Capital International’s private equity arm has invested Rs 330 crore or $74 million in a pre-IPO round of funding of L&T Finance Holdings Ltd, the group’s financial services holding company. L&T Finance filed its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with market regulator SEBI in March this year, looking to raise Rs 1,750 crore through a public offering.

L&T Finance, a 99.9 per cent subsidiary of construction and engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T), has placed six crore shares with Capital International unit at Rs 55 per scrip, the company has said in a filing. The firm has said in its DRHP that it is looking to raise up to Rs 400 crore through the placement of the six crore shares.

At this share price, L&T Finance Holdings will have pre-money valuation of Rs 7,793 crore and post-money valuation of Rs 9,543 crore (considering the remaining Rs 1,420 crore will be raised at the same price). But the issue is likely to come at a premium to this price.

Capital International’s PE arm has invested in Indian companies like MindTree (exited at a profit in 2009), Multi-Screen Media and Manipal Universal Learning, among others.

Several infrastructure financing companies have raised funding in the past as private equity looks to make an indirect bet on this space. Last year, Infrastructure Development Finance Co (IDFC) raised Rs 840 crore from Actis and an investment arm of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah. Energy finance firm PTC Financial Services, which was listed earlier this year, was also backed by Goldman Sachs and Macquarie.

In addition, factors like a diversified loan book, a corporate brand name and being a front-runner for banking licence might make L&T Finance Holdings an attractive bet.

Formerly known as L&T Capital Holdings Ltd, L&T Finance Holdings is the holding company for L&T Infrastructure Finance Company (infrastructure financing business), L&T Finance (it operates the retail and corporate finance business) and L&T Investment Management (the mutual fund business acquired from DBS Cholamandalam, which comes under L&T Finance). The firm also plans to start providing non-asset-backed financing through India Infrastructure Developers Ltd, where it has infused Rs 45 crore in March this year.

L&T Capital Holdings also owns 5 per cent stake in Federal Bank Ltd and City Union Bank Ltd. It also holds 8.9 per cent stake in Invent Asset Reconstruction Company and 30 per cent in NAC Infrastructure & Equipment Ltd, which provides equipment leasing and financing for equipment acquisition.

L&T Finance Holdings had a total income of Rs 1,423 crore and a net profit of Rs 263 crore in FY10. For the six-month period ending September 30, 2010, it had a total income of Rs 958 crore, with a net profit of Rs 203.5 crore.

From the issue proceeds, L&T Finance Holdings plans to use Rs 345 crore to repay an inter-corporate deposit to its promoter group. It also plans to infuse Rs 570 crore in L&T Finance and Rs 535 crore in L&T Infrastructure Finance Company.

JM Financial Consultants, Citigroup Global Markets and HSBC Securities are the joint global co-ordinators and the book-running lead managers (BRLM) to the issue. Credit Suisse Securities and Barclays Securities are the BRLMs while Equirus Capital is the co-BRLM.

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