Sun Pharma makes fresh offer to Taro shareholders

New Delhi: Drug major Sun Pharma today made a fresh offer to shareholders of Israel's Taro Pharma to buy remaining shares that were not tendered by its shareholders during the latest offer, which expired on Wednesday, reports PTI.

Mumbai-based Sun Pharmaceuticals, through its subsidiary Alkaloida, had made a fresh tender offer to Taro shareholders for acquiring its all outstanding ordinary shares. An offer to buy outstanding shares expired on Wednesday, the drug maker said in statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

"Sun is pleased to be able to finally close the offer," Sun Pharma CMD Dilip Shanghvi said.

At the expiration of the offer, a total of 29,382 ordinary shares, or 0.07% of Taro's outstanding shares had been tendered into the offer.

The new tender offer by Sun begins from today and will expire on 28 September, 2010.

"On 15 September, 2010, Alkaloida commenced a subsequent offering period for all remaining ordinary shares that have not yet been tendered," Sun said.

The company is offering a price of $7.75 per share, the same as offered in the earlier offer.

The promoters of Taro, the Levitt family, have a 12% stake in Taro. Sun has been fighting to take control of the Israeli firm since 2008, when their $454 million merger deal failed to materialise.

Sun, which is the single largest shareholder in Taro with a 36% stake, has received a favourable ruling from the Israeli Supreme Court regarding an open offer by its arm, Alkaloida Chemicals, to acquire all the outstanding shares in the firm, paving the way for it to gain control of Taro.

"We will now make every effort to consummate our option agreement to purchase the Levitts' controlling shares of Taro," Mr Shanghvi added.

Sun has offered to buy 4.8 million shares of the Levitt family at a price of $7.75 per share, for a consideration of $37 million.

The company will go for a management change as soon as it is able to complete the share transfer.

Sun Pharma had struck a $454 million merger deal in 2007, but it was unilaterally terminated by the Israeli firm in 2008.

After this, both companies had filed various legal suits against each other.

In 2008, Sun Pharma had launched an open offer for acquiring additional shares of Taro, which was challenged in the Supreme Court. The court prohibited Sun Pharma from closing the offer until it gave a ruling.

Following the court ruling, Sun said the open offer for Taro will expire on 14th September, which could be extended by 10 to 20 business days.


Financial sector biggies shell out higher amounts as advance tax

Mumbai: Financial sector majors have shelled out a higher advance tax in Q2 FY 11 as compared to the year ago period, indicating that the sector is geared to perform healthily this fiscal, reports PTI.

India's largest and public sector State Bank of India (SBI) has paid Rs1,924 crore as advance tax in the July-September quarter as against Rs1,832 crore in the year-ago period.

ICICI Bank, the country's second-largest has paid Rs600 crore while last year the private sector bank had shelled out Rs501 crore, an Income Tax source said.

Home loans major, HDFC, has paid Rs400 crore this quarter as against Rs320 crore in the year-ago period.

New-gen private sector bank Yes Bank said in a statement that it has paid an 81% more advance tax this quarter at Rs105 crore, as against Rs58 crore in the same quarter last year, Dhanalakshmi Bank, an old private sector bank has paid the same amount as last year - Rs3 crore, a source close to the development said.

HDFC Bank has paid Rs600 crore this quarter as against Rs425 crore in the same quarter last fiscal while life insurance giant, LIC, has shelled out a higher amount at Rs1,067 crore as against Rs939 crore in the year-ago period, the Income Tax source said.

The figures available so far indicate that the financial sector has fared fairly robustly this fiscal and has emerged as a major contributor to the government's tax kitty.


No back door entry to private firms for mining: B K Handique

New Delhi: The government today said it would not tolerate any "back door" entries by industry for seeking mines, a move that could dampen corporate efforts of forging alliances with public sector undertakings (PSUs) for their mining projects, reports PTI.

Asked about the industrial controversies relating to mining activities like that in Orissa, mines minister B K Handique said that mining lease was given to a state PSU and not the corporate giant Vedanta Resources.

"In the name of PSUs, no more back door entry will be allowed. Yes, they (private companies) have made back door entries," Mr Handique told reporters on the sidelines of Federation of Indian Mineral Industries' (FIMI) 44th Annual General Meeting here.

Sources in the ministry said that the new mining bill will not allow such indirect route adopted by private firms to pursue mining projects by joining hands with state mineral companies.

"We are not against joint ventures. But if the mining lease is given to PSUs it should be utilised by PSUs. In the new Act, we will plug the existing legislative loophole to ensure this," a senior mines ministry official said.

The mines ministry is working to bring in transparency in the sector through a new legislation which is likely to be presented in the Winter session of Parliament.

Many state PSUs have tied up with private firms forming projects including Orissa Mineral Corporation (OMC) and Mysore Mineral Ltd (MML).

While OMC has inked pact with Vedanta Group firm, MML has entered an agreement with JSW Steel Ltd for mining. Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation has also tied up with JSW Group for bauxite mining at Araku region.

OMC holds a bauxite mining lease at ecologically sensitive Niyamgiri hills in Orissa while MML has got the rights to mine iron ore in Thimmappangudi Mine in Karnataka.

Meanwhile apex miners' body FIMI had blamed state PSUs for taking advantage of private firms under the joint venture mining route.

Billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Group was refused green clearances for its proposed mining project at Niyamgiri hills in Orissa for which it had tied up with OMC.

Vedanta Resources flagship firm Sterlite Industries had entered into a pact with OMC in 2004 for bauxite mining to feed its aluminium project in Orissa.

"In 2004, it (mining lease for Niyamgiri) was given to OMC, so through back door entry they have done it. Whichever route you take that must be correct. We have not given approval to Vedanta. We approved it for OMC," Mr Handique said.

"Definitely I do agree, the environment ministry should be staying it, otherwise there will be a disaster," Mr Handique said.


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