responsAbility to increase equity exposure in India

N Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on January 20, 2018

Anand Chandani, Regional Director - Asia-Pacific, responsAbility Investments   -  N Ramakrishnan

The asset manager has so far invested about $250 m, most of it through debt

responsAbility, a Zurich-headquartered asset manager specialising in development investments, is looking to increase its equity exposure in companies in India.

“We have invested a fairly small portion (through equity in India), but we are also looking to increase the equity exposure,” says Anand Chandani, Regional Director - Asia-Pacific, responsAbility Investments.

The Swiss company, with about $3 billion under management, globally invests through 12 investment solutions in three sectors — finance, agriculture and energy — either through debt or equity. responsAbility manages funds in these three sectors and sees significant synergies in providing capital across asset classes and in bringing a global perspective.

Emerging markets

The funds that the company manages have an emerging market focus and to date have invested in over 90 countries.

The company has offices in Mumbai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Nairobi and Lima, in addition to its European presence.

“We are looking at a few financial institutions providing financial inclusion,” he told BusinessLine in a recent interview in his Mumbai office.

In the last few years, the company has invested equity through its funds in Sara Plast, a sanitation company; Punjab Renewable Energy Systems, a biomass aggregator; and GIBSS, a geothermal solution provider.

responsAbility has invested debt and has indirect equity exposure in several leading microfinance institutions, including Equitas, which recently went public and which has an in-principle nod for a small finance bank, and Ujjivan, a microfinance lender that has also got initial clearance for a small finance bank.

It has also provided debt to companies in the agriculture and renewable energy sectors.

Globally, debt is the most significant part of responsAbility’s business, with equity accounting for $300 million of the $3 billion it manages.

Over the next five years, the company plans to build its equity platform and increase equity assets under management to 30 per cent of the total, according to Chandani.

According to him, the company has so far invested about $250 million in India, most of it through debt.

responsAbility-managed investment vehicles have invested around $1-3 million as equity in early-stage companies and plans to invest $10-15 million in growth-stage companies, with the intention of picking up a significant minority stake in the ventures.

Published on June 30, 2016

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