Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, has agreed to acquire a significant equity stake in Ecom Express Pvt. Ltd, in a deal that will make it an equal shareholder along with existing investor Warburg Pincus.
CDC Group, the UK's development finance institution, and Ecom's founders will hold the remainding stake in the Indian company, according to a press statement.
Partners Group is investing $250 million (about Rs 1,840 crore) to acquire the stake in the company that provides technology-enabled logistics services to the Indian e-commerce industry, the statement said.
The Switzerland-based investment firm is buying the stake from American private equity firm Warburg Pincus, according to a person familiar with the development, who asked not to be named.
Partners Group said it will work with Ecom's co-founder and chief executive TA Krishnan and existing investors, in supporting growth by way of investment in automation, data sciences and technology.
Another area of focus will be expanding Ecom’s product offerings in express logistics and fulfilment services, it said.
“As the market expands, investing in and developing our operations and customer satisfaction will be key to maintaining our market-leading position,” Krishnan said.
Founded in 2012, Ecom provides logistics services in over 2,650 towns across 27,000 pin codes in India, and covers over 95% of the nation’s population, the company said.
"Higher levels of disposable income, wide-spread urbanisation and changing consumer behaviour are accelerating the growth trajectory of e-commerce in India, a trend that has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Vageesh Gupta, member of management, private equity Asia, Partners Group, said, adding that Ecom had the distribution network to capitalise on this trend.
Partners Group’s last investments in India were in 2018 when it made back-to-back investments in Vishal Mega Mart (alongside Kedaara Capital) and bought a majority stake in GlobalLogic Inc, a software research and development services provider.
In India, Partners Group made its first investment in 2013 when it acquired a majority stake in CSS Corp through a $270 million leveraged buyout. The firm set up its India office in 2014 and had been looking to ramp up its investments in the country.
Its investment in Ecom comes on the heels of a windfall Partners Group made in September via a partial stake sale in an Indian lender.