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January 20, 2011

PE investments in 2010 almost double to $7.9-B

Highlights from the Venture Intelligence Indian 2010 Annual Private Equity Roundup Report

Private Equity firms invested $7,974 million over 325 deals in India during the 12 months ending December 2010, compared to $4,068 million across 290 deals during the previous year, according to analysis by Venture Intelligence, a research service focused on Private Equity and M&A activity. (These figures include VC investments and exclude PE investments in Real Estate.)

“After a volatile 3 year period, PE investment activity in 2010 reverts to the levels of 2006 (which had witnessed 358 investments worth $7,485 million),” pointed out Arun Natarajan, CEO of Venture Intelligence. “The really exciting feature of 2010 was on the exits side where activity vaulted to all time high levels with 121 transactions, including 24 via IPOs,” he added.

Top Investments

The largest investment reported during the year was the $425 million raised by power generation firm Asian Genco from investors including General Atlantic, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Everstone and Norwest.

Infrastructure fund SBI-Macquarie’s $304 million commitment to independent telecom tower infrastructure firm Viom Networks (formerly Quippo Telecom) was the next largest investment. The third spot was share by two $300 million investments – one by Blackstone into an unlisted renewable power generation firm of the Moser Baer Group and another by Quadrangle Capital Partners into telecom towers firm Towervision India.

GVK Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyderabad-based listed firm GVK Power & Infrastructure, received commitments for about $422 million (Rs. 1,898 crores) from the infrastructure arms of two UK-based PE investors - Actis and 3i.

By Industry

With 34 investments worth about $2,141 million, Energy companies topped in terms of investment value during 2010, while Information Technology and IT-Enabled Services (IT & ITES) with 79 investments worth $696 million topped in terms of volume. BFSI with 44 investments worth $1,054 million came second on both parameters.

By Stage

Late Stage deals accounted for 34% of the investments in volume terms and 50% in value terms during 2010. Venture Capital investments accounted for 36% in volume terms and 8% in value terms, while buyouts represented less than 3% of the pie in both parameters. Listed company investments accounted for just 10% of the value of the PE pie (11% by volume) during 2010.

By Region

For the second year running in 2010, companies based in South India attracted the maximum PE capital both in terms of volume and value. Whereas companies from Western India ranked second in terms of the number of investments attracted, North-based companies received slightly higher share of the value.

Among cities, Mumbai based companies retained the top slot attracting 68 PE investments worth $1,590 million, followed by Delhi with 60 investments worth $1,025 million. Bangalore-based companies attracted $1,025 million across 53 deals.

Most Active Firms

With 25 investments during 2010, IFC – the World Bank’s private investment arm - continued to remain the most active PE investor in India during 2010. IFC was especially active in the Energy and BFSI industries. Sequoia Capital India with 15 investments (including 8 in IT & ITES companies) during the year was the second most active investor. VC firm Nexus Ventures followed with 10 investments during 2010. Apart from IT, Nexus also focused on Agri-business and Cleantech companies.

The value charts for the year, outside of infrastructure funds, were topped by Blackstone and Temasek. KKR, which apart from equity investments has actively begun to provide structured debt funding to the promoters of various large business groups, was another big ticket investor that made its mark in 2010.

Liquidity Events

Private Equity firms obtained exit routes for their investments in a record 121 companies during 2010, including 24 via IPOs. (2009 had witnessed 66 liquidity events including 7 via IPOs.) Including IPOs, each type of exit witnessed record high volumes in 2010.

PE-backed companies raised about $2.20 billion via IPOs during 2010. The $359 million raised by SKS Microfinance was the largest IPO by a PE-backed firm in 2010. PE investors in the company (not including pre-IPO placements) include Sequoia Capital India, Unitus, SVB, Sandstone Capital, Khosla Ventures and Kismet Capital. Other PE-backed companies that raised over $100 million via IPOs during 2010 included Orient Green Power, A2Z Maintenance & Engineering Services, IL&FS Transportation Networks, Hathway Cable, Ramky Infrastructure, Gujarat Pipavav Port and VA Tech Wabag.

The total value of M&A transactions providing exits to PE-investors during 2010 was around $5.3 billion. These included 36 sales via public markets, 30 strategic sales, 17 secondary transactions (involving sale of shares by one PE firm to another) and 13 buybacks (by either the company or its promoters).

Among exits via strategic sales, Actis and Sequoia Capital India exited OTC drug firm Paras Pharmaceuticals via sale to UK-based Reckitt Benckiser for $726 million. Paras, which reported sales of more than $89 million in the fiscal ended Mar-10, makes several over-the-counter medications, including Moov pain relief ointment, Krack heel care lotion and D'Cold cold remedy. Actis had held a 63% stake in Paras. In another significant exit via M&A, ICICI Venture sold specialty chemicals maker RFCL (formerly Ranbaxy Fine Chemicals), a company it bought five years ago, to US-based chemicals firm Avantor Performance Materials.

ChrysCapital’s reported $400 million sale of its holdings in IT Services firm Infosys Technologies (in which it had invested about $175 million in May-08) was among the most significant exits via Public Market Sales.

In the largest exit via secondary sale (sale by one PE investor to another) during 2010, ICICI Venture sold its stake in diagnostic services chain Metropolis Healthcare to Warburg Pincus in an $85 million deal.

About Venture Intelligence

Venture Intelligence, a division of Chennai, India-based TSJ Media Pvt. Ltd., is the leading provider of data and analysis on Private Equity and M&A transactions in India. For more information, please visit http://www.ventureintelligence.in