Growth and Future of Private Equity Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 February 2017

Growth and Future of Private Equity

1. Overview of Private Equity

Private equity is an important source of funds for start-up firms, and firms in financial distress. This type of funding has gained great significance in the past two decades and as such is a relatively new concept. It is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world of corporate finance with extensive applications across all industry segments. Businesses across the globe depend on capital investment for their growth and survival. The capital investment is generally raised through public issues, financial institutions, loans from banking institutions, mutual funds, and lease financing options available in the market. Investment in start-up business venture has high risks associated where business returns are uncertain.

Private equity broadly refers to investment in companies that are privately owned. This form of investment generally uses funds raised from pension funds, financial institutions and wealthy individuals for investing in high growth businesses or for acquiring businesses with higher rates of return. “The private equity market involves large block transactions, which are privately negotiated, generally involving unlisted companies” (Business Standard publication). This type of investment is not listed in the stock exchange and has become popular financing instrument for new business ventures.

This kind of investment broadly covers management buy-outs and buy-ins, development capital and venture capital.

Management buy-ins and buy-outs – In this case private equity funds are used to purchase the company or controlling stake in it using debt and equity capital.

Development capital – This form of investment generally refers to money borrowed for development or growth purposes. Capital borrowed under this category can be used for any organizational purpose ranging from financing new lines of production to ensuring smooth completion of on going projects.

Venture capital – This refers to investment in new business ventures that has promising growth potential and higher financial returns.

Private equity firms establish funds that raise capital from investors who form limited partners. The private equity firms, referred to as the general partners invest this capital along with funds collected from banking and other commercial institutions to buy businesses that have significant growth and increased profitability potential. The general partners have certain guidelines for selecting a company or business for acquisition. A business that combines the ability to generate cash, and significant market value along with a strong managerial team to steer growth in the desired direction is an ideal investment option.

The general partners objective is to infuse well-planned growth strategies backed by a strong team to improve the company’s performance and generate higher returns on investment. This is accomplished through strategic advice, market analysis, restructuring of existing operational framework, change management strategies and financing. They make money from the cash flow of the acquired business and then sell them for profitable gains. The relationship is generally of a short-term nature ranging from three to ten years of ownership after which the proceeds are used to acquire another business or finance another venture.

Once the company has grown in terms of valuation and profitability it is sold to a larger company or floated on a stock market.

The private equity investment has its own cycle that is extended through long periods of activity to support sustained business growth and gains. Private equity firms raise funds every three to five years to fund specific activities within the acquired business. The best time for acquiring a business is when the markets and prices are low. Similarly the ideal time for exiting or selling stakes in the acquired business is when the prices are high to maximize gains from proceeds. Investments within a company are usually held for several years to give time to the business to mature and reach a stage of high profits and market value.

The private equity market constitutes of the organized market and the informal market. The organized private equity market includes professionally managed equity investments in unregistered securities of private and public companies. Specialized firms and institutional investors provide professional management services that build on the company’s assets and managerial talent.

The private equity managers have large ownership stakes in the business and get actively involved in the overall management of the company. These businesses are profit-building machines for them that are nourished and nurtured to provide higher returns on investment. Once the businesses are established and reap profitable returns they are either listed for public offers in the market or sold to larger companies for higher gains.

The organized private equity market has four major players comprising of private equity issuers, intermediaries, investors, and the agents or advisors.

The issuers comprises of firms that cannot raise financing in the debt market or the public equity market. These firms are relatively younger in comparison to other firms in the market and they seek to raise capital for new product development or technology to show very high growth rates in the future. These firms are still in the research and development stage. In some cases firms with years of operation in the market venture out to new technologies or lines of service also come into this bracket for financing needs. This segment has assumed great importance in the private equity market with rising statistics and more private equity investors taking active interest in their potential growth capacity and highly profitable ventures. High yields and increasing returns are one of the most attractive features of this market segment.

Intermediaries comprise of nearly 80 percent of private equity investments. This market sector mostly constitutes of limited partnership firms managed by independent partnership organizations or by affiliates of financial institutions. This segment also includes small business investment companies, or publicly traded investment companies that account for marginal share of the private equity market.

Investors comprise of the public and corporate pension funds forming the largest investor groups accounting for 40 percent of global capital out standings. Public pension funds are the fastest growing group of investors and have overtaken private pension funds in terms of amount of private equity holdings. Endowments, foundations, bank holding companies, and high net worth individuals accounting for almost 10 percent each of the total private equity funds follow the pension funds. The other investors include insurance companies, investment banks, financial investors, and non-banking financial institutions.

Agents and advisors form a significant section of the private equity market. They are mainly referred to as the information producers, who place private equity, raise funds for private equity partnerships, and evaluate the feasibility of the partnerships for the potential investors. Their sole purpose is to reduce the cost of information gathering that is required for private equity investment.

