Macquarie to buy 50% of Religare wealth management arm

Macquarie to buy 50% of Religare wealth management arm

Mumbai: Australia’s biggest securities firm, Macquarie Bank Ltd, will buy 50% of an Indian wealth management firm founded by Religare Enterprises Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

“Macquarie has been looking at establishing a wealth management operation in India for some time," Peter Maher, head of Macquarie Financial Services Group and executive director at Macquarie Bank, said in a statement.

Religare Enterprises and Macquarie Bank on Thursday announced a joint venture to expand Religare’s wealth management business. The business, Religare Wealth Management Services Ltd, will be renamed Religare Macquarie Wealth Ltd.

The number of Indians with at least $1 million (Rs3.95 crore) in net financial assets grew 21% in 2006, the second fastest in Asia Pacific, according to a Merrill Lynch & Co. and Capgemini report released on Wednesday. Rising incomes and the country’s rallying equity and real estate markets have helped create wealth. India’s high net worth individuals hold a total $350 billion in financial assets, it said.

“Like Macquarie, Religare is entrepreneurial," Maher said. New Delhi-based Religare Enterprises said its profit more than doubled in the year ended 31 March, to Rs25.5 crore on a revenue of Rs320 crore. It plans to sell a 15% stake, or 11.4 million shares, in an initial share sale, according to its filings with the market regulator. It has yet to fix the date and price for the share sale to be arranged by Enam Financial Consultants Ltd and Citigroup Inc.

Merrill Lynch has bought 5% in Religare for $16 million, The Economic Times reported on 16 October.