PE fund multiples to raise $1 billion for resurgent India

India-focused funds together raised about $3.1 billion in 2017, according to Preqin data.

Multiples Alternate Asset Management, the private equity fund founded by former ICICI Venture CEO Renuka Ramnath, is set to raise as much as $1billion in what could be one of the largest capital-raising plans by a domestic asset manager.

The programme, which is expected to start in February, will target pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and university endowments in North America, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The proposed fund will be equivalent to almost one-third of the capital raised by 29 India-focused private equity and venture capital funds in 2017.

The fund is being launched with appetite for long-term capital after a relative lull of almost a decade. Big-ticket asset owners such as pension and sovereign funds have started putting in money since last year, especially after Moody’s Investors Service upgraded India’s sovereign rating outlook, which lifted sentiment towards one of the fastest-growing economies.

Multiples raised its first fund of $400 million in 2011 and its second fund of $750 million in 2016. It has delivered an average internal rate of return (IRR) of 30% to investors, sources said.

The average net IRR of India-focused funds was 14% over the past 10 years, according to London-based data tracker Preqin, compared with the median net IRR of 11.9% across all Asia-based private equity funds of all vintages.

“Yes, we have already started discussions with our existing limited partners and are looking to start marketing roadshows from Febru-ary. We expect the first close by mid of this year and a final close by December,” said one of the two people.

Founded in 2009 by Ramnath, former managing director and CEO of ICICI Venture, the private equity arm of the country’s biggest private lender, ICICI Bank, Multiples manages close to $1billion assets, its website showed. It counts Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and other North American pension money managers and university endowments as its largest limited partners or investors.

These investors have already committed to the fresh fundraising. Some of the investments by Multiples include Arvind, Cholamandalam Investment & Finance, Indian Energy Exchange and RBL. Last January, the firm sold its 14% stake in India’s largest movie hall chain PVR to rival private equity fund Warburg Pincus for Rs 820 crore, making a return on more than three times on its four-year-old investment, in constant currency terms.

India-focused funds together raised about $3.1 billion in 2017, according to Preqin data. This is more than double the money raised by 18 asset managers in 2016. Last year, former Temasek India head Manish Kejriwal’s Kedaara Capital raised about $750 million for its second fund, while IDFC Alternatives raised $350 million.

PE fundraising slowed soon after the Lehman crisis with asset managers struggling to get out of their investments as valuations were rearranged, said the head of a large US fund in India. “The Moody’s upgrade and related strength seen in the economy and continued strong sentiment are expected to keep the India story intact,” he added.

Source:Economic Times


IMF says global growth recovery an opportunity for Indian economy

IMF expects the Indian economy to recover sharply in 2018 to grow at 7.4%, though 30 basis points lower than its earlier estimate in April.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday pared its growth forecast for the Indian economy by half a percentage point to 6.7% for 2017, blaming the lingering disruptions caused by demonetisation of high value currencies last year and the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

However, IMF said the structural reforms undertaken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government would trigger a recovery—above 8% in the medium term.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, IMF said the global economy is going through a cyclical upswing that began midway through 2016. It raised the global growth estimate marginally for 2017 to 3.6% while flagging downside risks. The upward revisions in its growth forecasts including for the euro area, Japan, China, emerging Europe, and Russia more than offset downward revisions for the United States, the United Kingdom, and India.

“In India, growth momentum slowed, reflecting the lingering impact of the authorities’ currency exchange initiative as well as uncertainty related to the midyear introduction of the countrywide Goods and Services Tax,” it said in the WEO.

However, IMF expects the Indian economy to recover sharply in 2018 to grow at 7.4%, though 30 basis points lower than its earlier estimate in April.

One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

In its South Asia Economic Focus (Fall 2017) released on Monday, the World Bank reduced India’s GDP growth forecast to 7% for 2017-18 from 7.2% estimated earlier, blaming disruptions caused by demonetisation and GST implementation, while maintaining at the same time that the Indian economy would claw back to grow at 7.4% by 2019-20.

Both the Asian Development Bank as well as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have also cut their growth projections for India to 7% and 6.7%, respectively, for fiscal 2017-18.

IMF said a gradual recovery in India’s growth trajectory is a result of implementation of important structural reforms. GST, “which promises the unification of India’s vast domestic market, is among several key structural reforms under implementation that are expected to help push growth above 8% in the medium term,” it added.

The multilateral lending agency said India needs to focus on simplifying and easing labour market regulations and land acquisition procedures which are long-standing requirements for improving the business climate. It also called for briding the gender gap in accessing social services, finance and education to accelerate growth in developing countries like India.