They facilitate the search of companies in need of private equity funding, and institutional investors who are willing to enter into partnership agreement. They advise on the structure, timing, and pricing of private equity issues and assist in the process of negotiation between the two parties. Their role assumes greater significance in the context of financial investors who are unfamiliar with the local market or economy.

 In the informal private equity market unregistered securities are sold to institutional investors, where the number of investors is larger and minimum investments smaller than the organized private equity market. Investors in this segment are mostly insiders in the company who have stake in the company.

The companies that are financed through private equity funds benefit in terms of better management and increased efficiency since the investors take active interest in monitoring and improvising changes for better financial performance. The private equity firms have access to specialized management expertise for acquired businesses. Moreover, the private equity managers conduct extensive market research and analyze the feasibility of business ventures from every angle to draw risk assessment and opportunities before deciding on investment. This equips them with indepth market knowledge to make well-planned strategic moves that can reap higher productivity and gains for the private equity investors.

The concept of private equity dates back to the year 1946 with the establishment of the American Research and Development Corporation with the sole objective of providing financing to new and start up businesses in the private sector. It was setup as an institution that provided finance as well as management expertise to ailing organizations. Since then the private equity market has witnessed a booming presence across the globe especially in the last 15 years. The sector has generated profits of more than $430 billion for their investors between the years 1991 and 2006.

The recent corporate trends in the private equity market have shifted towards consolidations and buyouts. This is mainly attributed to seeking good investments by private equity firms and the benefits of cost advantage and minimizing risks across various channels of distribution. The private equity firms look for companies that are market leaders in terms of product and service offering having a strong management team and high barriers to market entry, attractive growth opportunities and profit margins. The growth of private equity funds is evident with increasing investment in large number of private companies as well as taking public companies private.

Private equity has played an important role in economic development contributing to enhanced productivity, competitiveness, and improved performance of businesses in the private sector. The private equity market in India has also grown from US$20 million in 1996 to US$1.75 billion in 2004. The country is emerging as the major market for private equity investments.

2. Growth of Indian Economy

The Indian subcontinent having population of over 1.1 billion, diverse cultures, religion, and languages has one of the largest and successfully running democracies in the world. Post independence it has been successful in eroding poverty and illiteracy to a great extent. The low per capita income combined with fewer manufacturing industries and a service sector at the base level had labeled the country as poor and underdeveloped. The economy was primarily agrarian and lack of facilities and infrastructure posed great difficulties in its progress.

Initially the government controlled everything from banks to major industries. Facing such extreme situation the country has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world with an annual growth rate of 8% in the last three years. It is also seen as the destination for information technology and global process outsourcing. Increased foreign investments and growth in real per capita income has transformed the economy largely over the last decade.

Now India is a rapidly growing economy experiencing a fast growth rate in the past few years. The path of economic development and progress that India has taken is spectacular and has emerged the new market for the world with immense growth potential. Various economists have predicted that India will become a major economic power in the years to come. This is largely attributed to the rising Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the countries and the major economic transformation that has taken place in the countries recently. The Indian economy had very poor growth rate post independence with a predominantly agrarian economy and underdeveloped manufacturing and service sectors.

Rise in privatization of various sectors paved the way for economic progress in the subsequent years. The government sought to implement policies to ensure overall development of the manufacturing and service sectors. These measures brought about major changes in the industrial landscape and economic growth rate accelerated. The annual economic growth rate was 5.5% in the 1980s. Industrial growth rate was recorded at 6.6% annually and 3.6% in the agricultural sector.

The 1990s witnessed a rapid change in the economic growth and development with the liberalization of the economy. A GDP growth of 9% was observed in the 2005-06 and 9.5% during 2006-07. With rising GDP and increased investment the economy is poised for enhanced growth rate. The economy was largely boosted by growth in tourism, financial sectors, and manufacturing industries. It is now the fourth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.

High growth rates in the industrial and service sector combined with a slump in the major economies across the world in the last few years have provided the Indian economy a boost. The mid 1990s saw a rise in the Information Technology sector in the country. The rapid penetration of computers and the Internet in nooks and corners of the country attributed largely to this rise. Moreover, the abundance of skilled professionals armed with latest technical know-how and the zeal to prove their abilities in this direction provided the necessary impetus. India soon became the hub of IT activities across the globe with surging demand for professionals from the country. Government reforms and policies provided the necessary infrastructure for the growth of this sector. This was a major achievement for the country.

The growth in IT sector led to the rise in other associated service and industrial sectors contributing to overall development of the economy. Currently the service sector dominated by IT, financial services, and construction contributes more than 50% of the GDP. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is yet another arena contributing to overall economic development. This segment has attracted huge foreign investments into the country. A large portion of the Indian population comprises of young people. The educated young people have benefited the service sector with the availability of skilled labor and this contributed largely to the development of the country.

