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After code share, Qatar wants to board IndiGo

Qatar Airways on Thursday reiterated its interest in picking up a stake in InterGlobe Aviation Ltd-owned IndiGo, India’s largest domestic airline, but said it does not want to take part in the privatization of flag carrier Air India Ltd, Mint reported. Qatar Airways’ plan will be a blow to the Indian government’s renewed efforts to privatize debt-laden Air India. A similar effort in 2018 failed to attract even a single bidder. “We are very keen to take a stake in IndiGo but I don’t think this is the right time," Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said at a news conference to announce a code-share agreement with IndiGo. “We would like to expand our relationship with IndiGo. There is some disagreement within the airline (promoter feud), so we will not like to comment on our future plans for IndiGo till these issues are resolved." Code sharing allows an airline to book its passengers on partner carriers and provide seamless travel to destinations where it has no presence. The code-share agreement between Qatar Airways and IndiGo is expected to fuel the Indian carrier’s overseas ambitions and improve traffic from the fast-growing Indian air travel market to the Gulf carrier’s network. This is the second code-share agreement for IndiGo after a similar pact with Turkish Airways.

Nielsen to split into 2 separate publicly-traded companies

New York-based global measurement and data analytics company, Nielsen Holdings Plc will split into two independent, publicly-traded companies, Mint reported. The announcement comes more than a year after Nielsen initiated a strategic review of its business. The company will spin-off its business into two entities—Global Media and Global Connect. The connect business, or consumer insights business, caters to retail and consumer goods firms, while the media business provides television and digital measurement to businesses. Nielsen Global Media and Nielsen Global Connect are two brands that will continue for the time being. The split will apply to over 100 markets where Nielsen is present. The separation could take nine to 12 months to conclude, the company said. Besides, Nielsen Global Connect is expected to raise new debt. It is currently anticipated that substantially all the proceeds of the new debt will be used for debt reduction at Nielsen.

TPG Capital leads 225 cr funding round in Jana Small Finance Bank

Janalakshmi Small Finance Bank, which scripted a turnaround to improve its asset quality, has raised a 225-crore round led by existing investor TPG Capital, Mint reported citing two people aware of the development. TPG first invested in Jana SFB in 2014, when it was still a micro lender and was called Janalakshmi Financial Services. Back then, the PE firm led a $75-million round. The micro-financier received an in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India to become a small finance bank in September 2015. Subsequently, in April 2016, TPG led a $210-million funding round into Janalakshmi, which started operations as a small finance bank in March 2018. In September 2017, TPG aided the bank with its turnaround efforts, leading a 1,030-crore capital infusion. In January 2018, Boston-based HarbourVest was part of a 700-crore investment round in Janalakshmi SFB.

Raymond demerges core lifestyle business

Raymond Ltd said it will demerge its core lifestyle business into a separate listed entity to simplify the group structure and create investor opportunities, Mint reported citing Gautam Hari Singhania, Raymond’s chairman and managing director. The new entity, Raymond Lifestyle Ltd, will bring all its existing branded textile, apparel and garment businesses under one umbrella. After the split, Raymond will retain its real estate project, land in Thane, manufacturing of shirts for business-to-business (B2B) customers, auto components, tools and hardware, along with the denim and consumer goods businesses. The Mumbai-based conglomerate also said that it has raised around 350 crore through a preferential share allotment to JK Investo Trade (India) Ltd, which is part of the promoter group firm, to pare debt of 2,777 crore. Sanjay Bahl, group financial officer at Raymond, said infusion of net proceeds of the land sale would help the company in debt reduction, leading to better operational efficiencies.

Edelweiss Infra fund to raise $375 million; plans InvIT for road, energy assets

Edelweiss Alternative Asset Advisors has begun the second phase of fundraising for its infrastructure fund Edelweiss Infrastructure Yield Plus Fund, and is likely to close the fund at $750 million by early next year, The Economic Times reported. Edelweiss Infra has launched the road show and is in discussions with global pension funds, insurance companies and endowment funds to raise about $375 million ( 2,600 crore) to invest in roads and energy assets in India. Edelweiss had marked the first close of the fund in May, raising $375 million and is likely to deploy the fund before December 2019. The assets are acquired through two new platforms — Sekura Energy and Sekura Roads backed by Edelweiss Infrastructure Yield Plus fund (EIYP). Edelweiss Infra also plans separate Infrastructure trusts or InvITs, for roads and energy platforms in next couple of years.

Raheja, Blackstone finalise plan to raise 3,500 crore

Realty developer K Raheja Corp and US private equity firm Blackstone Group have finalised a plan to raise about $500 million (more than 3,500 crore) by listing their jointly owned income producing commercial portfolio as a real estate investment trust (REIT), The Economic Times reported citing people with direct knowledge of the development.The joint entity is expected to file its papers with the capital market regulator within a month and the listing is likely to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2020. In 2017, Blackstone acquired a 15% stake in K Raheja Corp’s select commercial income-producing office portfolio spread over 30 million sq ft. Blackstone is not planning to be a sponsor to the proposed REIT as it holds only a minority stake in the portfolio. Out of K Raheja Corp’s total commercial development, the portfolio carved out for the REIT includes Grade-A office spaces spread across around eight information technology parks in cities including Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai.

Baring emerges as sole bidder for Can Fin, again

In an exact rerun of last year’s developments, Baring PE Asia has emerged as the sole bidder to acquire a controlling stake in Can Fin Homes, the housing finance subsidiary of state-run Canara Bank, The Economic Times reported. Two other contenders, Aditya Birla Capital and Warburg Pincus, pulled out just ahead of the deadline on Thursday. In June this year, the bank received board approval to revive plans to sell part or its entire 29.99% in the listed housing finance company. In 2018, Canara Bank called off the sale process after receiving price bids below expectations. Then too, Baring was the sole bidder after HDFC’s competing stock offer was rejected. It is not clear what the Canara Bank board would decide now. Clarity is expected to emerge in the next 24-36 hours, said a person involved on condition of anonymity as the talks are in private domain.

Adani Transmission plans $500m dollar bond issue

Adani Transmission aims to raise up to $500 million (about 3,500 crore) through the issue of foreign currency bonds to refinance its debt, The Economic Times reported. The company informed the bourses that US dollar-denominated bonds may be issued through private placement in one or more tranches overseas, and that these bonds may be listed in any one or more stock exchanges in India or overseas. Separately, the company’s board also approved buyback of existing non-convertible debentures (NCDs) and INR bonds (masala bond) totalling 2,290 crore. The company will launch the roadshows for the issue on Friday and aims to declare the pricing by November 14.

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