IMF said given faster-than-expected declines in inflation rates in many larger economies, including India, “the projected level of monetary policy interest rates for the group is somewhat lower than in the April 2017 WEO.”

In its monetary policy review last week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept its policy rates unchanged and marginally raised its inflation forecast for rest of the year.

Highlighting the growing income inequality within and among emerging market economies, IMF said a country’s growth rate does not always foretell matching gains in income for the majority of the population. “In China and India, for example, where real per capita GDP grew by 9.6% and 4.9% a year, respectively, in 1993–2007, the median household income is estimated to have grown less—by 7.3% a year in China and only 1.5% a year in India,” it said.

Source: Live Mint

India growing pretty robustly: World Bank President Jim Kim

Jim Kim said Japan, Europe and the US along with India were growing and there was a levelling-out in developing countries.

India has been growing “pretty robustly”, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has said as he predicted a strong global growth this year.

Speaking at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum meeting here on Wednesday, Kim also called for more cooperation among the multilateral system, private sector and the governments to take advantage of the current win-win situation.

“That dormant capital will earn a higher return, where developing countries will have access to much more capital for the infrastructure needs, even for investing in health and education, investing in resilience to climate change and other factors,” Kim said.

He said Japan, Europe and the US along with India were growing and there was a levelling-out in developing countries.

“A country like India is growing, has been growing pretty robustly. We think, Japan is growing. Europe is growing in a much more healthy way. The United States continues to grow. There is a levelling-out in developing countries,” he said, adding that the growth will be more robust this year.

In June, the World Bank predicted a 7.2 per cent growth rate for India this year against 6.8 per cent growth in 2016. India remains the fastest growing major economy in the world, the World Bank officials had said.

“It used to be that commodity importers were doing much better than commodity exporters. But that’s levelling out. So the growth is relatively more evenly distributed,” Kim said.

He said in terms of indebtedness, the bank was watching very carefully the debt-to-GDP ratios of every single country.

“In Africa, the debt-to-GDP ratios are still very manageable…We would not be moving toward providing more financing for countries if we thought there was a real problem with over indebtedness in the countries. Because we follow this very closely, along with the IMF,” he said.

“We think that there are tremendous opportunities for investment. But sometimes, purely based on perception, investors in sovereign wealth funds – I’ve heard them say, Africa is risky. Right, as if Africa was a single country.

Africa’s not a single country and the risk profiles from country to country have enormous differences,” he said.

Source: Economic Times


British Columbia first foreign govt to issue masala bond

Canada’s Province of British Columbia has become the first foreign government entity to issue a masala bond by floating Rs 500 crore rupee denominated overseas bonds on the London Stock Exchange.

The bond raised $75 million (about Rs 500 crore) with 6.62 per cent semi-annual yield, securing high-quality investor support from across Europe, Asia and America. It is a AAA rated bond by the three major rating agencies and will mature on January 9, 2020, The Province of British Columbia said in a statement on Friday.

Masala Bonds are rupee-denominated bonds issued to overseas buyers, aimed at investments into India’s infra needs.

The proceeds of the bond were immediately reinvested in HDFC’s second masala bond listing on the exchange.

India’s mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) had on Friday said The Province of British Columbia has subscribed the entire of its second tranche of Rs 500 crore rupee denominated overseas bonds.

“This transaction is a landmark deal as it opens up a new market for sovereign issuers and investors,” HDFC Ltd Chairman Deepak Parekh said in a statement on Friday.

“The pioneering simultaneous transactions on the LSE confirm RBI Governor Rajan’s recent statement that Masala bond issuances reflect ‘a coming of age of Indian debt’,” said Nikhil Rathi, CEO of London Stock Exchange.

The latest issuances bring the total number of masala bonds listed on the LSE to 33, raising the equivalent to about $3.86 billion for Indian infrastructure.

British Columbia Minister of Finance Michael de Jong said: “The international reputation and platform provided by the LSE sets the stage for more Masala bond issuances from around the world and will be most welcome for sustaining the Masala bond market’s success.”

HDFC Ltd, one of India’s leading banking and financial services companies, had listed the world’s first masala bond by an Indian corporate in July.


Foreign capital flow into EMs climbs to $25 billion

Emerging markets (EMs) have witnessed an inflow of $25 billion from foreign portfolio investors in this month so far, says a report.

Equity flows were the dominant driver this month, with an estimated $14.6 billion in inflows, while debt flows were more moderate at $10.2 billion, according to the report by the Institute of International Finance.
Inflows were dominated by EM Asia, followed by Latin America, while EM Europe and Africa, West Asia saw modest outflows.

“Regionally, EM Asia saw total inflows of $19.1 billion, followed by Latin America with inflows of $8.7 billion, while there were modest outflows from EM Europe and AFME,” the report noted.

