Blue River Capital, a Mumbai-based PE firm, has appointed Rama Ramasundar as a director to the team. Ramasundar, who has joined the leadership team at the mid-market private equity firm, has more than thirty years of operating experience in India, the US and the UK in various leadership roles.

He was with Hindustan Lever in India and parent, Unilever in the UK, for many years. He was part of the founding team and CFO of Pepsi-India, also responsible for their bottling business having consummated several acquisitions. Then he was the CEO of Electrolux-India and established the brand into a formidable consumer durables player across the country.

He then became President and CFO of Ranbaxy, India’s largest pharmaceutical company, and served a pivotal role during and post the change in leadership. Ramasundar has also served brief stints at DLF, when it forayed into hotels, and at Jindal during its expansion into infrastructure. He holds an MBA degree from IIM-Ahmedabad and a B.Com from Madras University.

“Unlike most firms which keep the investing and the operating teams distinct, we will keep it pretty much integrated”, Shujaat Khan, Managing Director, Blue River Capital, told VCCircle.

Khan asserted that the idea is to have operating and investing skillsets within the PE firm, which, not necessarily, have to be different teams.

“Ram’s experience across various sectors especially consumer businesses, will bring tremendous knowledge, network and capability to the Blue River Capital organization,” Khan said, adding that Ramasundar’s experience in doing M&As is also a huge value add.

This key appointment comes ahead of Blue River Capital hitting the fund raising ground. A host of PE firms are ramping up their teams as LPs or institutional investors have increasingly been vocal about their preference towards experienced teams with both investing and operating skillsets. While there is an improvement in fundraising, the environment continues to remain challenging.

Blue River Capital was founded in 2005 by Shujaat Khan, former managing director, ChrysCapital and Muneesh Chawla, former CEO of IL&FS Investment Managers, the private equity arm of IL&FS, in partnership with Edelweiss Capital. It recently broke off its partnership with Edelweiss Capital and is independently targeting a $200-$250 million fund. The investment firm stands fully committed as of date.

“We have the ability to invest but stand fully committed as of now,” Khan said. It is currently managing the existing portfolio and is looking to hire more investment professionals to the team.

Blue River’s investments in portfolio companies include Wilson Sandhu Logistics (Rs 45 crore), City Union Bank Ltd (Rs 30 crore), Rane Holdings Ltd, KMC Constructions Ltd (Rs 90 crore), International Print-o-Pack Ltd (Rs 55 crore), Aurangabad Electricals Ltd (Rs 50 crore) and KPR Mills Ltd (Rs 45 crore). The firm is in talks to make strategic sell-out in a few of its portfolio companies.

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