Despite the slump in global economy that has hit hard some of the most developed economies like United States, Indian economy has remained immune to the effects of this recession. This is primarily due to the strong economic reforms adopted by the country. The low dependence of the economy on export trade is one of the reasons. The Indian economy is more driven by domestic demand than foreign investment. Moreover, the banking system has minimal exposure to foreign currency assets. This has rendered the economy relatively immune to the effects of the global slump. While other economies across the world are facing economic turmoil, India remains on steady footing.

Being one of the fastest growing economies in the world India is attracting huge amounts of foreign investment. The total amount of foreign investment reached US$ 8.5 billion in the year 2006.

Real GDP Growth Rate during 2003 to 2007

   2003         2004    2005   2006    2007
4.30% 8.30% 6.20% 8.40% 9.20%

The chart shows the real GDP growth rate in percentage during the period 2003 to 2007. (Data collected from economywatch.com)

The current GDP of the country is at 9.2% per annum that is quite an impressive figure. Growth of merchandise exports and rise in exports of services have strengthened the foreign reserves of the country. The major destinations for exports are United States, United Arab Emirates, and the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). The active participation of India in international commerce has created enough opportunities for economic growth and development. The impressive growth rates and statistics predict the emergence of a strong economy in the coming future. Economists predict that the Indian economy will become a super economic power in the next two decades.

Some of the major development indicators of Indian economy are summarized below:

  • High rate of savings, almost 32% of the GDP and higher rate of investment – approximately 34% of the GDP indicate accelerated growth rate.
  • A young population of the country is another factor contributing to the overall economic growth and development.
  • Highly educated masses contributing to skilled labor force is yet another factor contributing to the rise in the IT and BPO sector.
  • Economic growth has created huge employment opportunities that have helped in reducing poverty considerably.
  • Economic reforms and policies adopted by the Government of India towards social upliftment with particular stress on education, health, and infrastructure has greatly assisted the process of economic growth.

3. Issues facing the Indian Economy

India may be reckoned as the emerging economic power of the future, but it has its share of challenges that need to be overcome. Lack of adequate institutional and infrastructure facilities may create bottlenecks in the growth and development of the economy. Since independence the country has faced huge challenges in its way to modernization and political, economic and social growth. Impediments in the form of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, poor health facilities, and socio-cultural barriers posed grave problems in its road to development. The fast rate of growth aided by effective economic reforms helped in overcoming these challenges to a great extent. Poverty and illiteracy were reduced considerably with adequate measures adopted in the form of Five-year plans implemented by the successive governments.

The upliftment of the masses by creating employment opportunities and provision for free and compulsory education for all across the country did have significant effect on the economy. Infrastructure also received considerable attention in the development plans resulting in the emergence of a new and modern India. In spite of tremendous progress India still faces major challenges that need to be overcome if the country wants to become a superpower in the near future. The issues and challenges faced by the Indian economy currently are given below:

  • Sustaining a growth rate of 8% per annum for the consecutive five years will be one of the biggest challenges for the Indian economy.
  • The entry of companies and business ventures into the Indian soil requires extensive paperwork and legal procedures. Most foreign companies find it a little intimidating to enter the Indian market due to these reasons. Relaxation and simplification of the entry procedures will definitely work in the interest of the Indian economy.
  • The huge population density of the country affects the gross per capita income of the country.
  • The country’s economy is primarily agrarian but with rapid industrialization and governments boosting the service sector, agriculture has taken a backseat. The government needs to boost this sector as well giving it a more organized look.
  •  Providing proper infrastructure to attract large scale foreign investment is much required for sustainable economic growth. The economy faces widespread problem of electricity supply, proper roads, and communication channels that can affect the economy adversely.
  • Extending proper health care to all is another important issue facing the country. Health care has definitely improved over the past few years but it still remains inadequate by world standards.
  • Poverty is still posing a stiff challenge to the economic growth and development. Inequality of wealth distribution is quite high across the country.
  • Education is yet another challenge faced by the country.

The government needs to implement effective policies and reforms to increase the overall standard of living of the poorer section and provide basic amenities to them. Reducing income inequalities along with social reforms are much required for overcoming these discrepancies faced by the Indian economy.

The foreign direct investment has become a key feature of growing economic development and the focus of national development strategies in almost all countries across the globe. It is considered an important economic growth indicator that assists boost in domestic capital, productivity, and employment. It is considered to be the lifeblood of any economy. The Indian Government has initiated several promotional efforts to attract more foreign direct investment into the country in the form of private equity. There are several trends that are reinforcing traditional patterns in foreign direct investment across economies that include access to natural resources, markets, and low-cost labor.

