WestBridge Capital bets on household appliance maker IFB
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Public markets-focussed private equity firm WestBridge Capital Partners has picked up a minority stake in a household appliances maker, its second bet on a consumer-focussed company within two months.

WestBridge bought a 1.7% stake in Mumbai-listed IFB Industries Ltd for Rs 56 crore ($8.6 million), according to a regulatory filing.

This comes after WestBridge bet on Fogg deodorant maker Vini Cosmetics Pvt. Ltd last month. WestBridge and Sequoia Capital, the existing investor in the Darshan Patel-led company, had together invested Rs 300 crore in Vini Cosmetics.

Email queries to IFB and WestBridge didn’t elicit any response till the time of filing this report.

IFB, earlier known as Indian Fine Blanks Ltd, started operations in India in 1974 in collaboration with Hienrich Schmid AG of Switzerland.

The company has two divisions—one makes fine blanked components, tools and related machine tools like straighteners and decoilers while the other makes household appliances such as microwave ovens, refrigerators and washing machines.

The company runs two manufacturing facilities, in Kolkata and Bangalore. The Bangalore factory makes rom fine blanked components as well as motors for white goods and automotive applications.

IFB posted net sales of Rs 1,740 crore for 2016-17 compared with Rs 1,500 crore the previous year.

WestBridge’s bets

The PE firm invests through both direct secondary market purchases and negotiated deals. It typically invests $10-30 million in most portfolio firms. But it has put in around $50 million in a few companies such as Vistaar Financial, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle.

Recently, it increased its exposure to tyre maker Ceat, making its single-biggest bet in the country.

Its previous single-biggest investment was in two-wheeler maker TVS Motor. Besides Ceat, it has also put more money in three other portfolio firms—Aptus Value Housing Finance, Relaxo Footwears and La Opala.

The PE firm has made several successful bets, especially in offbeat sectors, in the past. Recently, it exited tiles maker Cera Sanitaryware and trimmed its holding in Kajaria Ceramics with high returns. It also pocketed neat returns via a partial exit from Dr Lal PathLabs.

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