U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group plans to invest roughly $1-1.5 billion in Indian infrastructure over the next five years, with the power sector especially attractive, its India head said on Friday.

Blackstone said in April that it will invest $2-3 billion in India over the next five years.

"Nearly 40-50 percent of this will go to the infrastructure sector. A lot of investments are required and we are keen to invest in this sector," Akhil Gupta, chairman and managing director of Blackstone India, told Reuters by phone.

On Thursday, Blackstone agreed to invest $59 million for a 12.5 percent stake in power producer Monnet Power Company Ltd, a wholly owned unit of India's Monnet Ispat & Energy.

"In infrastructure, power looks very attractive and we would continue to look at opportunities," Gupta said.

The investment in Monnet Power marks Blackstone's second investment in India this year. In April, it invested $50 million in Indian regional newspaper publisher Jagran Prakashan.

Total private equity investment in India nearly tripled to $1.9 billion in the first quarter of 2010 from $675 million a year earlier, according to

Most private equity investment in India is for minority stakes.

India has made building of roads, bridges, airports and power plants a priority and expects private firms to fund half of a projected $1 trillion in infrastructure investment between 2012 and 2017.

"The country is looking for lots of private fund flows into the infrastructure space," Gupta said.

Blackstone has no plans for now to launch a dedicated India infrastructure fund, he added. In May, ICICI Venture, the private equity arm of No.2 India lender ICICI Bank said it plans to launch a $500 million infrastructure fund.


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