Globalization and liberalization of the economy added to the attraction of private equity funds in to the country. In addition to these economic factors the expansion in information and communication technologies, and improvement in logistics has greatly shaped the Indian economic attractiveness to foreign investors. Private equity investors across the globe are increasingly shifting their focus to India. Big names in private equity market across the globe like Blackstone Group, Texas Pacific Group, Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, Carlyle Group, Actis Partners and General Atlantic Partners have ventured into the Indian markets in search of higher returns on investment.

4. Growth Trends of Private Equity in India

The market for private equity in India has emerged quite recently. The private equity market grew from a US$ 20 million in 1996 to US$ 7.5 billion in 2006. The country is now reckoned as one of the top ten destinations for private equity investments. Investors across the globe are eyeing the growing Indian market that offers extensive investment opportunities. Local and foreign investors are eyeing the domestic market investment opportunities with increased interest. The major sectors of investor interest are the IT and BPO sectors that continue to dominate the economy but manufacturing concerns are not far behind.

Investors are taking avid interest in this rapidly growing market parallel to the Chinese economy that has shown immense potential in the past few years. The rise in entrepreneurship, skilled workforce, rising percentage of people with fluent English speaking capability and the country’s status as the world’s largest democracy have greatly contributed to its rising economy.

The private equity market has risen both in terms of greater number of deals and greater number of firms’ capitalizing on this increasing opportunity. The Indian private equity market also saw an increase in exits and improved liquidity in the recent years. The Asian market has largely been perceived as difficult for exits in the private equity sector. Investors are wary of the fluctuating market trends and risk proposition involved in capitalization of their funds. Unlike the Asian market the Indian market has been strengthening over the years this has attracted the investors greatly.

The increasing liquidity of the market has played in favor of these investors providing higher gains and returns from public offer deals and trade sales. As per K.P. Balaraj, the Managing Director and co-founder of West Bridge Capital Partners, “In India, the markets are in their third or fourth year of a bull run. The companies have a number of avenues to raise money at low cost. There’s a lot of liquidity in the debt system. The IPO markets and capital markets are very strong in India, and there’s lot of appetite overseas for Indian securities.”

The Indian market has gained the investors’ confidence due to the stable environment and growth statistics that has worked to its advantage in the past few years. The foreign investment growth in the private equity market is seen as yet another boost to this finance segment contributing to a market capitalization of more than US$ 3.56 million in the year 2005.

The private equity funds invest mostly in unlisted companies that have good growth potential and cash out option through public offers. In some cases the private equity firms invest in both seed capital and development ventures that have potential high rates of returns on investment. According to a study conducted by Venture Intelligence, a Chennai based research firm, “Private equity firms invested a record $7.46 billion over 299 deals in India during 2006,” that is three times greater the previous year figures.

The biggest deal clichéd in 2006 involved Idea Cellular, the fifth largest wireless operator in India, raising a funding of $950 million from a group of private equity investors that included Providence Equity Partners, ChrysCapital, and Citigroup. Another important deal involved Kohlberg Kravis Roberts that paid $900 million for 85% stake of Textronics Software.

Warburg Pincus’s $300 million investment in the year 1999 in Bharti Tele-Ventures the largest mobile service provider in India was subsequently sold in several stages for $1.6 billion. This is considered one of the most profitable private equity deals in the country to date. These high rates of returns and attractive gains lured many foreign private equity investors to the Indian market.

The tremendous growth of the private equity market in the country is largely attributed to a combination of country-specific factors that distinguish the Indian environment in terms of investment opportunities from other emerging markets across the globe. These factors include:

  • Sustained rapid economic growth of 8% per annum over the past five years consecutively.
  • Rising domestic consumer market of India has given rise to potential business opportunities.
  • A well-established public equity market of India has given rise to increasing breed of private equity investors in the country. The Mumbai stock exchange dating back to 1875 has more than 6000 listed companies recording extensive trading volumes comparable to no other exchange in the world.
  • A highly educated population combined with widespread knowledge of the English language provides a distinctive advantage. The skilled workforce has resulted in the rising development of certain sectors like information technology, business process outsourcing, software development, pharmaceuticals, and automobile components.
  • The country has one of the oldest and largest democracies in the world running successfully across decades. The stable political scenario combined with an effective legal framework has provided the economy with sound base for development and growth.

The distinctive advantages mentioned above have created a huge market for private equity funds investors. Private equity firms are investing in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, real estate, infrastructure, media, and telecom sectors in India. India is the second largest market for private equity firms in Asia after Japan. It has surpassed China and Singapore with large amounts of investment in private equity and venture capital in the year 2006.

(Source: Indiaopportunitiesfund.com)

Research conducted by global research firm Evalueserve suggest that India will receive almost US$ 20 billion private equity funding by the year 2010 making it one of the top ranking countries in the world in terms of private equity investment.

