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.”
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 interest in acquiring India’s stake in $12 billion refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp.
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 has said.
A former metals trader, Agarwal 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. He now has a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Centricus oversees $28 billion in assets, according to its website. The firm was founded in 2016 by Nizar Al-Bassam, a former investment banker at Deutsche Bank AG, and ex-Goldman Sachs
Group Inc. partner Dalinc Ariburnu. Centricus advised SoftBank Group Corp. on the creation of its $100 billion Vision Fund and also worked on its $3.3 billion takeover of Fortress Investment Group LLC.