Three more firms set their sights on India

Candover, Englefield and Apollo have joined the increasing number of private equity firms flocking to set up shop in Mumbai. All three firms have appointed heads of their respective teams; Candover has tapped Goldman Sachs' former co-head of principal investments, Harsha Raghavan.

Candover, a European buyout firm, has hired Harsha Raghavan from Goldman Sachs to head its operations in Mumbai.

Raghavan joins Candover from Goldman Sachs Principal Investments, where he was a co-head for India.

Jamie Paton, Candover’s head of Asia, told PEO that the firm will be setting up its office in Mumbai in the next two to three months. Mumbai will be the firm’s second office in Asia following the launch of its Hong Kong office earlier in the year.

India is an important market for Candover in the lifestyle, luxury goods, energy, media and industrial sectors, a report in the Indian daily, The Economic Times cited Paton as saying. In India, the firm is looking to team up with local companies to buyout businesses in Europe. Candover will also make minority investments in Indian companies that are looking to expand their business in European markets.

UK-based European mid-market firm Englefield Capital has also set up an office in Mumbai. The firm, which manages more than €2 billion ($3 billion) across two funds, has hired Dinesh Vaswani as co-head of its operations in India. In his previous role, Vaswani was managing director of Temasek Holdings in India. He has also worked at other private equity firms such as Bessemer Venture Partners and Walden International.

Vaswani will be joined by the other co-head, Jerome Mourgue d’Algue, who is moving to Mumbai from Englefield’s London office. d’Algue told PEO that the firm is looking to invest in Indian companies and will pursue the same strategy that it does elsewhere – that of investing in middle market companies in the business services, education and training, energy and environmental, and financial services sectors.

Finally, New York-headquartered alternative investment firm Apollo Global Management too has disclosed plans to open an office in Mumbai, according to The Economic Times. The firm has appointed Mintoo Bhandari to lead its private equity operations in the country. Bhandari is currently a partner at the firm’s London office, and is currently in the process of setting up a team in Mumbai, according to the news report.

Apollo manages assets of more than $40 billion (€26.5 billion) as of 31 December 2007 and is currently raising its seventh fund targeting $15 billion. As of April, the fund had raised $12.5 billion, as revealed in a securities exchange commission filing.

While foreign firms continue to set up offices in India, there are a number of domestic entrants in the Indian private equity market as well. Several banks and business houses are making a foray into the asset class in India. Most recently, the financial services arms of the Tata Group and the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, two of the largest industrial conglomerates in the country, decided to launch their own private equity businesses.