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IFC plans co-investment with Lighthouse in footwear maker Aqualite
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International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank, plans to co-invest with India-focused mid-market private equity firm Lighthouse Funds in footwear maker Aqualite Industries Pvt. Ltd.

Special purpose vehicle Lighthouse India III Holdings is investing Rs 251 crore (about $35.9 million) in Aqualite for a 16.5% stake. IFC will invest up to $10 million (Rs 70 crore) in this special purpose vehicle.

IFC’s investment proposal will be placed before its board on 31 January next year.

Lighthouse is investing through its third fund, Lighthouse India Fund III, in which IFC is a limited partner. In December 2017, VCCircle had reported that IFC and its asset management arm plan to invest a total of $45 million (Rs 290 crore) in Lighthouse’s third fund.

IFC plans to invest up to $20 million and IFC Asset Management Company as much as $25 million, the World Bank arm had said in a disclosure then.

IFC has an active direct private equity-style investment practice in India and it also lends to companies in the country. Besides, it backs private equity and venture capital funds focused on India.

Bahadurgarh, Haryana-based Aqualite has manufacturing units in Haryana and Rajasthan. It has a pan-India distribution network of 35,000 retailers, with a significant presence in north and east.

Aqualite competes with homegrown footwear companies and listed peers such as Khadim India Ltd, Relaxo Footwears Ltd, Bata India Ltd, Sreeleathers Ltd and Liberty Shoes.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse seeks to invest in lower mid-market companies in India spanning sectors such as consumer goods, personal care, lifestyle, food and beverage, agriculture, building materials, healthcare and financial services.

Earlier this month, VCCircle reported Lighthouse is aiming to mark the final close of its third India-dedicated fund at $240 million by the end of the current financial year.

The third fund has invested in mattress company Duroflex, beauty e-tailer Nykaa and medical devices maker Tynor Orthonics.

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