Baring Private Equity Partners India is retooling its operating model as it prepares to add offices in Mumbai and Bangalore, Rahul Bhasin, managing partner at the firm, told sister news site PEI Asia.
Bhasin conceded that changes at the firm may have left some unhappy, leading to a spate of recent departures.
Akhil Awasthi, a Baring India partner from its inception, last week resigned in order to lead Tata Capital, the private equity subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Tata Group.
We realised … we needed more specialisation and structure in the firm.
“The Indian market has become extremely competitive,” he said. “We realised that in order to sustain returns as we scaled up, the old model would not work and that we needed more specialisation and structure in the firm.”
The firm, which is investing a $550 million fund closed last year, makes significant minority or control investments in sectors such as IT and IT-enabled services, life sciences, banking and financial services, energy, infrastructure and consumer goods. “We need deep knowledge of different domains and people with different expertise in scaling up businesses,” he said, adding that “the era of the generalist over”.
Baring India has also hired a group of executives and advisors over the last 18 months, including P Viswanathan, most recently the managing director of Sanmar Shipping; Pradeep Mallick, formerly the India-based managing director of oil company Wartsila; and R Mohan, former president and CEO of HTMT, the information technology corporation of the Hinduja Group.
The firm is now “better and faster at doing deals and has people who can scale up businesses better, as they have done it themselves”, said Bhasin.Baring India has a team of 17 investment professionals, including four partners: Bhasin, S M Sundram, Munish Dayal and Ajeet Singkaram. It is likely that more executives will be appointed partners in the coming year, Bhasin said.
The New Delhi-based firm also plans to expand its footprint in India. An office in Mumbai is scheduled to open by the end of the year, with another in Bangalore expected “soon after”.