India In-Focus — Indian shares climb; General Atlantic plans huge investment; Steel firms may be forced to cancel European orders – Arab News

MUMBAI: Indian shares rose for a second straight day on Monday, driven by the automobile sector, although the gains were capped by a sharp sell-off in metal stocks after the government announced changes to the tax structure on commodities to fight inflation.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.44 percent at 16,338.45 by 0520 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.53 percent to 54,616.53. Both the indexes closed nearly 3 percent higher on Friday to mark their first weekly gain in six.

General Atlantic plans $2bn investment in India, Southeast Asia

Global private equity firm General Atlantic plans to plow $2 billion into India and Southeast Asia over the next two years after falling valuations made the region’s startups more attractive, a senior executive told Reuters.

General Atlantic is in early-stage investment talks with about 15 companies in sectors including technology, financial services, retail and consumer, Sandeep Naik, the head of its business in India and Southeast Asia, said in an interview.

The market for startups, especially in India, is going through a rough patch. After raising a record $35 billion in 2021, founders are struggling to attract cash, sparking fears of lower valuations and forcing some to cut jobs.

After investing just $190 million in Indian startups in 2021, its lowest ever annual figure, General Atlantic is now ready to loosen its purse strings, Naik said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

“The realism is setting in. We were waiting for the value creation to happen. We are now ready,” Naik said of General Atlantic’s plans for India and Southeast Asia, it has investments of more than $4.5 billion, mostly in India.

“We are very bullish on India, Indonesia and Vietnam,” Naik added, while declining to name any companies it is looking at.

Indian steelmakers face hit on Europe deals over export tax

Indian steel firms could be forced to cancel European orders and suffer losses after an overnight decision to impose export taxes on steel products, V R Sharma, managing director at Jindal Steel and Power told Reuters.

India imposed an export tax of 15 percent on eight steel products late on Saturday, at a time steelmakers are looking to make up for tepid local demand by increasing market share in Europe, whose supplies have been hit by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“They should have given us at least two-three months of time, we did not know about such a substantial policy,” Sharma told Reuters in an interview.

Sharma said Indian steelmakers have about 2 million tons in pending export orders, mostly to Europe, which are stuck in ports or in various stages of production.

“This could possibly lead to force majeure. And the customer has done no wrong here and he doesn’t deserve to be treated that way,” he said.

Investcorp targets $400 million at Indian school infrastructure, warehousing

Investcorp will deploy $400 million into Indian school infrastructure and warehousing, as it seeks to expand investments in the South Asian nation, its Co-Chief Executive told Reuters on Monday.

Bahrain-based Investcorp has already invested $500 million in 13 companies in India, including online retailer FreshToHome and ASG Eye Hospitals. It also has a $400 million fund for private equity investments in India, which says it has the world’s fastest-growing startup ecosystem.

Investcorp now has plans to deploy $400 million over four years on real estate in India, Rishi Kapoor said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The two segments it will focus on will be school infrastructure and a warehousing sector which is booming thanks to a rapid expansion of e-commerce in the country with a population of 1.4 billion people, Kapoor said.

“We have created a new investment thesis around investing in school, education infrastructure,” he said.

“The middle income Indian parent will tighten their belt in every area other than education for their kids. So that underlying space is very attractive.”

India is seeing unprecedented growth in e-commerce and logistics, with companies such as Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart committing billions of dollars in investment.

Another sector booming in India is clean mobility, and Investcorp said it will target investments in clean energy and climate tech, although its plans are yet to be firmed up.

The separate $400 million fund for private equity investments in India which Investcorp has previously announced will be used to target sectors including health and wellness and consumer technology, Kapoor added.

“It’s actually a good time to deploy capital, we are looking at a few opportunities now,” he said, while declining to name any specific companies.

Global private equity firm General Atlantic told Reuters on Sunday it plans to plow $2 billion into India and Southeast Asia over the next two years, after falling valuations made the region’s startups more attractive.

(With input from Reuters)

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