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August - September 2007


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Business News

Grant Thornton launches South Asia Group as firm experiences unprecendented demand for LSE listings

With 15 years of experience promoting Anglo-Indian business relationships, leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton has this week replaced its India Desk with an expanded South Asia Group, to better cater for the growing number of UK businesses looking to expand in the subcontinent and South Asian companies listing on the London Stock Exchange.

With AIM set to be the primary destination for this new wave of IPOs, Grant Thornton will build on its established track record of serving as nominated adviser for international companies looking to list on AIM in order to attract growth businesses from the subcontinent. The firm will also hold regular seminars and workshops in key South Asia centres extolling the benefits of AIM.

The nucleus of the Group, formerly known as the India Desk but now expanded to focus on the entire subcontinent including Pakistan and Sri Lanka, has played a key role in UK/India business relationships since 1991, and so combines experience with new talent enlisted from these target markets. The new-look South Asia Group was officially launched this week, on the back of three AIM flotations where the firm acted as either nomad or reporting accountant. So far the three listings have collectively raised more than £150 million.

Head of Grant Thornton's South Asia Group, Anuj Chande, said the success of these primary issues was symptomatic of the increasing interest AIM investors have for South Asian companies.

TV18 (Indian Film Company Ltd) has to date raised £55 million while UTV – one of the most successful media groups in the UK and Ireland, incorporating television, radio and new media – floated its film subsidiary raising US$70 million. Both companies are represented as nomads by Grant Thornton. CBay Systems raised £25 million on AIM with Grant Thornton acting as reporting accountant.

"The number of South Asian companies now approaching us to list is unprecedented; our recent business visit to India alone has already generated eight high quality leads. Strong ties with our India member firm also continue to provide excellent referrals," said Chande.

The South Asia Group is made up of over 25 partners and staff and has extensive experience advising on cross border acquisitions, tax planning, and a range of other services.

Targeting specific global regions is one of Grant Thornton UK's key strategic priorities in 2007, and the launch of the South Asia Group follows a similar recent launch of Grant Thornton's newly created China Group. Like the China Group, the new region specific unit will be managed by senior partners and overseen by a management group that includes Grant Thornton UK CEO Michael Cleary.

In its annual International Business Report (IBR), Grant Thornton predicted that by 2050 India will produce 13% of global GDP. In 2006/7 India enjoyed annual economic growth of 9.4%.
Profile, Anuj Chande, Partner and Head of South Asia Group

Anuj Chande has more than 30 years professional and commercial experience having worked previously with Coopers & Lybrand, NCR Corporation in the US and Albright & Wilson.
Today Chande is the International Business partner for Grant Thornton UK and is responsible for stewarding the referrals from the Grant Thornton International network.
Since Chande became a partner in 1991, he has led the India Desk (the precursor to the South Asia Group), which has been dedicated to assisting UK companies doing business in South Asia and particularly Indian companies coming to, and listing in, the UK.

The South Asia Group clients cover a variety of industries including film, media, brewing, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, technology and distribution businesses.


Promethean India PLC advances on AIM

Michael Burt and Gaurav Burman, founder members of the Investment Manager managing Promethean India PLC (“the Company”), today marked the Company’s admission to London’s Alternative Investment Market (“AIM”) and successful £50 million fundraising with a visit to the London Stock Exchange to receive the Company’s AIM admission plaque.


From L to R: Gaurav Burman, Mohit Burman, Martin Negre and Michael Burth

Fundraising Statistics

Placing Price £1.00
Price at close of business 9 May 2007 £1.05
Number of new Ordinary Shares in issue following the Placing 50,000,000
Number of Warrants in issue following the Placing 11,500,000
Gross proceeds of the Placing £50,000,000
Net proceeds of the Placing after expenses £48,250,000

About Promethean PLC

Promethean India PLC is an investment company that will focus on businesses that are established or operating in India. It intends to generate returns for its shareholders through the utilisation of the knowledge and skills of a highly connected and credible advisory team with a track record of successful investments within the Indian market.

Members of the Burman family, the Indian family that controls Dabur India Limited, the fourth largest fast moving consumer goods company in India, will be closely involved in managing and advising on investments. Sir Peter Burt, who is also Chairman of the Company, and Gaurav Burman are founder members and principals of the Investment Manager. Gaurav’s brother, Mohit Burman, is heading up the Investment Advisor.

Sir Peter Burt, Chairman of Promethean India PLC, commented: “The Indian market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and we are very excited about the investment opportunity it offers. We believe that the strong track record the team has in identifying and managing high quality businesses with good growth potential, combined with the Burman family’s extensive network of business contacts and experience in running highly successful operations in India, will help to give us a competitive advantage and crystallise growth for our shareholders.”
Piers White, CEO of Insinger de Beaufort UK, Nominated Advisor to Promethean India PLC, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Promethean India. Our appointment is a credit to both our corporate finance team and India desk, and is an endorsement of our strategy of identifying high quality companies operating in Asia and the Indian sub-continent where there is an appetite in the London market to provide capital for development and growth.”

About Promethean India PLC:

Promethean India PLC is a public limited company, incorporated in the Isle of Man. The Company intends to generate returns for its Shareholders by investing through the Group in businesses that are established or operating in India, through the utilisation of the knowledge and skills of a highly connected and credible advisory team with a track record of successful investments in India.

The Group will be a value and growth orientated investor, targeting opportunities where there is a clear ability for the team to add value by various methods, including by virtue of its network, operating knowledge, ability to secure local licenses, and find high quality management where required.

The Group may invest in both private and public businesses and across small, mid and large-cap range of companies. The Group’s investments will be non sector-specific but the Group will be careful in managing its exposure to any one sector.

Promethean India PLC is chaired by Sir Peter Burt.


OVER 60 ETHNIC MINORITY BUSINESSES ATTEND MSDUK EVENT

More than 60 ethnic minority business owners from across the UK took part in the sixth ‘Meet the Buyer’ procurement event organised by Minority Supplier Development UK (MSDUK).
The event, held at the East Midlands Conference Centre, brought together a wide variety of ethnic businesses and senior buyers from Capital One, Cadbury Schweppes, Hewlett Packard and PepsiCo.
Explains Mayank Shah, business development director for MSDUK: “I was delighted with the attendance at our latest event and the feedback from delegates and buyers alike has, once again, been overwhelmingly positive.”

Dev Popat, director of Leicester-based Workforce Recruitment Ltd, heard about MSDUK from a business associate who recommended he attend the event.

Commented Dev: “This event truly exceeded my expectations. I’ve been to networking meetings in the past and have always been disappointed.

“MSDUK gave me the opportunity to conduct two one-to-one meetings with senior buyers who were looking for local suppliers with specific skills. As a result, I have arranged further meetings to discuss potential contracts with these businesses.

“I shall certainly be attending the next event in September and thoroughly recommend other minority suppliers make the date in their diaries too.”

Concluded Paul Mervin, managing director of software development firm, Cognite: “I’ve been a member of MSDUK for just over a year and came up to Nottingham not to meet the blue chip buyers, but to specifically discuss business opportunities with two fellow minority suppliers. MSDUK provides a unique platform to network with other ethnic minority businesses, share best practice and understand the procurement requirements and processes of large corporations.”

For details about joining MSDUK or to register attendance at the next MSDUK event on 13th September at West Bromwich Albion Football Club, contact Cheryl Dwyer on Tel: 0116 207 8559, email: cheryl@msduk.org.uk or visit the website at www.msduk.org.uk

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