India Express: Mega petro bid: “The 4 billion euro bid… would clearly be the largest one ever originating from Indian shores”: “The consortium aims to buy 100 per cent of the Dutch firm, whose current owners Royal Dutch/ Shell Group and German major BASF AG would be exiting the business to focus on their core operations.” (ShellNews.net) 14 Feb 05
Purnendu Chatterjee is aiming big once again. This time it’s Europe. The Haldia Petrochemicals co-promoter is making a bid for Dutch petrochemicals giant Basel Polyolefins in consortium with leading Indian private equity fund ICICI Ventures and a host of US-based investors. The 4 billion euro (estimated at over Rs 22,000 crore) bid, would clearly be the largest one ever originating from Indian shores till date. The consortium aims to buy 100 per cent of the Dutch firm, whose current owners Royal Dutch/ Shell Group and German major BASF AG would be exiting the business to focus on their core operations. Chatterjee, the forward-looking tycoon, is clearly targeting the acquisition of the leading technologies that this 5.7 billion euro major owns in the field of polyolefins. However, in view of the deal’s big size, Purnendu and ICICI would only be picking minority stakes in the company, leaving the majority for the yet unidentified US-based funds. The tycoon’s ambitious bid, if pulled through, would certainly dwarf the mega acquisitions concluded by Indian companies recently, be it the $1.7 billion that ONGC Videsh paid for the 20 per cent stake in the Shakhalin oilfield or for that matter Tata’s $300 million deal for Tetley or Tata Steel’s $280-290 million deal for Singapore’s Nat Steel.
Dining at the pumps
Retail outlets at petrol pumps are commonplace today with many petro marketers having started their own FMCG retail chains. For a change, a normally reluctant restaurateur has sensed an opportunity for business at these high consumer traffic points, much to the delight of food lovers. The Nirula brothers, India’s homespun quick-food specialists, have entered into a strategic alliance with leading petro-retailer Indian Oil Corporation to set up restaurants at its outlets. In the first phase, the restaurateur is expected to limit its foray to its ‘bread and butter’ format — the family style restaurants. The first outlet is likely to come up at an IOC outlet in Delhi. Limiting the first phase of expansion to its stronghold Delhi appears deliberate. Isn’t it always better to taste a new biz idea in your home turf? In the second phase, however, the company would be looking at IOC outlets located on the highways leading to the national capital. But Nirula’s innovation may not remain limited to the restaurant version of the business in the days to come. It would certainly consider other business formats. Picking up a tube of toothpaste or the normal daily groceries at a petrol pump is no longer a novel experience. Planning a family dinner at an Indian pump would certainly be!