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October 10, 2011

PE firms invest $2.25-B in Q3’11

PE Investments in first 9 months of 2011 surpasses entire of 2010 as deal sizes grow significantly

Private Equity firms invested about $2,249 million across 98 deals during the quarter ended September 2011, according to a study by Venture Intelligence (http://www.ventureintelligence.in), a research service focused on Private Equity and M&A transaction activity in the country. The latest figures take the total PE investments in the first nine months of 2011 to about $8,570 million (across 317 transactions) – significantly higher compared to the about $6,400 million (across 270 transactions) in the same period last year. Also, the value of PE investments year-to-date in 2011 has already surpassed the $8,256 million invested (across 358 transactions) in the entire of 2010, the Venture Intelligence study showed. (Note: These figures exclude PE investments in Real Estate.)

The PE investment amount during Q3’11 was lower than that during the same period last year (which witnessed $2,357 million being invested across 111 deals) and also compared to the immediate previous quarter ($2,911 million across 122 deals). The median investment value in Q3’11, at $10 million, was however higher than both the year-ago period ($9-M) and the immediate previous quarter ($8-M).

There were five PE investments worth over $100 million during Q3’11, with three of them over $200 million. Some of the largest investments during the period included The Blackstone Group-owned Sithe Global Power’s $261 million investment in SKS Chhattisgarh Power Generation; Blackstone’s direct Rs. 500 crore ($111 million) investment in Visa Power and Goldman Sachs’ Rs.1,000 crore (about $204-M) commitment to ReNew Wind Power.

Powered by these mega deals, the Energy industry emerged as the favourite destination for PE capital (in terms of investment amount) during Q3’11, attracting $823-M across 16 transactions. IT & ITES companies came in next attracting $437 million across 29 transactions. The largest deal in the IT & ITES industry was India- and US-based mobile advertising network InMobi’s $200 million investment from SoftBank. This was followed by the $40 million round raised by online group buying service Snapdeal.com from Bessemer Ventures with participation from existing investors IndoUS Ventures and Nexus Ventures. Blackstone invested about $33 million in financial inclusion-focused tech firm FINO.

Interest in infrastructure services firm operating in the roads and water projects helped the Engineering & Construction industry attract $279 million across 8 investments during Q3’11 across companies like Soma Enterprise (from JP Morgan), HCC Concessions (from the Xander Group) and GVR Infra Projects (from IDFC Private Equity).

Exit Activity

Private Equity firms obtained exit routes for their investments in 20 Indian companies during Q3 ’11, including one IPO (that of Tree House Education). This compares to 26 exits (including 3 IPOs) in the same period in 2010 and 17 exits (including 1 IPO) in the immediate previous quarter. Pre-school chain Tree House Education, backed by Matrix Partners India, Omidyar Network and Foundation Capital, pulled off its IPO in an extremely choppy environment raising $25.3 million. Among exits via public market sales, mobile phone operator Idea Cellular witnessed the exit of two of its PE investors - ChrysCapital and TA Associates – who had participated in the company’s nearly $1 billion pre-IPO placement in Oct-06. In an exit via secondary sale, Axis PE sold its stake in water projects firm Vishwa Infrastructures to new investor Olympus Capital for over Rs.200 Crore.

The acquisition of software testing services firm Applabs by US-based IT Services firm CSC provided an exit route Sequoia Capital India (which has been invested in the company since 2004 – then as Westbridge Capital). In another exit via sale to an US-headquartered MNC, edible oil maker Geepee Agri, majority owned by Thailand's GP Group and a portfolio company of Rabo Private Equity’s India Agri Business Fund, was acquired by food processing firm Archers Daniels Midland Company (ADM).

Real Estate

Private Equity-Real Estate firms made 14 investments (amounting to US$388 million across 8 deals with disclosed values) during the quarter ended September 2011. The pace of investments during the quarter was lower than that during the same period last year which witnessed 21 investments (with $744 million being invested across 20 deals with disclosed values) and also lower compared to the immediate previous quarter which witnessed 17 deals (with $533 million being invested across 12 deals). The largest PERE investment announced during Q3’11 was Blackstone’s $200 million investment in Bangalore’s Manyata Embassy Business Park.

The residential segment (including townships) accounted for 64% of the deal volume during the latest quarter. Investments in South India-based ventures accounted for 50% of the investments during Q3 ’11.