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Rakesh Jhunjhunwala to trim companies in his portfolio

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Ace investor intends to reduce the number of companies in his portfolio to a third over the next two or three years, to reduce risk.

“I have decided to trim my portfolio. Suppose, I have investments in 20 companies. I want to retain only seven,” he said today at the Legal Era Private Equity Forum, 2012.

According to Bloomberg data, Jhunjhunwala has holdings in 29 companies in the listed space, with a cumulative valuation of about Rs 3,700 crore. Some of the top investments include Titan Industries, CRISIL, Lupin, Karur Vysya Bank, and A2Z Maintenance.

Apart from these, Jhunjunwala, often referred to as India’s Warren Buffett, has investments in several unlisted companies.

The 52-year-old investor said, “I disinvested one deal in April and I am working on two-three deals, which I will liquidate soon.”

Jhunjhunwala, however, did not specific whether he referred to his portfolio of both listed and unlisted companies. He also said he wants to limit his risk appetite and wants to do deals only in the range of Rs 25-100 crore.

The billionaire investor said despite getting about five to seven investment proposals every month, he hasn’t done a private equity (PE) deal since 2009. “Most of my money, since 2009, have been put into the listed space, as valuations have been attractive,” he said.

Jhunjhunwala said it’s a good time to invest in companies, as the market is depressed and it’s difficult for promoters to raise capital from listing. The famed investor said he regrets having missed a number of good investing opportunities.

“It will be written on my grave that Jhunjhunwala, who was said to be a smart investor, never bought TCS, Wipro or Infosys in his life,” he quipped.

Jhunjhunwala has decided not to invest in start-ups anymore, due to the high gestation period. He also said his mind has tilting more towards investing in listed companies, as exiting PE investments is a ‘big headache’. Investing in the unlisted space was quite time-consuming, he said.

“About 15 per cent of my portfolio is in unlisted equities, but they take up 85 per cent of my time,” he pointed out. Defending the government on the General Anti-Avoidance Rule proposal, Jhunjunwala said the Centre was right in taxing entities which had come through the Mauritius route, with just a post office number.

“I think the law and what the government intends to do are right but the methodology is not clear. Second, I don’t know how far the government is correct in imposing the laws retrospectively,” he said.

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