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Carlyle may rope in ex-Apax India head

Reghu Balakrishnan  |  Mumbai 

Private equity (PE) giants are busy trying to fill the top deck of their Indian wings. After Temasek appointed investment banker Promeet Ghosh as managing director for India, the US-based Carlyle is in the process of appointing another MD for its India operation.

According to sources, Carlyle is likely to bring Neeraj Bharadwaj, a veteran with more than a decade of experience in the sector, for its Mumbai office. A former India head of Apax Partners, he’d left the company in 2009 to join Accel Partners. During his tenure, Apax made one of its largest investments in India, by acquiring about 15 per cent stake in Apollo Hospitals.

Before coming into India, he was a partner with Apax in the US, with a focus on the technology segment. Prior to Apax, he’d worked with McKinsey & Co, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Mails to Carlyle’s spokesperson and to Bharadwaj did not elicit any response.

Currently, Carlyle has two MDs in its India office in Mumbai, Shankar Narayanan (Asia Growth Fund) and Devinjit Singh (Asia Buyout Fund), former mergers and acquisitions head of Citi India, who joined Carlyle in 2008. Carlyle had seen the exit of MD and India head of its buyout fund, Rajeev Gupta, in January 2011.

Carlyle, an active investor in India, is investing in India from its Asia Growth Fund. It has large exposure to Indian financial services space, with major investments in India Infoline, Edelweiss Financial Services and South Indian Bank. In 2007, Carlyle made its largest investment in India from its Asia buyout fund by purchasing about 5.6 per cent in leading mortgage lender HDFC, for $650 million.

Meanwhile, top positions at Indian offices of other global PE majors would remain vacant for a while, as veterans leave high-salaried posts to pursue fund raising options. Promeet Ghosh was appointed at Temasek India after the exit of its India head, Manish Kejriwal, in September last year. Another MD, Padmanabh Sinha, had quit in January last year.

General Atlantic’s Mumbai office is run by a single MD, Ranjit Pandit. GA, which saw the exit of another MD, Suneesh Sharma (he joined Manish Kejriwal to float Kedaara Capital), and the transfer of another MD, Abhay Havaldar, could not find a candidate for the post in India. Warburg Pincus, which has seen the exits of MDs Rajesh Khanna and Leo Puri, could not fill these posts in the past two years.

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First Published: Mon, June 11 2012. 00:19 IST