The lucrative Indian market has attracted foreign private equity investors in the past couple of years. As per a market analysis report released by Venture Intelligence the foreign capital investment reached US$ 2.2 billion in the year 2005 that increased to US$ 5.4 billion in the year 2006.

The market research and analysis conducted by Evalueserve reveals that the Indian market needs an in-depth understanding and evaluation for the investors in private equity market to maximize returns. The investors need to conduct proper market research, adopt subtle managerial skills, and instill patience in order to maximize gains since the market is unique in many aspects.

The research shows that there are over 366 firms currently operating in the private equity market in India and another 69 are in the process of starting funding operations. These private equity firms have targeted to raise funds totaling US$ 48 billion for investment between July 2007 and December 2010. This predicted growth statistics may face challenges in the face of economic slowdown in India or a liquidity crunch in the economy.

The first firm to initiate private equity investment in India was the Risk Capital Foundation set up in the year 1975. Till the year 1995 very few financial institutions provided capital for investment in private equity or venture capital sector. These institutions were the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI), Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), and Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI Bank). A number of private equity firms started raising capital from various international and domestic sources to invest in business ventures in the country. This market trend gained momentum during the period 1996 to 2000.

The total amount of investment in the private equity and venture capital segment rose from US$20 million in 1996 to US$ 80 million in the year 1997. The market attracted increasing investment from foreign as well as domestic players largely due to the boom in the information technology sector. A crash in the market during the period of 2000 to 2003 brought down the levels of investment. The total number of deals in private equity finance reduced from 280 in 2000 to 110 in 2001. The economy recovered in 2003 and the market growth rate accelerated from 8% GDP to 9% annually.

  1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Number of deals 5 18 60 107 280 110 78 56 71 146 299
Value of deals 20 80 250 500 1160 937 591 470 1650 2183 7460

(Source data: Private equity market in India Evalueserve Market research report 2007)

Out of a total GDP of US$ 910 billion in India in the year 2006 approximately US$ 7.5 billion accounted for private equity investment. This amounts to 0.8% of the total GDP. A comparative analysis of the private equity investment in other developed countries reveal that the percentage spent on private equity is far below countries like United States and United Kingdom.

Private Equity Investment as a percentage of Total GDP of some major economies:

(Source: Evalueserve Market research reports 2007)

A global stock market review conducted by Standard and Poor ‘s in May 2007 reveals that the Indian equity market has far surpassed the markets of emerging and developing nations for the past three months growing at a rate of 25.87 percent as opposed to other key economies that reported a growth rate of 13.83 percent. The Chinese market reported a growth rate of 16.82 while the Mexican market growth rate stood at 24.4 percent. The equity market in South Africa rose by 11.48 percent. It was observed that the Indian stocks were cheaper than the Chinese stocks. The appreciating rupee in India has led to higher capital inflow from foreign investors to the Indian economy and this is accounted for higher growth rate in the Indian economy.

The increase in interest rates of banks across the globe has a positive impact on the Indian economy. This trend will result in reduced external borrowings and consequently the export segment of Indian companies will not be affected. Similarly other developments in the global economy has had very little or negligible effect on the Indian economy so far and this has proved conducive for the private equity market in the country.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has specified the regulatory framework for investment in private equity and venture capital segment in India. A foreign investor proposing for investing in the Indian private equity market needs to fulfill the following eligibility criteria and other requirements specified in the SEBI foreign venture capital investor guidelines:

  • The applicant’s track record, competence, financial soundness, and experience in the related industry are evaluated.
  • The applicant needs to obtain an approval by the Reserve Bank of India for making investments in the country.
  • The applicant needs to be an investment company, trust, partnership, pension fund, mutual fund, endowment fund, charitable institution or any other entity incorporated outside India.
  • The applicant can be an asset management company, investment manager, or investment management company incorporated outside India.
  • The applicant must possess the authority to invest in venture capital or operate as foreign venture capital investor.
  • Evaluate if the applicant is regulated by an appropriate foreign regulatory authority or is an income tax payer.
  • Check if the Board has not refused the applicant a certificate.
  • Check if the applicant is a fit individual with proven track record.

Besides the above-mentioned eligibility criteria the SEBI lays down certain investment guidelines that need to be followed by the foreign investors:

  • The foreign investor must disclose its investment plans and strategies to the SEBI.
  • At least 66.67% of the investment funds must be invested in unlisted equity shares.
  • Not more than 33.3% of the investable funds may be invested in:
    • Subscription of initial public offer of a venture capital undertaking whose shares is not listed.
    • Debt or debt instrument of a venture capital undertaking in which the investor has already made an investment by way of equity
    • Preferential allotment of equity shares of a listed company, subject to a lock-in period of one year
    • The equity shares or equity linked instruments of a financially weak or sick industrial company whose shares are listed.

