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Ready, Steady, Go

Shweta Jalan is expanding the footprint of a relatively new global private equity firm in India.

Ready, Steady, Go

Shweta Jalan, Managing Director, Advent India PE Advisors, is in the middle of closing a large deal. She is also readying for a profitable exit from a portfolio company. This isn't new for a 42-year-old Jalan, who had earlier honed her skills at ICICI Venture, one of the largest private equity firms in the country. While Jalan's lips are sealed due to confidential agreements, Advent is all set to sign a big cheque of $330 million for acquiring a controlling stake in Bangalore-based Manjushree Technopack. This plastic-packaging solution provider has clients from multinational PepsiCo to home-grown Patanjali. The exit from ASK Investment Managers, one of the investee companies, is also keeping her busy. Advent will be selling a part stake in it via offer for sale. "The company has done very well. So it should be a good deal for us," grins Jalan without getting into the pricing details.

Jalan has a good global platform of Advent, which set its eyes on India in the boom years of 2007/08. Jalan came on board in 2009, when Advent established a full-fledged office in Mumbai. Her mandate is for buyouts and to grow the equity investments in half a dozen sectors. Under Jalan, the firm has taken a strategic stake in Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals, Dixcy Textiles, Quest Global and also profitable exits from Care Hospitals and CAMS. Advent, with $41 billion fund, has enough ammunition to fire up investments in India. Currently, the money comes from the mother fund GPE. There is no specific allocation for geographies. "It is opportunistic approach. If we find more transactions, we are happy to deploy more capital. If there aren't, we can be patient to wait for the right deal," says Jalan. In fact, the bigger challenge for Jalan, with a team of nine senior professionals, is the deal size, which is in upwards of $100 million to a billion dollar.

The sectors under Jalan's radar are financial services, health care, IT, consumer and retail, industrials, and telecom etc. "The valuations in the financial services have run ahead of fundamentals. In India, the opportunities are few and far between, especially in the fintech space given our deal size," says Jalan. Globally, Advent has sealed deals in the payment processing companies.

Jalan is sharply focussed on health care, consumer and retail and IT services. "Telecom is a sector we have not spent time on," says Jalan, adding they are looking at industrials selectively.

What is keeping Jalan on her toes is the mandate to help the global companies build growth strategies and plan acquisitions in the Indian market. With a deal like TransUnion CIBIL under her hat, she will surely spring some surprises in future.

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