Portfolio flows to EMs rose to $24.8 billion in July from $13.3 billion in the preceding month. Prior to that, EMs saw an outflow of $12.3 billion in May.

“In fact, July marked only the second month over the past year where portfolio flows were above their long-term average of $22 billion,” it added.

The recovery in flows during the past few months follows a period of exceptional weakness in EM portfolio flows that began with China’s mini-devaluation almost a year ago and saw cumulative outflows of $81 billion from EMs, compared to $96 billion during the global financial crisis.


Airtel teams up with Singtel to expand data business in 325 cities globally

Bharti Airtel and Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) have combined resources to form an Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP VPN) to deliver high-speed, secure data network coverage to enterprise customers in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the US.

The combined network will provide data connectivity to 325 cities across the world through 370 Points of Presence (PoP). Together, Singtel’s 200 PoPs in 160 cities around the world and Airtel’s 170 plus PoPs in 165 cities across India, Africa and Middle East will form a new network that offers a connectivity backbone to enterprises across Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.

“This association will strongly enhance our value proposition for enterprise customers by offering them a wider global reach and the largest reach within India under a single platform. In particular, this will benefit companies in the pharmaceutical, IT and IT-enabled services as well as financial services segments, which are branching out to international locations rapidly,” Manish Prakash, director for strategic ventures at Bharti Airtel, said in a joint statement issued on Tuesday.

Under this global network, multinational corporations can maintain line of sight of their operations across different regions by using high-bandwidth business applications such as cloud applications, unified communications, video conferencing and software-defined networking solutions.

“By tapping on one another’s infrastructure assets, we enhance each other’s capabilities,” said Lim Seng Kong, Managing Director of Global Enterprise Business at Singtel Group Enterprise.

Source :

FTA with EU: India to take up ‘stock-taking exercise’

FTA with EU: India to take up ‘stock-taking exercise’ for a free trade agreement with the EU later this month, after a gap of three years, and pitch for greater market access in services..

India will undertake a “stock-taking exercise” for a free trade agreement with the EU later this month, after a gap of three years, and pitch for greater market access in services once the stage is set for further negotiations, a senior commerce ministry official said.

Before engaging in serious formal talks on the EU-India Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), a “stock-taking exercise” will be undertaken, as some contours of the earlier negotiations have to be altered, keeping in view the changes that have taken place since the talks were stuck in 2013, Arvind Mehta, additional secretary in the commerce ministry, told FE.

For instance, India has further liberalised many sectors for foreign investments, including some of the areas where the EU had interests, over the past three years. For instance, the FDI cap in insurance has been raised to 49% from 26% and 100% FDI is allowed in telecoms. In private sector banking, full fungibility of foreign investment is now permitted and accordingly FIIs/FPIs/QFIs can now invest up to a sectoral limit of 74%, with certain conditions.

While India feels the flexibilities shown by it in further opening up to foreign investments should be considered positively by the EU, it also expects some reciprocal measures by the 28-member bloc to address its concerns, especially on data privacy and market access in the services sector. However, there will be no binding commitments until India’s core concerns are addressed suitably, Mehta said. The BTIA negotiations cover boosting goods and services trade as well as investment.

India seeks a data secure status because the high compliance cost with EU’s data protection laws will hit small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of India and make them un-competitive.

Mehta said India will be betting for a trade facilitation agreement (TFA) in services at the World Trade Organisation — similar to the TFA in goods — that would focus on liberalised visa regime, long term visas for business community and freer movement of professionals for the greater benefit of both India and the world. India will pursue it vigorously in negotiations for the BTIA as well as Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. RCEP is a proposed FTA between the Asean members and the six states with which it has forged FTAs, including India.


India is keen on services, as they account for over a half of its GDP. The EU is India’s largest trade partner, accounting for close to 15% of trade in both goods and services. It is a major market for Indian textiles, garments, pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery and IT. The EU is also the largest source of FDI inflows to India, accounting for over one-fourth of the total. However, India ranks only ninth among the EU’s top trade partners, making up for just about 2% of its total merchandise goods in 2014.

BTIA talks were to be revived last year, but the EU’s surprise ban on 700 products of GVK shocked India, which then called off the negotiations. Prior to that, the negotiations centred around India’s demand for.

The EU is interested in further liberalisation of FDI in multi-brand retail and insurance, and closed sectors like accountancy and legal services. The underutilised private banking space in India is another draw. India’s intellectual property regime (IPR), which is unlikely to allow ever-greening of patents, remains a concern for European pharma majors. Moreover, the EU has been seeking a cut in the high import duties on assembled vehicles and wines and spirits. In case of assembled vehicles, the import duties remain in the range of 60-75%.