March 2008
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Helion Venture closes second fund of $210mn

Helion Venture Partners, an India-focussed venture fund, on Tuesday announced the closing of its second fund of $210 million. The company had raised its first fund of $140 million during late 2006. Helion also announced that it would now expand its focus sectors to include companies in the consumer services space. This would include high-potential companies in sectors like retail services, education and financial services. “Helion will continue its focus on technology-powered businesses even as we expand our focus into consumer services. Factors like the rapid increase in mobile and Internet penetration in India are further paving the way for innovative technology products and services that to cater to the domestic market. In addition, domain-focused outsourcing and technology products continue to be focus sectors,” said Ashish Gupta, managing director, Helion Venture Partners. […]

Piramal’s Indiareit to launch $800 mn offshore fund

Piramal group firm Indiareit Fund Advisors Pvt Ltd plans to raise up to $800 million through a second global fund before April, a top official said on Tuesday. UK’s 3i has already committed $250 million to the fund which will invest in the Indian real estate sector, he said at a conference to launch the group’s new corporate identity. “Since it is a global fund … we need approvals to launch in different countries,” said group chairman, Ajay Piramal. “It should not be more than April, I guess.” Indiareit currently manages about $450 million raised through two series of funds in the domestic market and one in the overseas market. Separately, he added analysts had valued the pipeline of drugs under development at the research entity, which was recently spun off from group flagship Nicholas Piramal India Ltd at $480 million to $540 million. The research unit, to be called Piramal Life Sciences Ltd, is expected to be listed on the stock exchange by June. Piramal has said the founders could dilute about 10% stake in the research unit to private equity players or strategic investors, including international drug companies, over the next 12 months. Top Indian firms including Dr Reddy’s, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Ranbaxy have chosen to spin off their research into separate units to help lower risk from high drug development costs and unlock value. Piramal group has decided to bring all its group companies under the Piramal brand name, subject to shareholder and central government approvals. Flagship Nicholas Piramal India will be renamed Piramal Healthcare Ltd and Gujarat Glass Ltd will now be Piramal Glass Ltd. […]

Regulatory puzzle over private equity persists

Sometime last year, the monetary policy authority wrote to the Government and the capital markets regulator indicating its uneasiness with private equity flows. In the overall hierarchy of flows, the Central bank places private equity well below other forms of capital such as remittances and foreign direct investment. In fact, it has said that the classification of private equity flows would have to be looked at closely considering that in some cases, investors had exited quickly without staying on even for the medium term. These concerns and estimates of private equity investments topping $10 billion in 2007 had prompted the Government to write to SEBI. The finance ministry wanted the regulator to collect data relating to investments by private equity funds and based on that, to ascertain whether there were any regulatory concerns. The aim was to revisit the issue after an analysis. But private equity fund managers here who were fretting at the thought of being policed, need not worry at least in the near term. For, the capital markets regulator has made it clear that it is not equipped to collect the data on private equity. Rather, the Central bank, which monitors all inflows and outflows, is far better positioned to carry out this task, it has said. Since private equity could come in several forms, such as through foreign venture capital funds, it has been suggested that the RBI could be mandated to track these flows […]