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Videocon acquires Thomson SA's TV tube business

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MUMBAI: Electronics and house hold appliance major Videocon International Ltd has acquired the French technology and media services giant Thomson SA's entire global colour tube manufacturing business, including units in China, Poland and Mexico.

The acquired unites have an aggregate capacity of around 19,000,000 units of Colour Picture Tubes along with 4000,000 pieces Colour Picture Tube Glass, per annum.

Fresh investments will be over $500 million, in one or more tranches. The Group plans to fund this by accessing domestic/ international debt/equity markets at an appropriate time/times on stand-alone basis, stated an official release.

These also include full-fledged R & D facilities at various places located in Europe, and China along with access to a large resource of the patents and IPRs relating to the most basic technologies in Colour Picture Tube segment. Except one facility in China, which has local Chinese Government as minority shareholder, all the business interests are 100 per cent owned by Thomson.

The related agreements are being executed today at New Delhi in the presence of finance minister P Chidambram and ambassador of France in India Dominique GIRARD.

Videocon has drawn out an ambitious plan to improve these facilities both qualitatively as well as quantitatively by adding latest developments like slim tube, plasma, LCD and other flat panel display lines into business interests to be acquired from Thomson. This is also in line with Videocon Group's long term strategic commitment to have a global sized vertically integrated display device business interest with backup of CPT Glass manufacturing of global size with geo-politically diversified low cost manufacturing base.

With this acquisition, along with its present interest of 17 million pieces per annum (being expanded up to 24 million pieces per annum) colour picture tube glass facility in India and with the business alliance with BPL and JCT for Colour Picture Tube manufacturing in India, having aggregate capacities of 5 million Colour Picture Tubes per annum, Videocon Group will emerge as one of the largest players in the world in the integrated activity of manufacturing Colour Picture Tubes with Colour Picture Tube Glass, the release adds.

Display Device in the user end hardware forms a very vital element of multimedia and entertainment business. Hence, to complement the strategy to concentrate on the multimedia and entertainment related businesses, Thomson S A, subject to certain conditions, has also agreed to buy a limited strategic equity interest in Videocon International Limited to the extent of Rs.800 million (Euro 15 million).

Thomson SA has also agreed, subject to applicable law, to subscribe to the equity up to Rs. 12 billion (Euro 225 million) in Videocon Industries Limited, Videocon Group's Oil & Gas Venture, at the price at which it placed the GDRs in International market - @ $10 per GDR - with one underlying share for each GDR. Videocon Industries Limited has 25 per cent interest in highly promising Ravva field. This asset by itself gives net cash flow of more than Rs. 4 billion ($90 million) a year.

Videocon Industries Ltd has also plans to expand its Oil and Gas interest in Sudan and Jordan and has initiated the process for furthering such interest. It also hopes to get good

success in NELP V for which it has already submitted bids.

After integration of the Colour Picture Tube business acquired from Thomson SA with its Indian business, the total turnover of the Videocon Group is expected to be Rs.175 billion ($ 4 billion) with more than Rs.87 billion ($ 2 billion) coming from global operations.

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