Skip to main content

The Man Behind Indian Private Equity's Favourite Bank

In Indian Private Equity circles, one often tends to hear of Rantakar Bank spoken of in almost fawning terms. Not surprising since, as the Venture Intelligence PE Deal database indicates, over a dozen Indian PE firms - from Aditya Birla Private Equity to TVS Capital - have invested $220 million into the Kolhapur, Maharashtra-based private sector bank. (With such a long list, the bank's PE register even includes two different funds sporting a Sanskrit and English variation of the same name: Elephant Capital and Gaja Capital!).
 
Economic Times has a profile of the man these investors are all betting on - Vishwavir Ahuja, Ratnakar's MD & CEO Ratnakar Bank who was formerly the India country head of Bank of America. Extracts:

For the first six months, Ahuja, 53, camped out in Kolhapur, travelling from Mumbai by train and road to get there. He also faced resistance from staff who viewed him as an outsider and feared job losses. Ahuja had a plan to gain their trust. First, he guaranteed that no one would lose their jobs and reversed the transfers of a few employees, bringing them closer home. Others were appointed to oversee the corporate governance structure. Applying the personal touch was important. "For six months I stayed at Kolhapur. Every communication was personally communicated by me to employees in a town hall. I refrained from just sending a mail," said Ahuja.

He spruced up the head office building and set up a regional processing centre in Kolhapur. He also made it a point to expand the branch network in Kolhapur before entering new geographies. All this earned him staff goodwill. "The idea was to start from where you are strong. Our market share in our home market Kolhapur was only 4%. In the first few months we increased that to 10%. We did promotional activities only in Kolhapur and tapped the business community and temple business in the local market,'' he said.
...He's not without his critics, who say he's merely touching up the surface to make the bank look good for a potential investor. Ahuja flares up at such a suggestion. "We have not dressed up the bank to go anywhere," he said. "We have done everything the hard way. We have not come in to make money by selling. I have made a long-term institution."
Venture Intelligence is the leading provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India. Click Here to view our products list including the Free Deal Digest Weekly: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.

Popular posts from this blog

VC Interview: Shailendra Singh of Sequoia Capital India

In a recent interview to Venture Intelligence, Shailendra Singh discussed some of the firm’s newer investments in the early stage segment including in the online payments space, the progress at a few existing portfolio companies and the active role the firm is playing in helping its portfolio companies scale and succeed in India and globally. Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Singh was a strategy consultant at Bain & Company in New York and before that, an entrepreneur in the digital media industry.

Venture Intelligence: How does Sequoia go about identifying potential early stage investments in India? Is there anything different you are doing today than, say, a couple of years back?

Shailendra Singh: There is a lot more focus on technology investing and early stage investing. In general, as you might remember a few years ago, we were doing primarily growth investing but in the past 18-odd months, we have had a very strong focus on early stage and that’s continuing. In terms of how…

PE investments in 2018 crosses $33-B to set new all-time high

Big Ticket investments in consumer apps Swiggy & Byju’s dominates year-end activity, even as investments in Core Sectors slow down
Private Equity (PE) investments in India rose to their highest ever figure of $33.1 billion in 2018 (across 720 transactions), according to data from Venture Intelligence (http://www.ventureintelligence.com), a research service focused on private company financials, transactions and their valuations. While PE investments have already surpassed the previous high - $24.3 Billion across 734 deals in 2017 - in the first nine months of 2018, the mega investments in Consumer Internet & Mobile startups such as Swiggy and Byjus towards the year-end, helped the 2018 total vault by 36% year-on-year. (Note: These figures include Venture Capital investments, but exclude PE investments in Real Estate.) The year witnessed 81 PE investments worth $100 million or more (accounting for 77% of the total investment value during the period), compared to 47 such transac…

ChrysCapital and Sequoia Capital India grab two awards at APEX’19 PE-VC Awards

Mumbai, India, Feb 27, 2019: ChrysCapital and Sequoia Capital bagged two awards each as part of the “Awards for Private Equity Excellence” (APEX)event organized by Venture Intelligence. 

ChrysCapital bagged the Private Equity Fund Raise of 2018 Award (Closed $850 M Fund VIII within 4 months of launch) and the Private Equity Investor of 2018 Award (for its Exits from LiquidHub with 4x in dollar terms (within 4 years of its $53-M investment), AU Small Finance Bank with 11.5x return,  Torrent Pharma with 2.95x, City Union Bank with 2.83x, L&T Infotech with 2.56x)

Sequoia Capital India won the Early Stage VCInvestor(the firm registered 10x+ exits in Byjus Classes and SCIOInspire) and VC Fund Raise of 2018 (the firm closed an almost $700-M Fund VI).


Award Winners at APEX'19 PE-VC Awards

The event opened with a Fireside Chat with Kiran Reddy, CEO of SPI Group interviewed by his long time friend and colleague Vineeth Vijayraghavan.



Snapshots of the Awards Ceremony: (L-R) Gopal Srinivasan, …