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Leela Ventures chief takes stake in Millennium India

Our Bureau

Holds about 20,000 shares

Mumbai , Sept. 20

Hotelier Captain C.P. Krishnan Nair said on Tuesday that he is one of the promoters of Millennium India Acquisition Company Inc (MIACI), a `blank cheque' company listed with the American Stock Exchange. Mr Nair, who is the Chairman of Leela Venture, holds about 20,000 shares in the new company.

A blank cheque company is floated by a band of promoters (in this case, some NRIs and a few high-profile Indian businessmen) to raise funds through first-time offerings on the US bourses and use the cash to invest in Indian companies. Around 11.7 million equity shares were issued at an offer price of $8 per share.

Prospective business

"Post the listing on the American Stock Exchange, we have managed to pool in $58 million from the US investors. This corpus will be used to invest in Indian companies. The company's efforts in identifying a prospective target business will not be restricted to a particular industry. We will focus on privately owned businesses within financial services, healthcare, infrastructure and consumer, retail and hospitality sectors," said Mr F. Jacob Cherian, CEO, MIACI.

Speaking of the venture, Mr Nair said, "MIACI wanted good businessmen on its board and after hearing their proposal, I agreed to participate in the company. Such ventures will open several doors of opportunity for Indian companies."

According to the promoters, the selected Indian company will also have an easy route to the US bourses by associating itself with MIACI.

"We are looking for companies with good management track record and robust growth. The target company should have a fair market value (say, at least equal to 80 per cent of its net assets) at the time of acquisition," said Mr Kishore Mirchandani, a Director on MIACI's board. MIACI has 22 months more to spot a viable company and complete the capital transfer processes.

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