2,000 Cr for buyouts
When it comes to acquisitions, Dabur's peers inthe domestic industry have been more active. But, that may change now that the company is focusing more on inorganic growth. Dabur India, which announced the acquisition of Turkish firm Hobi Kozmetik on July 26, is hungry for more. The company plans to raise Rs 2,000 crore for acquisitions, said Sunil Duggal, the company's chief executive officer. The amount is in addition to the funding for the Hobi Kozmetik deal. The company's board approved an enabling resolution for this fund-raising two weeks go. It would be put to vote before the shareholders at the upcoming annual general meeting scheduled for the end of next month. "In the current scenario, organic growth is becoming very difficult, creating and building new brands is turning costly. Moreover, now valuations abroad are very lucrative," Duggal reasoned for his sudden appetite for acquisitions 

HDIL to raise Rs 3,000 crore
With the revival of the property market, Mumbai-based realty firm HDIL said on Thursday it planned to raise around Rs 3,000 crore from the capital market to meet its long-term capital requirement. "We plan to raise $650 million to meet our future need for capital, which may be deployed for buying land, develop existing and future properties and others," said HDIL Vice President (Finance) H P Pandey.

NTC land gets Rs 284-cr bids
Debuting on a buoyant note, the state-owned National Textiles Corporation's (NTC's) 2.39-acre mill land at Worli in Mumbai has received bids as high as Rs 284.4 crore on day one today. The Podar Mill, which went under the hammer today, is expected to get higher bids in the remaining two days of the e-auction. Indiabulls Infratech, National Building Construction Corp, Kohinoor Duet, Peninsula Mega- City Development and Lodha Ultimate are among the eight entities which have evinced interests for buying the sea-facing land. At the current rates, NTC is likely to fetch more than its own estimates of Rs 5,000 crore from about 55 acres of closed mills' land that it plans to sell. 

Ashok Leyland to buy 26% in UK firm
Ashok Leyland has entered into an agreement with UK-based bus manufacturer Optare to acquire 26 per cent stake for $7.5 million. The company has said this acquisition would help the country's second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer to access technology, including a modern range of mid-size and full-size city buses that can appeal to both domestic and global markets

DLFs debt rises 25% to 18,463 cr in June quarter
The country's largest real estate firm DLFs earnings could be affected in the coming quarters as it has piled up more debt during the quarter ended June,partly due to the acquisition of debt laden DLF Assets Ltd. Its total debt increased 25% to 18,463 crore during the period. The firm had reported lower than expected 4% growth in consolidated net profit for the quarter ended June on Wednesday, partly due to 35% increase in interest costs. Meanwhile, DLF is cautious on new launches despite seeing revenues grow over 23% last quarter. High inflation will pose to be a dampner in the realty space, said Saurabh Chawla (executive director) DLF during an investors conference call on Thursday. He said that even though activity in the housing sector has picked up, commercial real estate continues to be a laggard. The property firm said its promoter billionaire K P Singh picked up 92% stake in its wholly-owned retail subsidiary DLF Brands through fresh issue of shares for around 92 crore. After the transaction, DLF Brands will cease to be a subsidiary of DLF.

Mahindra Satyam-led group bags UIDAI deal
A Consortiun led by Mahindra Satyam with Morpho, Accenture and L1 Identity Solutions have bagged the contract to implement the core biometric identification system for the Aadhaar programme of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The initial phase of the contract will run up to two years and a total of 200 million residents are expected to be de-duplicated by a combination of the three biometric solution agencies in the first stage of the programme. The entire selection process was completed in a record three months and many new international benchmarks,including one of the lowest prices for de-duplication have been achieved, UIDAI spokesperson Awadhesh Kumar Pandey said. He said the multimodal system and allocation of deduplication transactions among the three agencies based on the performance of each system is being attempted for the first time in identity resolution systems anywhere. The scope of work for the biometrics solution providers will include the design, supply, installation, commissioning, maintenance and support of multi-modal automatic biometric identification subsystem and multi-modal software development kit for client enrolment station, verification server, manual adjudication and monitoring function of the UID application.

Strides Arcolab to raise $200 million for debt restructuring
Strides Arcolab plans to raise about $200 million in two tranches to restructure high- cost debt that is hurting the company's profitability and refinance its payment to South African pharmaceutical company Aspen for acquired assets, chief financial officer TS Rangan told ET. We are in quite an advanced stage of the debt restructuring plan. There is no turning back;t he management is very clear about the path now. Strides will soon chose between a private equity placement and a convertible bond issue to raise the first $125 million, a person familiar with the deal said. Mr. Rangan declined to confirm this, but said half of the amount being raised is to pay Aspen for buying its stake in two joint ventures and a factory in Brazil. For the rest,around $75 million, the company is exploring debt as well as equity-linked instruments, Mr Rangan said. You must remember that equity funds are free cash, but for ECB there is a fixed use that must be specified, he said, suggesting Strides may prefer equity money. 

