Kerry Packer becomes Indian giver

A day after the Packer Group announced it would set up a $250 million business-to-business investment company, the group's patriarch, Kerry Packer, is believed to be setting up an Indian-based venture-capital fund.

Reports claim the new fund, to be known as KVP Ventures, will include equal stakes from an Indian stockbroker and head of an Indian telecommunications company. Packer's contribution will come from his own pocket -- a move designed to avoid Indian regulations that restrict investments by foreign media companies.

The Packer group confirmed on Monday that it would expand its FXF Trust, which holds a 15 per cent stake in John Fairfax, into a strategic investment firm. The new company, to be known as CPH Investment Corp, plans to raise up to $600 million on the ASX through the issue of partly paid units. Investors will pay $1 per share, payable in two instalments. The first instalment will be for $0.60 per unit, with the balance payable as a final instalment on June 1, 2001.

In a statement to the ASX, the company said it plans to initially invest up to $250 million in a new business-to-business subsidiary. While subject to ASIC and ASX requirements, the Packer Group expects the issue to open in early April.

James Packer will be non-executive chairman of CPH Investment, and Kerry Packer, Ashok Jacob and Graham Cubbin will join the board, the company said.

In early afternoon trading yesterday, FXF Trust was priced at $2.19, up 19 cents for the day.

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