Wolfensohn completes Repco exit with 2x

Emerging markets-focused private equity firm Wolfensohn Capital Partners has completed its exit from its little over one-year-old investment in Repco Home Finance with 2x returns.

Early this week it sold 5.5 per cent stake to a clutch of institutional investors for Rs 112 crore ($19 million). On Thursday it sold its remaining 4.5 per cent holding for 88.7 crore ($14.7 million). Some of the shares were picked by Government Pension Fund Global, the sovereign wealth fund of Norway.

Wolfensohn had come in as a pre-IPO investor buying stake in the Chennai-based housing finance company through a secondary transaction with early investor Carlyle.

Wolfensohn had acquired the shares for around Rs 95 crore and held 13.3 per cent in Repco before its public issue, which was completed in March last year. Post IPO it held around 10 per cent in the company.

Wolfensohn Capital Partners is part of Wolfensohn Fund Management, L.P, which has offices in New York, London and New Delhi. Founded by former World Bank president James D Wolfensohn, it focuses on investing in the financial services sector.

Since its inception in 2008, the firm has invested in a range of businesses located throughout the developing world, including banking institutions, stock exchanges, asset managers, microfinance and other businesses providing inclusive financial services. Individual investments have ranged from $5 million to over $30 million.

In India it has also invested in microfinance firm Ujjivan, DCB Bank, Fabindia and National Stock Exchange. It had previously exited its investment in ethnic apparel, food and accessories retailer Fabindia by selling to L Capital. It had registered over 2x returns in that transaction, too. However, that was over a much longer investment holding period of around four-five years. The part exit from Repco has come in a record time.

Repco, which was listed on April 1, 2013, had a poor debut ending the first day below its issue price of Rs 172. However, it has almost doubled since then.

The firm also counts PE investors Carlyle and Creador among its shareholders. Creador had also picked shares from Carlyle at the same time as Wolfensohn.

The Carlyle Group invested a little over Rs 108 crore in Repco between 2007 and 2009, through primary and secondary purchases of 49.7 per cent stake. It had sold some stake in a secondary deal right before the IPO and has been holding on to the remaining 17.74 per cent stake. This is currently worth around 7x its principal value.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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