Morgan Stanley sets up Indian private equity unit

The private equity division of the US bank is establishing its presence in India and has hired Aluri Rao from ICICI Venture to head its investment activity in the country.

Morgan Stanley Private Equity has appointed Aluri Srinivasa Rao as managing director for its Indian operations. Rao will be responsible for running the firm’s private equity investments in the country starting 1 May.

A spokesman for Morgan Stanley told PEO that he will report to Chin Chou, managing director and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia.

Chou said in a statement that the firm is looking forward to entering the Indian market following its success in China, Korea and other Asian markets, and now is one of the best times to be investing capital in India and the region. “We see significant investment opportunities” in the country, he added.

Rao joins Morgan Stanley from Mumbai-based ICICI Venture, one of India’s largest private equity firms, where he was director of investments and a senior private equity professional. In his six years at ICICI Venture, Rao led buyout and growth investments in a variety of companies in the healthcare and life-science sectors and served on the boards of a few portfolio companies. He also headed I-Ven Medicare, a special purpose vehicle set up by the firm to invest in the healthcare sector in India.

Before ICICI Venture, Rao held senior positions in Indian pharmaceutical companies such as Ranbaxy and Natco Pharma.

Morgan Stanley will be investing in India through the $1.5 billion (€952 million) Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia III Fund that closed in 2007.

Narayan Ramachandran, managing director and country head of Morgan Stanley in India, said in a statement that “private equity will form a critical component” of the bank’s activities in India, where it has been since 1993.

The private equity investment team for India is expected to grow over the course of 2008, the firm said.