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Carlyle Group Inc. is accelerating investments in India as growth across sectors and the prospect of better exits mean the market is now catching up with China, according to its top Asia executive. 

“In India, the investment amount and pace is getting pretty close to that of China now for Carlyle," X.D. Yang, the private equity firm’s Asia chairman, said in an interview. “That has a lot to do with India’s growth, its scale and its opportunities."

The U.S. private equity firm said it hired former Blackstone Inc. Senior Managing Director Amit Jain as managing director and co-head of Carlyle India. The Mumbai-based executive will lead the investment team and oversee its strategy across a broad range of sectors, according to a statement. He will join current India co-head Neeraj Bharadwaj.

Carlyle is doubling down on India just as global firms grow more cautious on China as tighter regulation across swathes of the nation’s industries slows dealmaking. The investment firm, which manages $293 billion in assets, is diversifying away from financial services investment into consumer sectors, with health care becoming a key focus for the team due to its increasing contribution to the economic growth of India and China, Yang said. 

Carlyle, one of the early foreign investors in India, has invested and committed more than $5.5 billion across 44 investments to date, and is eyeing opportunities ranging from health care to industrial, consumer and information-technology companies. Health care remains an area of focus in Asia, where the firm has invested $2.8 billion over 15 years.

Separately, Carlyle has named Bharadwaj and China health-care head Ling Yang as co-heads of health care for Asia Pacific. 

India Accelerates

Carlyle’s pace of investing in India has accelerated as capital pours into the country, creating regional leaders such as in pharmaceuticals. The firm didn’t have a dedicated team member for health-care coverage, and has appointed more than 10 dealmakers focusing in the sector in the last five years, headed by two partners, Yang said. 

China’s scrutiny over everything from technology to online tutors and real estate spurred a selloff that at one stage wiped more than $1 trillion from the value of the nation’s stocks. Initial public offerings in Hong Kong raised $37.8 billion so far in 2021, behind both the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange as well as Shanghai, data compiled by Bloomberg show. 

The private equity market in India has been very challenging due to difficulties exiting through public markets or a trade sale. 

“But that has really changed dramatically in last three to four years," Yang said. “Private equity business in India has really matured, people have come to believe it’s a market in which you can both invest and exit in significant dollar amounts."

 

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