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October 07, 2009

Tracking Vavasi, the unknown bidder in the $14-B Zain Tele deal

The web site of the Vavasi Group, which is leading the $13.7 billion bid for the Kharafi family's stake in Kuwait’s largest telecom operator Zain, says it was incorporated in India in 2001 and has interests including Telecommunications and Renewable Energy. The Economic Times now has a report based on its journalists' meeting with the little-known group's Managing Director Farid Arifuddin. Extracts from the ET report:
This civil engineer hails from Vavasi at Dharwad district in Karnataka. “We have no turnover as such as we are an R&D set up,” he informs coolly, adding that the group employs about 80 people. The company has two major arms—telecom and renewable energy. It has two telecom firms, namely, Vavasi Telegence and Next Generation Telecommunications India. “We are conducting next-generation (NGN) trials with the government of India in Bhopal. We want the NGN technology to emerge out of India, as GSM came out of Europe,” says Mr Arifuddin. Vavasi Telegence had applied for a universal service access licence in 2007, but is yet to receive it.

...Although he says that the company was started 10 years ago, it was registered only in 2001 under the Registrar of Companies (RoC), Delhi as Vavasi Telegence Pvt Ltd.... Its renewable energy arm is planning an integrated silicon complex in Rajasthan to produce solar photovoltaic cells, Mr Arifuddin says.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports. Email the author at