5. Sector Wise Growth Trends in Private Equity Market

The primary feature of growth in private equity market in India has been the increased domestic market investment opportunities that are dominated by both local and foreign investors. In addition to the increase in investment in Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing sectors a large number of deals have been made involving the domestic market in India with particular emphasis on the manufacturing sector. In the year 2006 the total investments in the private equity market ranged from IT and IT-enabled industries, to banking and financial services, insurance and health care sectors, engineering and construction to manufacturing.

While the IT and IT-enabled industries accounted for more than a fifth of the total investment, the manufacturing sector attracted approximately $1 billion. Another significant sector receiving substantial private equity funding was the real estate sector that received almost $1 billion funding in 2006. But a greater portion of this amount was used to acquire physical assets.

Shankar Narayanan, the Mumbai based Managing Director of Asia Growth Capital at the Carlyle Group states “We’re sector agnostic. Broadly we see two investment themes: One, the growth of outsourcing, whether IT, IT-enabled services, generic pharmaceuticals, clinical research, contract manufacturing, engineering and design or any other knowledge based service; and two, the huge infrastructure and consumption needs this growth fuels.” Most of the foreign investors are channeling funds to the Indian and Chinese market that have shown tremendous growth potential.

These investors scale up the operations of the acquired firms and facilitate all-round transformation that spruces up the firm’s processing capabilities. It is widely felt that the family owned businesses in India that have so far been conducted in an orthodox traditional managerial approach can widely benefit from the private equity funding. The financial, strategic, and managerial support provided by these private equity-investing firms can transform the company’s operations to provide larger scales of operation and world-class business outlook.

The various industrial sectors comprising of financial services, manufacturing industries, construction and information technology are attracting the foreign investors to India. In the year 2006 the service sector accounted for 55% of economic growth rate while the contribution of manufacturing and industries’ sector was 26% and the agriculture sector accounted for 19% of the overall economic growth in India. There are basically three industry sectors that are proving highly lucrative for the private equity investors in the country. These are broadly categorized as below:

  • Hi-tech products and service sector comprising of the following segments:
  • Information technology and software application development
  • Business process outsourcing
  • Knowledge process outsourcing
  • Drug research and clinical research outsourcing
  • Engineering services outsourcing
  • Software and solutions related to e-commerce
  • Telecommunication products and related services

The market trend reveals that this sector will grow at approximately 22% per year during the next five years. The investment in this sector is of high value with higher rates of return.

  • Service and retail sector that caters to the Indian domestic market needs including –
    1. Retail market of consumable goods
    2. Travel and hospitality sector (airlines, hotels)
    3. Health care (spas, hospitals)
    4. Entertainment (movie and television industry)
    5. Private education sector

 This sector is expected to grow at approximately 19% per annum in the next five years.

  • Products and services related to high-end manufacturing and infrastructure that includes automobiles, automotive components, electronic components, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles, real estate, and construction. The growth rate of this sector is expected to reach 19% annually in the next five years.

The pie chart below gives an insight into the sector wise private equity investment trend in the past three years. The financial services received the highest foreign private equity funding totaling US$ 277.8 million that constitutes 19.8% of the total funds invested. The total funding in this sector including the domestic investment accounted for 32%.

(Source: Thompson Financial)

The next industry that received most funding in the private equity form was the consumer related sector totaling US$ 196.7 million. This was approximately 14% of the total foreign private equity financing. The overall financing in this sector was 23%.

The Medical Health industry accounted for 16% of the total funding, with total foreign equity investment amounting to US$ 134.4 million, followed by construction accounting for 15% and the Internet related sector accounted for 14% of the total private equity investment including foreign and domestic sources.

The graph below shows the breakup of domestic and foreign funds invested in the private equity market in India. As is evident from the graph the amount of foreign investment far exceeds domestic funds invested in the private equity market in India over the past five years.

Private Equity investments in India – breakup of foreign and domestic investment over the past five years

(Source: Thomson Financial)

The private equity market is thriving due to the huge influx of foreign funds in the recent years. The appreciation of the rupee combined with a strengthening stock market and controlled inflation rates are responsible for the huge attraction that the Indian private equity market is having for foreign investments.

Among recent activities in the private equity market in India is the acquisition of Hutchinson Essar Ltd, a cellular carrier by Reliance Communications facilitated by private equity players like Blackstone, Texas Pacific, and Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts with a funding of almost $10 billion.

Private equity emerged as the single most largest investment segment in the year 2006 with private equity deals overtaking both foreign and domestic strategic investors. Private equity investment in India crossed the global average by 20 percent of investment as a proportion of total merger and acquisition deals accounting for 28 percent of total value of deals.

