L&T may list or merge MF arm next fiscal

L&T may list or merge MF arm next fiscal

Mumbai: Engineering and construction group Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Monday launched its asset management business and said it would look at unlocking its value either through listing or merger with another entity.

“We are looking at value unlocking...we expect the value to be unlocked by the third quarter of FY11," L&T whole-time director and chief financial officer YM Deosthalee told reporters here.

Group subsidiary L&T Finance, which recently acquired DBS Cholamanadalam’s AMC and rechristened it L&T Investment Management Ltd has renamed the fund house as L&T Mutual Fund.

“The complement of L&T’s brand, established presence in financial services and an experienced team of professionals, will enable the establishment of a successful asset management business," Deosthalee said.

The mutual fund arm would provide a suite of products that would be attractive to both retail investors and corporates, he said.

“Our target is to be among the top ten funds in India. We need to create an image of a stable and strong fund among customers," Deosthalee said.

The company proposes a further investment of Rs500 crore to be pumped into the business in the next two years.

The fund house with assets under management (AUM) of Rs2,634 crore (as on 18 Feb 2010) offers 18 schemes.

“The acquisition of the asset management business enlarges the product range and it gives us great pleasure to bring asset management services to investors as a part of L&T group’s strategy to offer comprehensive solutions in the financial services segment," L&T senior VP financial services N Sivaraman said.

The fund house is also committed to rope in the vast untapped potential investor base spread across the country by increasing the network and distribution base in the coming months, a statement said.

Moreover, the fund house is also evaluating potential in microfinance in states like Orissa and Gujarat.

The company also hopes to start operation of its general insurance venture in the next five months.

“We are evaluating microfinance options in Orissa and Gujarat. We also plan to launch our general insurance company in the next five months," Deosthalee said.