3i brings in India chairman

Industry veteran Arun Nanda is joining 3i to help manage its existing portfolio.

In an effort to strengthen its operational capabilities in India, London-based private equity firm 3i has appointed Arun Nanda as non-executive chairman, according to a company statement.

Nanda worked at Mahindra & Mahindra, an Indian multinational manufacturing company for 40 years, holding a number of senior positions in investment, strategic planning and infrastructure.

The hire is a demonstration of the firm’s commitment to its existing portfolio, according to the statement, indicating that the firm will stay with its decision  to no longer make new investments in India.

No one at 3i was available for further comment by press time.

3i has struggled with its Asia portfolio, with a drop of value in its Asian assets the primary contributor towards an annual loss of £76 million (€94 million; $120 million) in its developing markets portfolio.

At the time, 3i’s India and China portfolio experienced some earnings growth, but in June 2012 the firm shut its Mumbai office along with a number of regional office closures, while significantly reducing headcount company-wide, Private Equity International reported at the time.

3i experienced a further blow in February last year when its driving force in the region, managing partner for India and head of Asia Anil Ahuja, left the firm. India-based partner Girish Baliga also departed “to pursue other opportunities”, but both remain part-time consultants.

Ahuja, a private equity veteran, had previously expressed his dissatisfaction with India as an investment destination and left not long after the firm said it would make no new investments in the country, including from its infrastructure funds.