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PE investments touch $4 bn in Jan-Mar 2008

Private Equity investments (PE) in India have grown to about twice the value to $4 billion in the first quarter ended March 31 of the calendar year 2008, when compared to the corresponding period last year, maintaining its position as the hot destination in Asia (excluding Japan) surpassing China, which has recorded just $570 million in investments so far. According to a statement from IndusView Advisors, a corporate advisory firm, India had first achieved the milestone of surpassing China in attracting PE investments towards the end of the second quarter of the calendar year 2007 when it had grossed $10 billion compared with China’s $8 billion. China received $13 billion in private equity investments in 2006 compared with $7 billion in India during the same period. The equation has changed since then, with India well in the lead now. […]

NetXcell to raise $3-million PE funding for expansion

Hyderabad-based NetXcell, an application service provider for the telecom domain, is in the processing of raising a $3-million (around Rs 12 crore) private equity fund to expand its sales operations in India and the US besides product portfolio, said Executive Chairman Dayakar Puskoor. “Our current investors have given their consent for extended funding and we expect to close the transaction during this year,” he said here on Tuesday. NetXcell had raised $1 million (Rs 4 crore) in its first round of funding from Lee, a venture partner of Ignition Partners, and Ruderman Capital last year. […]

Which sectors are VCs & PEs investing?

While the VC/PE business has matured a lot in recent years, it is still instructive to see the dramatic transformation which has occurred in terms of where investments are going. Completely different sectors are soaking in money in 2008, compared to even 2-3 years ago. The industry started off in the late 90s, when the first foreign firms started looking at India. The new entrants focused at IT and internet, much in line with the craze in US at that time. Quite a few of the early deals didn’t work out. The business really picked up only when investors broadened their horizons started looking at non-tech sectors like infrastructure, capital goods, financial services, retail, and so on. In the last three months, for example, infrasructure and real estate accounted for 30% of PE investments. Energy, telecom, media/entertainment, financial services, and manufacturing followed. Between them, these six sectors mentioned here accounted for 90% of all PE investments over the last three months. […]

Cleartrip secures India’s largest round of venture funding

Cleartrip, India’s leading online travel agency received $18.5 million, making this the largest round of venture funding in 2008 – according to India Venture Capital Report. The company has raised a total of $30.2 million over the past three years. India’s travel portals have received a flurry of investments over the past two years, but Cleartrip stands out as the only company in this space to have successfully secured world class investors such as Sherpalo, Kleiner Perkins and Draper Fisher. These investors have collectively created billions of dollars in market capitalization by helping to build businesses such as Google, Amazon, skype and many others. With this pedigree of investors Cleartrip customers can rest assured that the company is backed by investors and a management team that believes that the best businesses are those that put the customer first. […]

Rabobank plans $100 mn agri-business PE fund

Rabobank, the Netherlands-based financial institution, is planning to set up a $100 million private equity fund in India which will focus on the agriculture value chain. The plan to set up an agri-focussed fund is a logical extension of more than a century old tradition of backing the food and agribusiness by Rabobank. Founded as a cooperative of Dutch agricultural banks in the late 1800s, the Rabobank Group has some 175-member banks in the Netherlands and dozens of subsidiaries around the world that focus on the food, agribusiness, and financial industries. […]

PE backers turn cautious, yet Indian funds may stay in favour

recent funds raised seem to suggest little has changed from the past. British fund 3i Group Plc. closed a $1.2 billion infrastructure fund on Wednesday that was 20% larger than expected. Yes Bank Ltd, in partnership with Global Environment Fund, secured $20 million from the Asian Development Bank for its $200 million clean energy fund on Thursday. Last month, Helion Venture Partners closed its $210 million, which was 1.5 times its first fund. Pak-Seng Lai, managing director and head of Asia for alternative asset investment advisers Auda International Lp., says, “Our strategy will not be affected by short-term market fluctuations.” Those in the PE business who have a longer track record may even turn away investors. LPs that want to stay in India, but want to go with the safest bet are expected to turn to those funds. “The bad ones go away, and the good ones get bigger and better,” says Rahim Penangwala, who leads LGT’s PE investments in India. […]

Trident Capital to invest $150 mn in India from its seventh fund

Joining the growing list of US venture capitalists setting aside money from their global corpus to invest specifically in India, Palo Alto, California-based Trident Capital Inc. has said it will invest $150 million, around Rs600 crore, in the country over three years from its seventh fund. It expects to raise its seventh fund this year, the size of which is expected to be between $600 million and $800 million. The firm’s managing director Venetia Kontogouris said that besides India, it would also invest in China, the US, and in green (technology) companies from this fund. Trident currently invests out of its $430 million fund. Trident said it plans to speed Indian investments and expects to announce two deals shortly, but declined to provide further information. “In India, we plan to invest in media companies, health care and financial services, as well as in companies related to IT back-up of retail firms,” said Kontogouris. The top executive said India is a crucial market for the firm, and to beef up its focus, Trident plans to bring in two more professionals to tap the potential of new entrepreneurs. The firm currently has one venture partner, Dipika Chopra, based in New Delhi. […]

Royal Group, GTC in race to buy 26% in Raheja group’s engineering SEZ

Royal Group of UAE and Netherlands-based GTC Real Estate are in the race to acquire 26% stake in the Delhi-based Raheja group’s engineering SEZ in Gurgaon for Rs 500 crore. It has been learnt that the Raheja group may ink the deal with either of the two groups in the next few weeks. Raheja Developers MD Navin Raheja declined to comment on the development, but said his company was in talks with some investors to sell equity stake in its SEZ. The 257-acre SEZ project is being valued at Rs 4,500 crore with the land component accounting for almost half of it, according to sources. The foreign investor will initially take 26% stake in the SEZ for around Rs 500 crore and may later bring in more funds towards construction cost, sources said. […]

M&A is the next wave in port privatisation

The Indian port and shipping sector will see increased merger & acquisitions activity in the near future, according to Ernst & Young. The consolidation in the liner and terminal operators is on a rise and instead of greenfield acquisitions of assets, inorganic growth through acquisition of terminal operators would be seen, E&Y said in its report. Reliance Logistics buying 51% stake in Rewas Port in Maharashtra saw the beginning of private parties acquiring majority stakes in ports developed with state government concession in 2006. Later, Chennai Container Terminal Pvt Ltd saw private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners taking a minority 25% stake while Singapore company PSA acquiring 49% stake in ABG Kandla Container Terminal. Financial investors buying out terminals is yet to start, however, it has been learnt that investors like Goldman Sachs are interested to invest into India. Goldman Sachs, along with GIC, acquired Associated British Ports UK for $5.3 billion in 2006. […]