Essar Group, which has interests in energy, steel and telecommunications, plans to combine the group’s ports and oil field businesses with its shipping unit.
The board of directors at Essar Shipping Ltd on Tuesday appointed a committee to decide on the merger, the company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
“We have spent over $1 billion (Rs3,960 crore) in the last two years on upgrading our logistics, ports and the oil and gas drilling business,” said managing director Sanjay Mehta by telephone from Mumbai.
The move is part of an effort by the group to consolidate and will bring together interests in oil terminals, ports, crude oil carriers and oil field drilling services.
“This will result in creating value for shareholders. Also, this will help us from moving out from a pure shipping company to an end-to-end logistics company. We have also appointed a committee to examine various ways for consolidation and required capital investment. They are expected to submit a report in two to three weeks,” Mehta said.
He said the new profile of Essar Shipping will minimize the risks as there is diversified logistics activities. Essar Oilfields, which will come under Essar Shipping, owns 12 land drilling rigs and one semi-submersible rig, Mehta said.
“With the huge capital expenditure planned by oil companies for discovering oil, we are bullish about the offshore-related activities,” he added.
Essar Group plans to spend a record $2 billion on developing oil and gas fields in India, Myanmar and Nigeria to benefit from high fuel prices, Shishir Agrawal, chief executive officer of Essar Exploration and Production Ltd, said on 4 October.
P.R. Sanjai of Mint contributed to this story.Bloomberg
Microsoft picks up 35% stake in IT platform firm
New Delhi:Software firm Microsoft Corp. has picked up a 35% equity stake in Oxigen Services India Pvt. Ltd, a company that electronically distributes mobile recharge solutions, subscriptions and bill payments to retailers on behalf of service providers such as Bharti Airtel Ltd and Reliance Communications Ltd, for an undisclosed amount.
The strategic partnership will enable Microsoft’s products and services to be accessed by a wider range of the masses, as Oxigen expands its virtual payment and distribution business further using Microsoft’s Web and mobile-based technologies.
Oxigen, formed four years ago, expects revenues of $180 million (Rs713 crore) this year. On its platform, services such as direct-to-home, prepaid radio, railway and air ticketing are distributed across 50,000 touch points in India. Regina Anthony
Bharat Kapadia quits Dainik Bhaskar Group
The executive director of Dainik Bhaskar Group, Bharat Kapadia, has put in his papers, though he will continue as adviser for the group. The group publishes leading regional titles such as ‘Dainik Bhaskar’ and ‘Divya Bhaskar’.
Before joining Bhaskar Group, Kapadia was the publisher and associate editor of Gujarati weekly publication ‘Chitralekha’.
Kapadia, who is the son-in-law of ‘Chitralekha’ founder, Vaju Kotak, told Mint: “The media scene is upbeat today, with lots of opportunities and challenges. After running 21km non-stop in 2.47 hours in the marathon held in Mumbai, I’ve not yet decided on the next big challenge. My (almost) three years at Bhaskar has been full of rich experiences. My mandate was to turn around ‘Divya Bhaskar’ and I think that today, ‘Divya Bhaskar’ has its rightful place in this market. Apart from my post as adviser, I will continue to help ideate cartoons for ‘Dainik Bhaskar’. I already have 750 published cartoons in my kitty.”
In addition to considering print and TV proposals, Kapadia doesn’t rule out starting his own venture. “ I have three-four options in hand. While I could start a company of my own, other opportunities also beckon that sound equally exciting.”
Kapadia joined the Bhaskar Group as executive director for ‘Divya Bhaskar’ in March 2005. In 2007, he was executive director of the entire group and was responsible for titles such as ‘Aha! Zindagi’ and ‘Saurashtra Samachar’.
Kapadia has held posts such as board member and ex-chairman of the Advertising Standards Council of India); and ex-chairman of the Media Research Users’ Council. Staff Writer
PVR reports 268% jump in Q3 net profit
New Delhi: The country’s leading multiplex operator, PVR Ltd, said on Wednesday its revenue grew 62% in the quarter ended 31 December. Net profit in the third quarter grew to Rs6 crore, up 268% from Rs1.66 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. Year-on year EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) growth was 111%.
During the quarter, PVR launched the premium brand of multiplexes called PVR Premiere, targeted at urban moviegoers. With the launch of a PVR Premiere at Select City Walk Mall at Saket in New Delhi, PVR now operates a total of 24 cinemas with 95 screens spread over 14 cities.
PVR has also tied up with Bangalore-based realtor Prestige Group to expand its footprint in cities in South India. The company’s film production subsidiary, PVR Pictures Ltd, co-produced ‘Taare Zameen Par’ with Amir Khan Production Pvt. Ltd.
“The Indian entertainment industry continued to expand and PVR, with its expansion plans, is all set to tap the emerging potential in the industry,” chairman and managing director Ajay Bijli said in a statement.
For the nine months ended 31 December, the company’s revenues grew by 45% from Rs129.3 crore to Rs187.9 crore and Ebitda grew by 79% from Rs24.7 crore to Rs44.2 crore in comparison with the corresponding nine months of previous year.
PVR shares closed 2.27% down at Rs254.50. Sruthijith K.K.
Fortis posts Rs19 crore net loss in Dec quarter
New Delhi: New Delhi-based hospitals chain Fortis Healthcare Ltd has posted a net loss of Rs19.36 crore, down 32.1% from a loss of Rs28.50 crore in the corresponding October-December quarter last year on the back of reduced expenditure.
Consolidated revenues for the quarter, at Rs137.62 crore, were lower by 2.12% from Rs140.60 crore in 2006-07. Shares of Fortis on the Bombay Stock Exchange rose by 10.62%, to close at Rs82.30 per share beating the benchmark index Sensex, which increased by 5.17%.
Fortis’ managing director Shivinder M. Singh has said in a statement that the company would do better in the coming quarters as it targets 6,000 beds in its fold by 2011. It currently has 13 hospitals with more than 2,200 beds and is setting up new hospitals in Gurgaon, Shalimar Bagh in New Delhi and Navi Mumbai. For the nine months ended 31 December, Fortis had total income of Rs400.98 crore and a net loss of Rs83.75 crore. Bhuma Shrivastava
MiD-Day posts 55% decline in profits
Mumbai: Mumbai-based publisher MiD-Day Multimedia Ltd announced a 55% decline in net stand-alone profit in Q3 compared with the corresponding quarter last year. The figure dropped from Rs2.2 crore to Rs99 lakh. Year-on-year Ebidta fell 40% from Rs3.6 crore to Rs2.16 crore.
“This has been a year of expansion for us and it is the capital expenditure that we have made in launching new editions in New Delhi and Bangalore that is reflecting on our results,” said Manojit Ghosal, chief financial officer, MiD-Day Multimedia. “We are continuing our expansion into the Web space. Mid-day.com is being revamped as a news-led social networking site,” he added. Sruthijith K.K.