• Sunday, July 03, 2022

Business

Blackstone gets strongest results from Indian market

Addressing a select group of media over lunch in India’s Mumbai, Stephen A Schwarzman, the chairman, chief executive and co-founder of Blackstone, said: “India has given us the strongest results across the world. And am optimistic this (will) continue going forward” (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images).    

By: Radhakrishna N S

THE $572-billion private equity giant Blackstone, which has pumped in $15.5bn into scores of companies in the country since its entry 15 years ago, is bullish on the Indian market which has given it the strongest results globally.

Of the $15.5bn of total investments it has made into 40 companies (and only six record-breaking profitable exits), as much as $6bn flowed into the country in 2019 alone, a record high for the firm.

Addressing a select group of media over lunch in India’s financial capital Mumbai, Stephen A Schwarzman, the chairman, chief executive and co-founder of Blackstone, said: “India has given us the strongest results across the world. And am optimistic this (will) continue going forward.”

But Schwarzman, known for his ‘don’t lose money’ way of risk taking, did not quantify the returns he has made from the India investments.

Since his last formal visit to India in 2006, Schwarzman, who is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on philanthropy, education and the arts, also said the India he visited then is not the India of today.

The country has “changed enormously. India is a highly unusual market… despite the problems it is facing today, which is exacerbated by the crisis in the banking system, this market can come around for the better.”

“India’s education sector is doing well, producing seven times more engineers than the US does annually. So it means it has all the preconditions for expansive growth as the economy has reached an inflection point,” said Schwarzman, who founded Blackstone 30 years ago with $400,000, which has since grown to a $572bn Wall Street gorilla.

“Despite some hiccups, growth is happening at a good pace. Last year was a record for us with $6bn investments. I see the same level of investment growth happening this year as well,” said Amit Dixit, one of the senior managing directors at Blackstone Advisors India.

The PE giant’s largest exit was Intelenet Global Services, which was sold to French outsourcing giant Teleperformance for $1bn in August 2018. Blackstone acquired it in 2013 for around $385 million and the return was its largest exit in Asia then.

Blackstone invested in Intelenet twice in the last decade. It first picked up a stake in 2007 before selling to Selco in 2011. In late 2015, it bought the company back for $385m.

Blackstone pumped in $6bn into India 2019 when it picked up companies like Aadhar Housing Finance from the troubled DHFL group among others.

Blackstone is the largest realty investor in the country through its joint venture with the Embassy group, having launched the country’s first REITs.

Eastern Eye

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