Nalanda Capital has hiked its holding in steel tubes and pipes maker Ratnamani Metals beyond 5%. The Singapore-based firm, that invests in listed Indian companies, has been slowly building its exposure in Ratnamani since early this year which shows the private equity firm is going long on the stock.

Nalanda had been gradually increasing its stake in Ratnamani and figured among those with over 1% stake starting quarter ended June’10. As of June 30 it had 1.24% stake that went up to 3% as of September 30. With small tranche of share purchases including the latest round last week, Nalanda now holds 5.06% in the company.

Ratnamani that grew its business size ten-fold between 2003 and 2008 has seen its financials affected by the momentary slowdown that affected India Inc and specially the petrochemical industry over the last two years. For the year ended March’10, the firm had revenues of Rs 852 crore with net profit of Rs 81 crore.

Investments in Ratnamani marks yet another portfolio firm in which Nalanda Capital, the $400-million fund headed by former Warburg Pincus India MD Pulak Prasad, is putting in more money.

Nalanda Capital had recently increased its holding in power transformer maker Voltamp Transformers Ltd through market purchase of shares since mid-October for Rs 26 crore ($5.8 million). It took an exposure in Voltamp between April-June quarter (arguably around the same time as its initial investment in Ratnamani) and held 1.6% stake as of June 30, but has continued buying since then. With the latest deal, Nalanda India Fund has upped its holding by 2.8% to 8.75%, as per a disclosure.

This came soon after Nalanda increased its holding in mid-sized IT services firm MindTree by 1.7% to 8.4% through open market transactions, taking its total exposure in the company to over Rs 157 crore ($35 million).

More recently, Nalanda had acquired 1.4% stake in Ahluwalia Contracts (India) Ltd for Rs 12.3 crore ($2.7 million), its first real estate-cum-construction sector exposure.

Nalanda, that also has investments in companies such as Berger Paints, Carborundum Universal, Kewal Kiran Clothing Ltd, Kirloskar Oil Engines, Mastek, Page Industries, Vaibhav Gems, Triveni Engineering and WNS, had early this year exited Chennai-based broadcaster Sun TV Network Ltd with 2.5x returns on its 14-month-old investment in Kalanithi Maran-owned Sun TV. It also part exited its investment with a multibagger from Kirloskar Oil Engines with an estimated return of around 4x in less than two years.

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