Baring India expands focus to include real estate

The firm has reinforced its team with two new hires from Citigroup and will make investments in India's real estate space from existing funds.

Baring Private Equity India (BPEP) has expanded its focus  to include investments in real estate, according to Amit Chander, a partner at the Gurgaon-based firm.

 “It is a sector we have been watching closely from a top-down perspective,” said Chander, “A lot of preparation has gone into making this decision.”

To highlight its convictions, the firm in March hired Arul Mehra and Varun Batra, formerly manager and managing director at Citigroup as to spearhead its real estate initiative. Batra had previously headed the global Special Situations Group for Citigroup in India, leading investments in industries such as real estate, hospitality and retail. Both have joined Baring as partners.

Baring will make investments in real estate from its existing funds, Chander said, adding that it is currently looking at potential deals in Gurgaon, Naida and Mumbai. 

BPEP India manages assets in excess of $1 billion across three funds. The firm has traditionally made significant minority or control investments in sectors such as information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services, life sciences, banking and financial services, energy, infrastructure and consumer goods. 

It’s most recent investment came by way of an INR 1.57 billion (€25.8 million; $33.7 million) first round founding for Kerala-based gold lender Muthoot Finance.