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Lotus India hopes to tap overseas partner

Lotus India hopes to tap overseas partner

Mumbai: Mumbai-based Lotus India Asset Management co. Pvt. Ltd is looking to pair with foreign partners to launch global thematic funds to cater to the rising demand for internationally-invested products in India, a top fund official said on Thursday.

More liberal investment norms and the growing appetite of Indian investors for diversification and money-making opportunities abroad are encouraging local funds to look beyond India.

“Whoever has a good story and meets our due diligence, we will go ahead with them," Ajay Bagga, chief executive, said on Thursday.

Lotus India is a joint venture (JV) between Fullerton Fund Management Co. Ltd, a unit of Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, and London-based Sabre Capital Worldwide Inc., which was founded by former Standard Chartered Plc. chief executive Rana Talwar.

“It has to be somebody who has not entered India and does not intend to enter in the near future," Bagga said, adding his firm had started talks with a couple of partners, but it was “nowhere near to closure."

Ever since India allowed funds to invest overseas in February, gradually raising the total amount that the industry could put into foreign stocks to $5 billion (Rs19,990 crore), the space has seen a flurry of launch activities.

A dozen players in India’s 32-member fund industry now offer such products, compared with just two at the start of the year, and many more plan to jump on the bandwagon.

Such schemes’ assets have surged five times to $2.8 billion from the beginning of 2007.

Bagga, whose firm managed assets worth about Rs8,100 crore at the end of October, said he was looking for partners to roll out a global infrastructure fund and other themes, which were not available through Fullerton Fund Management. At least five of the existing 14 funds with a mandate to invest overseas are theme-based products seeking international opportunities in sectors spanning real estate to gold mining.

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