Privately held Siesta Group, started by first generation entrepreneur Ashok Chattaraj in 2006, has struck its second private equity/venture capital fund raising activity in the last two years. The group’s three-year-old logistics services firm Siesta Logistics Corporation Limited has raised $10 million from Ashmore Alchemy India, a joint venture between Alchemy Partners LLP and Ashmore Investments (UK).

The Bangalore-headquartered firm is engaged in activities such as transportation, freight forwarding, port and cargo services, etc and boasts of a client list including names such as Schneider Electric, Airbus, Fujitsu, ITC, UB Group, Philips, Parle Agro, Lakhani, Lilliput, Videocon, Shiv-Vani Oil, Thermax Industries, Everest Industries, Jubilant Organosys among others.

Ashok Chattaraj, chairman and managing director, Siesta Group said, “The sustained growth in Indian industry, from manufacturing and retail to farming and technology, is creating an increasing need for seamless logistics solutions.” A post graduate in personnel management and industrial relations besides an academic background in engineering and accountancy, Chattaraj had worked in human resource field in firms like ITC, ICICI and Bata India before venturing out to set up his own business in February 2006.

Kiran Salunke, managing director, Siesta Logistics said, “The minority stake investment by Ashmore Alchemy will be utilised to increase our global reach and service capabilities across the global logistics hub.”

Siesta Logistics was in news early this year when it challenged the acquisition of three Hong Kong-based firms by competitor Aqua Logistics Ltd arguing that it (Siesta Logistics) had signed an exclusive “transition agreement” with the companies before the deal struck by Aqua.

Aqua Logistics, a firm that recently went public, had entered into an agreement to acquire three logistics companies—CIT Logistics Ltd, TAG Logistics Ltd and AGI Logistics Ltd. It planned to initially acquire a 60% stake in the firms for $7.09 million. Siesta had said it had offered less than what Aqua was paying.

The Siesta Group is a diversified conglomerate with interests in hospitality, fine dining, speciality retail, agri business and logistics. Last year, in one of its most active investment year, VC firm Matrix Partners India had put $10 million in Siesta Hospitality Services Limited. Another privately held firm of the group, Siesta Hospitality is engaged in the business of transit apartments for corporate accommodation. It is also looking to go ahead and set up its own hotels from its existing asset light business model and is reportedly also looking at a public issue within the next two years.

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