Mumbai: After making a record $24 billion private equity (PE) investments and several exits in India last year, PE funds are looking to make bigger and bolder bets in 2018.

Their optimism reflects in their interest in transactions such as Fortis Healthcare Ltd, Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd and Vishal Mega Mart, but begs an important question: will PEs continue to hone their activist approaches to creating value in partnership with management?

Even as funds turn to a mix of tactics and strategies, they do require new tools and lenses to understand how technology affects industries, as reflected by the rapid ascent of Amazon and its impact on retailers, consumer products companies, and many other businesses. The question then becomes—How do PE firms move beyond yesterday’s challenges, build upon today’s foundation and create the PE firm of the future?

The second edition of the Mint’s Annual Private Equity Conclave 2018 to be held on 28 March will attempt to unravel this and more. The conference will see participation from leading private equity firms including ChrysCapital, Everstone Group, General Atlantic, Kedaara Capital, Multiples Alternate Asset Management, TPG Capital, True North, Warburg Pincus and Apax Partners.

Leaders of the Indian PE industry will also discuss how firms are improving upon their recent exit track record with an increased focus on buyouts. As more PE firms in India turn control-oriented, one needs to understand how PE fund managers reorient themselves from minority investors to promoters, for lack of a better word. A panel of operating partners, professionals and PE investors will discuss strategies to execute a successful control transaction, create the necessary value and achieve a successful exit.

Mint’s Annual Private Equity Conclave will also touch upon emerging sectors, alternative strategies such as private debt, and how the flow of pension and sovereign money is changing the PE landscape.

However, even as we discuss long term and structural changes happening in the Indian PE industry, we have to keep an eye on the near term macro-environment.

The year 2018 will test the Indian PE industry with the stock markets and the economy expected to see some volatility ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Stock markets have already seen much volatility, which could spell trouble for those PE firms looking to exit portfolio companies through initial public offerings. Limited partners,investors in private equity funds, and fund managers will also keep an eye on the upcoming state elections to gauge which way the Indian electorate is bound to lean in 2019 and how that could impact the Indian economy.

Mint’s Annual Private Equity Conclave will be the forum to answer how PE firms are gearing up to navigate the coming year.

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