OTHERS

Manipal group to mop up Rs. 300 cr. through IPO

NEW DELHI, MAY 7. The Rs. 2,000-crore Manipal group announced plans to tap the capital market with a Rs. 300 crore initial public offer (IPO) within the next two months.

The proceeds of the issue would fund the group's massive expansion plans in media, and information technology and entertainment businesses, a senior official said here.

``We are planning to hit the market with a Rs. 300 crore IPO. The first phase will be Rs. 150 crore issued by the flagship company Manipal Printers and Publishers (MPPL) in June," Mr. Gautam Pai, executive director, MPPL told PTI.

He said the second tranche would comprise three other group companies aggregating to Rs. 150 crore and the entire process should be over by July, 2000. ``SBI Caps has already been appointed as one of the lead managers for the issue and another one will soon be finalised," Mr. Pai said. He, however, declined to give further details of the forthcoming issue since these were still being finalised.

MPPL would use part of the issue proceeds to expand group companies Zeta Cyber Solutions (ZCS) and Electronic Design Automation (EDA). ``With a renewed focus and clearly identified engines for future growth, the Manipal group is eyeing a 250 per cent growth over the next five years to touch Rs. 5,000 crore turnover,'' Mr. Pai said.

``The existing three group hotels, which contribute approximately a Rs. 25 crore revenue, will now be used to impart hotel management education, construction activity will mainly be in- house,'' he said.

Elaborating on the group's housing finance activity, which would also be expanded with proceeds from the proposed IPO, Mr. Gautam Pai said the Manipal Housing Finance Company at present had Rs. 80 crore fund base. ``This will become Rs. 180 crores after the issue and we are keen on forging joint ventures after the fund base expansion is over,'' he said.

For expanding the Internet business, Mr. Pai said the company was open to both acquisitions and strategic alliances in the near future. At present, the company has `southnexus.com', a regional portal focussed on Karnataka, under its fold, besides the Zeta group of companies and the EDA programme.

Manipal group is a diversified conglomerate with a chain of institutes imparting hotel management, medical and other specialised streams of education; media (both print and audio visual with plans to launch its own channel), information technology, housing finance, hospitality and construction businesses under its fold.