WestBridge invests $16M in housing finance company Aptus Value

Private equity investor WestBridge Capital Partners has closed its Rs 98 crore (around $16 million) investment in equity in Chennai-based affordable housing finance company Aptus Value Housing Finance, according to a press release. The investment was made through its WestBridge Crossover Fund.

The Chennai-based firm would utilise the proceeds from the latest round of fundraising to augment its presence and expand its existing portfolio. The company currently operates through its 40 branches in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Founded by M Anandan, who spent three decades with Murugappa group before turning an entrepreneur in 2010, Aptus Value Housing provides housing finance needs of self employed customers, belonging to middle income, primarily from semi urban and rural markets in the range of Rs 3-15 lakh.

“Aptus aims to build a highly respected and market leading financial services franchise focused on serving the financial needs of affordable housing, which is fast emerging as a large and essential financial inclusion mechanism,” Anandan said in the statement.

The company is now looking to increase its loan portfolio of Rs 320 crore to over Rs 2,000 crore over the next four years.

“Affordable housing finance is a very large market, and essential for broader financial inclusion. We believe Aptus with its very strong leadership and credit culture, will emerge as a market leader in this segment,” KP Balaraj, managing director, WestBridge Capital India Advisors, said.

Existing investors of Aptus include Caspian managed India Financial Inclusion Fund and Granite Hill India, which held 15 per cent each in the company before the latest transaction.

In May, WestBridge had invested Rs 160 crore in the Bangalore-based NBFC Vistaar Financial Services, along with other private equity investors and also has been one of the early investors in SKS Microfinance.

Affordable housing developers and firms who finance sale of such properties has been attracting private capital. Last year, urban lower income-focused housing finance company, Micro Housing Finance Corporation (MHFC) raised Rs 35 crore ($5.4 million) in new equity funding from existing investors including the India Financial Inclusion Fund (IFIF) and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) besides adding a new investor Unilazer Ventures Pvt Ltd, the personal investment vehicle of Ronnie Screwvala.

Early this month IFC, the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, said it may lend up to $30 million (over Rs 180 crore) to the civil construction and real estate major Shapoorji Pallonji & Company Ltd (SPCL) for the development of affordable housing projects. SPCL is mulling an investment of $200 million to establish a platform that will develop 15-17 million square feet of affordable housing projects across India over the next eight years.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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