Mumbai: Carlyle Group is actively looking at investment opportunities in India’s distressed assets space, two people familiar with the asset manager’s India plans said.

Carlyle had recently announced the final close of its fifth Asia buyout fund at $6.55 billion.

The development underlines the growing interest of overseas private equity (PE) funds in India’s distressed assets space, which has led to several of them setting up asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) in the country.

Those who have set up asset reconstruction companies to warehouse bad loans include KKR, Blackstone and Aion Capital; and a joint venture of Apollo Global Management and ICICI Venture.

“Carlyle’s core investment philosophy remains the same, but the PE firm feels that there are good bargains in the corporate insolvency space, in which some well-known consumer brands are likely to be available for acquisition. The investments will be made from the new fund," the first of the two people mentioned above said on condition of anonymity.

The new fund called Carlyle Asia Partners V or CAP V fund exceeded its initial target of $5 billion and is more than 65% larger than its predecessor fund Carlyle Asia Partners IV, the private equity firm said on 22 June.

Carlyle has invested close to 20% of the previous fund in India totalling $1.5 billion of equity in over 30 transactions.

Some of its notable investments in India include SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd and PNB Housing Finance Ltd.

A spokesperson for Carlyle declined to answer Mint’s queries.

Mint reported on 18 June that there are nearly 150 firms each owing at least 2,000 crore to lenders, which need to be resolved by August, failing which they will be referred to bankruptcy courts.

“Unlike some of its global peers, Carlyle is not looking at this as a separate business but an opportunity to acquire companies which have an intrinsic brand value," the second person cited above said, also on condition of anonymity.

Some recent examples of well-known consumer brands undergoing bankruptcy proceedings include power systems maker Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd and edible oil maker Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd, which owns Mahakosh Soyabean oil, Ruchi Gold Palmolein, Sunrich sunflower oil and Nutrela soya products.

Mint reported on 30 April that Su-Kam had received informal interest from Greaves Cotton Ltd, Luminous Group and Microtek. Similarly, Videocon group has been in talks with suitors to sell its Kenstar range of home appliances.

Other potential cases include Mumbai-based Provogue India Ltd which sells a range of clothing brands and fragrances and has undergone strategic debt restructuring (SDR) in the past.

Carlyle has invested more than $18.5 billion of equity in Asia, with $20 billion of assets under management as of 31 March 2018.

In the last 12 months, Carlyle’s Asian private equity platform has invested and committed more than $2.5 billion of equity in Asia Pacific which include investments in iNova Pharmaceuticals and Accolade Wines in Australia; SBI Card and Visionary RCM in India; McDonald’s businesses in mainland China and Hong Kong; and OneSmart Education, Tuhu, JD Logistics, Ant Financial and Baidu Financial (rebranded as Du Xiaoman Financial) in China.

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