Bangalore: Infosys Technologies Ltd’s chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy’s Rs600 crore venture capital fund Catamaran Investment Pvt. Ltd is likely to make its first investment in SKS Microfinance Ltd, which will be the first Indian microfinance institution to hit the market with an initial public offering (IPO) this year.

Investor push: Infosys mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy. Hemant Mishra / Mint

The entry of a marquee investor like Murthy ahead of the public offering is expected to buoy investor sentiment as SKS tests market appetite for a sector that provides loans mainly to the unbanked rural poor.

Emails sent to Murthy’s office and SKS chief executive officer Suresh Gurumani did not elicit any response at the time of filing this story.

SKS is heavily backed by venture capital and private equity (PE) firms such as Sequoia Capital, Sandstone Capital and Kismet Capital. The total investment by alternative asset investors in SKS is estimated at around $112 million (Rs515.2 crore).

A key SKS board meeting is scheduled in about a month to decide on the timeline of the IPO, which will provide an exit for the PE investors.

SKS Microfinance, founded by Vikram Akula on the operational model of burger chain McDonald’s Corp. and coffee shop chain Starbucks Corp. in the microfinance space, posted revenue of Rs385 crore in the April-September period against Rs554 crore for the full fiscal year ended March.

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