Religare Enterprises has acquired a 40 per cent stake in Mauritius-based asset manager IPRO, which will give the New Delhi based diversified financial services group access access to sub-Saharan African markets. IPRO manages about $300 million in assets.

The Mauritius-headquartered asset manager manages IPRO Growth Fund, an authorised mutual fund listed on the stock exchange of Mauritius since December, 2000. The fund pools money from investors and invests the money across a diversified basket of local equities and foreign funds. It is also in the business of portfolio management for its clients.

"We would not like to offer a comment on this", a Religare spokesperson said in an email in response to a query confirming the development.

Religare Enterprises, a $1.5 billion enterprise founded by the family of billionaire brothers Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh, operates across multiple sectors including brokerage, lending, investment banking and asset management business. The firm which has been consistently making acquisitions in various parts of the world, and is looking at building a strong emerging markets asset management franchise.

In December last year, Religare acquired 55 per cent stake in the US-based Landmark Partners, a private equity and real estate fund-of-funds asset manager focused on secondary transactions, for a consideration of $171.5 million. This was the second acquisition for Religare in the USA, which has previously mopped up a majority stake in the US-based Northgate Capital LLC, a private equity and venture capital firm which manages about $3 billion in assets for over 400 institutional and high net worth families and individuals.

The financial services company is creating a multi-discipline affiliate structure for its global asset management business. It is bringing asset managers with differentiating strategies on to its platform and helping its affiliates get access to emerging market alpha and also look at capital introduction from new markets.

Apart from ramping up its alternate asset management business, Religare Capital Markets (RCML), the investment banking and institutional securities arm of Religare Enterprises, acquired the UK operations of Barnard Jacobs Mellet (BJM UK) in 2010. RCML also acquired Central Joint Enterprises (Aviate Global, Asia), the Hong Kong-based Ideas-led research platform. In September, 2010, Religare also acquired a 50 per cent stake in leading Sri Lankan stock broking firm Bartleet Mallory Stock Brokers. The financial services firm is also eyeing a banking licence in India.

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