Jacob Ballas Capital Invests $39M In Marg Karaikal Port

Private equity firm Jacob Ballas Capital has invested Rs 200 crore (~$39 million) to pick an undisclosed minority stake in Marg Karaikal Port Pvt Ltd, which is developing a port in India's south east coast in Puducherry. The investment has been made by NYLIM Jacob Ballas India Fund III, LLC through a mix of subscription to fresh shares and secondary purchase of shares. 

It could not be immediately ascertained if the promoters (BSE-listed Marg Ltd) sold more shares or one of the financial investors part exited in the latest transaction. The company did not share how much of the investment is through primary issue which and how much went to the selling shareholder.

Marg Ltd scrip was up 0.3 per cent quoting at Rs 88.5 in mid-day trades on the BSE in a flat Mumbai market on Wednesday.

This is Marg Karaikal Port’s third fund raising from private equity investors. It has already attracted investments worth Rs 550 crore or a little over $100 million from PE firms, though a part of it went to the promoters through a part secondary deal.

Last year, Ascent Capital invested Rs 200 crore in the company of which Rs 150 crore was through a secondary sale by its public listed parent Marg Ltd. The Ascent Capital investment gave Marg Karaikal a pre-money valuation of Rs 1,330 crore. Prior to that IDFC Project Equity's India Infrastructure Fund invested Rs 150 crore in March 2010.

Jacob Ballas has made the latest investment out of its $440 million India-focused private equity fund NYLIM Jacob Ballas India Fund III. Sunil Chawla, partner at Jacob Ballas, has joined the board of Marg Karaikal Port as a part of the deal.

“Karaikal Port, with its strategic location and excellent connectivity, is well positioned to cater to the agricultural and industrial belts of central Tamil Nadu. The need for incremental, efficient port infrastructure in the country is well known, given increasing volumes and the relatively high turnaround time at some of our ports. Against that backdrop, we see Karaikal Port emerging as a port of choice on the southeastern coast of India, with efficient operations backed by world class infrastructure," said Jacob Ballas Capital's Chawla.

The deal is Jacob Ballas' third investment in the current year, having invested Rs 100 crore in privately held DBM Geotechnics and Rs 200 crore in Religare Finvest Ltd. The private equity firm has been an active investor in infrastructure firms, having most recently backed EPC companies like SEW Infrastructure and PNC Infratech.

Marg Karaikal Port will use the funds for expansion plans to increase port’s capacity from 21 MMTPA to 28 MMTPA.

Marg Karaikal Port will have a total of 9 berths (5 already developed) capable of handling up to 47 MMTPA when fully developed. It is expected to be developed over three phases with the final phase getting operational by 2017. Marg Karaikal Port will handle cargo like coal, fertiliser, cement, raw sugar, project cargo, gypsum, among others.

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