Mumbai: Mint brings you your dose of the top deals news, reported from newsrooms across the country

Virtuous Retail buys Tata Realty’s retail mall portfolio for $100 million

Virtuous Retail South Asia Pte. Ltd (VRSA), the retail development arm of investment firm The Xander Group Inc., has acquired the Trilium shopping mall portfolio from Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd (TRIL) for $100 million, Mint reported. VRSA’s acquisition comprises a shopping mall each in Nagpur and Amritsar, of around 700,000 sq.ft and 1 million sq.ft, respectively, which will boost its mall portfolio and expand its presence across both large and small cities. VRSA also recently bought 20 acres in Thane, near Mumbai, from Raymond Ltd for 700 crore. With these acquisitions, VRSA’s operational and under-development retail portfolio in India is currently more than 13 million sq.ft across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai, along with smaller cities such as Surat, Mohali, Amritsar and Nagpur. The buyout of TRIL’s retail portfolio is in line with VRSA’s rapid, pan-India expansion strategy through both greenfield development and acquisition of existing, high-quality retail assets. In 2016, Xander partnered with Dutch pension fund manager APG Asset Management NV to form a joint venture to acquire shopping malls in India for about $300 million. A year later, APG infused an additional $175 million of fresh equity into the platform.

PhonePe raises $82.5 million from Singapore holding firm

Digital payments firm PhonePe Pvt. Ltd has received 585.66 crore ($82.5 million) from its Singapore parent, Mint reported citing a regulatory filing accessed by business intelligence platform, Tofler. The board of PhonePe approved on 26 November the allotment of about 1.38 million shares to its parent, PhonePe Pvt. Ltd, Singapore, at 4,230 each. This is the third infusion into PhonePe by its parent in this financial year. The Flipkart-owned company had in October received 405 crore.

CDC Group invests $36 million in Ecom Express

CDC Group, the development finance arm of the UK government has invested $36 million for an equity stake in e-commerce logistics firm Ecom Express, Mint reported. Ecom Express claims that it reaches over 90% of India’s population, with more than 85% of its presence in Tier 2,3 and 4 cities. The fundraise comes after over two years, when it last raised $30 million from existing investor- private equity firm Warburg Pincus- also a major investor in logistics firm in India and globally. Based in Delhi, Ecom Express was founded in 2012 by T.A. Krishnan, Manju Dhawan, K. Satyanarayana and Sanjeev Saxena. It is broadly seen as the number two player in the e commerce logistics market behind Delhivery, which is currently valued at over a billion dollars and counts the SoftBank Vision Fund and Tiger Global among its investors. The other significant players in the sector include Alibaba-backed Xpressbees and Flipkart-owned Ekart.from the Singapore parent, earlier known as Flipkart Payments Pvt. Ltd. This followed a fund infusion of about 698 crore in July from the holding company. The latest fund infusion comes even as PhonePe is reportedly in talks to raise around $1 billion from marquee investors such as Tencent and Tiger Global, according to media reports. In March, Flipkart’s board approved a plan to hive off PhonePe as a separate entity. Walmart has initiated plans to demerge PhonePe from Flipkart, according to media reports published in October. PhonePe, valued at $7 billion by Morgan Stanley in September, aims to boost the figure to about $10 billion.

RIL plans to develop chemical facility in Ruwais with Adnoc

In what may further bolster India’s robust ties with West Asian energy producers, Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), plans to develop a Ethylene Dichloride facility in Ruwais with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc), the state-run oil company of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mint reported citing the companies’ joint statement. Under the terms of the agreement, ADNOC and RIL will evaluate the potential creation of a facility that manufactures EDC adjacent to ADNOC’s integrated refining and petrochemical site in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi and strengthen the companies’ existing relationship supporting future collaboration in petrochemicals. ADNOC would supply ethylene to the potential joint venture and provide access to world-class infrastructure at Ruwais, while RIL will deliver operational expertise and entry to the large and growing Indian vinyls market, in which it is a key participant. Adnoc is also looking to expand its presence in India by investing in refining and petrochemical projects and stocking more crude oil in India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer. It is the only foreign energy company, so far, to partner in India’s strategic petroleum reserves programme. It is also a stakeholder in one of India’s largest refinery and petrochemicals projects, that now hangs in uncertainty after the new ruling alliance came to power. The 60 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) refinery is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc), and three state-run oil marketers— Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd.

