DSA Summit: Despite challenges, India is on global PE investors’ must-have list

Asia PE-VC Summit 2017: Getting PE right in India and crossing the exit barrier

Love it or hate it but definitely can’t ignore it–such is the case with India for global investors. While the list of challenges maybe daunting, however the stable high growth makes India one of the most attractive places to invest in, according to the panelists at DEALSTREETASIA‘s PE-VC SUMMIT 2017 held in Singapore last week.

“In India it does take longer to get things done as compared to other markets, it takes longer to make a deal, it takes longer to exit. But it’s not very different from other Asian markets, where the challenges are quite similar,” said Verlinvest investment associate Arjun Anand.

“Overall if you’re looking at stable growth, high growth, India is a must-have on your portfolio list, be it pension funds endowment funds, family offices, everyone has India on their must-have list,” he added.

In the first six months of 2017, total PE/VC investments, buoyed by strong PE activity, jumped to a record $11.34 billion, beating the previous high of $10 billion in H2 of 2007.

Exits continue to top the list of concerns for investors in India. From an exit standpoint, India has more to prove than China, said Raj Shastri, Partner at Kaizen Private Equity.

However, the last couple of years have shown a turnaround with record number of exits in the last two years, giving investors a boost of confidence. According to a report, private equity firms in India returned more than $10 billion to their investors in exits in 2016.

“If you do a good deal, the exits will come, most of the time the problem is that you did not do a good deal in the first place,” said Vishal Kumar, Managing Director at Xander Investment Management.

All exit options such as strategic sales, secondary deals to other private equity managers and IPOs remained robust over the last couple of years. In fact, recent reports  indicate that Indian initial public offerings are headed for a record year.

“In today’s market probably IPOs have done better. We are seeing public markets starting to open up, which is a big positive for the overall Indian private equity space,” said Gaurav Ahuja, Managing Director at ChrysCapital, which has has made close to 80 investments in India and 60 full exits.

Even though India has emerged as one of the most attractive destinations for investments, panelists unanimously agreed that ease of doing business was and continues to be still an issue in India, and there was a need for further ease in regulations and rationalisation in valuations.

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