Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, May 02, 2002
Mergers & Acquisitions
Corporate - Mergers & Acquisitions
Industry & Economy - Disinvestment
Logistics - Shipping
BPL may bid for SCI with foreign partner
BANGALORE, May 1
THE TPG Nambiar-promoted BPL group is entering into unrelated areas as part of its new strategic business initiatives.
The group, which pitched for 51 per cent stake in Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) following the Centre's divestment plans, has already pre-qualified and is expected to enter the next round along with a foreign partner.
Mr Atul Sathe, Executive Vice-President (Strategic Business Initiatives), BPL group, told Business Line that a bid for the SCI stake had been filed as per the Government's tender notice.
Replying to a specific query, Mr Sathe indicated that BPL might jointly bid for the SCI stake along with a foreign partner. He declined to divulge more details stating that talks were on with the potential partners.
The current Government guidelines stipulate a 25 per cent cap on foreign equity in the shipping sector. "We will look at it accordingly," Mr Sathe added.
But the bulk of SCI's fleet is tankers and, hence, speculation is rife that the latest move could spur BPL's entry into energy transportation and distribution business along with the foreign partner. Incidentally, Japanese conglomerate Marubeni, which is the EPC contractor for BPL's 500 MW Ramagundam power project, has sizeable stake in the global shipping business. Marubeni also has substantial interest in global energy and energy transportation business.
When asked how the proposed foray into shipping fitted in with BPL group's other businesses, namely consumer durables, telecom and power, Mr Sathe said it was working towards integration plans and could not share details for competitive reasons.
He also declined to specify whether BPL's new business initiatives included energy.
Besides, BPL's core consumer durables business has been hopeful of aggressive growth in the overseas markets, particularly Europe. BPL is targeting over Rs 250-crore export revenue in the current financial year.
One of the strategies that the BPL is expected to opt for is acquiring and translocating manufacturing plants of some of the transnational companies into India. This is to take advantage of lower production costs.
The acquisition of such fully depreciated plants entail considerable cost savings. Under the current Government guidelines, plants with a residual life of a minimum of five years are allowed to be imported into the country.
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