MUMBAI Fairfax India Holdings Corp (FIHu.TO) is close to acquiring a minority stake in privately-held petrochemical company Sanmar Chemicals Group via a roughly $300 million investment in the company, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The investment in Sanmar, may be paired with a smaller cash infusion from Fairfax India's larger sister entity, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FFH.TO). That would give the two entities - both chaired by Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa - a roughly 30 percent stake in Sanmar, said the two sources, who declined to be named as the talks are private.
The sources said Fairfax may consider investing in both the equity and debt of Sanmar.
Fairfax India and Fairfax Financial declined to comment on the matter. A spokesman for Chennai-based Sanmar was also not immediately able to provide a comment on the matter.
The Times of India, in February, reported that Fairfax was in talks to buy a stake in Sanmar.
Indian-born Watsa, whose main investment firm is Fairfax Financial Holdings, set up Fairfax India in 2014 to hone in on investments in India, where he sees strong growth opportunities. Fairfax India went public in early 2015 and raised more than $1 billion via its initial public offering.
Watsa, who met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, has previously stated he is enthused about India's growth prospects due to Modi's economic reform agenda.
The investment in Sanmar would be the latest in a string of Fairfax investments in the country this year. Last month, it agreed to buy a 33 percent equity interest in the Bangalore International Airport from GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd (GVKP.NS) for $321 million.
In February, it acquired a 45 percent stake in ADI Finechem (ADIF.NS), a small Ahmedabad-based specialty chemical company for $19 million. This followed its acquisition last August of a majority stake in India's largest non-government grain handling company, National Collateral Management Services Ltd for about $126 million.
Sanmar, a family-owned firm chaired by N. Sankar, is one of India's largest producers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The firm, which owns manufacturing facilities in India and Egypt, is also a manufacturer of caustic soda and other specialty chemicals.
(Additional reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto; Editing by Diane Craft)
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