Even though the overall tempo in the market is tepid, mid-sized investment banker Equirus Capital has closed 13 deals worth Rs 2,500 crore in the first nine months of the year. Moreover, over the past eight years, the firm, which is a full service investment bank backed by prominent investors including Rakesh Jhunjhunwallah, has closed deals worth about USD 5 billion involving close to 90 deals across capital raising, M&As and repeat business. "We've closed 13 deals worth around Rs 2,500 crore in the first three quarter of the year, which is double the total deals we had closed in the whole of last year. These transactions include in areas like private equity fund raising, mergers and acquisitions, structured financing, and capital market services," Equirus Capital founder and managing director Ajay Garg told PTI. Garg, a veteran investment banker with 16 years of experience, started off his career with DSP Merrill Lynch in the mid-1990s where he was involved in several landmark deals. Equirus is his second entrepreneurial venture. After hitting a three-year low till the June quarter, deal volumes have picked up in the third quarter, driven by outbound deals in the pharma and oil&gas sectors, but in terms of value is still below the last year's levels. According to Garg, the year may close flat as the consumer Internet space has been sluggish after frenetic fund raising last year. The e-commerce space may end the year flat with around USD 15 billion in fund raising, while deals in the other sectors may notch up around USD 12 billion by December, he says. The 13 deals that Equirus has closed so far include the Rs 250 crore fund raising by Orient Green Power, three each debt raising deals by Karvi Financial Services and Magma Fincorp, Reliance Capital, Camlin Fine Sciences, Rs 125-crore debt raising by Poddar Developers, Prognos-Antuit merger deal, Mgage-Unicel stake sale, HAL Offshore's deal with Samec, Wonderchef Home Appliances and Shriram Ventures, among others. Garg's bullishness comes from the recent development in the roads sector where 34 new projects have been awarded and the forthcoming reforms in the power sector and the river inter-linking plans, which will all lead to a slew of fund raising activities. M&As is a good barometer of business sentiment and the news so far on this front has been downbeat with total deals sniffing at below USD 7 billion so far this year. According to Grant Thornton, the first half of the year saw an overall drop in deal value for the first time since 2012.
But this is still the second highest after China's USD 190 billion deals. The slump in M&As contrasts with the bullish global scene, led by a recovery in the US economy.