Shujaat Khan, MD & CEO, Centrum Asset Management

Centrum Group has hired former co-founder and managing director of Blue River Capital Shujaat Khan to lead its asset management businesses, it said in a statement.

Khan will join a host of senior hires Centrum made in 2016, including Sanjay Shukla of Centbank Home Finance Ltd to lead the housing finance segment and Jaspal Bindra, former chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank Asia Pacific, as executive chairman of the group.

Khan will be managing director and head of Centrum Asset Management which is looking for making investments across public market equities, private equity, structured credit, real estate and distressed debt. Through Blue River Capital, which has a $140 million under management, Khan had invested in another financial services company City Union Bank and Rane Holdings, International Print-O-Pac, KMC Constructions, Wilson Sandhu Logistics and Aurangabad Electricals. 

Khan will be responsible for leading the firm’s alternative asset businesses, formulating strategy, governance, fund raising and investment decisions as it is looking to build a multi-strategy alternative asset business. The investment funds for each strategy target Indian as well as foreign investors, including high-net-worth individuals and family offices. 

Centrum said there are dedicated investment teams for each fund strategy led by investment partners with deep domain expertise. It currently manages a long-only public equity fund, and co-manages real estate funds along with India Property Advisors Ltd (IPAL). 

The firm recently floated a maiden Rs 500-crore private equity fund, Kalpavriksh. The fund is focused on mid-sized unlisted SME companies in consumer, healthcare, and technology enabled business services.

Centrum has so far managed accounts for clients in structured credit and public market long/short strategies and will launch alternative investment funds (AIFs) shortly. A distressed debt fund is also being launched in partnership with a team with extensive experience in the field.  

Khan said growth is occurring at Centrum in various businesses including wealth management, NBFC and housing finance. “In addition, we are leaders in certain areas such as foreign exchange payment solutions,'' he said.

Jaspal Bindra, executive chairman, Centrum Group, said, “With Shujaat’s investing experience in India of managing funds for global investors, along with the fund managers for each strategy, we are committed to building a differentiated multi-asset class alternative asset management business.”

Khan has more than 17 years of investing experience in India, as co-founder and managing director of Blue River Capital and general partner of ChrysCapital. Previously, Khan also worked with Merrill Lynch International in Singapore and Travelers Group (now Citi) in the US. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School.

Centrum Capital Ltd is a Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)-registered category I merchant banker (listed on BSE) with over two decades of presence in capital markets providing advisory services across equity and debt, including equity capital markets, M&A advisory, corporate finance & advisory, primary & secondary debt placement, project finance and corporate debt restructuring. Its retail arm provides integrated solutions for private wealth management, portfolio management, stock broking and foreign exchange. 

PE investors

The group has been reviving its growth by venturing into various business segments. The move has resulted in its stock rallying despite firm’s revenue declining 10% and net profit falling by around 50% for the year ended 31 March 2016.

Leveraging the stock’s performance, in September, private equity firm Everstone Capital part-exited its eight-year-old investment in Centrum Capital.

The group's promoters picked a small stake in the company from Everstone Capital.

In December, JBCG Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd, that counts the current chairman Bindra and past chairman Chandir Gidwani as directors, acquired 4.8% stake in Centrum Capital from Everstone for Rs 50 crore.

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