True North eyes 40% in Royal Sundaram; KKR India realty co-head Khandelia quits

By Keshav Sunkara

  • 01 May 2018
True North eyes 40% in Royal Sundaram; KKR India realty co-head Khandelia quits
Credit: Thinkstock

Homegrown private equity firm True North and its global sponsors have made a bid of about $400 million (Rs 2,660 crore) for a 40% stake in Royal Sundaram General Insurance Company Ltd, valuing the company close to $1 billion, The Times of India reported, citing people aware of the matter.

The bid, if it materialises into a deal, could become one of the largest private-equity investments in the domestic general insurance space so far.

Other suitors include PE firm Multiples Alternate Asset Management and an investment arm of Goldman Sachs, but True North is seen as the frontrunner, according to the report.


Citing people in know, the report said Sundaram could explore an initial public offering if the ongoing talks fall through.

Royal Sundaram General Insurance is a subsidiary of Chennai-based Sundaram Finance Ltd. The company offers motor, health, personal accident, home and travel insurance to individuals. It also has insurance products for fire, marine, engineering, liability, business interruption, and more, says Royal Sundaram’s website.

In July 2015, Sundaram Finance had acquired the entire 26% equity held by joint-venture partner Royal and SunAlliance Insurance Plc. in Royal Sundaram General Insurance for Rs 450 crore ($72.25 million).


As on 31 March 2017, Sundaram Finance held a 75.9% stake in the company. The rest is with TVS Group companies and individuals.

In another development, Ashish Khandelia, the co-head of Indian real estate investments at global private equity major KKR & Co., has handed in his resignation, said Mint, citing two people aware of the development.

Khandelia plans to set up his own real estate finance business, said the first person on the condition of anonymity. Besides Khandelia, who is director of capital markets at KKR India, going by the company website, another realty executive also handed in his resignation last week. Saurabh Gupta, principal, real estate, KKR India, has put in his papers.


Khandelia, who joined KKR in 2013, previously served as an executive director and head of acquisitions for Morgan Stanley Real Estate, India. Before Morgan Stanley, Khandelia was with Kotak Investment Bank and EY (formerly Ernst & Young).

Separately, Max Life Insurance Company and Exide Life Insurance Company have been shortlisted as potential buyers for a significant stake in IDBI Federal Life Insurance Company, The Economic Times reported, citing a person aware of the development.

Their separate bids value the company at more than Rs 6,000 crore, the report added.


State-run IDBI Bank holds a 48% stake in IDBI Federal, while Kerala-based Federal Bank and Belgium’s Ageas Insurance International NV own 26%, each.

In February 2017, IDBI Bank’s board had given an in-principle approval to sell its non-core assets.

Kotak Life, Max Life Insurance, Birla Sun Life and Exide Life Insurance had submitted binding bids in April, according to the report.


JPMorgan was given the mandate to find a buyer for the life insurer, the report added.

The insurance company had started operations in March 2008. In 2016-17, the company had issued Rs 1,565 crore in total premium and posted net profit of Rs 5 crore.

In another development, debt-laden Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd has received informal interest from Greaves Cotton, Luminous Group and Microtek to acquire a controlling stake in the company, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the developments.

Su-Kam, Delhi-based maker of power back-up devices, is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings at the National Company Law Tribunal.

Su-Kam’s bankruptcy resolution professional is yet to call for expressions of interest, according to the report.

Incorporated in 1998, Su-Kam is a manufacturer of power back-up devices that include inverters, power-supply systems for home and commercial use, and batteries.

Su-Kam owes about Rs 370 crore to lenders, according to the report.

In 2006, Reliance India Power Fund had acquired 20% stake in the company for Rs 45 crore. The fund is sponsored by Reliance Group and Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings.

Separately, Casa Grande Distripark Pvt. Ltd, which builds and operates multi-product warehousing and industrial parks, is in talks to raise about $100 million from Logos India, a logistics investment platform, Mint reported, citing two people aware of the development.

Casa Grande Distripark is promoted by Chennai-based developer Casagrand Builder Pvt. Ltd, while Logos India is a partnership between real estate developers Logos Group and Assetz Property Group.

Casa Grande Distripark owns warehousing space, developed and under-developed, of around 1.5 million square feet, the report said.

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