Warburg Pincus checks into Indian hospitality

Warburg Pincus, a global private equity manager, is making its first investment in India’s hospitality industry via a $60 million investment.

Warburg Pincus, a global private equity manager that has been in India for 11 years, is investing Rs 2.8 billion ($60 million; €47m) in a local hotel operator. The transaction led by Niten Malhan, a vice-president at Warburg Pincus Mumbai, is the private equity firm’s first investment in India’s hospitality sector, according to a spokeswoman.

Warburg Pincus has invested in the operator of two separate hotel chains headed by Patu Keswani, chairman and managing director of Lemon Tree Hotels, according to a statement. Keswani is also the former chief operating officer of Taj Group business hotels, a leading luxury hotel brand in the country.

Lemon Tree Hotel in Gurgaon

Warburg Pincus is investing Rs 2.1 billion in the expansion of mid-priced Lemon Tree hotels targeting business and leisure travellers, and Rs 700 million in a new chain of budget hotels called Red Fox Hotels.

Established in 2002, the New Delhi-based hotelier operates two hotels in Gurgaon, and plans to launch two more hotels in Pune and Goa this year. 

Warburg Pincus is best known in India for its lucrative exit from Bharti Tele-Ventures, a telecommunications company. In 1999, it invested $300 million in Bharti, and divested completely by 2005, realising about $1.9 billion through a series of share sales.