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PE investments up 24% to over $10-B in 2011, but dip QoQ

Private Equity firms invested $10,117 million over 441 deals in India during the 12 months ending December 2011, compared to $8,187 million across 362 deals during the previous year, according to analysis by Venture Intelligence, a research service focused on Private Equity and M&A activity. These figures - which include VC investments and exclude PE investments in Real Estate - take the total investments by PE firms over the past five years to about $47 billion across 2,062 transactions.

The latest Venture Intelligence data however reveals that PE investments in October-December 2011 declined to about $1,456 million (across 105 deals) compared to the $1,828 million invested (across 88 deals) in the same period in 2010 and $2,334 million invested (across 109 deals) in the immediate previous quarter. “The amount of PE capital deployed has declined for the fourth successive quarter in keeping with the economic uncertainty and the decline in public markets,” noted Arun Natarajan, CEO of Venture Intelligence. “However, the sheer amount of uninvested capital lying with PE funds and the increasingly attractive valuations available – including in the listed companies segment – points to a turnaround in the quarters ahead,” he added.

Top Investments

The largest PE investment announced during 2011 was the Rs.3,650 crore (about $828 million) commitment by Bain Capital and Singapore’s GIC to Hero Investments, the Hero group holding firm which bought out Honda Motors’ 26% stake in listed 2-wheeler maker Hero Honda.

The next largest was the about $474 million commitment by Apollo Management to various group companies of the Manufacturing and Infrastructure focused Welspun Group. The deal included the group’s flagship company, publicly listed oil & gas pipemaker Welspun Corp, and its steelmaking associate, Welspun Maxsteel. Apollo also plans to invest Rs. 675 crore (about $151 million) in the various projects of the group's infrastructure services firm Welspun Infratech.

This was followed by Apax Partners’ $375 million commitment to iGate to help buyout fellow listed IT Services firm Patni Computers.

By Industry

With 137 investments worth about $1,752 million, Information Technology and IT-Enabled Services (IT & ITES) companies topped in terms of both investment value and volume during 2011. The Energy industry absorbed $1,651 million across 43 deals, while Manufacturing attracted $1,598 across 37 transactions.

Engineering & Construction companies (especially road projects firms) and Food & Beverages companies (especially liquor firms, soft drink bottlers and restaurant chains) also attracted special investor attention during 2011.

By Stage

Late Stage deals accounted for 24% of the investments in volume terms and 36% in value terms during 2011. Venture Capital investments accounted for 45% in volume terms and 11% in value terms, while buyouts represented less than 5% of the pie by both parameters. Listed company investments accounted for 15% of the pie in both value and volume during 2011.

By Region

Companies based in West India attracted the maximum PE capital both in terms of value and volume ($3,622 million across 157 deals). Companies from South India ranked second in terms of the number of investments attracted and value ($3,063 million across 145 deals).

Among cities, Mumbai based companies retained the top slot attracting 120 PE investments worth $2,638 million, followed by the National Capital Region with 93 investments worth $2,247 million. Bangalore-based companies attracted $1,395 million across 75 deals.

Most Active Firms

With 25 investments during 2011, Sequoia Capital India was the most active PE investor in India during 2011, followed by IFC – the World Bank’s private investment arm - and Nexus Ventures with 17 investments each.

Bain Capital, Apollo Management and Apax Partners vaulted to the top of the value charts for the year thanks to their single mega deals ($580 million in Hero Investments, $474 million in Welspun Group and $375 million in iGate respectively). Apart from its large commitments to the Real Estate sector in 2011, Blackstone invested $434 million across four companies – two in the thermal power projects sectors (SKS Chhattisgarh and Visa Power) and smaller investments in FINO, a technology provider to microfinance companies, and in the sponge iron unit of the Monnet Group (in whose power unit Blackstone has invested earlier).

Private Equity in Real Estate

The Venture Intelligence analysis also revealed that Private Equity firms made 69 investments in the Real Estate segment during 2011. Of these, 53 transactions had an announced value of $2,679 million. The activity was only slightly higher compared to the 63 investments ($1,582 million across 55 deals with announced values) during 2010. The largest PERE investment announced during 2011 was Jeff Morgan Capital’s commitment of $320 million to the publicly listed Compact Disc India’s film city project. The other large PERE investments during the year included Warburg Pincus’ over $318 million (Rs.1,400 crore) investment in its residential segment focused joint venture with portfolio company Lemon Tree Hotels and Blackstone’s $200 million investment in Bangalore’s Manyata Embassy Business Park. Residential projects accounted for 57% of the investments (by volume) during 2011, followed by commercial projects with a 19% share of the pie.

Liquidity Events

Private Equity firms obtained exit routes for their investments in 74 companies during 2011 (including 4 via IPOs) – a number which was just half of that in 2010 (which had witnessed 24 PE-backed IPOs and 115 exits via M&A and public market sales.)

PE-backed companies raised about $221 million via IPOs during 2011. Macquarie sold a part of its holdings in the $98 million IPO of PTC Financial Services. Reliance Venture exited from France-based 4G chipmaker Sequans Communications via the company's NYSE listing. 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. Flexituff International, a manufacturer of flexible intermediate bulk containers backed by Clearwater Capital, raised $21.4 million as part of its offering.

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 October 2006. Warburg Pincus sold $236 million worth shares in Kotak Mahindra Bank across thee sales in 2011. It also sold a further holding in listed healthcare firm Max India - the latest being sales of shares worth $60 million (Rs.308.5 crores) to Goldman Sachs.

Among exits via M&A, the acquisition of BPO firm Intelenet for ₤385 million ($632.5 million) by Serco provided Blackstone its first exit it in India, while the acquisition of publicly listed Patni Computers by iGate fetched General Atlantic $254 million (for its 17.4% stake). UK-based Pearson’s decision to enhance its stake in education services firm TutorVista from 59% to 76% (valuing the company at $213 million), provided a healthy exit route for TutorVista’s VC investors including Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed Venture and SVB. Nexus Ventures exited its investment in Gluster, a US-based provider of open source storage solutions, via acquisition by NYSE-listed Red Hat for approximately $136 million in cash. France-based electrical equipment firm Schneider Electric’s acquisition of a 74% stake in Luminous Power Technologies, a provider of inverters, UPS and power storage systems, for around €215 million ($315 million) provided an exit route for CLSA Capital.

PE investors received 16 exits via Secondary Sales in 2011, compared to 17 such deals in the previous year. StanChart PE sold its stake in auto-components maker Endurance Technologies as part of a $71 million infusion by new investor Actis. (In August 2006, Stanchart PE had invested $33 million in the company.) Axis PE sold its stake in water projects firm Vishwa Infrastructures to new investor Olympus Capital for over Rs.200 Crore. (In July 2008, Vishwa Infra had raised $15 million from Axis PE.) Warburg Pincus’ $100 million investment in container freight firm Continental Warehousing Nhava Seva enabled an exit for prior investors IIML and Aureos.

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

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