August 2011
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Gitanjali to buy Chinese jewelry firm

Looking to expand its global footprint and boost sales, Gitanjali Gems will acquire a Chinese manufacturing unit and jewelry retail firm by year end. Gitanjali, India’s largest jewelry retailer retails diamond jewelry under the brands Gili, Nakshatra, Asmi and D’Damas. It recently acquired four Italian jewelry brands from Dubai’s Damas International. Gitanjali plans to open a few more stores in the Middle East by March 2012. In India, the company plans to invest Rs 2 billion to add 350 to 400 stores across various retail formats in the current fiscal year. In FY ’11 it opened 300 stores in the country and has added four new Indian diamond jewelry brands to its kitty. […]

New York PE fund India Equity Partners buys Sagar Ratna for 180 Crore

New York-based private equity fund, India Equity Partners, has bought a controlling stake for 180 crore in Sagar Ratna Hotels, a 25-year-old popular chain specialising in South Indian cuisine. The funds will be used to open 200 more outlets over three to four years and revamp the format of the existing 70 restaurants, most of which are in North India, said a person close to IEP. […]

Peepul set for exit from UniverCell

After scripting a blockbuster exit by earning about four times its investment in Hyderabad-based discount pharmacy chain MedPlus, Peepul Capital the $700 million private equity fund, is setting the stage for yet another healthy exit. This time, from the Chennai-based mobile phone retail chain UniverCell. According to investment bankers close to Peepul Capital, the company may be looking at atleast 2x its investment of $25 million which Peepul made during late 2008. UniverCell, with a strong presence in South India, has expanded into Maharashtra and has close to 300 stores with plans for a gradual expansion. Starting nearly a decade ago, UniverCell has been growing at a healthy pace with a topline of around Rs 500 crore. The company operates in a fast growing sector as India is adding as much as 10 million subscribers a month. India’s total mobile phone base is now in excess of 852 million and is among the top three fastest-growing markets in the world. UniverCell is up against players like Sangeetha Mobiles, Spice’s retail chain, RPG among others in the market which is estimated to be upwards of Rs 70,000 crore. […]

PE investments surge 22% in year till date

Private equity (PE) investments into India have risen by around 22 per cent in 2011 till date over the corresponding period of last year, to $7,160 million (Rs 32,220 crore), and the number of deals rose by around nine per cent. According to data compiled by Venture Intelligence, from January to August (till date), PE firms had invested this amount across 246 deals, compared to $5,831 mn (Rs 26,235 crore), across 226 deals in the same period in 2010. In 2011, investments were led by manufacturing ($1,398 mn across 22 deals), followed by information technology and IT-enabled services ($1,029 mn, 70 deals), engineering and construction ($796 mn, 16 deals), BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance, $790 mn, 24 deals), energy ($684 mn, 19 deals), food & beverages ($275 mn, 10 deals), health care & life sciences ($186 mn, 15 deals), other services ($137 mn, 11 deals), education ($93 mn, 10 deals) and textiles and garments ($80 mn, eight deals). […]

Ascent Capital set to pump in $45 million for expansion of Karaikal Port

Ascent Capital, the Bangalore-based private equity fund, is set to pump in $45 million for expansion of Karaikal Port, located in the East Coast of India in the state of Tamil Nadu. The fresh infusion of funds will be as part of a Rs 700 crore expansion which Karaikal Port is embarking on to expand the capacity by as much as 6 times to 28 million metric tonnes from the current 5.2 MMT. The expansion is expected to happen over a period 12-18 months. Karaikal Port is controlled by Marg Ltd and this is the second round of private equity fund raising which the port is executing. The company had raised Rs 150 crore during early 2010 from IDFC Project Equity. The port majorly handles import of coal and also handles good quantity of cement and sugar exports. Raja Kumar, founder & CEO, Ascent Capital, confirmed that the deal is happening but declined to spell out more details. This is the third major deal which Ascent Capital is executing after investing in GMR Energy and IVRCL from the fresh $350 million fund it raised during early 2010. […]

Mkt crash hits PE majors' investments

Diminishing share prices of listed companies have hit the portfolios of the largest private equity majors such as Blackstone, Carlyle and Warburg Pincus. Following the recent market crash, the investments they had made in the past have declined drastically, by 70-80 per cent. However, experts believe transactions in the listed space are likely to go up as the typical fundraising sources dry up, leaving enough room for more PIPE (private investments in public equities) transactions. Blackstone, one of the largest global PE players, bore the brunt of a decline in stocks listed on Indian bourses. Its investments in Gokaldas Exports shrank 70 per cent. It had invested $158 million in 2007 to acquire 67.88 per cent stake in Gokaldas. Shares of Gokaldas, bought by Blackstone for Rs 275 apiece, touched their 52-week low of Rs 70 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Friday. Mayank Rastogi, partner (private equity), E&Y, said: “The LPs (limited partners) are mature enough to discount the spikes and troughs. If the delta between the market price and the potential deal price is large, fund managers will need to have a solid rationale for their investment committees/LPs to give higher value.” […]

KKR to expand India operations beyond private equity

After lending in excess of $1 billion to Indian promoters and companies through its non-banking financial company (NBFC) KKR India Financial Services Pvt. Ltd, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. (KKR), the world’s fifth largest private equity firm by assets under management, plans to expand its Indian operations beyond private equity. “The idea behind setting up the NBFC business was if we only do private equity (PE) then there are not going to be enough deals,” Sanjay Nayar, KKR India’s chief executive and country head said. “The long-term plan is to build an asset management company, of which the NBFC will just be a part and over a period of time we could even set up a mezzanine fund.” The NBFC has got balance sheet money and risk-taking capability, and has become a local financial services unit, said the former Citigroup India head who joined the American private equity fund in 2008. […]

PEs may invest $125min Shriram Properties

Private equity arms of JP Morgan, IL&FS and Morgan Stanley may invest $125 million in Shriram Properties, which wants to refinance projects under development and acquire distressed real estate assets. Bangalore-based Shriram Properties is the real estate arm of Rs 25,000-crore Shriram Group, but has TPG, Starwood and Walton Street Capital as large shareholders making it a heavily private equity backed Indian real estate developer. These three investors hold over 40% in Shriram Properties, which is developing 30 million sq ft of residential and office space across southern states in the next 2-3 years. Shriram Properties MD M Murali confirmed fresh $120-125 million fund raising at the project level, but declined to identify potential investors. “We are still talking to various investors and nothing is finalized,” he said. Sources said JP Morgan was holding talks to invest $75-80 million in Shriram Gateway, which is a 6.3 million mixed use development in Chennai. JP Morgan's investment could be deployed for refinancing funds raised from Germany's troubled Hypo Real Estate Bank, which had taken an exposure in this project four years ago. […]