Commodities tycoon Anil Agarwal seeks $5 bn for turnaround fund: Report

Topics Anil Agarwal | Vedanta

Anil Agarwal plans to buy companies over a five-year period and then boost their profitability before seeking an exit
Commodities tycoon Anil Agarwal is seeking at least $5 billion for a fund targeting companies being sold off by the Indian government, according to people familiar with the matter, marking a return to the strategy that made him wealthy.

Agarwal is targeting an initial close of $1 billion or more for the proposed India Direct Investment fund, the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans are private. He is already scouting for targets and could spend nearly $10 billion on the first few acquisitions, one of the people said.

The billionaire is working with London-based Centricus Asset Management Ltd on the fund, which will have a 10-year life span and use a private equity-type strategy, according to another person. He plans to buy companies over a five-year period and then boost their profitability before seeking an exit, the person said.

Agarwal, the founder of Vedanta Resources Ltd., is raising capital from international investors to buy stakes in government companies being sold under India’s 2.1 trillion-rupee ($28 billion) divestment program, Bloomberg News reported this month. The fund will also target companies being restructured under the country’s bankruptcy rules.

A representative for Centricus declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Vedanta didn’t immediately respond to emailed queries.

Agarwal has a net worth of $2.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The former metals trader built his business through a series of ambitious acquisitions over the past few decades, including a 2001 deal to take control of government-owned Bharat Aluminium Co. in one of the first tests of India’s efforts to offload state holdings.

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