Avendus Capital looks to treble asset management biz AUM to $3 billion by 2024

Mumbai: Leading investment bank Avendus Capital, which recently rejigged the top management as part of completing two decades of operations, is betting big on the asset management vertical, looking to treble its AUM to over $3 billion by 2024, a top company official has said. Currently, the asset management business manages a little over $1 billion of assets.

Its management, led by co-founder and vice-chairman Ranu Vohra, has set a target of taking it to over $3 billion (over Rs 22,000 crore) over the next four-five years and to ensure that half of the incremental growth comes from overseas.

The asset management business deals with private equities, long-only funds and alternate funds. Of the total assets under management (AUM), around Rs 1,000 crore are from overseas, he said.

“Currently over 80 per cent of our AUM are domestic. Our objective is to bring it down to 50 per cent and increase the overseas share to 50 per cent by the time we hit $3 billion-milestone,” Vohra told in an interview.

The Avendus Group was founded by Vohra (executive vice-chairman), Gaurav Deepak (chief executive) and Kaushal Aggarwal (chief executive, Avendus Finance) in 1999 in the city, and has since grown to have 10 offices spanning seven major metros in the country and New York, London and Singapore.

“Our flagship Avendus Capital has established itself as a leading i-banker and is doing well, having completed around $20 billion worth of deals since 2007 in mergers and acquisition (M&As) and private equity (PE) deals,” Vohra said.

“Given the speed at which wealth is being created in the country, we see huge scope for asset management business going forward. As we enter the third decade of operations, we’ve set a target of trebling our AMC business to $3 billion over the next four-five years from $1 billion now,” he added.

The investment banking (i-banking) arm of Avendus Capital has completed M&As worth over $10 billion, and $9.4 billion of PE deals since 2007.

The wealth management vertical manages assets close to $4 billion, and its credit business arm Avendus Finance, which is a joint venture with KKR India, has extended syndicated loans close to $500 million.

In the past 24 months, Avendus Capital has done 38 deals, including nine during the lockdown. Some of the top deals include Ola, Swiggy, Lenskart, Delhivery, Bookmyshow, Gaana, Eastern Condiments, among others.

On managing the lockdowns, Vohra said, “We have been able to face down the pandemic well, having completed nine deals during the lockdowns, including sale of Eastern Condiments. Of the nine, six worth $850 million were completed in September alone.”

Attributing the company’s growth to the rising risk-taking abilities of its clients, Vohra said, “The good news is that despite the pandemic, the risk-taking mindset is back. Look at the rally in the stocks markets, look at the quantum of money being deployed by family offices.”

This is visible in the number of deals that Avendus closed in September.

It opened the month advising Eruditus on $113 million series-D funding from Leeds Illuminate and Prosus Ventures in the first week of September, followed by Meeran family and McCormick selling Eastern Condiments to Oslo-based food manger Orkla for Rs 2,000 crore in enterprise value.

Then there was $15 million Softbank investment in Unacademy, followed by Dream Sports’ $225 million fund raising, Acko’s $60 million fund raise from Munich Re and Amazon, and Onsitego’s $30 million funding from IFC in the last week of the month.

Since the Group has grown very large in the last five years, Vohra said going forward, the focus will be on stitching together the right solutions for clients in i-banking business on one hand and growing asset management business larger on the other.

Credit business will continue to grow in tandem with the economy, he added.

On Ocean Dial fund buyout in 2017, he said the fund is fully owned by Avendus now and is traded on the London Stock Exchange.

Its open-ended India-focused fund has doubled in past six months to Rs 1,300 crore.

On Avendus Finance, Vohra said, it is currently a Rs 1,000-crore vertical.

It is very important to the company’s overall growth strategy as it forms an upper layer, but the company will not put money into realty, infra and non-banking financial companies, he said.

The group has put in Rs 600 crore of equity into the credit business so far, most of which came from KKR, he said.

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