Private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) investments in India touched a record high of $37 billion on the back of large investments in the infrastructure sector, according to a report by private company data tracker Venture Intelligence.
With 861 deals worth $36.96 billion, 2019 beat the previous record of 2018, which had witnessed 937 deals valued at $36.14 billion, the report showed. The figure excluded private equity deals in the real estate sector.
Investment activity in 2018 was largely dominated by mega deals in the technology sector, specifically e-commerce, with the highlight of the year being the $16 billion acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart Inc.
“The fact that the PE investment tally of 2019 outdid the previous high of 2018, despite uncertainties on the economic, political and global trade fronts , is very encouraging," said Arun Natarajan, the founder of Venture Intelligence. “The sheer diversity of investors that are now actively investing in India—by geography (including North America, Asia and Middle East) as well as sector preferences—provides scope for optimism that the momentum will be maintained in the new year."
The year 2019 witnessed 74 private equity investments worth $100 million or more, accounting for 74% of the total investment value during the period. Of these, 40 were larger than $200 million each, with five investments of more than $1 billion, the data showed.
Infrastructure-related industries accounted for 40% of the private equity investment pie in 2019 attracting $14.7 billion across 74 deals compared to a 20% share in 2018 ($7.8 billion across 83 deals).
Energy industry deals, led by Brookfield’s $1.9 billion investment in Reliance Pipeline Infra, accounted for 26 investments worth $4.9 billion in 2019, compared to $3.2 billion (across 31 deals) in 2018.
The Reliance Industries Ltd-Brookfield partnership also extended into telecom, with the Canadian investor agreeing to put in almost $3.7 billion in a special purpose vehicle that will acquire a controlling stake in Reliance Jio’s tower infrastructure company. The airport development arms of Hyderabad-based GMR and GVK groups also attracted significant capital during the year.
Topped by a fresh $1 billion investment in fintech leader Paytm led by US-based T. Rowe Price, IT & ITeS companies accounted for 32% of the PE investment pie in 2019 attracting $11.8 billion across 493 deals, compared to $10.9 billion across 482 deals in 2018.
The year saw the creation of nine unicorn companies, Delhivery, Dream11, BigBasket, Rivigo, Druva Software, Icertis, Citius Tech, Ola Electric and Lenskart, according to Venture Intelligence.