INM doubles its money in India

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Independent News & Media (INM), publisher of The Independent, has doubled the value of its interest in the Hindi newspaper group Jagran Prakashan since it picked up the stake for €28m (£19m) just seven months ago.

Announcing the price range for Jagran's planned initial public offering (IPO) on the Mumbai Stock Exchange at the end of this month, INM said the floated company would be worth between €255m and €306m. This would value INM's 26 per cent stake at between €53m and €64m - giving the company a potential return of 128 per cent on its investment.

Although INM does not plan to sell any shares at the time of the float, it said its stake in the new company will be diluted to 21 per cent due to the issue of more than 10 million new shares.

Jagran publishes India's largest selling daily newspaper, a Hindi language title called Dainik Jagran, whose daily readership of 21.2 million is larger than any other daily newspaper in the world. The group publishes 25 editions from 28 printing centres across India.

The IPO - which is being managed by Merrill Lynch and ICICI Securities, the Indian investment bank - is set to open for subscription between 25 and 31 January. Jagran plans to use the proceeds from the float to expand the company and to boost working capital.

INM, headed by its chief executive Sir Anthony O'Reilly, bought its stake in Jagran last June after the Indian government's decision to relax rules on foreign ownership in the media sector. The holding adds to the group's already established footholds in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Shares in the company fell marginally in Dublin yesterday, closing the day down €0.02 at €2.69, giving the company a market value of €2bn.