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As stocks surge, more exits in the PIPEline

Monday, 3 December 2012 - 7:53am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
With stock markets starting to look up, exits relating to private investment in public equity (popular as PIPE) are gathering pace as well. For, rising markets mean opportunities galore for cashing out.

With stock markets starting to look up, exits relating to private investment in public equity (popular as PIPE) are gathering pace as well. For, rising markets mean opportunities galore for cashing out.

Experts said markets seem to be offering price-to-earnings multiples in the 10x-25x range, depending on sectors like FMCG, metals, so on. CLSA’s recent exit from Apollo Hospitals has already set the tone, and many more such deals are expected in the coming months.

Venture Intelligence, which researches private equity and mergers and acquisitions (M&As), said 23 PIPE exits worth about $1.85 billion (Rs9,877 crore) have happened already this year. In addition, private equity (PE) firms made another 23 secondary exits worth $404 million (Rs2,192 crore).

Avinash Gupta, head of  financial advisory at Deloitte India, said some of the prominent PE exits were from stocks like HDFC, Kotak, Apollo Hospitals – companies that have shown growth and boast quality management.

Stocks of companies that are riding domestic consumption, those outside regulatory framework and financial services firms are likely to see PIPE exits because there will likely be many ready buyers in the current environment.

This year’s exits, observers said, relate to investments made after markets collapsed post the 2008 Lehman crisis. Then, PE firms had turned to stock markets because private placement opportunities were few and far between. In contrast, 2005-07 did not see too many PIPE deals as most transactions then were genuine PE investments.  Turn to Page 14

Money was raised and invested in pure PE placements, industry experts said.

In 2007, per-year investments peaked at $19 billion, but the best returns on an annual basis were no more than $5 billion. “In the last four years, returns totalled only $20 billion,” said a top official from an international investment advisory.

The 2012 PIPE exits from stock markets would gather pace because not many happened in recent times. Few exits all these years had hampered Indian PE activity, said Dinesh Tiwari, director, Multiples Alternate Asset Management. “From 2005-06 onward, over $40 billion of PE money would have been invested. Assuming that the minimum holding period is 3-4 years, exits now could be worth as much.”

Darius Pandole, partner at New Silk Route Advisors, said exits are crucial for additional capital flows into the Indian PE industry. “PE firms seek to return more capital back to their limited partners (LPs). If this can be achieved over the next 1-2 years, additional capital will flow into Indian PE activity,” said Pandole.

LPs are large funds that invest in PE funds. PE firms manage money raised by such funds and invest in different companies, assuring a certain rate of returns to LPs.

Another form of PIPE exits is through initial public offerings (IPOs). For instance, some PEs will likely exit Bharti Infratel which is set to raise Rs4,500 crore through its IPO. The company will sell about 14.6 crore new shares. Four of its stockholders, including arms of Singapore state investor Temasek and Goldman Sachs, will selling 4.27 crore shares, according to a regulatory filing.

There were not many IPOs this fiscal. But with markets buoyant again, companies that have been waiting all this while to tap them, will go ahead with their IPOs. So, more PE exits are likely, experts said.


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