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Sunday, June 22, 2014
Narendra Modi effect: Clutch of PE funds out to raise $2 billion
At least four established PE funds have begun talks with investors while three have revived previously shelved plans, said people with knowledge of the matter and fund managers.
Everstone Capital, ICICI Infrastructure Fund and Multiples Private Equity have launched road shows for new funds.
Arth Capital and Exponentia Capital are among the funds that have brought back plans that had been put on the back burner. "We have a commitment of $150 million now and would raise up to $500 million for our infrastructure fund," said a person with direct knowledge of the ICICI Venture fund's plans.
ICICI Venture, India's second largest PE fund, is betting on the infrastructure sector, which is high on the investment agenda of the Narendra Modi government to kick-start the economy. "There is a huge equity requirement for infrastructure projects," this person said.
Investor sentiment towards India had soured in recent years as economic growth slowed to less than 5% in fiscal 2013 and 2014 from over 8% in 2007. PE funds that have invested more than $50 billion in the past decade couldn't exit their holdings as company valuations took a dive.
With returns from PEs drying up, limited partners (LPs), who commit money to these funds, stopped making new investments, delaying closure of new funds.
Though those concerns have now eased as the window for public offers opened again, industry experts say fund-raising will still be challenging for those who don't have a good track record, quality and team continuity.
"PE funds which demonstrate these parameters will have an edge over others," said Vikram Utamsingh, managing director of transactions advisory group at Alvarez and Marsal. "LPs have been negative as the India story had been dampened for the past four years, but post national elections they are turning positive."
According to him, investors are watching how the government will improve the investment climate.
"There have been lots of enquiries from investors," Utamsingh added.
Everstone, owned by former Mckinsey consultant Sameer Sain and partner Atul Kapur, is planning to raise around $750 million, its third fund. They have already made investments from two funds, focusing on companies in sectors such as consumption, infrastructure, real estate and financial services. Between 2006 and 2011, Everstone raised $975 million, closing the first fund of $425 million in September 2006 and second in May 2011 after raising $550 million. The last fund invested in 11 companies, including Hinduja Leyland Finance, Burger King and Indostar Capital Finance, a non-bank finance company.
"We will raise the third fund by the end of the year only. It's too early for us," said a spokesperson.
"Typically, PEs raise funds once they have invested close to 80% of the money which is usually threefour years from the time they raise the fund," said Utamsingh.
Some funds have received commitments from their main investors, or anchor investors.
Multiples, owned by former ICICI Venture head Renuka Ramnath, has received a commitment from Canadian Pension Fund (CPF) for $100 million, as it plans to raise $500 million in its second fund. CPF had invested $80 million in the previous fund.
Exponentia Capital of PR Srinivasan, former head of Citigroup PE fund, has revived its plan to raise $250 million. "Fund-raising should accelerate as PE funds successfully exit from some of their investments in the past five years and return capital," Srinivasan said.
But some fund managers say fund closure will take longer.
"Though the stock markets have run up much faster, limited partners will take a longer time to react," said Sumit Chandwani, managing partner of Arth Capital that has revived plans to raise $200 million. "We could be closing the fund in the next 6-12 months," said Chandwani, who had worked at ICICI Venture for 12 years before starting his own fund.
Courtesy: The Economic Times