S Chand Looks to Turn a New Page with IPO

Co is al­ready in talks with a num­ber of In­dia’s top mer­chant banks

The Economic Times - - Disruption: - Biswarup.Gooptu @times­group.com

New Delhi: Text­book-fo­cused pub­lish­ing firm S Chand and Com­pany has be­gun dis­cus­sions with a num­ber of In­dia’s top mer­chant banks, as it ex­plores a po­ten­tial ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing (IPO) later this year. Edel­weiss, JM Fi­nan­cial and Axis Cap­i­tal are amongst the mul­ti­ple in­vest­ment banks that have held dis­cus­sions with the New Delhi-head­quar­tered com­pany, which also counts mid-mar­ket pri­vate equity firm Ever­stone Cap­i­tal and In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Corp, the pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment arm of the World Bank, as in­vestors.

“At this point, it is at an ex­ploratory stage only. We are fo­cused on grow­ing the busi­ness, and our core sea­son, which is De­cem­ber to April pe­riod, is cur­rently un­der way. An IPO is just one of the op­tions to raise cap­i­tal,” said Hi­man­shu Gupta, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, S Chand.

EYES ON GROWTH

The com­pany, which re­cently closed a $27-mil­lion fund­ing round in Novem­ber last year, may also look to raise fresh cap­i­tal of $40-$50 mil­lion from in­vestors — new and ex­ist­ing — dur­ing the course of the year. Till date, it has raised about .₹ 370 crore in a mix of pri­mary and sec­ondary trans­ac­tions. S Chand has also been mak­ing a slew of in­vest­ments over the past 18-24 months, pri­mar­ily in the dig­i­tal and ed-tech and ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices seg­ments. The com­pany, which has plans of in­vest­ing about $100 mil­lion over the course of the next three to five years, is tar­get­ing 25% of its over­all rev­enue to be de­rived from dig­i­tal and ser­vices by 2020. “We are ag­gres­sively look­ing to meet that tar­get, and have plans to con­tinue in­vest­ing. We have in­vested be­tween $8 and $10 mil­lion over the last two years, and will con­tinue to work at that pace,” Gupta said. In March, the com­pany made two in­vest­ments in the edtech space — FlipClass and on­line test prep startup Test­book.

An IPO by the one of the largest pub­lish­ing com­pa­nies in the coun­try will be a closely watched af­fair, given that In­dia has been one of the few stand-out mar­kets in the oth­er­wise mori­bund Asian re­gion.

Last year saw 20 firms, a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of which were backed by pri­vate equity in­vestors, mak­ing their pub­lic mar­ket de­buts, and rais­ing more than .₹ 13,000 crore in the process, ac­cord­ing to data col­lated by VCCEdge.

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