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Monday, March 20, 2006

NeST plans IPO, to raise Rs 800cr to Rs 1,000cr

NeST Group, a Kerala-based privately held company engaged in electronics and software development, plans to sell its shares to public next fiscal to raise Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion) to Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion), a top company official has said, reports The Hindu Business Line.

"We are now in the process of coming out with our initial public offer, IPO," said N Jehangir, Managing Director of NeST Group.

Jehangir said talks with merchant bankers are now on to finalise the plans for the IPO, which is slated for some time during the coming financial year. He did not specify a time for the offer.

Prior to the IPO, NeST Group would sell a part of its equity shares to a venture capital fund. Talks are on in this regard too, Jehangir said.

Headquartered in Kochi, NeST Group is a diversified entity with interests in software, fibre optics, medical equipment, desktop computers and system integration.

The group's turnover in 2005-06 would be between Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) and Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion). It employs around 3,500 people. Its clients include Hitachi, Toshiba and Panasonic.

Jehangir said NeST would invest Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) during the next year in setting up a `special technology park' in Kerala and a `special mechanical economic zone' in Tamil Nadu.

The technology park, likely to come up in Kochi, will house software and related companies. The mechanical economic zone will come up in a 100-acre plot in Coimbatore.

It is also expanding its manufacturing base in Cochin Special Economic Zone and that in Bangalore. The software development division, based at Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram, is also being expanded to house up to 2,000 engineers from the present 700.

Apart from this, NeST also plans to go for acquisitions to boosts its revenues to over Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion), he said. Over the next seven years, NeST hopes to become a group with a billion dollar revenues.

On the proposal to make a foray into the semiconductor business, the NeST chief said as a prelude to this project, an LNG-based power project would first be set up to ensure uninterrupted quality power for the chip facility.

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