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Motilal Oswal PE-InvAscent consortium buys out Actis from Symbiotec
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A consortium of mid-market private equity firms InvAscent and Motilal Oswal PE has bought British PE firm Actis' entire stake of around 70% in bulk-drugs maker Symbiotec Pharmalab Pvt. Ltd.

The sector-agnostic Motilal Oswal PE invested through its third fund while the healthcare-focussed InvAscent invested through its arm Rosewood Investments, Symbiotec and Motilal said in a joint statement. The deal also involves a primary infusion of funds for Symbiotec's expansion, the statement said, without disclosing financial details.

A person familiar with the development told VCCircle that the deal size is pegged around $100 million (Rs 700 crore). VCCircle had first reported on the transaction in September.

Symbiotec managing director Anil Satwani said the company is at an “inflection point" as it has largely backward-integrated its bulk-drugs business and is on the cusp of launching its own formulations in the US.

Vishal Tulsyan, managing director and CEO of Motilal Oswal Private Equity, said that pharmaceuticals is one of the PE firm's focus sectors and that it will continue to look for attractive investment opportunities in the segment.

Symbiotec

The Indore-based company is engaged in the development, production and marketing of research-based cortico steroids and steroid-hormone active pharmaceutical ingredients, or bulk drugs.

The company had first raised external funding of $9.5 million from Franklin Templeton Private Equity Strategy in 2011. In 2013, Actis had invested $55.14 million, paving the way for the exit of Franklin, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle.

The drugmaker nearly doubled its net sales between 2013-14 and 2016-17 while its profit after tax grew nearly eight times during the period.

For the year through March 2017, the company reported a profit after tax of Rs 56.8 crore on net sales of Rs 437.7 crore, according to VCCEdge.

Several investment firms have been chasing deals in the API segment, indicating a revival.

Glenmark is believed to be hiving off its API business to investors, according to multiple media reports.

Last month, Glenmark agreed to sell its orthopaedic and pain management business in India and Nepal to private equity firm True North, which is also believed to be interested in the API business. 

VCCircle previously reported that BDR Pharma was also looking to bring on board investors for its API business.

Investors

Motilal Oswal Private Equity had finished raising capital for its third sector-agnostic fund, India Business Excellence Fund-III, at over Rs 2,300 crore ($320 million) in October.

The third fund's other investments include Gujarat-based MAS Financial Services, a non-bank lender; Mysuru-based N. Ranga Rao & Sons Pvt. Ltd, India's largest maker of incense sticks; and Ludhiana-based Happy Forging Ltd, one of the largest crankshaft manufacturers in India.

InvAscent is raising its third healhcare-focussed fund. By November, it had raised $224 million (Rs 1,584 crore) from 25 investors, according to a regulatory filing.

InvAscent's third fund will follow the same investment strategy as the previous two funds. The firm provides growth capital to companies in the Indian pharmaceutical, healthcare and med-tech industries. The typical investment is $10-40 million for a significant minority stake.

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