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ICICI Venture plans expansion in all verticals, new lines of biz: MD & CEO

Going forward, the alternative assets manager is also examining opportunities in the SME space

Prashant Purker 

Prashant Purker, MD & CEO, ICICI Venture
Prashant Purker, MD & CEO, ICICI Venture

The past few years have been strong for Indian alternatives on all fronts -- fundraising, investments and exits. Alternative investment funds (AIFs) received commitments worth $26 billion since 2012. The investment tally crossed $29 billion in the first nine months of 2018 and the exit tally reached $24 billion -- both record highs. This has been fuelled by AIFs, foreign funds, and strategic investors.

From ICICI Venture's perspective, the post great financial crisis (GFC) period coincided with our own evolution towards becoming a multi-strategy AIF manager with a presence across (private equity), special situations, real estate and infrastructure. Having invested $5 billion in Indian alternatives over the past 30 years across economic cycles and raised over $2.75 billion across all our verticals in the post GFC period, we are well placed to capture the opportunity.

The year 2018 marked the emergence of in the stressed and distressed investing space with the announcement of two marquee deals across two of our funds -- through (our strategic partnership with Apollo) in a joint venture with JSW and through (our strategic partnership with Tata Power). With an enterprise value of about $850 million each, these will represent two of the largest deals in our firm's history and represent the only fund-backed NPA resolutions in the large-cap space at present.

The year also witnessed our largest single exit deal till date with the announced exit transaction of our funds (and IAF4) in Star Health and Allied Insurance, which we are proud to have funded as the first investor in 2010. We supported the company in its tremendous growth journey to its current size of about $1-billion enterprise value and its emergence as India's largest retail health insurance company. Once concluded, this would be our 70th exit transaction in the post GFC period and take our exit tally to over $2 billion during this time. It would also be our eighth exit deal in the current year.

Our plans going forward include expansion across all verticals and addition of new lines of business, including our on-going expansion in private debt for affordable housing through our new fund, iREIF, as well as the next round of scale-up in AION, PE and infrastructure. We are also examining opportunities in the SME space. Our vision is to build each of our verticals into multi-billion-dollar businesses in line with our aspiration to sustain our leadership position in the Indian alternatives industry. I am hopeful that the 2019 elections will result in further impetus for positive economic reforms and provide a healthy macro-environment for our industry and the firm.

The author is MD & CEO of ICICI Venture

First Published: Wed, December 26 2018. 22:20 IST