ICICI Ventures has hit the road again with an ambitious target to raise a $1-billion fund, its largest till date. Multiple sources told FE the private equity arm of India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has received some investment commitments from Limited Partners (LPs) and that among those that are expected to come on board is Canadian pension fund CDPQ.
However, given the fragile state of the global economy, following the collapse in the price of crude oil, the first close could be some time away. A fund’s first close typically refers to the minimum investment commitment it needs before it can begin investing.
Sources told FE the new fund takes off from where ICICI Venture’s India Advantage Fund Series IV left off; the fund was unable to close due to poor investor response.
While, the name of investment vehicle could not be ascertained, the theme, this time around, is expected to be slightly different with a focus on the core sector. Sources say India Advantage Fund Series IV, which targeted a corpus of $ 500 million, could not raise even $200 million despite repeatedly extending the deadline and was finally shelved sometime last year. In comparison, IDFC Project Equity has successfully closed infrastructure funds worth $885 million during the same period.
For ICICI Ventures, which has recently seen a leadership change with Prashant Purker taking over as managing director and CEO, a lot rides on the outcome of its latest fund raising attempt. Sources say, the effort is being driven by executive director Mohit Batra previously the head of project financing business at ICICI Bank.
“The target seems ambitious at this point in time not impossible,” said a senior investor banker who was with ICICI Ventures before but did not wish to be named.
ICICI Ventures so far has raised seven funds to date across investment themes. Besides its three sector agnostic funds, it had raised two realty funds, a mezzanine financing fund and a joint special situations investment fund along with Apollo Global in which it had a very successful exit from Gautam Thapar promoted Avantha Holdings in August last year.
Among it earlier sector agnostic funds ICICI Ventures has successful closed India Advantage Series I, II and III of fund sizes $245 million, $800 million and $250 million respectively. IPO of TeamLease one its portfolio companies from India Advantage Series III opened on Wednesday.