INDIA’s United Breweries group has been authorised to form joint ventures with three foreign firms in order to develop its planned US$16m elevated light rail network in Bangalore. UB is working with US-based ICF Kaiser Engineers, Transportation & Transit Associates and Nippon Sharyo Ltd of Japan.

The Reserve Bank of India has approved in principle the issue of equity shares in the joint venture company UB Transit Systems Ltd to its foreign partners, but only after the foreign exchange has been received. UB wants to issue paid-up shares in exchange for work done, with no cash transfers, and needs to obtain a further approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.

UBTS would have a paid-up share capital of US$1·6m, of which ICF Kaiser, Nippon Sharyo and TTA would hold 31·3%, 12·5% and 9·4% respectively.

Detailed proposals for the elevated network were submitted to the Ministry of Railways last year, and the promoters are awaiting a formal go-ahead. The ministry has yet to determine whether the system should be designated as a tramway or a railway.