NRI investors take ICICI Venture to court over losses

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 29 2014, 07:52am hrs
A group of 69 NRIs who invested $34.7 million in Dynamic India Fund lll (DIF III) promoted by ICICI Venture Funds Management Company (ICICI Venture) and ICICI Bank is claiming $103 million in damages from ICICI Bank and associated companies, alleging losses.

The case has been filed in the Mauritius Supreme Court, a press statement on behalf of the complainants said. The group is a part of about 500 investors who had invested in DIF III. The petitioners allege that DIF lll, "invested in real estate projects that flopped miserably, instead of world-class ones as the marketing teams promised".

In its response, an ICICI Venture spokesperson said: The allegations levelled by a set of investors, constituting only 12% of the investors in the concerned funds, are totally baseless, not supported by facts and are malicious".

The PE fund also said that ICICI Venture manages assets of over $2.5 billion and has delivered returns to its investors across various PE funds.

"It is common knowledge that, globally, PE as an asset class does not guarantee returns, given the equity risks involved. Also, projects in real estate have a long gestation period and, hence, returns accrue over a period of time.

ICICI Venture has extended the funds life by three years to optimise the realisations from the portfolio. ICICI Venture also simultaneously offered investors a cash exit option in line with global best practices," it said.

One of the investors, Gulab Patil, claimed a marketing document from ICICI Venture had said that it will "seek to deliver a compounded return in excess of 25% per annum".

According to the investors, ICICI invested in 13 projects in India, of which three in Hyderabad and two in Mumbai together consumed approximately 60% of the corpus.

"This is despite the

original promise that

ICICI Venture was to spread its investments to projects in various cities across India," the statement said.