Airtel, Dish TV DTH divisions likely to merge soon

Bharti Airtel, promoters of Dish TV and private equity firm Warburg Pincus have agreed to merge direct-tohome operations of Airtel and Dish after months of negotiations, a move that will create the world’s largest TV distribution company, The Economic Times reported citing two people with direct knowledge of the development. The three parties have agreed on the structure of the deal, wherein the DTH business of Dish TV India will be hived off and merged in Bharti Telemedia, which houses Airtel Digital TV. The financial details of the deal or shareholding pattern after the merger were not disclosed, as the final scheme of arrangement and other details are being worked upon.. Warburg Pincus, which picked up 20% stake in Bharti Telemedia for $350 million in December 2017, is expected to remain invested in the company post merger. Bharti Telemedia will be subsequently listed on the stock exchanges. The Supreme Court had on October 24 ordered mobile operators to pay over 92,000 crore to the telecom department in penalties in a 14-year-long case, putting pressure on the financials of Bharti Airtel that may have to pay more than 21,000 crore. Dish TV India, a listed company, will continue to offer non-DTH services including Dish Infra Services (infra support business) and own 51% in C&S Medianet, its distribution consultancy joint venture with cable TV service provider Siti Networks. Company promoters own 55.27% stake in Dish TV. A merger may also ease off the pressure of ARPU on the DTH industry as there will only be two national players and one regional player. Together, Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV will create the world’s largest TV distribution company with just over 40 million subscribers and over 62% share of India’s DTH market. It will be followed by Tata Sky with about 25% market share and regional DTH player Sun Direct.

Voda Idea in talks with Brookfield and Edelweiss to sell some assets

Vodafone Idea is said to be in talks to sell its optic fibre business to Brookfield Asset Management and its data centre to the Edelweiss Group as the telco seeks to raise over $2.5 billion from asset sales ahead of a January deadline to pay statutory dues, The Economic Times reported citing a person privy to the discussions. The company is in talks with global asset manager Brookfield to sell its 156,000 km of optic fibre assets and Bank of America and Morgan Stanley are the bankers helping Vodafone negotiate with potential buyers. A few other potential buyers are also in talks with Vodafone Idea. For its data centre located in Navi Mumbai, the company is said to be negotiating with the Edelweiss Group, a diversified financial services company. Edelweiss may own such assets through one of its alternative investment funds – Edelweiss Yield Plus Fund. The fibre network business is valued at $1.5 billion-$2 billion, while the data centre should fetch $60 million to $100 million. Vodafone Idea will have to pay over 53,000 crore ($7.5 billion) after the Supreme Court upheld the government’s definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) for telcos to include revenue from non-core activities. The telcos have sought a review of the October 24 order, which stated that the dues should be cleared within three months.

EaseMyTrip plans to raise 700 crore from public issue

EaseMyTrip is planning a 700 crore maiden public share sale that will make it the first online travel agency to be listed on the Indian stock market, The Economic Times reported citing two persons in the know. The company aims to file the initial document, called the draft red herring prospectus, with the capital markets regulator shortly, said two people aware of the developments. JM Financial and Axis Bank will manage the issue. Currently, two Indian online travel companies — Makemytrip and Yatra — are listed on New York’s Nasdaq. EaseMyTrip has bucked the travel and ticketing industry’s chronic loss-making trend by being consistently profitable, data from the Registrar of Companies compiled by business intelligence company Veratech, showed. EaseMyTrip was started in 2008 by founder brothers Rikant Pitti, Nishant Pitti and Prashant Pitti as a business-to-business venture, issuing air-tickets for travel agents, but making them park a fraction of the cash against sales that they would have to deposit if they dealt directly with airlines. In three years, it was dealing with more than 18,000 agents.

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