New Delhi: Russian services conglomerate Sistema is looking to invest in India’s telecoms, real estate, microelectronics, tourism and mass media sectors, the firm’s chief executive said on Tuesday.
It also plans to invest between $4 billion and $7 billion to expand its Indian telecoms unit Shyam Telelink, and will raise its stake in the firm within two years, said Alexander Goncharuk, president & chief executive officer, Sistema JSFC.
Sistema, whose key asset is Russia’s top mobile phone operator Mobile TeleSystems , purchased a 51% in Shyam for $58.1 million in 2007.
It has an option to raise that to 74%, the maximum allowed under Indian law.
Shyam Telelink currently provided CDMA services in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, and in January received licences to offer services in the remaining 21 zones of the world’s fastest-growing telecoms market.
“India is a strategic market for Sistema ... Besides telecoms and real estate, the next direction is high-tech,” Goncharuk said, referring to its microelectronics firm Sitronics .
The firm will bring its real-estate business Sistema-Hals to India, and will look at opportunities around the national capital of New Delhi, Goncharuk said.
“We might have partners (for real estate), but we have not decided,” he said, adding that Sistema was open to acquiring firms to grow once it began operations.
Goncharuk declined to say when Sistema would introduce to India the rest of its diversified portfolio, including Sitronics, saying the details would be announced later.
To fund its investments worldwide, the firm will borrow $10 billion, chairman Vladimir Evtushenkov said.
“It (the investment) will be in different fields,” he said, but declined to provide a breakdown.
Goncharuk said he was confident Sistema would be able to raise the amount despite turmoil in financial markets.
The Sistema group, which has a market capitalisation of about $16 billion, includes Sitronics, Sistema-Hals, Moscow Bank for Reconstruction and Development, former Soviet travel agency Intourist and children’s goods retailer Detsky Mir.
But close to three-quarters of the $9.6 billion of revenue it earned in the first nine months of fiscal 2007 came from its telecoms units, which comprise MTS and fixed-line operators Comstar and MGTS