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Thursday, August 24, 2006

BPL clouds over Hutch's IPO plans

The tussle over BPL Mumbai circle merger may not just delay Hutchison Essar's plans to go public, but possibly impact the valuation when the eagerly awaited IPO happens, feel analysts, reports The Economic Times.

However, a Hutchison Telecommunications International spokesperson Mickey Shui told media from Hong Kong that the contemplated IPO and the acquisition of BPL Mumbai were two independent matters.

"We received DoT's approval earlier this month and 98% of the consideration has already been paid to the vendors. We expect the BPL Mumbai acquisition to be completed as there are no conditions outstanding," Shui added.

But Essar sources had earlier said that DoT's approval was only for the merger of two companies (BPL with Hutch-Essar) and not for acquisition of shares and that too has been issued on August 11, 2006, which is after termination of agreement of BPL Mobile Communications.

When asked if HTIL was hopeful of a public issue this year, the spokesperson said that the company had no specific timetable for the contemplated IPO.

An India-based telecom analyst of global investment banking major said that the current spate of events surrounding the BPL (Mumbai circle) merger could delay the IPO of Hutch-Essar.

The valuations are also expected to take a beating and it was a concern for the shareholders, as well as the merchant bankers, another analyst added.

The valuation of Hutchison-Essar depends on many factors including prevailing market conditions, Shui said.

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