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Pacific Alliance Group Buys Fortress Capital-Backed NBFC

22 November, 2010

Hong Kong-based alternative investment manager Pacific Alliance Group has acquired non deposit taking non-banking finance company Asia Pragati Capfin Pvt Ltd from listed private equity and hedge fund firm Fortress Investment Group, that now manages assets earlier controlled by DB Zwirn. The transaction value is believed to be Rs 130 crore, sources said.

Asia Pragati has a suite of products and services covering corporate finance, advisory & consultancy and microfinance. Its activities include debt and equity syndication besides venture capital and it specialises in high yield debt, special situation financing, VC funding and stressed assets management for companies.

Cogence Advisors, a Delhi-based investment bank, was the sole investment advisor for the transaction.

Founded in 1995 as Pragati Capfin Ltd, it received a certificate for operating as a NBFC in 1999 and underwent a change in ownership and management in October 2007. The Delhi-based firm started its operations in corporate lending in January 2008.

It is currently led by its managing director A Ramesh Kumar, a former banker with SBI, India’s largest lender, who earlier headed all international offices and subsidiaries of the state-controlled bank besides running operations of SBI’s western region.

The exit by Fortress is part of its winding down of investment portfolios. Fortress had replaced DB Zwirn & Co., L.P. as the manager of DB Zwirn’s funds and accounts representing assets worth around $2 billion last year. The fund was renamed as Fortress Value Recovery Funds I from DB Zwirn Special Opportunities Fund.

This followed DB Zwirn, which was hit by disclosures of improper accounting two years ago and was liquidated. DB Zwirn’s investments in India include telecom tower company Quippo Telecom Infrastructure Ltd and Chennai-based NBFC Dhandapani Finance.

This also puts on the spot the future of public listed Dhandapani Finance that has been making losses for the last four years. The company, in which Fortress now owns over 50% stake, has been trading as a penny stock.

For Pacific Alliance Group, the deal will give a niche presence in Indian financial market. Founded in 2002, Pacific Alliance Group manages funds covering private equity, hedge fund and distressed assets besides real estate. Its investors include institutions from Europe, US and Asia. The firm has over 140 staff across offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.


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Pacific Alliance Group Buys Fortress Capital-Backed NBFC

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