Indian infrastructure continues to lure private equity interest. Jacob Ballas Capital India Pvt. Ltd., a  PE firm with $567 million under management, is looking at expanding its exposure in infrastructure and is planning to invest more than 50% of its $440-million third fund corpus. The firm, which has so far deployed $125 million from the third fund, has invested $60 million in infrastructure firms. Its significant infrastructure investments include SEW Infrastructure ($34 million), Saravana Global Energy ($25 million), Aster Teleservices ($35 million), Inventia Healthcare ($21 million) and Mahindra Holidays & Resorts ($10 million).

Jacob Ballas has made 20 investments so far through its three funds-New York Life International India Fund I ($40 million), Fund II ($127 million) and NYLIM Jacob Ballas India Fund III ($440 million).  

Srinivas Chidambaram, managing director, Jacob Ballas, told VCCircle, "Definitely, infrastructure is the core sector we are keen on. Also, about 50% of our past deals were done in infrastructure space. The high potential in Indian infra space will be noticed by all PE firms, irrespective of whether they have an infrastructure-specific fund. Our investment will be focused on the leading companies in the fragmented sectors with a potential for 3-5 times growth in next five years. We are interested in more deals in the infrastructure assets-services & manufacturing companies".

Jacob Ballas is looking at around 12-15 deals from its third fund, with investment size of $15-75 million. Before joining Jacob Ballas, Chidambaram worked with HSBC Private Equity (Asia) Ltd, Hong Kong, responsible for private equity investments in India and South East Asia.

The Indian infrastructure story continues to be red-hot given the deal data this year. According to VCCEdge data, about 20 deals worth $1.5 billion took place till date in 2010 in infrastructure.

Some of the top deals include Macquarie-SBI Infrastructure Fund’s acquisition of 11% stake in Hyderabad-based Viom Networks Ltd for Rs 1,400 crore from Quippo Telecom; Macquarie-SBI Infrastructure Fund’s investment of Rs 922 crore in Bangalore- based GMR Airports Holding Pvt. Ltd; the Rs 1,933-crore investment in Asian Genco Pte Ltd by PTC Ashmore India Energy Infrastructure Fund, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, General Atlantic LLC, Goldman Sachs Investment Management, Norwest Venture Partners and Everstone Capital and the Rs 465-crore investment in GMR Energy Ltd by IDFC, Argonaut Ventures and Ascent Capital Advisors India. ICICI Venture, which has launched a new infrastructure fund in end-July, aims at a $1-billion fund size. It will raise $500 million in the first stage with a green shoe option of another $500 million.

Jacob Ballas made about five exits from investments such as Bharti Airtel, Punj Lyod, Thomson Press, ABG Shipyard and Reliance Infrastructure. Though the IPO has been floated, it still holds stake in Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd. Another portfolio company of Jacob Ballas which was listed is Mahindra Holiday & Resorts. Jacob Ballas is looking for a part exit from its investment in Commercial Engineers & Body Builders Co. Pvt. Ltd. (CEBBCO)., a manufacturer of bodies for Commercial Vehicle industry, through the Rs 170-crore IPO on the anvil.

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