IFCI Venture Capital Fund has sold 1.5 per cent stake in mid-size pharmaceutical firm Ankur Drugs & Pharma Ltd for Rs 1.2 crore ($0.26 million) in an open market transaction on Thursday.

The venture capital arm of the state-controlled financial institution IFCI did not figure among the shareholders, holding over 1 per cent stake as of March 31, 2011. This implies that it has picked up the shares either over the past few weeks only to sell them soon or represented institutions under whom shares were pledged by the promoters and it has now sold the shares.

At the time of posting this news report, an e-mail questionnaire sent to IFCI Venture Capital managing director SP Arora did not elicit any response.

But according to the company’s website, IFCI VC also has a short term lending business for companies to meet financing needs.

The promoters held 24.9 per cent stake in Ankur Drugs & Pharma, over three-fourth of which was pledged as of end-March. 

Ankur Drugs, which posted revenues of over Rs 1,000 crore during 2009-10 with net profit of Rs 85 crore, has been facing tough conditions with the past two quarters deep in red. Earlier this year, the firm announced that it had set up a facility at Baddi (Himachal Pradesh), but faced cost overruns and had to raise funds at high cost as it was unable to tie up long-term funds.

The company has gone for corporate debt restructuring programme of the existing debt, as well as fresh facilities on better interest rates, without any waiver/write-off of the existing loans. But investors have punished the company for its poor quarter results to the effect that it is now valued at just Rs 71 crore, down almost 80 per cent from its one-year high.

Ankur is engaged in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical formulation since 1997, with manufacturing units located at Daman and Baddi. Its first plant at Daman has a dedicated block for general and betalactum products in oral dosage form.

For IFCI Venture Capital Fund, it is turning out to be a busy year. Last month, it has invested $2.08 million in Lokesh Machines Ltd, a Hyderabad-based small-sized machine tools maker. In March, Shakti Pumps India Ltd, another small-sized public company, said it was raising fresh funds through issue of shares and optionally convertible debentures from IFCI Venture Capital Funds.

In January this year, IFCI Venture Capital stated that it was picking up 10 per cent stake in Ganesh Polytex, a small-sized public listed firm which recycles consumer PET bottle waste into polyester staple fibre, for about Rs 13.5 crore ($2.9 million).

Moreover, the parent company also pitched in. Gayatri Energy Ventures Pvt Ltd (GEVPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of IL&FS private equity-backed infrastructure firm Gayatri Projects, said it was raising Rs 250 crore ($57 million) from IFCI Ltd through issue of compulsory convertible debentures. The money is expected to be used for bankrolling proposed investments, announced by GEVPL in the energy domain. For IFCI, this will be one of its biggest single-company exposures in equity or quasi-equity form.

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