India-dedicated private equity firm Kedaara Capital, venture capital firm SAIF Partners, private-sector lender Capital First Ltd and the company behind womenswear label W are among the winners of VCCircle Awards 2018. The annual awards, now in their seventh year, recognise and felicitate PE- and VC-backed portfolio companies in key sectors, besides the key players in the ecosystem including investment funds, law firms and investment bankers. The winners, awarded on Tuesday as part of the ongoing VCCircle India Limited Partners Summit 2018, being held at Trident Hotel, Mumbai, were chosen based on the recommendation of an eminent sixmember jury. This year’s jury of industry veterans and long-time watchers of business in India evaluated the nominees on a variety of qualitative and quantitative parameters such as financial performance, brand salience and management quality. The jury comprised Vikram Limaye, managing director and CEO, National Stock Exchange; Vishakha Mulye, executive director, ICICI Bank and former head of ICICI Venture; Gopal Srinivasan, founder of TVS Capital and chairman of the PE-VC industry body IVCA; Deep Kalra, founder, chairman and CEO, MakeMyTrip; Abhishek Lodha, managing director, Lodha Group; and Shailender Kumar, CEO, Oracle India. TCNS Clothing Co Pvt. Ltd, which owns the ‘W’ brand of clothing for women, juice maker Manpasand Beverages Pvt Ltd, education services firm People Combine Avenues Ltd, contract research manufacturing firm Syngene International Ltd, Capital First—which is merging with IDFC Bank—and infrastructure solutions firm Enzen Global Solutions Pvt Ltd bagged the portfolio company awards in their respective sectors. The awards also recognized top PE and VC fundraisers, as also exit of the year based on annualised return or internal rate of return (IRR). Kedaara Capital, which raised the largest conventional sector-agnostic PE fund dedicated for India in a decade, bagged the PE fundraiser of the year award. PE giant KKR received the exit of the year award for the high returns it clocked from Gland Pharma Ltd in what was a landmark inbound acquisition deal involving a Chinese firm. While VC firm IDG Ventures lost out to SAIF Partners for the VC fundraiser of the year, it was picked for a special jury award in recognition of its domestic fundraising that opened up new avenues of fundraising from local family offices, which otherwise did not bet on alternative investment industry in the past. The best intermediaries—investment banks and law firms—were honoured, too. Avendus Capital and Kotak Mahindra Capital bagged the I-bank of the year award for PE and M&A categories. AZB & Partners and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas received the law firms of the year award under the PE and M&A categories, respectively. This year’s awards also introduced the VCCircle Hall of Fame, which
recognise the funds raised over the years by an Indian PE firm and the amount deployed by a global PE major. The Hall of Fame awards went to ICICI Venture and Blackstone. The nominations for the awards were powered by VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle. The Hall of Fame awardees were picked solely based on the data collated by VCCEdge.
Budget 2018: Rural All The Way
There was a general consensus in all commentary before the budget that in the light of the agrarian distress, and the last full budget before the next election, that there will be a big focus on rural India. But the sheer scale and magnitude of the focus on rural India has blown minds away. In 2018-19, eight crore more poor women will get new LPG connections, four crore more poor people will get power connections, two crore more toilets will be constructed under Swach Bharat Mission, one crore houses will be built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in rural areas, a health insurance of Rs. 5 lacs for 100 million families will be rolled out, and Rs. 1 lac crore will be spent for education. In terms of direct investments, the government plans to spend Rs 14.34 lac crores for creation of livelihood in rural areas, make capital investment in railways of Rs. 1,47,000 crores, invest Rs. 6 lac crores into infrastructure for building roads and airports, 2 lac crores for smart cities. Further, spending Rs.10,000 crores for rolling out 5 lakh Wi-Fi hotspots to boost broadband connectivity which will help bridge the digital divide in rural India. My first thoughts when the FM was reading out the budget, and had not yet come to the tax proposals was “but how’s he going to fund this? What are the new taxes coming up? As it turned out there no big stings. The one that caught the attention was the 10% tax on long term capital gains on equities, but this too will be digested and forgotten over time. As compared to all other asset classes, only equities enjoyed a zero LTCG. The markets reacted the next day by 800 points, but markets react to many factors- it’s difficult to pin it down. It’s more probable that markets are worried about fiscal deficit and government borrowing turning out higher than budgeted-but that will solve itself out as the year rolls by if the numbers stay the course. It is important to note that credit rating agency Moodys commented after the budget that India’s fiscal consolidation is on track. What the markets are probably not factoring is that, such investments and government spends will lead to a huge kick-off of consumption and demand, power up a long list of supplementary industries, and build an India with modern infrastructure with roads ports and highways. No matter what industry leaders expected, I had no expectation on corporate tax cuts this year, considering the agrarian stress and this being an election year. At best the expectation was that the threshold for 25% tax rate will move to turnover of Rs. 100 crores. The increase of threshold for SMEs to avail the reduced tax rate being revised to Rs. 250 crores was a positive surprise. It is quite obvious by now that the FM is delivering on the promise of 25% corporate tax, but in phases, starting with the most deserving. The way the government has gone about increasing farm income instead of going for farm waivers is the best example of the theme “empowerment instead of entitlement” as waiving loans would have been a one-time relief with moral hazards, while increasing farm incomes would enable them to service loans, and it will keep out moral hazards. There is a saying that there are decades where nothing happens, but then there are weeks when decades happen. If we successfully implement all these initiatives for rural India, the first week of February 2018 would turn out one such week. Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/ her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
V. Vaidyanathan, Chairman and Managing Director of Capital First Ltd.
V. Vaidyanathan, Chairman and Managing Director of Capital First Ltd. received VCCIRCLE Awards 2018