Fortis drags Khazanah to Singapore regulator

Singapore: India's Fortis Healthcare Ltd on Thursday approached the market watchdog Securities Industry Council (SIC) here alleging misleading of Parkway shareholders by Khazanah by claiming that majority of them have voted in favour of the Malaysian fund's partial offer, reports PTI.

A letter to the SIC by Fortis' legal representatives said the press release issued yesterday by Integrated Healthcare Holdings (IHHL), the arm of Khazanah, calls into question the purpose and intention behind it.

IHHL had said it has received the approval of the majority of eligible shareholders of Singapore-based hospital chain Parkway who have so far voted on its partial offer.

"This calls into question the purpose and intention behind the IHHL announcement ... Whether the intention is to put a positive spin and mislead shareholders into thinking that shareholders support the partial offer," the joint letter by Stamford Law Corp and Rajah & Tann LLP on behalf of Fortis said.

The letter further said IHHL's statement gave an impression that the "latest development is a positive development for IHHL, when in reality both conditions to the partial offer remain unsatisfied".

"The majority obtained at that point in time only was a slim 0.5%, with significant portion (30%) eligible shareholders yet to vote," it said.

Moreover, IHHL did not also indicate how many shareholders voted for the partial offer before Fortis' open offer on 1st July, it said, adding "a significant portion of the votes might have been cast before" the open offer.

"This could mislead the market into thinking that the majority of the Parkaway shareholders had cast their votes in favour of the partial offer even when there was a competing (Fortis) offer," the letter said.

It also pointed out that after the press release by IHHL yesterday were "voluntarily made - there is no requirement under the Singapore code of takeovers and mergers for IHHL" to make the announcement.

Claiming that the announcement by IHHL affected trading of Parkway shares, the letter said "the volume of trading Parkway shares increased considerably" closing at 1.823 million shares traded for the day.

Fortis asked the SIC to ask IHHL to clarify and issue a public statement.
Khazanah and Fortis had been locked in a tussle to take control of Parkway.

While the Malaysian fund launched a $835-million partial offer for a 51.5% Parkway stake at 3.78 Singapore dollar (S$) per share, Fortis countered it with a $2.3-billion at S$3.8 per share to fully acquire Parkway.

Khazanah's partial offer is to close on 26th July, while Fortis' will close on 12th August. Fortis owns 25.37% of Parkway, while Khazanah has a 23.32% stake.


Infosys’ Rs2,500 crore SEZ to be operational by next March

Mumbai: Indian IT bellwether Infosys Technologies Ltd is investing around Rs2,500 crore to set up its seventh special economic zone (SEZ) in Sarjapur near Bangalore, the company's chief executive said recently. The SEZ would have around 18,000 seats and will be operational by end-March 2011.

"Infosys has acquired 202 acres of land in Sarjapur, near Bangalore, to build an SEZ. The total investment earmarked for the project is Rs2,500 crore and work is expected to begin in August-September this year", Infosys' chief executive and managing director, S Gopalakrishnan told PTI in an e-mail interview.

The project is likely to get operational by March-end 2011 and the facility will generate 18,000 employment opportunities, he added.

This would be the company's seventh SEZ project. It presently has facilities in Jaipur, Chennai, Chandigarh, Pune, Mangalore and Thiruvananthapuram.

The IT major plans to expand its seat capacity in these centres by 25,000 in the current fiscal. On its acquisition plans, Mr Gopalakrishnan said the company was open to inorganic growth in emerging markets.

"We are continuously looking for acquisitions and have certain profiles of what kind of a company we want. If an opportunity arises, we will go for it", he said. Banking and retail verticals would be the growth-drivers for the company, he added.


CRISIL says credit profiles of diamond and diamond jewellery players to remain stable over medium term

Mumbai: Ratings agency CRISIL said it believes that the credit risk profiles of India’s diamond and diamond jewellery players will remain stable over the medium term, on the back of steady demand expected in key markets, and improved prices of polished diamond in 2010-11. This outlook for the gems and jewellery industry is based on a CRISIL study of the credit risk profiles of the 142 players from the industry in its rated portfolio.

In a release, CRISIL said the players are also likely to maintain a prudent approach to working capital management, a measure they adopted to cope with the recent slowdown in the global economy.

Subodh Rai, head, CRISIL Ratings, said, “Over the medium term, gems and jewellery players are expected to maintain the prudent working capital management practices they adopted during the recent slowdown in the economy.”

In the second half of 2009-10, India’s gems and jewellery exports increased by 46% over the corresponding period of the previous year, backed by buoyant demand and restocking by retailers. Gems and jewellery exports exceeded $28 billion in terms of value in 2009-10, up from $24.4 billion for 2008-09.

CRISIL said it believes that demand from the US market, which accounts for more than half of India’s gems and jewellery exports, will be steady, backed by a stable economy, and will result in moderate buoyancy in exports by Indian players over the medium term. However, deterioration in recessionary conditions prevailing in the European Monetary Union (Eurozone), which accounts for around a fifth of the global demand for diamond jewellery, can impact the export of gems and jewellery from India, the ratings agency cautioned.

Gurpreet Chhatwal, director, CRISIL Ratings, said, “In addition to an increase in actual consumption, restocking by retailers also drove a sharp turnaround in demand in the second half of 2009-10.”

Most retailers maintained minimal inventory during the second half of 2008-09 and the first half of 2009-10, expecting the slump in demand to continue. However, the trend was reversed in the second half of 2009-10, with demand increasing, prompting retailers to begin restocking of diamond jewellery, the ratings agency said.

CRISIL said with improvement in global demand, the prices of cut and polished diamonds rebounded in the second half of 2009-10 from the weak levels seen in the second half of 2008-09. However, the prices lag the increase in the prices set for rough diamonds by miners during the period. CRISIL believes that the prices of polished diamonds will remain firm over the medium term, with exporters passing on, to customers, increases in the costs of procuring rough diamond.

“By now, most retailers have completed the process of restocking. Demand growth will, therefore, now be driven largely by actual consumption. Export growth will, therefore, moderate from the high levels witnessed in the second half of 2009-10, and yet, remain healthy over the medium term,” Mr Chhatwal added. 


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