Blackstone may sell up to 50% in PGP Glass | Mint

Blackstone may sell up to 50% in PGP Glass

Blackstone has been harvesting exits from India for the past couple of years. (REUTERS)
Blackstone has been harvesting exits from India for the past couple of years. (REUTERS)

Summary

  • Jefferies appointed to find buyers; global funds sounded out

MUMBAI : Global private equity (PE) firm Blackstone Inc. is looking to sell as much as 50% stake in PGP Glass Pvt. Ltd that it acquired three years ago, three people aware of the development said.

The PE firm has named investment bank Jefferies Group Llc to find buyers for the bottle maker earlier called Piramal Glass, and large global funds have been sounded out, the people said on the condition of anonymity. “The deal is at a very early stage. The information memorandums (IMs) are yet to be sent out. Some PE funds have been informally approached," one of the persons said.

 

Blackstone bought 100% stake in PGP Glass in 2020 from the Piramal Group for 6,988 crore (about $1 billion then). While $850 million was paid upfront, around $150 million was set to be paid later after certain milestones.

The partial stake sale will help the US-based PE firm derisk its investment in the Mumbai-based firm, the second person cited above added.

Blackstone’s stake sale strategy is similar to what Temasek Holdings Ltd, the Singapore government’s sovereign fund, is looking to do with its investment in Manipal Hospital. Mint had reported earlier that Temasek is in talks with sovereign wealth funds to sell a minority stake in the hospital chain where it holds around 59% stake.

Blackstone declined to comment to an emailed query from Mint. Jefferies spokesperson declined to comment too.

PGP Glass supplies glass bottles to clients in the cosmetics and perfumery, pharmaceuticals and specialty food packaging industry. The company has three manufacturing facilities across India and Sri Lanka, and sells to clients such as Baralan International S.P.A., CIMSA, Baralan Glass, USA Coty, Unilever, among others, in more than 60 countries.

According to a December 2022 Care Ratings report, for the first half of 2022-23 (April-September 2022), the company’s operating income stood at over 4,000 crore while operating margin or PBILDT (profit before interest, lease rentals, depreciation and taxation) was at more than 24% on a sustained basis. It also saw improvement in operating cycle to below 100 days.

Comparatively, the company reported operating income of 2,838.23 crore on a loss of 342 crore for the full 2021-22, the report added.

“Care Ratings expects the company to generate gross cash accruals of about 500 crore in 2022-23, about 800 crore in 2023-24 and about 900 crore in 2024-25. The company is also expected to incur capex of about 1,036 crore during FY23-FY25," the ratings report said.

Blackstone has been harvesting exits from India for the past couple of years. In April 2021, it sold its 38% stake in Aakash Education Services to Byju’s for $1 billion. And in March 2023, it sold its 20.5% stake in Sona Comstar for $640 million in block deals in the open market.

The PE giant, which has assets under management of over $1 trillion globally, entered India’s healthcare segment in 2023 by acquiring Hyderabad-based Care Hospitals. The latter, in turn, agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Kerala-based KIMS Healthcare. Blackstone’s cumulative investment in both assets was over $1 billion.

It also owns IT services business Mphasis Ltd and acquired a controlling stake in visa and passport services company VFS Global for $1.87 billion in 2021.

In February 2023, Blackstone’s chief operating officer Jon Gray said India is the firm’s second biggest market outside the US, after the UK.

“The fundamentals here for long-term growth are outstanding: young population, hundreds of millions of people who speak English, more engineers than anywhere else in the world, a very low-cost place to do business, entrepreneurial people and a government now that is oriented towards growth. And we believe as more infrastructure comes into this country, it can continue to grow at a much faster rate than the rest of the world," Gray told reporters, according to a Mint report.

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