WL Ross to target Indian distressed

US restructuring specialist WL Ross & Co is targeting Indian corporate restructurings and turnarounds, having teamed with a local mortgage finance group.

WL Ross & Co has announced a partnership with India’s Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) to invest in Indian companies facing special or distressed situations. These could include: corporate restructurings; bankruptcies; reorganisations; corporate spin-offs; privatisations; illiquid secondary stakes; cross-holding stakes; and non-performing assets or loans.

There are tens of billions of dollars of distressed loans in an economy that is growing at more than 7% per annum

Wilbur Ross, chairman and CEO, WL Ross & Co

In a statement, WL Ross chairman and CEO Wilbur Ross said: “India’s distressed debt market is unusual in that there are tens of billions of dollars of distressed loans in an economy that is growing at more than 7% per annum. India has new restructuring laws, a well-developed legal system, and political will to implement Basel II. All of these factors provide exciting opportunities.”

Prior to 1997, Ross was an adviser to corporate restructurings with a total value of more than $200 billion (€165 billion). Since then, as a principal investor, WL Ross has managed over $4.5 billion across a variety of global distressed investing strategies. Notably, the firm rolled up five bankrupt US steel companies to form International Steel Group, which was sold earlier this year to Mittal Steel for around $4.5 billion.

HDFC was formed in 1977 as India’s first specialised housing finance institution. It has financed 2.6 million properties and currently has approximately $9.5 billion of assets. It has subsidiaries operating in banking, asset management, business process outsourcing, life insurance, general insurance and real estate asset management.

A Reuters report said WL Ross would raise funds for investment in Indian companies from overseas, but no further details have emerged regarding the amount of funding anticipated, and when it will be available. In August, the firm closed a $1.1 billion distressed debt fund.