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Apollo, ICICI Venture set to complete raising $750M India fund

ICICI Venture, the private equity arm of No.2 Indian lender ICICI Bank and U.S. private equity giant Apollo Global Management LLC, will this month complete raising a $750 million fund to invest in distressed assets in India, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The new fund comes at a time when the Indian economy is growing at its slowest pace in a decade and tight liquidity has left companies struggling to raise cash from traditional sources such as Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).

ICICI and Apollo have raised $675 million so far from investors including large sovereign and pension funds for the special situation fund to invest in companies that face distress, restructuring or are spinning off assets.

The ICICI-Apollo fund will also look at buying into bad loans, the sources said.

Both ICICI and Apollo declined to comment.

Global private equity funds including Apollo, KKR Co & LP and TPG Capital are becoming increasingly interested in special or distress situations in India, as the slowdown in the economy is likely to create buyout opportunities.

Credit specialist firms like Apollo often take control of companies by buying their debt and swapping it for equity. Apollo and Oaktree Capital took over Australian media company Nine Entertainment in 2013, using a debt-for-equity swap.

Last month, KKR co-founder Henry Kravis said his fund plans to invest in Indian distressed companies through a special situation fund.

The Reserve Bank of India said in January that it would encourage private equity firms to "play an active role" in the stressed assets market to help reduce banks' bad loans.

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