Anil Agarwal eyes to acquire PSUs

Business tycoon Anil Agarwal is planning to invest $10 billion through a new partnership targeting government privatizations in India.

The billionaire is teaming up with London-based Centricus Asset Management Ltd to seek investments in Indian companies offering substantial growth opportunities, according to a statement on Thursday. They will look to turn around companies being sold off as part of the country’s $29 billion disinvestment programme.

Agarwal made a fortune buying state companies and fixing them up, building a metals and mining powerhouse under the umbrella of Vedanta Resources Ltd. He is now seeking to repeat that success, betting he can spot gems among the dozens of companies being put on the block by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration.

The entrepreneurial dynamism in India “can be harnessed to unlock incredible transformation in the public sector”, Agarwal said in the statement. “We believe that this strategy can, and will, play a crucial role in the country’s ongoing industrialization.”

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The billionaire plans to help former government companies accelerate their transformation into private-sector firms with professional management, according to the statement. Vedanta is among the parties that have expressed an interest in acquiring the government’s stake in $12 billion refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd.

Agarwal and Centricus have been seeking to raise capital from international investors to deploy in such turnaround opportunities, Bloomberg News first reported in September. They have been planning a fund with a 10-year life span that will use a private equity-type strategy, buying into companies and boosting their profitability before seeking an exit, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

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