(Adds DLF Ltd, Talisman Energy, Round Hill Capital, McKesson, Chevron, Goldman Sachs,Koch Eneregy Services, BG Group PLC, Prestwick; UPDATES Alitalia)
Oct 8 (Reuters) - The following bids, mergers, acquisitions and disposals were reported by 2000 GMT on Tuesday:
** Britain is on track to sell shares in Royal Mail at the top of its range, two sources close to the deal told Reuters, valuing the company at more than $5 billion on the final day investors can put in orders for the stock. The stock market offering has received strong demand from the outset, and investors have now been told those with orders below 330 pence per share, the top of an original 260-330 pence range, risk missing out on the stock, the sources said.
** Loss-making Italian lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena is open to merging with a foreign or domestic rival to avoid a 2.5 billion euros ($3.4 billion) share issue but no talks are under way at the moment, Chairman Alessandro Profumo said in a newspaper interview. Talk of a tie-up with Italy’s largest retail bank Intesa Sanpaolo were denied in September by a top executive at Intesa.
** China Resources Enterprise Ltd is set to launch a strategic review of its Hong Kong meat distribution unit, a person familiar with the matter said, as it readies funds to bid for tycoon Li Ka-shing’s ParkNShop supermarket business. Li’s Hutchison Whampao Ltd has put Hong Kong’s dominant supermarket business up for sale, asking for $3-4 billion. The operator of China’s second-largest supermarket chain has said it is interested in ParkNShop and discussed selling non-core units to fund future acquisitions without mentioning specific assets.
** Deutsche Telekom said it is was offering a portion of the T-Mobile USA bonds from its holdings worth $3.1 billion.
** Greece’s National Bank, the country’s largest lender by assets, is close to clinching a deal to sell a majority stake in real estate unit Pangaia to a U.S.-Israeli fund, the Kathimerini daily reported. The newspaper said the deal, part of moves to boost NBG’s capital, is expected to top 500 million euros ($680 million)and will need the green light from the European Commission and Greece’s HFSF bank rescue fund, which is the majority owner of the bank after its recapitalisation.
** Poland’s state railway operator is set to raise as much as $518 million by selling shares in PKP Cargo, the European Union’s second-biggest freight company, in what is expected to be Warsaw’s largest flotation this year. PKP, which plans to use the proceeds to cut debt and fund investments, will sell 50 percent minus 1 share of its unit, PKP Cargo said in an issue prospectus. The company set the maximum share price of the offer at 74 zlotys per share, valuing the flotation at 1.6 billion zlotys ($518 million).
** Polish PKP Cargo is interested in buying Polish fuel carriers, including a unit owned by the Lotos refiner, the chief executive of its parent PKP said. Earlier this year sources told Reuters Poland’s No.2 refiner Lotos may sell its rail freight unit Lotos Kolej worth up to one billion zlotys ($323.56 million).
** Canada’s Saputo Inc swooped on Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd, potentially kickstarting a wave of foreign purchases in Australia’s A$4 billion ($3.8 billion) a year dairy industry.
Canada’s largest dairy producer knocked out a significantly lower bid from Warrnambool’s majority shareholder, fellow Australian company Bega Cheese Ltd, to win approval from the board for its A$392.7 million ($370.10 million) bid.
** Insurance-focused takeover specialist Chesnara Plc said it would buy Direct Line Insurance Group Plc’s domestic closed life insurance business for about 39.3 million pounds ($63 million) in cash. Direct Line, Britain’s largest motor insurer spun out of RBS in a 787 million pound float last year, said it expected to gain about 12 million pounds from the disposal of Direct Line Life Insurance Co Ltd.
** French gas and power group GDF Suez said in a statement that Japan’s Mitsui will buy a 28 percent stake in five of its Australian electricity assets. GDF did not provide financial details, but said the deal would reduce its debt.
** German drugs distributor Celesio is in no rush to forge an alliance or merger with a U.S. peer even though this would have some merits, its chief executive told a German newspaper. Reuters reported in July that U.S. drugs distribution groups McKesson Corp and Cardinal Health were both in talks to possibly take a stake in Celesio.
** Britain’s monopoly regulator said it wanted to boost competition in the cement industry by requiring Lafarge Tarmac , one of the major players, to sell a cement plant to a new entrant in the market. The regulator’s latest proposals are part of its months-long investigation into Britain’s cement industry which found in May that a lack of competition was costing customers hundreds of millions of pounds.
** Swiss engineering group ABB said it agreed to sell all the assets of Baldor’s generator-set business to Generac Holdings. The world’s biggest supplier of industrial motors and power grids said it had decided to divest the unit because of limited synergies with its core business. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
** Vodafone intends to increase its stake in its Indian subsidiary after the country cleared foreign companies to take full ownership of local carriers, a source familiar with the group’s plans said on Monday.
Vodafone declined to comment when asked if it will increase its stake in Vodafone India. The cost of buying out minority shareholders could be as much as $2 billion.
** Oil and gas producer Talisman Energy Inc’s shares rallied in trading before the bell on news that Carl Icahn has built a stake in the company. Icahn disclosed on Monday that he owns a six percent stake in Talisman.
** Private equity investor Round Hill Capital is weighing its options to exit property group Vitus in what could become one of the largest real estate transactions in Germany this year, four people familiar with the matter said.
Round Hill is hoping to benefit from buoyant property valuations in Germany that two real estate groups, LEG and Deutsche Annington, have used for stock market flotations earlier this year.
** A Goldman Sachs unit has bought a 50 percent stake in privately held British motor insurer Hastings, in a deal that values the company at 700 million pounds ($1.13 billion).
** Koch Energy Services, a unit of Koch Industries Inc , said it will buy Texas-based natural gas-fired power plant, Odessa Power, from private equity group Energy Capital Partners LLC.
** BG Group Plc is close to a deal or deals that would reduce its 100 percent holdings in a group of six exploration licence blocks off Brazil’s coast, the company said.
Selling stakes in acreage to other companies at an early stage is called a farm-down and is common practice in the oil industry to spread risk and exploration and development cost.
** The Scottish government unveiled plans to buy Prestwick airport near Glasgow from the current owner, New Zealand utilities investor Infratil Ltd to safeguard jobs.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said about 300 people depended directly on the airport for employment with 1,400 associated with the facility. A wider “aerospace cluster” of industry at Prestwick supported about 3,200 jobs.
** DLF Ltd, India’s largest real estate developer by market value, sold two non-core assets worth 1.47 billion Indian rupees ($24 million), the company said, as part of its effort to pare debt of 204 billion Indian rupees ($3.30 billion). ($1 = 0.62 British pounds) ($1 = 0.74 euros) ($1 = 1.06 Australian dollars) ($1 = 3.09 Polish zlotys) ($1 = 61.85 Indian rupees) (Compiled by Sampad Patnaik)