Wadhawan Global Capital (WGC), the parent of cash-strapped Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Ltd (DHFL), is selling its loan distribution business Andromeda Sales and Distribution Pvt. Ltd to London-based metal trading firm, Metdist Group of companies for close to ₹150 crore, two people aware of the development told Mint, seeking anonymity.
The sale of Andromeda is part of WGC’s attempts to raise capital to meet debt obligations at the group’s flagship company DHFL.
The group, which has been on a selling spree ever since a liquidity crunch hit Indian non-bank lenders, has so far sold its affordable housing finance business Aadhar Housing Finance Ltd to PE firm Blackstone and education financing firm Avanse Financial Services Ltd to American private equity firm Warburg Pincus.
Earlier this month, DHFL said that it has submitted a resolution plan to its lenders which seeks moratorium on repayments but lenders will have to take no haircuts on the principal amount of their loans. Despite that, on Monday, the company said in a regulatory filing that it had three cases of default worth ₹1,571 crore, with regard to interest payment on non-convertible debentures and commercial papers (CPs).
For Metdist, the acquisition of Andromeda will help grow its financial services business in India.
The group is already present in the financial services space in India through its Bengaluru-based fintech firm, Atyati Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which provides banking, digital payment, microfinance and insurance services to its clients.
“The buyout will help in strengthening Metdist’s presence in the financial services space in India. The acquisition will help Atyati expand its product portfolio and geographical reach," said one of the persons cited above.
Metdist Group, founded by late Lord Raj Kumar Bagri, former chairman of London Metal Exchange, operates copper smelters and refineries and manufactures wires and rods. The group has a presence in the UK, Malaysia, Thailand, China, UAE and India.
Andromeda, one of India’s largest distributors of loans, mortgage, financing and financial instruments, operates mostly through its website Andromedaloans.com and distributes products such as credit cards, home loans, unsecured business loans, and car loans.
Started as a direct sales associate for Citibank in 1991 by V. Swaminathan, the firm is present in 68 cities across India and has partnerships with 70 banks and financial institutions to facilitate disbursal of loans, according to its website.
In 2016, the DHFL group bought out Andromeda from its financial services holding company, Casa Capital Management Ltd for a consideration of about ₹250 crore, to expand its reach to smaller cities. This happened a year after Andromeda acquired financial products comparison website Apnapaisa.com in a stock and cash deal. Andromeda competes with other online aggregators such as BankBazaar and LoanAdda.
Emails sent to DHFL did not elicit any response. Rajan Mittal, a senior executive at Metdist declined to comment. Multiple calls and messages sent to V. Swaminathan, CEO of Andromeda did not elicit a response.