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Darby International raises USD147m for India private equity fund

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Darby Overseas Investments, the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments, has announced that its Indian private equity affiliate, Darby Asia Investors (India) and Franklin Temp

Darby Overseas Investments, the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments, has announced that its Indian private equity affiliate, Darby Asia Investors (India) and Franklin Templeton (India) have raised USD147m in commitments for Franklin Templeton Private Equity Strategy, a private equity portfolio oriented toward high net worth individuals in India.

A closed-ended, rupee-denominated private equity portfolio that seeks to provide attractive returns by selectively investing in high growth, mid-sized unlisted companies in India, Franklin Templeton Private Equity Strategy is managed by Franklin Templeton (India) while Darby Asia Investors (India) is its investment advisor.

‘We are very pleased with the response to this initiative, which combines Darby’s private equity expertise in emerging markets with Franklin Templeton’s distribution strengths and client base in the Indian retail market,’ says David Hudson, Darby’s senior managing director responsible for Asia. ‘FTPES aims to capitalise on the growth in India’s economy by investing in areas such as infrastructure, manufacturing and consumer goods, and in related sectors.’

Vivek Kudva, president of Franklin Templeton (India), says: ‘Indian high net worth individuals who were earlier focused on equity markets have become more open to explore alternative assets classes such as private equity.

‘Despite the expected moderation, the Indian economy will continue to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the rising demand for private capital will help this product to capture the growth potential in an effective way.’

The Darby team responsible for Franklin Templeton Private Equity Strategy, led by Deepa Sankaran, sees attractive private equity opportunities in the current market conditions. According to Darby chief executive Richard Frank, the fund is developing its strategy of complementing international fund raising by tapping local investors in emerging markets.

Recently the firm closed its Brazil Mezzanine Infrastructure Fund with total capital commitments of USD236m raised from leading domestic institutional investors. In 2006 the firm’s USD610m Korea Emerging Infrastructure Fund, managed jointly with Hana Bank, drew a strong response from local institutions.

Founded in 1994 by former US Treasury secretary Nicholas F. Brady, Darby Overseas Investments became a wholly-owned subsidiary in 2003 of Franklin Resources, parent of San Mateo, California-based Franklin Templeton Investments, which had around USD507bn in assets under management at the end of September.

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