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April 14, 2009

Interview with Srinivas Chidambaram of Jacob Ballas Capital

Founded in 1995, Jacob Ballas is an India-focused Private Equity Fund which raised a $440 million third fund in September 2008. Venture Intelligence recently spoke to Srinivas Chidambaram, Managing Director of Jacob Ballas Capital. Extracts from the interview, the full version of which is published in the Q1 '09 Venture Intelligence Roundup report.

VI: Do you see any change in the perception of Limited Partners towards India?

SC: Limited Partners have bigger issues at stake. Though the share of the emerging markets in their allocation has been increasing, still, emerging market PE is still a very small part of their exposure. The slowdown clearly has some impact and the political instability and corporate earnings will be a concern in the short term. However, in the long term, India is a market which will give superior returns.

VI: What is your outlook on the Indian PE market for the next 3-5 years?
SC: Private Equity, if anything, has become more relevant. India has a very young PE market. India dedicated funds have US$ 5 - 7 billion of capital already with them which will get deployed as they find good opportunities. While there is a withdrawal of certain players from the Indian market, taken together, the industry is bound to grow. But 2009 will be low in terms of activity levels as firms try to get their portfolios in shape.

VI: The gap in valuation expectations between promoters and investors seems to be holding back deal closure. Do you see this changing anytime soon?

SC: Valuation expectation is just the symptom. The problem really is that a lot of the promoters do not know how their toplines and bottomlines will get affected in the slowdown. But things will change once we start seeing some positive news and renewal of corporate plans during late 2009.