Religare Private Equity is in the process of setting up an Asia fund of funds (which commits capital to other private equity funds and not directly into companies). The Delhi-based private equity group, which is owned by the Singhs (formerly promoters of Ranbaxy Labs), will invest in funds that invest across all stages: early stage venture capital, growth equity and buyouts. It will also invest in funds in funds focusing on infrastructure and distressed assets. The size of the fund of funds is not known.
When contacted, a Religare Enterprises Ltd spokesperson declined to comment.
Religare has also roped in the entire Delhi-based team of Dubai-based fund of funds Evolvence Capital. Paresh Thakkar, the former India head of Evolvence Capital, has moved to Religare to steer the fund of funds. Others who moved from Evolvence Delhi include Gautam Kainth, who has joined Religare as Vice President (Investments).
According to sources, Religare's will be an Asia fund of funds platform that will cover primary and secondary fund investments and co-investments. This will be among the first few pure-play Indian fund of funds. ICICI Bank had talked about raising a fund of funds with a focus on infrastructure earlier, but there has not been much progress on that front.
Religare joins Indian institution IDFC, which launched a $500-million fund of funds focusing on emerging markets earlier this year. There are several foreign fund of funds present in India which include Guggenheim (which acquired the India fund interests of Thomas Weisel International) and Rho Funds.
The Singhs of Ranbaxy had last year sold Ranbaxy Laboratries to Japan's Daiichi Sankyo for about Rs 10,000 crore. Post the sale, the Delhi-based family has been focusing on other businesses such as Religare Enterprises Ltd, a financial services company, and Fortis Healthcare, a chain of hospitals.
Religare has also formed a private equity fund in partnership with Milestone. India Build-Out Fund 1 of Milestone Religare is targeting a Rs 600-crore private equity fund, a part of which has been raised. It has also invested Rs 60 crore in Hyderabad-based Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences Limited (KIMS) and Rs 25 crore in test preparation firm IMS Learning Resources Pvt Ltd. It also runs Vistaar Religare Film Fund, where Religare picked up a majority stake in the management unit Vistaar Religare Capital Advisors Ltd.