Tata Opportunities Fund, a $600-million private equity fund which has ride-hailer Uber in its portfolio, is looking to exit its minority stake in Tata Projects Ltd, said two people aware of the development, requesting anonymity.
Tata Opportunities has a 24.12% stake in the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company. It had invested ₹335 crore in 2015 to acquire the stake from four Tata companies—Tata Steel Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd, Indian Hotels Co. and Tata International Ltd.
Currently, Tata Power is the largest shareholder in Tata Projects, with a 47.8% stake as on 31 March. Other Tata group companies that hold stakes are Tata Sons, Tata Chemicals, Voltas, Tata Industries and Tata Capital, according to data from the company’s filings with the Registrar of Companies.
“The EPC business has performed strongly over the years and has remained a pure EPC business as against other players in the industry that have ended up with stressed balance sheets due to asset ownership. Given the performance of the business and that the PE investor is raising a new fund, it is exploring an exit from the company," said the first person.
The PE firm has appointed a foreign investment bank to seek buyers, both financial and strategic, and a formal process is expected to start soon, he added.
“Tata Opportunities Fund is a minority PE investor—holding a minority stake. They are the right people to speak to regarding their plans. We have no information, nor any plans for any such investment/divestment," a spokesperson for Tata Projects said in an emailed response to Mint’s queries.
An email query to Tata Opportunities Fund, however, did not elicit any response. The fund had raised $600 million in 2013 from various sovereign investors, financial institutions, wealthy individuals and global corporations across North America, Asia and West Asia.
Its investments include Uber, small finance bank Fincare, real estate developer Shriram Properties and Tata group companies Tata Sky and Ginger Hotels.
Last year, the PE investor exited its investment in auto component maker Varroc Engineering, selling its 12.55% stake for over ₹1,600 crore. The fund had invested ₹300 crore in 2014. Tata Projects provides turnkey solutions for the construction of roads, bridges, fully integrated rail and metro systems, commercial building and airports and setting up power generation plants, power transmission and distribution systems, chemical process plants, water and waste management and complete mining and metal purification systems.
Revenue at the company rose from ₹9,223 crore in fiscal 2018 to ₹13,148 crore in fiscal 2019, according to a 30 September report by rating firm Crisil. Profit grew from ₹187 in fiscal 2018 to ₹244 crore in fiscal 2019.
Tata Projects received orders worth ₹28,000 crore in FY19, representing a 40% year-on-year growth in the order pipeline, which was nearly ₹51,500 crore as of 31 March.
In recent years, Tata Projects has undertaken more complex projects such as metros, airports and large undertakings like the Trans-Harbour link road in Mumbai, noted Crisil.