India Inc's M&A deal tally touches $42.76 billion: Thornton

New Delhi: India Inc's shopping spree for October remained unabated with 46 merger and acquisition transactions (M&A) worth over $530 million taking place during the period and the year-to-date deal touching a whopping $42.76 billion in value terms, reports PTI.

According to global consultancy firm Grant Thornton, there were 46 M&A deals worth $530 million in October 2010.

So far this year corporate India has announced 546 M&A deals worth $42,759 million-the highest in the last two years both in terms of value as well as number of deals.

Outbound deals, wherein Indian companies acquired businesses outside India, were the flavour of the month as deals worth $390 million were struck in this space.

The total value of inbound deals where foreign companies acquired Indian businesses amounted to $100 million.

The total value of domestic deals in October 2010 was $40 million.

The major merger and acquisition deals in October include Fortis Healthcare's acquisition of Quality HealthCare for $195 million, followed by Venkateshwara Hatcheries' takeover of Blackburn Rovers for $68.09 million.

The top five M&A deals accounted for 78% of the total M&A deal value, Grant Thornton said.

A sector wise analysis shows that pharma, healthcare and biotech sector attracted the maximum deals as five transactions were struck in this space amounting to $250 million.

This was followed by banking and financial services ($68.39 million) and IT and ITeS ($56.22 million).

Meanwhile, the total value of M&A, PE (private equity) and QIP (qualified institutional placement) deals in October stood at $1.88 billion.

While PE deals amounted to $310 million through 26 transactions, there were 10 QIP valued at $1.04 billion during the period under review.

The primary market was also very active in October as 19 initial public offers (IPOs) valued at $1.22 billion were raised taking the total amount raised through IPO route during the January-October period to $3.10 billion.
 

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Wool exporters seek restoration of old duty drawback rates

Chandigarh: The Wool and Woollens Export Promotion Council (WWEPC) has urged the textiles ministry to restore the old rates of duty drawback on wool products to reduce exporters' losses due to forex rate fluctuation, reports PTI.

With exporters unlikely to achieve the $630 million target for wool exports in 2010-11, WWEPC chairman Ashok Jaidka told PTI: "We have demanded from ministry of textiles to revert to earlier rates of duty drawback, which can give some cushion to wool exporters to contain their losses."

In September, the Centre had slashed the rate of duty drawback on wool products, including wool tops, woollen yarn and woollen fabric, in the range of 5% to 20%, in line with its policy to reduce the fiscal incentive provided to a host of export sectors during the global economic slowdown.

According to Mr Jaidka, the duty drawback rate on woollen items like sweaters, overcoats and wind-cheaters was reduced from 10% of the Free On Board (FOB) value to 7.5%.

Moreover, appreciation of the rupee against the dollar in the past few months also made a dent in the revenue realised from exports, said Mr Jaidka.

According to the latest data, the country's wool and wool-blended exports observed a sharp 26.42% fall during the first four months of the current fiscal. Exports were valued at Rs596.71 crore in April-July, 2010, as against Rs809.01 crore in the corresponding period last year.

The main reason cited for the fall in exports was the late placement of export orders and uncertainty in exchange rates. "Our bulk buyers, especially in the US, placed late orders this year in anticipation of appreciation of the rupee against the US dollar in order to claim discounts from us. It was the main cause behind the dip in exports volume," he said.

The bulk of the country's wool products are exported to the US and Europe.

Textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran had also expressed concern over the sharp fall in wool exports at a meeting to review export performance earlier this month.

In the face of falling exports, the textile industry has indicated it is unlikely to achieve the export target of $630 million for 2010-11. "It may be a bit difficult to achieve targeted exports this fiscal, though we will put in extra efforts to go for it," he said.

Total wool exports stood at Rs2,015.82 crore in 2006-07, but fell to Rs1,783.13 crore in 2007-08. Wool exports later rose to Rs2,199.50 crore in 2008-09 and then further to Rs2,262.73 crore in 2009-10.

On the advice of Mr Maran, the WWEPC will participate in trade fairs in Italy in December, Mexico in January, 2011, Moscow in February, 2011, and Cairo in March, 2011, with the aim of boosting export volumes.
 

