State-owned ONGC, which trumped a strong bid by arch-rival China National Petroleum Corp to bag ConocoPhillips' stake in Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan oilfield, has won project operator Eni's approval for its $5 billion acquisition. In its biggest acquisition till date, ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) last month agreed to pay US energy giant ConocoPhillips about $5 billion for the 8.4 percent stake in Kashagan, the biggest oilfield discovery in over four decades. The deal is subject to the approval of governments of Kazakhstan and India and also to other partners in the Caspian Sea field waiving their right of first refusal.
State-run BHEL is pitching for duties on imported solar equipment to safeguard the domestic manufacturing industry that is being hurt by cheap imports primarily from China. BHEL's move comes close on the heels of the government slapping higher levy on imported power equipment, a development that would provide comfort to domestic sector already grappling with sluggish business prospects. The power equipment maker is making the case through its parent ministry -- Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Ministry -- which is expected to take up the same with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. According to BHEL, solar equipment from some countries are coming into India at prices lower than their market value, a scenario adversely impacting domestic players.
Country's largest power producer NTPC has tied up borrowing facility worth Rs 600 crore with the Jammu & Kashmir Bank, making it the 100th term loan agreement for the company in the last 13 years. State-run NTPC has been raising debt from Indian banks and financial institutions since November 1999 to meet capital expenditure needs. Since November 1999, NTPC has signed loan agreements of Rs 57,629.35 crore. Out of these, loan amounting to Rs 41,404.35 crore has already been drawn and utilized. Currently, the power producer has an installed capacity of 39,674 MW and over 16,000 MW capacity is under construction.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, is open to the idea of partnering with Religare Enterprises (REL) in its proposed banking foray. IFC recently invested $75 million in Indian financial conglomerate Religare Enterprises through compulsory convertible debentures, which will give it 8 percent equity stake upon conversion. Nearly 80 percent of Religare's locations are currently based in rural and semi-urban areas. IFC is also nominating a member on the board of REL, whose various subsidiaries are present in businesses like life and health insurance, brokerage, asset management, investment banking, SME finance. Banking is a natural progression for Religare and the company would look to leverage IFC's expertise in all areas of developmental finance.
Tiles maker Somany Ceramics will invest over Rs 100 crore in next three years for enhancing its production capacities by 10 million square metres annually. The company is looking to form a new joint venture (JV) within the next six months that will set up a new facility with an installed capacity of 2.5-3 million square metres annually in Gujarat. The company currently has a total production capacity of 35 million square mitre per annum at its four plants, out of which two are joint venture units. The company is also in discussions with a few players to form a new joint venture within the next six months. The JV will be in Gujarat and we will set up a new plant there that will require an investment of Rs 50 crore by the partners. In last fiscal the company had revenues of Rs 950 crore and this year it is expecting a 20 percent jump.
Kerala-based gold finance company Muthoot Finance plans to diversify into home loans and set up white-label ATMs in a bid to reduce risk from single sector exposure. The company, which has provided loans of Rs 23,440 crore against gold until September, plans to offer finance for low cost houses. This will enable the company to cross-sell products and derive synergies of business. The company has sought approval of the National Housing Bank, regulator of housing finance companies, for venturing into home loan business. Although Muthoot Finance has a network of 3,856 branches, it will be required to set up separate infrastructure for housing finance business because rules do not allow the company to carry out housing finance business from its existing branch network. For setting up white-label ATMs, owned and operated by non-banking companies, Muthoot has sought approval of the RBI. Entry into this venture is expected to cost the company Rs 200-300 crore.
Automobile Distribution Company TVS and Sons, which is the authorized retailer of the commercial vehicle maker Ashok Leyland has proposed to set up '3S' (sales, service and spares) facilities in semi-urban and rural areas. TVS and Sons is the authorized dealer for retailing medium and commercial vehicles of Hinduja Group company, Ashok Leyland in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Currently, TVS and Sons has 3S (sales, service and spares) facilities of Ashok Leyland in Poonamallee and Madhavaram in the Chennai city. The third facility, spread across 73,000 square foot, has been established in Oragadam. With the facility, the company takes the total facilities for Ashok Leyland to 27 in Tamil Nadu and 63 centres across the country.
SKF has signed contracts with Audi for the delivery of SKF components for use on a range of vehicle models. The contracts, estimated at nearly SEK 1 billion, include the delivery of four different versions of wheel bearing units for the wheel-ends and a range of bearings for the new double clutch transmission. The SKF wheel bearing units include an active ABS system and the flexible design provides a cost-effective solution for a range of vehicles, from compacts to SUVs, using Audi's new modular MLB Evo-platform.
Heritage Foods India (HFIL), the Rs 1,400-crore retail and dairy products company promoted by the family of Andhra Pradesh's former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, will hive-off its retail business into a separate arm to rope in strategic or financial partners. The move assumes significance in the backdrop of the government's move to allow foreign direct investment into the retail sector, allowing foreign companies to buy a controlling interest in Indian retailers. A separate entity, Heritage Foods Retail, was registered for the purpose and the transferring of the retail business to the subsidiary will take place along with the firming up of new partners.