India's agriculture space continues to attract deal action. Summit Partners, a US private equity fund with $11-billion assets under management, has made its debut in India with a $30-million investment in Krishidhan Seeds Ltd (KSL), a commercial seeds manufacturer based in Maharashtra. Summit Partners will be taking a minority stake in the seeds firm. KSL plans to utilise the fund for research and development, technology and product-related acquisitions, international expansion, and other infrastructural development activities. Following the investment, Amit Chaturvedy of Summit Partners will join the Krishidhan board as director. 

KSL develops, produces and distributes proprietary hybrid seeds of cotton and rice. It claims a pan-India presence and offers a diversified portfolio of over 120 products including field crops, vegetable seeds and crop nutrition. It has over 30,000 seed growers under its fold, and has a strong distribution network, with about 1,600 distributors and 25,000 retailers throughout the country, a press statement said.

It has reported consolidated revenues of Rs 279 crore (about $61 million) for the year ended September 2009, and is expecting over Rs 400 crore (about $88 million) for the current financial year.

Sushil Karwa, managing director, Krishidhan Seeds, said, in the statement, “the funding will help us to achieve the next phase of development for our company. We are committed to sustainable agriculture with the next generation in mind.” 

Amit Chaturvedy, vice president, Summit Partners, said, “India is one of the major agrarian economies of the world, with a growing population and rising per capita income that have placed significant pressure on its agricultural productivity. Krishidhan’s research-driven products increase farm productivity and offer Indian farmers a strong value proposition.”

Summit Partners, which has been in private equity play for the last 25 years, has invested in high growth companies across US and Europe such as McAfee, E-TEK Dynamics, FleetCor Technologies, Hittite Microwave Corporation and Keystone RV Company.

The agri space in India has seen some interesting PE/VC deals recently. Rabo Equity Advisors has invested $10 million in The Global Green Company Ltd, a group company of diversified Avantha Group last month. Mauritius-based private equity firm Nine Rivers Capital has invested $7 million in Global AgriSystem Pvt Ltd, a Delhi-based agribusiness firm engaged in fruits & vegetables supply chain. Prior to that, Subhkam Ventures invested in Nagarjuna Agri Tech, a Hyderabad-based floriculture company.  

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