Blackstone invests up to $80m in Indian seed company

The buyout group has acquired around 25 percent of Hyderabad-based NSL Seeds.

Blackstone Advisors India, the global private equity firm’s Indian operation, has invested between $50 million and $80 million in NSL Seeds, a Hyderabad-based hybrid seed company, for a stake of between 20 and 25 percent.

As part of the transaction, which was advised by JM Financial, Blackstone will have representation on the board of NSL Seeds.

Established in 1973, NSL Seeds is engaged in the research and development, production and marketing of cotton hybrid seeds as well as other field crops such as corn, rice, sunflower, sorghum and pearl millet. The company commands up to 40 percent of the Indian hybrid cotton seed market share, according to its website.

“Blackstone’s involvement will be very valuable in our journey from a privately held company to a publicly listed world-class bio-agri franchise,” said Prabhakar Rao, chairman and managing director of NSL Seeds’ parent company NSL Group, in a statement.

With India focused on improving its agricultural sector, the sector is witnessing a significant increase in investment, said Akhil Gupta, chairman and managing director of Blackstone Advisors India.

Two weeks ago, Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia, invested INR1.82 billion ($37.7 million) for a minority stake in Indian castor oil maker Industries Biotor.