6. Problems Facing the Private Equity Market in India

The rapid pace of economic growth in India has raised concerns regarding the stability of the economic environment. The economy poses certain risks and challenges to the emerging and developing market of private equity investment. The country’s population demographics present a confusing picture – 54% of its population is below 25 years of age that works in favor of the economic growth and development. But at the same time statistics reveal a large gap in income distribution. The economy is widely imbalanced in terms of income distribution. It has a large chunk of population still under the poverty lines and at the same time the number of high net worth individuals is increasing.

Some of the important sectors of the economy like Information Technology and IT enabled services, telecom services, airlines services and construction services are experiencing shortage of skilled labors. Most of these sectors depend heavily on the human resource for survival and growth. With rising inflation and increasing wages the companies are finding it difficult to retain employees.

Better pay packages are luring the skilled staff to hop companies and this has become a matter of grave concern for most organizations. Increasing attrition rates and rising wages are posing a serious challenge to existing companies and start-up business ventures. A few years back the economy was known for providing cheap and skilled labor but with rising inflation the wages have also gone up thereby increasing the cost to companies in addition to high levels of attrition.

The rapid economic growth and rising GDP has resulted in increasing cost of commercial as well as residential property. The boom in real estate is reaping benefits for most landowners but the purchasing power of the people have not increased at the same rate. This might have a negative impact on the economy in the long run. The real estate prices will be forced to crash with lesser number of people being able to afford the rising prices. The crash in the real estate market will result in substantial losses for the investors.

The Indian stock market is currently on a strong footage with number of companies listed in the Bombay Stock Exchange rising steadily. A market fluctuation might topple the stock market any time and this could lead to severe losses for the investors.

Foreign investments in the Indian economy in the last four years have been on the rise and this is one of the major factors contributing to the overall development and progress. Short-term foreign institutional investors invested more than US$ 40 million in the country while long-term foreign direct investment was US$ 23 million in the last four years.

The short-term investment can be pulled out in any moment of crisis and this could result in severe economic setback for the country. The rapid inflow of capital in the form of these short-term investments for purchasing equities and securities has no doubt strengthened the stock market, but an outflow of this capital will depress the stock market and cause the economy to fumble. The economy needs more of long-term foreign direct investment to stabilize growth.

Lately the Indian rupee has appreciated by more than 10% with respect to the US dollar, 8% with respect to British pounds, 7% with respect to Euros and 11% with respect to Yen. On one hand this appreciation has benefited the economy by making imports cheaper and controlling inflation to a considerable extent. The price of crude oil has been kept in check in India due to this reason. On the other hand the valuation of exports has gone down and this has hit some of the small-scale exporters hard. Moreover the Indian goods have to compete with Chinese goods in the market that are relatively cheaper and has captured larger market share.

Broadly the Indian economy presents high risks to investors in terms of possible depreciation of rupee, high inflation, policies adopted by the Indian government for further liberalization of the economy and the highly volatile nature of the Indian stock market. Since the markets present high risks to foreign investors in the Indian market, they expect higher returns as compared to investments made in other developed economies of United States and Europe. The private equity firms that invest in these developed countries for a period of five to seven years expect an average net annual return of 13% to 15%. But the private equity firms investing in India have a time frame of three to five years and expect an average net annual return of 25% to 27%.

7. Future Trends in Private Equity Market in India

Several factors have contributed to the growth and rise of private equity market in India. Among these the most prominent is the stable economic and political environment of the country that has triggered economic growth and prosperity in the past few years. The Indian economy is witnessing increasing number of high net worth individuals with increasing assets. The country has a large number of family-owned businesses that present excellent opportunities for investment and growth. Most of these businesses are changing their operational structure to accommodate new and better technology for higher returns. Tatas, Ambanis, Wipro (Azim Premji), Birlas,  Singhs (Ranbaxy) and Bajajs are all family-run business.

The Bombay Stock Exchange lists 47 companies that are partially or fully family-owned businesses with a total market capitalization of US$ 345 billion in the year 2007. The changing faces of the traditional modes of conducting business have created huge scope for investment. The existing modes of operations require re-modeling and re-structuring requires adequate investment. The family-run businesses lack effective management and vision to expand in the domestic and global market. The infusion of appropriate capital funds with strategic management moves and planning can create a huge difference in this type of business ventures. An investment in such companies can prove mutually beneficial for both parties. This has created a huge demand for private equity investment.

Rising disposable income in the middle and higher income group has led to significant changes in their lifestyle. This has created markets for new sectors of commerce. One of the sectors affected by the changing lifestyle of these classes is the growth in domestic flight service sector. The country currently has 325 airplanes on the domestic route but this figure is projected to reach 750 by the end of 2010 that is expected to generate annual revenue of US$ 12 billion.

