August 2011
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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.

Peepul Capital is also understood to be parallely working on another exit from regional television news channel, TV9. During early March 2011, Peepul scripted a healthy exit along with NEAIndoUS and Arcapita from MedPlus valuing the pharmacy chain at Rs 1,200 crore. Founded in 2000, Peepul Capital is one of the early entrants into the private equity space in India. Between its three funds, it manages a corpus of approximately $700 million of growth-oriented investments that are India-centric. Since its inception, the fund has invested in close to 30 companies at different stages of evolution and spread over varied industries. Peepul Capital’s investment strategy represents an approach that allows a pursuit of a broad range of value propositions. The firm invests significant research efforts to develop ideas, technologies and businesses, enabling it to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

Peepul Capital is based in Mauritius and is the Manager of Peepul Capital Funds. Its activities are supported by its advisors — Peepul Capital Advisors Private Limited based in Chennai and Hyderabad.

Source: Business Standard

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