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PremjiInvest bets on float glass maker Gold Plus
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PremjiInvest, the family investment arm of Wipro Ltd chairman Azim Premji, has invested Rs 400 crore ($58 million) in domestic float glass manufacturer Gold Plus Glass Industry Ltd.

Gold Plus will use the capital to fuel its expansion plans, it said in a statement. The company plans to invest about Rs 2,000 crore to add two new float glass facilities in the country.

“The investment from PremjiInvest will help us accelerate our expansion plans and also enable us to increase our market share,” said Gold Plus founder Subhash Tyagi.

Gold Plus operates two float glass manufacturing facilities with a combined installed capacity of 4,27,000 tonnes a year. The investment from PremjiInvest will help the company increase its annual capacity by 7,30,000 tonnes.

Gold Plus operates its sole factory at Roorkee in Uttarakhand. It also operates two processing units in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for value-added glasses such as toughened, laminated, insulating, ceramic printed, acoustic, bulletproof and automotive glass. Gold Plus, through its processing units, claims to have executed several turnkey projects in India, Nepal, Bhutan, the UK and Qatar.

The company generated net sales of Rs 479.9 crore for the fiscal year 2016-17 as against Rs 479.6 crore the year before. It swung to a net loss of Rs 7.4 crore for 2016-17 from a net profit of Rs 41.4 crore the year before, as per VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle.

Altamount Capital Management acted as the financial adviser to Gold Plus for the transaction.

PremjiInvest’s other bets
The investment firm recently picked up a stake in Future Retail Ltd in its single-biggest bet to date, almost a decade after it burnt its hands in the retail sector with supermarket chain Subhiksha.

PremjiInvest has been an active investor in the retail sector, with stakes in e-commerce firm Snapdeal, eyewear retailer Lenskart Solutions Pvt. Ltd and speciality retailer Fabindia Overseas Pvt. Ltd.

It had also bought a stake in Myntra in 2014, but the fashion e-tailer was acquired by Flipkart a few months later. This gave PremjiInvest a stake in Flipkart, which is now being acquired by US-based Walmart Inc.

Before Future Retail, its single-biggest bet was the purchase of a 4% stake in ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co Ltd for Rs 1,300 crore ($197 million).

Its other large bets include investments in educational and training services company Manipal Global Education, diversified financial services firm Aditya Birla Capital Ltd and the National Stock Exchange.

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