Ranjeet Nabha, who leads the Indian operations of billionaire Wilbur Ross, whose stock-in-trade was investing in distressed assets and selling them for a substantial profit, is understood to have quit from the post of Managing Director of WL Ross in India, sources familiar with the development told VCCircle.
Neither Nabha nor the company was immediately available for comment. An e-mail query to Nabha went unanswered at the time of publishing this story.
Mike Gibbons, Managing Director of WL Ross LLP, didn’t answer calls from VC Circle and an e-mail sent to him didn’t elicit any responses till the time of posting this story.
Ranjeet Nabha is a Dartmouth MBA who had been a vice-president at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and later CEO of a software company before joining Wilbur Ross as the Managing Director of a $300-million India-focussed fund. Apart from Nabha and Ross, Surya Mahadev is also a director of the fund.
Wilbur Ross recently exited from India’s low-cost airline Spice Jet after selling 30% stake for a price of $127 million (Rs 5.9 billion) to Sun Group promoter Kalanithi Maran’s Kal Airways Pvt Ltd.
Ross entered SpiceJet in July 2008 at Rs 27 a share and cashed out at Rs 47.25, which is normally considered as a highly profitable game. But considering the history of Ross, his investors are normally used to five-fold profits.
After exiting SpiceJet, Ross didn’t make any investments in India. But, following Sanjay Aggarwal’s (ex-CEO of SpiceJet considered to be very close to Ross) move to join Kingfisher Airlines, there are market speculations that Ross may invest in the debt-ridden airline promoted by liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
WL Ross started its India journey in 2006 by acquiring textile firm OCM India Ltd, known for its tweed and jacket suitings, for $37 million in cash. A few months ago, there were rumours about WL Ross investing around Rs 400 crore in Hyderabad-based unlisted firm Vijai Electricals Ltd, which makes power and distribution transformers.
In August 2009, WL Ross & Co had picked up 1.84 million ADRs of Satyam (now rechristened as Mahindra Satyam) from the NYSE Euronext for Rs 22.4 crore or $4.6 million at an average price of $2.5 a share or Rs 120 per share. This is six times what it had bid (Rs 20 per share) during the actual auction for Satyam early last year. However, it was easily outbid by Tech Mahindra who offered Rs 58 per share, eventually winning control of the company.