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ChrysCapital buys minority stake in agrochem firm Safex Chemicals
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Homegrown private equity firm ChrysCapital has picked up a minority stake in New Delhi based agrochemicals company Safex Chemicals India Ltd at an investment of $50 million. 

The transaction is a combination of a secondary sale by existing private equity investor BanyanTree Growth Capital, and a primary raise by the company for growth initiatives, said a statement. 

VCCircle first reported about the impending investment by ChrysCapital in Safex Chemicals.   

While the company didn’t disclosure the break up of the primary investment, VCCircle previously reported that of the $50 million investment, the primary component could be Rs 150-200 crore ($20.7-27.6 million). 

Founded in 1991 by late SK Jindal and SK Chaudhary, Safex manufactures and sells branded agrochemicals that help enhance the protection and productivity of crops. The company is led by its promoter directors SK Chaudhary, Neeraj Jindal, Rajesh Jindal and Piyush Jindal. 

As a part of the transaction, Raghav Ramdev, managing director, ChrysCapital, and R Hariharan will join the board of Safex as nominees of the private equity firm. 

Safex is amongst the fastest growing agrochemical companies in India with a 26% revenue CAGR over the past four years, said the statement. Currently, it has a pan-India presence with a network spanning 10,000-plus distributors across 17 states.  

“We intend to leverage our strong management capabilities and ChrysCapital’s extensive network to drive Safex’s growth by bringing innovative products and solutions to the Indian agrochemical industry through M&A and in-licensing opportunities” SK Chaudhary, founder director of Safex, said. 

The company has redefined the branded formulations segment in the Indian agrochemical market, through its unique multi-brand model and direct distribution strategy, said the statement. It plans to enter the B2B agrochemical and home-care technicals segment. 

Safex has a product portfolio of over 100 products across insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, micronutrients, pesticides and plant growth regulators. The company has revenues of Rs 700 crores in the current fiscal (grown 18x in the last 11 years) and operates five manufacturing facilities located across India. 

Commenting on the investment, ChrysCapital’s Raghav Ramdev said, “Agrochemicals is a large and attractive market. Going forward, Safex has multiple growth levers in place, from penetrating deeper in the Indian branded business to entering the technicals segment, which will further propel the company to become a marquee player in the agrochemical industry.” 

Investec acted as a financial advisor to the transaction. Stratage Law Partners advised Safex Chemicals and BanyanTree Growth Capital while Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas advised ChrysCapital. 

Founded in 1999, ChrysCapital is one of the largest and most established India-focused investment firms. The firm has raised $4 billion across eight funds and is currently investing out of its $900 million eighth fund. The firm has realized over $5.6 billion from more than 70 full exits and has fully monetized five successive funds. 

ChrysCapital’s LP base includes sovereign wealth funds, university endowments, pension funds, global fund-of-funds, global insurance companies and family offices, amongst others. 

Agrochemical deals  

In December, Anupam Rasayan India Ltd, which makes agrochemicals, polymers and other speciality chemicals, filed its draft prospectus to float an initial public offering.   

In November last year, Heranba Industries Ltd, a Gujarat-based agrochemicals company that makes crop protection products, received a regulatory approval to once again float its initial public offering (IPO) after its earlier attempt to go public in 2018-19 failed to materialise.  

In September last year, two Tokyo-based companies jointly picked up a majority stake in agrochemical company Bharat Insecticides Ltd.  

In June last year, Goa-based Zuari Agro Chemicals Ltd, which is part of the Saroj Poddar-led Adventz Group, announced the sale of its fertiliser plant to Paradeep Phosphates Ltd.   

In January last year, Crystal Crop Protection Ltd, which was earlier backed by Everstone Capital, acquired three insecticide brands from US-based Corteva Agriscience.   

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