Private equity investor Ambit Pragma Ventures has acquired 74% stake inMehta Frozen Foods Carrier Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount, in a small-mid market buyout deal.

Mehta Frozen Foods Carrier is involved in transportation of frozen food products like ice-cream, yeast, floriculture, medicines, meat products and dairy products. The firm, which started its business with four trucks, has now grown it to sixty 11 feet to 40 feet trucks with a container capacity of 3-26 tonnes.

Started in 1996, Mehta frozen Foods is a MRL Group company, headed by Mansur Mehta -- a third generation member of the group whose core business revolves around transport.

The investment was made through the $150 million Ambit Pragma Fund II. This is a small cap buyout and growth capital fund, focusing on five high growth sectors such as entertainment, healthcare, FMCG, logistics and infrastructure services. The average investment size is $15 million in companies with revenues between $ 5-15 million.

The Ambit Pragma II fund was raised by existing investors, UK’s development finance institution CDC Group and World Bank arm International Finance Corporation (IFC). New institutional investors include consumer products giant Unilever and Germany’s development finance firm DEG. It has reached on its first close and hopes to make the final close by March 2013.

Ambit Pragma I's investments include Pune-based Spear Logistics, an asset-light contract logistics company, Prasanna Purple, a bus-operating company based in Pune and Mumbai-based Beams Hospitals, a chain of minimal access surgery centres.

J. Sagar Associates advised Mehta Frozen Foods Carrier, while Ambit Pragma was represented by Economic Law Practice in the transaction.

This is one of the many PE investments in the logistics space in the recent past. In another buyout by a PE firm India Equity Partners acquired domestic road operations of Dutch freight & logistics giant TNT Express in India late last year.

In April, private equity firm New Silk Route invested Rs 175 crore in VRL Logistics Ltd, a company based in Hubli, Karnataka. In January, General Atlantic invested $125M in Fourcee Infrastructure Equipments Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based freight and logistics company. In December, 2011, private equity firm India Equity Partners acquired domestic road operations of Dutch freight & logistics giant TNT Express in India for an undisclosed sum.

Earlier in the same month, the company had picked a minority stake for $10 million in Swastik Roadlines Pvt Ltd, Gwalior based food cargo supply chain service provider.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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