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Family offices of Air Arabia founder, others float firm to invest $275 mn in India

07 November, 2016

Foundation Holdings, an investment firm floated by around six family offices, is aiming to deploy $275 million over the next five years in healthcare, consumer and education sectors in India, it said in a statement. 

These transactions could be structured in the form of equity, debt or green-field investments, including real estate solutions for companies in select sectors, Abhishek Sharma, founder and CEO of Foundation Holdings, said in the statement. The Sharma family holds 37% in Foundation Holdings. 

Five other shareholders who own around 10% stake each in Foundation Holdings are Murtadha Sultan, a board director of W J Towell, the second-oldest family office in GCC; Adel Abdullah Ali, founder and CEO of Air Arabia; Neelesh Bhatnagar, director of NB Ventures and former board member of Landmark Group; Karim Merchant, CEO and managing director of Pure Gold Jewellers; and Justin Connor, managing director of Rothschild Capital Partners, a New York-based family investment office. 

Foundation Holdings has an immediate pipeline of 10 companies in India. Of these, it aims to close at least three transactions by December 2017. Foundation Holdings will hold a minority stake in these firms and its average investment size is $15-20 million, Sharma said.  

While the firm’s key shareholders will put in the entire investment money—around $75 million—for the first three transactions, Foundation Holdings is expecting to bring on board other family offices as co-investors for the subsequent transactions to fulfil its business plan for deploying $275 million in India in five years. 

It has created a business plan with the help of PwC to invest $550 million in five years, of which $275 million will be deployed in India while the remaining amount will be invested in GCC, Sharma said. 

Foundation Holdings aims to prepare its portfolio companies for an initial public offering (IPO) either at on London Stock Exchange, Dubai stock exchanges or Indian stock exchanges, he said.

Unlike private equity firms, Foundation Holdings is planning to keep invested in portfolio firms over a long-term period, Sharma said. He, however, declined to specify a duration. 

Before founding Foundation Holdings, Sharma was with PE firms Sun CapitalPartners and Ithmar Capital. He also founded Amanat Holdings, a healthcare and education investment firm. Sharma’s family owns the rights to the US brand Spring Air mattress for the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. 

Other shareholders and advisors in Foundation Holdings include Muna Al Gurg, director, Retail, Easa Saleh Al Gurg; Sami Alom, director of Kasamar Holdings, a UAE-based family office; Fares Bugshan, chief executive officer of Bugshan Investments; and senior executives from Julius Baer, AccorHotels and Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the sovereign wealth fund of the Malaysian government, the company said.

Note: The report has been updated after correcting some factual information.

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Family offices of Air Arabia founder, others float firm to invest $275 mn in India

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