Anil Agarwal eyes the Indian divestment program with a $ 10 billion war chest

Commodity tycoon Anil Agarwal plans to invest $ 10 billion through a new partnership aimed at government privatization in India.

The billionaire works with London-based Centricus Asset Management Ltd. together to seek investment in Indian companies that offer significant growth opportunities, according to a statement Thursday. They will seek to reverse companies sold under the country’s 2.1 trillion rupee ($ 29 billion) disposal program.

Agarwal made a fortune buying and repairing state-owned companies, a metal and mining power plant owned by Vedanta Resources Ltd. to build. He is now trying to replicate that success, betting that he can discover gems among the dozen of businesses that are being blocked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

The entrepreneurial dynamism in India “can be used to enable incredible change in the public sector,” Agarwal said in the statement. “We believe that this strategy can and will play a crucial role in the ongoing industrialization of the country.”

The billionaire plans to help former government companies accelerate their transformation into private-sector companies with professional management. Vedanta is among the parties interested in acquiring India’s stake in the $ 12 billion Bharat Petroleum Corp. refinery. have stated.

Agarwal and Centricus have attempted to raise capital from international investors to take advantage of these turnaround opportunities, Bloomberg News reported for the first time in September. They have planned a 10 year fund that will have a private equity strategy, buy into companies and increase their profitability before looking to exit, said one person with knowledge of the matter.

As a former metal trader, Agarwal built its business through a number of ambitious acquisitions over the past few decades, including a 2001 contract to control the state-owned Bharat Aluminum Co. in one of the first tests of India’s state-owned outsourcing effort. He now has net worth of $ 2.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

According to its website, Centricus manages $ 28 billion in assets. The company was founded in 2016 by Nizar Al-Bassam, a former investment banker at Deutsche Bank AG, and former partner Dalinc Ariburnu of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Centricus advised SoftBank Group Corp. on founding his $ 100 billion Vision Fund and also worked on the acquisition of Fortress Investment Group LLC for $ 3.3 billion.

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