ICICI Venture invests $18M in fragrance maker Anthea Aromatics
icici_bank | Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

ICICI Venture, the private equity arm of ICICI Bank, has invested nearly Rs 120 crore ($18 million) in specialty chemicals firm Anthea Aromatics Pvt. Ltd.

The Economic Times, which first reported the development, said ICICI Venture has acquired a significant minority stake in Anthea.

When contacted, Anthea confirmed the transaction but refused to share any details.

The transaction was routed through ICICI’s new sector-agnostic fund. ICICI Venture recently announced it raised $190 million to mark the first close of its India Advantage Fund Series IV.

VCCircle had reported in December last year that the firm was looking to raise $500 million for the new fund, of which it was eyeing as much as $440 million from offshore investors.

Anthea, based in Navi Mumbai, was founded in 1991. It has four factories near Mumbai that make ingredients for the food fragrance and flavour industry. The company has two equal joint ventures with DRT of France, the world's largest processor of crude sulphate turpentine, a key raw material in the manufacture of aroma chemicals.

According to The Economic Times report, Anthea posted revenue of Rs 350 crore in 2015-16 with exports accounting for a significant proportion of sales.

ICICI Venture had previously raised three sector-agnostic PE funds. The last fund, launched in 2009, was raised domestically. ICICI Venture was once India’s largest private equity fund house but got pushed behind as peers raised new funds while it focused on managing the portfolio of its legacy funds and deploying the dry powder of the last fund vehicle. ICICI Venture has concluded exits worth $995 million in the last six years across 45 transactions. Of this figure, the PE vertical exited 31 transactions pocketing $790 million.

The top Indian manufacturer in the fragrance and flavour industry is Blackstone-backed SH Kelkar, which went public in November last year. Its main rivals are all multinational firms such as Givaudan, IFF, Firmenich and Symrise.

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