Lazard launches maiden India private equity fund

The US investment bank is making its first private equity-focussed move into Asia with a $300m India fund.

US bank Lazard is launching its first India-focussed private equity fund amid efforts to keep up with similar efforts undertaken by global banking and private equity groups. They believe the country presents a wealth of opportunities for the alternative asset class.

According to Business Standard, a local daily, Lazard is targeting to raise $300 million.

K Balakrishnan, who heads Lazard investment banking business in India, confirmed the bank is poised to launch a private equity fund but declined to comment on the target amount.

He said the India fund would also mark Lazard’s first private equity fund for Asia. The bank’s private equity investment activities are mostly confined in the US and Europe.

According to Business Standard, Lazard will be an anchor investor in the fund and fundraising is expected to begin in February.

Balakrishnan, who joined Lazard in 2004 from HSBC where he was head of corporate finance, will lead the effort.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, rival US banks, all invest in India from their balance sheets as well as through dedicated funds.