Market
I-banks find going tough after Sebi ban on forecasts 
Nearly a year after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) banned forward-looking financial projections by companies doing initial public offerings (IPOs), merchant bankers are finding it tough to stick to the rule at all times. An investor needs to have a complete financial overview of a company's financial projections when he is making large financial commitments, said an investment banker. In the past, such projections helped an investor take a call on a firms future capital requirements, he added. Last year, Sebi barred issuers from sharing selective or additional information to prospective investors or research analysts. Several foreign broking firms and banks made representations to the regulator on the issue, seeking relaxation of the rule. Bankers say that apart from having to bear higher costs, they now have to fix more meetings with an institutional client to pitch an issue. Prior to this regulation, we just had to do one meeting with the analyst who put together the pre-deal in-house report, and one with the company management, after which the investor would his due diligence and revert to us. Now, with the new fiat, we have to arrange several meetings with the management to help them get a better perspective in terms of price targets, valuations etc, said a senior official at a foreign investment bank. 
Banking
India Inc increases reliance on external funds
With investments in projects picking up,Indian firms have more than doubled their reliance on various external sources of funding. Besides bank loans and capital offerings, even overseas commercial borrowings have gone up sharply during the quarter. Latest data released in RBIs first quarter review of the economy indicates that total resources, including bank and non-bank funds (IPO, CPs, ECBs, etc) have gone up more than three times during the April-June quarter to Rs 250,210 crore compared with Rs 61,475 crore in the year-ago period. Even if one excludes the Rs 100,000 crore used by telecom companies to pay various licence fees, their resource use has more than doubled this year. According to an RBI analysis, this reflects the strong growth momentum and sharp acceleration in investment demand. Besides other pointers to the revival of investment demand, is the strong growth in import of capital goods as well as industrial output, which have clocked an average growth of close to 10% so far this year. RBI deputy governor Subir Gokarn, in an interaction with ET on Wednesday,said: Investment has been an important drive of economic growth. When we talk to banks to get a bottom-up picture, it is clear that a lot of money is flowing into infrastructure, which is very positive from an overall system capacity enhancement perspective. It appears that there are a lot of projects, suspended or put on the shelf during the slowdown, have been revived and there is money moving into those projects. Looking ahead, there is a pipeline of sanction for new capital spending. 

Muthoot Fin sells 4%,raises 157 cr
Gold loan company,Muthoot Finance, has raised 157 crore by issuing shares to the extent of 4% of the firms capital to private equity firms Baring Equity Partners India and Matrix partners India. Both the private equity firms now have a 2% stake each in the company, which is valued at $1 billion in terms of the present deal, said KP Padmakumar, executive director of Muthoot Finance. The capital has been raised for meeting capital adequacy and business growth. Following the infusion of fresh capital, the company's capital adequacy ratio has improved to 17%. Muthoots assets grew by 2,000 crore from 8,000 crore in the first quarter and is expected to touch the 15,000- crore mark by FY11.The NBFC eventually plans to go public. The Kerala-based NBFC at present has around 1,800 branches across the country spread over 22 states,with a footfall of 50,000 people each day and a customer base of over 35 lakh. 

IDBI Bank to raise $500 mn from overseas bonds
IDBI Bank Ltd was seeking to raise $500 million selling bonds overseas, said officials, who declined to be identified as regulations don't permit them to speak to the media until the sale is concluded. The funds thus raised would be used to augment lending, the official said. The bond sale by IDBI follows a similar sale by the nation's biggest lender, the State Bank of India (SBI), on July 23. SBI raised $1 billion in bonds sold to global investors, offering a coupon of 4.5 per cent per annum. Other banks that have sold bonds overseas over the past few months include ICICI Bank and Bank of India, for $500 million each, besides Bank of Baroda and Axis Bank ($350 million). State Bank of India's sale were subscribed 4.8 times and saw demand from over 350 investors. IDBI might have to pay a coupon higher than SBI as the biggest lender had a higher rating and also because IDBI's bonds would have a maturity slightly longer than SBI bonds, the official said. IDBI officials declined to comment. SBI bonds are rated `Baa2'/Stable by Moody's and `BBB-'/Stable by Standard & Poor's. IDBI's foreign currency debt is rated BBB- by Standard & Poor's and Baa3 by Moody's Investor Service, the lowest on investment grade. Bloomberg earlier today reported that the bank's dollar denominated bonds maturing in five-and-a-half years may have to offer 310 basis points more than the Treasuries.

IPO
Steady market helps IPOs sail safely
In what could be early signs of a revival of interest in initial public offerings (IPOs), most of the recent issues have yielded handsome returns to investors after their listing on the bourses. The trend has been evident particularly in small and medium-sized issues which attracted huge subscription from retail investors. The stock market has been quite steady this month which also had its positive impact on the sentiment towards new listings,according to merchant bankers. They also attribute good participation of retail investors in the IPOs to their huge post-listing gains. The trend is unlike some months ago when many new issues,including a few major follow-on offers from public sector companies, performed poorly after listing. Most of them had attracted huge subscription from qualified institutional buyers but retail participation was quite low. A few of the recent IPOs were of good quality, and so found takers even through the market has a whole did not rise in a big way, said Almondz Global Securities head of investment banking Sharad Rathi.

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