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Personal finance Friday

Sundaram MF launches Sundaram Fixed Term Plan-AQ; Fidelity MF unveils Short Term Income Fund; Sundaram MF floats Sundaram Fixed Term Plan-AR; HDFC Life launches single premium ULIP ProGrowth Maximiser; IndiaFirst Life Insurance introduces 'Ask Apply Get' service

Sundaram MF launches Sundaram Fixed Term Plan-AQ

Sundaram Mutual Fund has launched Sundaram Fixed Term Plan-AQ, a close-ended income scheme.

The investment objective of the scheme is to generate income with minimum volatility by investing in debt and money-market securities, which mature on or before the maturity of the scheme.

The scheme offers growth and dividend (payout) option. During the new fund offer (NFO), the units will be offered at face value of Rs10 per unit. The scheme opens on 19th November and closes on the same day. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000. The minimum targeted amount is Rs1 crore for the scheme.
CRISIL Short-Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. The scheme will be managed by Dwijendra Srivastava, head-fixed income securities.

Fidelity MF unveils Short Term Income Fund

Fidelity Mutual Fund has launched Fidelity Short Term Income Fund, an open-ended income fund.

The investment objective of the scheme is to generate reasonable returns primarily through investments in fixed-income securities and money-market instruments.
During the new fund offer (NFO), the units will be offered at face value of Rs10 per unit. The NFO opens on 19th November and closes on 30th November.

An exit load of 0.5% will be charged if units are redeemed within six months from the date of allotment. The scheme offers growth and dividend option. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000.

CRISIL Short Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. The scheme will be managed by Shriram Ramanathan.

Sundaram MF floats Sundaram Fixed Term Plan-AR

Sundaram Mutual Fund has launched Sundaram Fixed Term Plan-AR, a close-ended income scheme.

The investment objective of the scheme is to generate income with minimum volatility by investing in debt and money-market securities, which mature on or before the maturity of the scheme.

During the new fund offer (NFO), the units will be offered at face value of Rs10 per unit. The NFO opens on 19th November and closes on 26th November. The scheme offers growth and dividend (payout) option. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000. The minimum targeted amount is Rs1 crore for the scheme.
CRISIL Short-Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. The scheme will be managed by Dwijendra Srivastava-head-fixed income securities.

HDFC Life launches single premium ULIP ProGrowth Maximiser

Private insurer HDFC Life has launched a single premium unit-linked insurance plan (ULIP) 'ProGrowth Maximiser', with multiple investment options.

ProGrowth Maximiser provides three investment options-highest net asset value (NAV) guarantee, capital guarantee and free asset allocation. The plan provides customers the flexibility to choose from multiple investment options as per their needs and risk appetite. The plan has both the limited underwriting and the fully underwritten versions.

IndiaFirst Life Insurance introduces 'Ask Apply Get' service

IndiaFirst Life Insurance has launched 'Ask Apply Get' (AAG)-a customer friendly process to buy life insurance quickly in the most hassle free manner.
Through this initiative, customers will be able to get life insurance cover almost instantly, without the hassles of long waiting period, follow ups, heavy documentation and medical checkups.

The concept of AAG policy sales and issuance from across the bank branch counters brings about a new dimension in life insurance distribution. This concept challenges the hitherto push method of selling insurance (a customer needs to be sold a policy) to developing a new paradigm of generating pull (a customer coming and asking for an insurance policy and getting it in the fastest and most hassle free way).

IndiaFirst has launched its AAG process pan India across all 4,500 branches of Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank.

"Traditionally, the task of selling insurance lies with the sales person. We are now attempting a different approach where we are inviting the customer to take a step forward and ask for the product, on the premise that if the process of buying is made simpler and faster the pull for the product will definitely increase. We are looking at the 1,00,000 policies mark with an average premium of Rs25,000 through this process by the end of the financial year," added Dr P Nandagopal, managing director & CEO, IndiaFirst Life Insurance.

Customers, who fulfill the eligibility criteria, can avail the benefits of the AAG process. It is an easy and customer-friendly process wherein on submission of the duly filled proposal form, the requisite premium cheque and having completing the call centre call, customers walk out with their plan documents handed over the counter.

At present, the AAG process is available for the IndiaFirst Smart Save Plan and the IndiaFirst Young India Plan. The company plans to soon offer all its products through this process.
 

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