HTMT divests stake in Hutchison Essar for $450 million

MUMBAI: Hinduja TMT Ltd. (HTMT) will be divesting its entire 5.11 per cent stake in Hutchison Essar Ltd (HEL) to Hutchison Telecommunications (India) Ltd. for $450 million.

The company, with its two wholly owned subsidiaries InNetwork Entertainment Limited (INEL) and Pacific Horizon Limited (PH) and Hinduja Group’s Mauritius based company Kumbat, have entered into a definitive agreement for the stake sale. IndusInd Telecom Network Limited, an SPV (special purpose vehicle), held the shares. Hutchison Telecommunications is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of the Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd.

IndusInd Investment Bank acted as the sole financial advisor to the deal.

Prior to this sale, HTMT completed the acquisition of the entire shareholding of Sumitomo Corporation in Pacific Horizon. HTMT’s effective shareholding in HEL, thus, increased from 3.45 per cent to 4.68 per cent.

“The Board decided to monetize its investment in HEL to unlock the value for its shareholders and accepted the offer made by HTIL. The proceeds from the divestment of this stake sale will not only help the company to aggressively pursue its growth path in its businesses but will also enable it to explore opportunities in new lines of businesses,” HTMT executive chairman Ashok P Hinduja said.

HTMT’s board, which met today, also announced the consolidated results of its media and telecom subsidiaries and IT / ITES-BPO operations. A dividend of Rs 7.50 per share (75 per cent on the par value of Rs 10 per share) for FY06 was recommended, amounting to an outgo of Rs 306.8 million.

HTMT’s consolidated operating income for the year increased by 37 per cent from Rs 3.18 billion in FY05 to Rs 4.37 billion in FY06. The global IT/BPO revenues increased from Rs 2.02 billion to Rs 3.01 billion during this period.The consolidated total income for the year was Rs 4.69 billion as compared to Rs 6.13 billion during the year-ago period. The previous year income included an extra-ordinary income by way of capital gains of Rs 2.79 billion arising out of swap of shares in Fascel with shares in HEL in the books of its subsidiary IndusInd Telecom Network Ltd. HTMT’s share of profit from the said swap booked during the year was Rs 1.73 billion.

"The consolidated net profit for the year after considering minority interest was Rs 259 million, which is not comparable with previous year for these reasons," the company said in a release.

HTMT’s standalone total income during the year rose 50 per cent to Rs 2.51 billion as against Rs 1.67 billion a year ago. Net profit for the year, however, was lower at Rs 402 million as against Rs 700.5 million. "The performance was impacted mainly due to loss of a US based telecom client during the previous financial year, for which HTMT was operating an inbound call centre at Bangalore at minimum guaranteed volumes. This was coupled with large set up costs on account of furious ramp-ups in the company’s newly started domestic BPO operations," the release said.

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