JM Financial PE fund bets on Pune-based ice cream brand NIC
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JM Financial Private Equity Fund II has invested Rs 35 crore ($4.8 million) in Walko Food Company Pvt Ltd, a Pune-based natural ice cream maker. 

The company will utilise the capital to fuel its geographical expansion, and boost capacity. This also marks JM Financial’s eighth transaction so far from the fund, as per a press statement. 

The company was launched in 2012 by Jeetendra Bhandari, who had prior experience of working with Coca-Cola and Walmart. 

The firm markets its offerings under the NIC brand and retails in over 50 cities across the country through numerous channels of sales including modern trade and ice cream parlours. In addition to NIC, the company has recently launched a kulfi brand named Grameen. 

“Ice cream per capita consumption in India is very low when compared to G-20 economies and as such it provides long term secular growth opportunity. We see excellent growth potential for NIC and Grameen in the coming years,” said Bhandari. 

The ice cream flavours include fruit, dry fruit variants and international tastes like sea salted caramel, Madagascar chocolate, French vanilla and ones inspired by Indian sweets like gulab jamun, sheer khurma and gajar halwa. 

“The domestic ice cream market is large and growing and we believe that there is a long runway of growth banking on low per capita ice cream consumption, foodtech platforms and development of multiple distribution channels and formats,” said Darius Pandole, managing director at private equity and equity alternative investment funds, JM Financial. 

In March, the fund sealed its seventh investment by backing Canpac Trends Pvt Ltd, a folding carton and packaging solutions firm. 

The fund is focused on financial services, consumer, IT/ITeS, infrastructure services and manufacturing sectors. 

Its investments include those in nutraceutical firm Innovcare Lifesciences Pvt Ltd, microfinance company Spandana Sphoorty Financial, vending solutions provider Vendiman Pvt Ltd and co-living spaces operator Isthara Parks Pvt Ltd.

 Dexter Capital was the financial advisor on the latest deal. 

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