Edelweiss Alternate Asset Advisors, the alternative asset arm of Edelweiss Capital, has closed its Edelweiss Special Opportunities Fund at $230 million. The fund, which made its first close of $105 million in December 2009, will invest in special investment opportunities in India.

“We have closed our Special Opportunities fund at $230 million. This would be a sector-agnostic, mezzanine fund, investing in special opportunities in the country,” Edelweiss Executive Director and Co-Founder Venkat Ramaswamy told VCCircle.

The fund has raised contribution from overseas investors while seeing participation from domestic investors as well. The average investment size from this fund will typically be in the $25-30 range, he said. The fund has already made two investments in India with a cumulative ticket size of $65 million, Ramasamy said, declining to divulge any further details. The fund is planning to deploy another $100 million this calendar year, he added.

There are several active special situation funds with investors increasingly looking to tap newer opportunities. Tata Capital, the financial services arm of the conglomerate Tata Group, managed to mop up Rs 750 crore for its debut special situations fund last year. Other players like JM Financial also have a special situation funds. But special situations, especially distressed investing, is still a nascent business in India with few other players like WL Ross, ADM Capital, Clearwater Capital, Eight Capital and units of foreign banks like Standard Chartered.

Rashesh Shah-led Edelweiss, one of India’s leading diversified financial services Group, offers a large range of products and services spanning across asset classes and consumer segments. Its businesses are divided into Investment Banking, Brokerage Services, Asset Management and Financing. It recently roped in S Ranganathan, the CFO of Bank of America Merryl Lynch, as Chief Financial Officer.

The company's mutual fund and retail broking businesses got strengthened after the recent acquisition of Anagram Capital. Anagram had a larger presence in retail client segment. Edelweiss’ presence in India along with Anagram now covers 360 offices pan India. The company has also started retail financing and as a part of that it launched home financing section. Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance Company Limited, a joint venture between the Edelweiss Capital Limited and Tokio Marine has received the initial R1 approval from the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (IRDA), which is the first step of regulatory clearances required for carrying on the business as Life Insurance company in India. The company has recently announced that it is planning to hire 30,000-40,000 people in the next three to five years as it plans to expand its presence in businesses like insurance, mutual fund, housing loan and other retail-focused markets.

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