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Multiples PE to float new housing finance company

Former ICICI Venture CEO Renuka Ramnath-led private equity firm Multiples Alternate Asset Management Pvt Ltd is looking to float a new housing finance company from its recently launched second fund.

The proposed company will target the urban lower-middle-class category in metros and small cities and is seeking approvals and hiring people.

“Urban less-banked middle-class and self earning people have limited access to housing finance from conventional banks. This company will fulfil that need. An ace team of industry professionals is gathered to take up this initiative,” Prakash Nene, managing director and chief financial officer at Multiples, said.

Mint, which first reported the news, added that the PE firm is making an initial investment of Rs 100 crore in the venture.

Multiples PE had earlier backed two firms in the financial services space including Murugappa Group's NBFC Cholamandalam Investment & Finance Company, which also offers home loans besides others products. The PE firm had exited South Indian Bank early this year.

Multiples' portfolio firms include multiplex company PVR, e-tailing focused logistics company Delhivery, textiles major Arvind and Indian Energy Exchange.

Multiples had raised its maiden $405 million fund in 2011 wherein Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Dutch pension fund PGGM, UK’s CDC Group and pension and sovereign funds from Europe and West Asia were the anchor investors.

The PE firm had made first close of its second fund in April raising $376 million in the process from overseas investors. It is targeting to raise $600 million, which will be invested across consumer, financial services and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Major players in the sector include HDFC, SBI, ICICI Bank, Indiabulls Housing Finance and Dewan Housing Finance.

More players are entering the business with Temasek's non-banking finance company Fullerton India Credit Co Ltd announcing plans to launch a new housing finance company with an initial investment of Rs 100 crore. The company has also applied to the National Housing Bank for a licence to set up the proposed arm.

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