IFC to raise $109 mil in London AIM float


NEW DELHI -- The Indian Film Company Ltd hopes to raise £55 million ($109 million) on June 18 by selling shares in the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange, the company said Wednesday.

IFC's public listing is backed by Network 18, a subsidiary of diversified media group TV18, the company said in a statement.

It is the latest in a string of Indian media company listings begun last year, which are expected to raise £3.5 billion ($7 billion) by the end of 2007.

Listing IFC is part of an ongoing expansion strategy for New Delhi-based TV18, which already has joint ventures with U.S. news giants CNBC (CNBC-TV 18) and CNN (CNN-IBN).

In May, TV18 also joined with U.S. media giant Viacom Inc to launch entertainment broadcasting venture Viacom 18 (HR 5/23).

TV18 recently diversified to produce and distribute Indian films via its fledgling subsidiaries Studio 18 and IFC, both based in Mumbai.

Network 18 will hold 21% equity in IFC which has shortlisted 14 film projects.

TV 18 Group chairman Raghav Bahl said: "This is the first overseas listing for the Network 18 Group, and we are excited to be in a position where we can invest substantial capital in this growing and lucrative business of film production."

London-based Elara Capital acted as investment bankers for the issue with Mumbai-based Access Financial Services as Indian advisers.

Meanwhile, Mumbai-based UTV Motion Pictures, backed by diversified media group UTV, also is close to finalizing its AIM listing. London-based Eros Entertainment raised £22.5 million via its AIM listing in July 2006.

Last year, 11 Indian or India-focused companies raised more than £1 billion on AIM; in 2007, more than 20 such companies are expected to raise £2.5 billion ($5 billion).