Although the pandemic has hurt portfolio firms of most private equity funds, Temasek feels its portfolio of around a dozen companies in India is resilient and is expected to see a stronger rebound in growth in the near future.
“Our India portfolio is reasonably resilient. We do find that many of our portfolio companies are well placed not only in terms of having the balance sheet and the financial strength but also well positioned to compete quite effectively during this crisis,” said Promeet Ghosh, managing director and head for India at Temasek in an exclusive interaction with ET.
The fund that has a fluid mandate to invest in companies, both public and private, has been taking smaller minority bets in some cases and have also taken a controlling stake in some. In January this year, it announced a new energy platform O2 Power, a joint venture with EQT, the Stockholm-based global investment firm to invest in greenfield and brownfield projects in India. “We are in the process of setting up a 980MW of power plant as we speak,” Ghosh added. “O2 is an active participant in most solar auctions happening in the country right now and that platform is scaling up well.”
The firm is also looking to expand its health-tech platform Sheares and the warehousing platform CapitaLand India (formerly Ascendas-Singbridge). “It is premature to talk about the investments through Sheares but we would actually make some strides going forward in the next 12 months, in terms of making certain strategic acquisitions on that front, I think the idea of Sheares would be to take strategic control of the portfolio. And this would be also looking to drive some of the digital health initiatives that we have in mind,” said R. Venkatesh, Managing Director, Temasek, India.
Temasek has made some follow-on investments, called as top-ups in the private equity parlance, in the last few months in its existing portfolio firms such as Zomato and UST Global. The fund is now the second largest shareholder of online-pharmacy start-up Pharmeasy with its $220 million investment last year. While many news reports have claimed that the Zomato follow-on investment devalued the firm, Temasek feels it is more of confidence a capital that they have invested. “There can be situations where there is merit in bolstering the balance sheet further and we are doing just that,” Ghosh said.
The fund that has invested more than $12 billion in India in the last 15 years and is looking at liquidating some of its older investments such as in National Stock Exchange, Intas Pharma, GMR Energy and others “as and when opportunities rise,” Venkatesh said.