Bengaluru: Nalanda Capital — one of the largest long-only, India-focused funds — is raising $800 million for an additional corpus. Out of this, it has already mopped up $728 million, according to its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Started by former Warburg Pincus India co-head Pulak Prasad, known for his bet on telco Bharti Airtel, the new fund will take the corpus raised by Nalanda to over $2.3 billion.
The latest fund comes at a time when the stock market has been volatile for the last few months since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, even though the index has recovered a large part of the initial fall. An email sent to Prasad, whose firm was in the news last year for its shareholding in Mindtree, seeking comment on the new fund did not elicit a response till the time of going to the press.
Prasad had led Warburg Pincus’s investment in Airtel in 1999, which made more than six times returns of over $1.8 billion, setting the stage for the global private equity rush to India.
After quitting Warburg Pincus, Prasad set up Nalanda Capital in 2007 based out of Singapore. The firm raised its first fund of $400 million in May 2007, followed by a second $475-million fund in 2011, and then an additional corpus of $620 million in 2016. Nalanda’s limited partners (LPs) include endowments, foundations and family offices from the US and Europe.
Nalanda follows the private investment in public enterprises, or PIPE, route to focus on investing in the large universe of small- and mid-cap companies listed on the bourses, which are typically off the radar of big global investors and equity research firms.
Some of the recent bets by Nalanda include hiking its stake in environment and engineering firm Thermax. Several of its large holdings are in construction and ancillary space like Havells and Berger Paints, besides internet companies such as Info Edge, Just Dial and Matrimony.
Its most successful bet is Page Industries, a licensed manufacturer of the Jockey brand of innerwear in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. Nalanda had picked up a stake of close to 10% in October 2008, at an average price of Rs 440-450, and is currently sitting on gains of more than 40 times as the company’s shares closed on Friday at Rs 20,609 on the BSE. Nalanda sold about a quarter of its stake in the company last year.