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Blackstone may exit auto parts JV Sona Comstar via IPO in two years

Global private equity fund Blackstone may exit its newly formed auto components joint venture (JV), Sona Comstar, within the next two years, through an initial public offering (IPO). This should probably happen in the next two years, Mint reported citing Sunjay Kapur, chairman, Sona Comstar. Blackstone last week completed the acquisition of a 33% stake in Kapur-led Sona BLW, and merged the auto parts company with Comstar Automotive Technology Ltd, the other subsidiary owned by the PE firm in India. The JVoffers products for conventional, hybrid and electric vehicles-focused technology platform. Sona BLW Precision Forging is a family enterprise promoted by Kapur. Blackstone purchased JM Financial’s 33% stake in Sona BLW in March 2019. Last year, Blackstone had acquired Chennai-based auto parts maker Comstar Automotive for about 1,000 crore. It is part of the PE firm’s automotive portfolio focused on electric charging and starting solutions. While Kapur holds a 35% stake in Sona Comstar, Blackstone owns 65%. The valuation of Sona Comstar has increased from $400 million to about $510 million.

Modern Foods acquires 75% stake in Supreme Baker

Private equity firm Everstone Capital-backed Modern Foods is back in the Delhi-National Capital Region after 14 years with the acquisition of a majority stake in city-based Supreme Baker India Pvt. Ltd, Mint reported two people aware of the development said, requesting anonymity. Modern Foods purchased a 75% stake in Supreme Baker, which sells Citi Fresh and Topsim Food brands. The company is promoted by Mahesh Kumar, Ramesh Kumar Batra and Shitiz Batra. The value of the transaction could, however, not be ascertained. The transaction was primarily driven by Modern Foods’ strategy to re-enter the lucrative NCR market. Aseem Soni, chief executive officer, Modern Foods, confirmed the development. “Modern was truly a pan-India brand until 2005, when the earlier owner, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), chose to phase out the brand from a few markets, including Delhi. “Our strategy is now to re-enter Delhi-NCR, which is also one of the largest markets in India with 1.2 million bread loaves sold every day." Soni said it made sense to enter the market through an acquisition since Modern does not have manufacturing units in the region.

Synergy ready to take majority stake in Jet Airways, but conditions apply

Synergy Group Corp., one of the three potential investors for Jet Airways (India) Ltd, is willing to take a majority stake in the grounded airline if lenders agree to take a deep haircut and convert their debt into equity, Mint reported citing Antonio Guizzetti, president of Washington-based Guizzetti & Associates, legal adviser to Synergy Group on the Jet Airways acquisition. Synergy Aerospace wants to take a 51% stake in the airline. Synergy runs several airlines in South America, including Colombian carrier Avianca Holdings, the region’s second largest airline. A plan to take a majority stake may, however, hit a regulatory hurdle, as foreign airlines are allowed to buy a maximum of 49% in a local airline. Although financial investors can own more than that, the control of the airline has to rest with Indian investors. This may change if the government decides to ease restrictions on foreign direct investment as proposed in the budget. In India, “the group will look to partner banks and maybe an Indian industrial group", Guizzetti said, adding the Synergy Group has not had discussions with potential partners in India so far. German Efromovich, founder and chief executive of Synergy Group, will travel to India on 15 September to discuss his bid with the lenders of Jet Airways.

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