The rise in this sector has created the need for more airline maintenance companies that are so few in numbers currently. Likewise it has also created market need for airline certification companies that will certify and check the audit requirements of the airplanes and the airlines companies. This is just an illustration of how emerging economic trends have given rise to new service sectors that require financing.

Similar trends are visible in the food and beverage industry sector. Rising demand for quality processed food and beverages are slowly making their presence felt with changing tastes and lifestyles. The automobile industry is yet another industrial sector witnessing immense market growth potential. Finer tastes and longing for world-class cars engineered with latest technological specifications is changing the face of this industry. This sector is expected to generate revenue of US$ 165 billion by the end of the year 2016.

E-commerce is yet another avenue of potential growth and development. The sector being in its nascent stages has a long way to go in the Indian market. Industries are slowly realizing the revenue and growth potential of this medium and are revising their existing strategies to exploit the advantages of increased market share and global outreach.

The need for skilled professionals for the rising industries and opportunities presented by the growing economy has driven the educational institutes to adopt new strategies and expansion models to cater to changing market needs. More and more companies are entering this sector to satisfy the growing market requirements.

The real estate and hospitality service sectors are also experiencing widespread changes owing to changing lifestyle and increased disposable income. Investment in this sector needs to be carefully examined and studied since the real estate prices in India are overpriced as compared to other economies in Asia.

A growth in market demand has resulted in subsequent rise in demand for capital investment. Favorable economic conditions have lured private equity investors both domestic and foreign to start operations in India. The country’s extensive pool of skilled labors has produced excellent managerial and entrepreneurial talent who has ventured into new and promising business ventures.

The private equity market in the country is still in its initial phases of development and hence promises immense scope and potential in the near future. The increasing interest of global firms in the Indian market has overcome the challenge of attracting more funds into the private equity sector. The real challenge now lies in extracting maximum value from these investments and retrieve higher gains.

Government policies have raised the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in various sectors to attract more funds. The retail sector now has 51 percent foreign investment limit while in the telecom sector the FDI limit has been raised from 49 percent to 74 percent. Absolute ownership of foreign firms is allowed in some selected infrastructure sectors like development of new airports, petroleum, mining of coal and lignite, natural gas pipelines and mining of diamonds and precious stones.

8. Conclusion

The impact of private equity funding on the country’s economy has been quite significant since this financing sector has added new dimensions to the booming industrial and service sector in India. The financing alternative available to the firms has not only assisted them in improving financial and market valuations but has also provided them with the necessary backing to fulfill expansion and diversification strategies to the existing line of products or services.

Max Calderon, a senior partner of Apex Partners Worldwide, which is a $20 billion firm is of the opinion that the “drivers of the private equity investment in the Indian market include consolidation in fragmented industries, international expansion, increasing domestic market spend, and continued growth in value added services. “

It is only recently that the private equity funds have adopted segmentation and specialization strategies in acquiring investment portfolios. Some of the private equity firms target early stage investment in technology or matured stage investment in manufacturing.

The strengthening stock market is witnessing increased volumes of trading and this has eased the exit process for private equity funds investors. Multinational financial institutions like Citigroup Venture Capital, Barings and Westbridge Capital, Warbug Pincus and Actis Partners have taken strong interest in this emerging market. Global private equity players like Blackstone and Goldman Sachs have established permanent operations in the country to reap the benefits of this promising market.

The key factor to successful operations in this market will depend largely on one sole factor – the right leadership and availability of a strong team of professionals. The private equity market requires adequate managerial talent for designing effective business strategies for successful acquisitions made by the investors. It is therefore essential that the private equity firms focus on specific industry sectors to build their professional expertise and specialized areas of operations. This builds on the firms’ value and potential for higher rates of returns over their invested funds.

The private equity firms hence not only need to look into the experience and skill sets of the professionals they hire but also need to train them on the finer aspects of the business requirements. The team of executives need to take overall responsibilities of entire operations and functioning within the company and think as owners while devising strategies and business plans. An in-depth knowledge of the business and market area is an essential asset for this venture. Experienced professionals are hence much in demand and a valuable asset for this market segment.

The private equity firms also need to conduct extensive and in-depth market research and analysis activity before investing in any company. The Indian economy presents a diverse and variable growth indicators across the geographical boundaries. An understanding of the existing socio-cultural and political environment of the region helps to understand better the market and consumer behavior pattern.

The investors across the globe are increasing fund allocations for the private equity market in India. It is boom time for this market segment and the trends of growth will continue over the coming years with the adoption of adequate government policies and measures to ensure a strong market performance.  The private equity market is reaping benefits on the one hand from expanding into overseas market through acquisitions and on the other hand investing into private equity assets managed by global fund managers.

Reference:

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