Apr.19 - May 2, 1999
Corporate Round-up
IOC, GAIL sell-off of shares cleared

Retail offers of VSNL, Concer get the nod

* The core group on disinvestment, set up by the Union government, has approved the sale of 40 mln shares of India Oil Corporation (IOC) and 180 mln shares of Gas Authority of India (GAIL) during Apr.-Jun.

The core group has approved the sale of 40 mln shares of IOC and 180 mln shares of GAIL. It also approved the retail offer of Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL) and Container Corporation of India (Concor) shares at market prices.

The partial sale of shares in the four state-run companies will be completed during the first quarter of fiscal year 1999-2000. The core group expected the government to receive Rs 600-700 cr ($140.48-163.90mln) from the sale of 25% equity of Indian Petrochemicals Corporation to a strategic buyer.

The Union government aims to raise Rs 10,000 cr through partial privatisation of state firms in 1999-2000.

Godrej Soaps splits business into two divisions

* The Rs 768-cr Godrej Soaps has split its business into two separate divisions. The two new divisions - a consumer products division and a chemicals divisions - will be headed individually by a president.

The consumer products division will be responsible for the manufacture, marketing, sales and exports of the soap and toiletry brands of Godrej Soaps such as Cinthol and Godrej hair dyes. The chemicals division will be responsible for the manufacture, marketing, sales and exports of various chemical products of Godrej Soaps like fatty acids, fatty alcohols, AOS and glycerine.

Acquisitions

Wipro buys out stake in Acer tieup

* Wipro is to buy out Acer's 45% stake in the Rs 15-cr equity of the Bangalore-based Wipro Acer Ltd at a price that is to be finalised soon. The physical asset owned by the joint venture is the assembly plant at Pondicherry where Wipro will continue to assemble computers while Acer's plans are still not firmed up.

* Jindal Strips (JSL) of the OP Jindal group has acquired two stainless steel sheet rolling and finishing units from the $4.48-bln US-based Betchlehem Steel Corporation for an undisclosed amount.

* Consequent to the acquisition of 5% stake from the Arvind Mafatlal group companies, British Gas Asia Pacific Holding's in Gujarat Gas has increased from 60.12% to 65.12%.

* The power generation and distribution firm, BSES, has acquired a 51% equity stake in three power distribution firms in Orissa. BSES has taken over the management of three power distribution firms in Orissa from Apr. 1, '99 by purchasing a 51% equity stake in them after a two-stage bidding process. The total cost of buying the equity in the three firms is Rs 117 cr and is being funded fully from internal resources.

* Consequent to the acquisition of the 38.90% stake from the Rajgarhia group and 20% through a public offer, the Carborundum Company of England has acquired management control in Orient Cerwool.

Buyback

* Bhagyanagar Metals has decided to buy back 24 lac equity shares, representing about 24.90% of the equity capital, at a price of Rs 27 per share.

* Coromandel Fertilisers has decided to buy back upto 20% of the equity share capital at a price not exceeding Rs 65 per share through the tender offer method on a proportionate basis from the existing shareholders.

FIPB okay FDI worth Rs 607 cr

* The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has given its nod to approvals worth Rs 607 cr last fortnight. They include an investment of over Rs 450 cr by E M Warburg Pincus in Bharti Televentures. Warburg Pincus would be picking up 20% equity in Bharti Televentures, thus increasing the foreign equity element in the company to 40%.

FIPB also recommended the cases of Hoechst Agro, Appco, Satyam Infoway, Alcatel Modi Network, Thomas Publishing and Mestrips among others to the Industry Ministry for a procedural clearance. Hoechst plans to pick up 51% equity in a domestic agro-chemicals company. This equity would be sold by Mitsui India to Hoechst at a consideration of over Rs 40 cr.

In the case of Satyam Infoway, FIPB permitted it to go ahead with its Rs 4.8-cr ADR issue which would result in a minor increase in foreign equity. In the Internet business, the foreign equity element would go up to 36.9%. As for Alcatel Modi Network, the foreign partner has been allowed to take over the joint venture. French major Alcatel would hike its holding to 100% from 49%.

IDBI reports 3.4% drop in disbursals

* Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) has managed to record a 7.90% growth in sanctions, but witnessed a 3.43% drop in disbursals in 1998-99.

IDBI's sanctions, which stood at Rs 24,097 cr in 9803, have grown to around Rs 26,000 cr. Nearly 45% of the sanctions made by IDBI have been to the infrastructure sector.

IDBI's disbursals, which stood at Rs 15,120 cr in 9803, have slipped to Rs 14,600 cr as on Mar. 31,'99. ICICI disbursals up 22%

* In 9903, ICICI's disbursals aggregated Rs 19,225 cr, as against Rs 15,807 cr for the previous year, a 22% growth.

During the same period, ICICI's approvals totalled Rs 34,220 crore, as against Rs 24,717 crore for the previous year, a growth of 38%.

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