NBFC Chokhani Securities to resume commercial ops from Jan; to be renamed Ugro Capital

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Mumbai | Published: August 19, 2018 2:12:51 PM

Non-banking finance company (NBFC) Chokhani Securities, controlled by former Religare group chief executive Shachindra Nath, is planning to resume full commercial operations from January and target small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The company is also in the process of renaming itself to Ugro Capital. (Representational photo)

Non-banking finance company (NBFC) Chokhani Securities, controlled by former Religare group chief executive Shachindra Nath, is planning to resume full commercial operations from January and target small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The company is also in the process of renaming itself to Ugro Capital.

Since December last, the company has been going slow on lending as its ownership was in transition.

“We plan to restart active commercial operations from January. We are in the process of getting our new name Ugro Capital approved by the regulators soon,” Chokhani Securities’ Executive Chairman and Managing Director Nath, who owns under 5 per cent in the company though a company called Poshika Advisory Services, told PTI.

He said the company will be deeply focused on SMEs and will not be chasing growth but build an institution in a slow and steady manner.

“Chasing growth can burn our fingers. But if you go for a slow build-up, because there is still a credit gap of a whopping USD 650 billion among the SME sector, there is enough space for at least 30-40 more players,” Nath said when asked about the many warnings about a likely massive build-up of bad loans in SMEs/MSMEs.

The city-based NBFC has since last December raised close to Rs 1,000 crore in equity capital from marquee investors like New Quest (Rs 195 crore), ADV Partners (Rs 195 crore), along with IndGrowth (Rs 45 crore) and PAG Asia owned NBFC Asia Pragati, among others.

The amount includes the open offer early last month, post which the company came under the management control of Nath.

In addition to the initial funding which was tied up last December, Chokhani Securities, which has loan book of around Rs 40 crore, has raised an additional Rs 220 crore from other PEs such as Global FinTech Fund and Indian family offices through preferential allotment in May.

In this second round of funding, Samena Capital has pumped in Rs 130 crore. Founded by Shirish Saraf, Samena focuses on the Subcontinent, Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Nath said.

Others include BG Advisory Services, the family office of Jaspal Bindra, who is the chairman of Centrum Group and ex-CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Asia, among others, taking the total mop-up to Rs 997 crore since December last.

That apart, Rs 112 crore was raised through a QIP issue in May, he said.

Nath also said the company has appointed a new management headed by him with a new CEO in Abhijit Ghosh, a CFO, CRO, HR head, CTO and around 45 others.

It has also roped in a set of independent directors like Satyananda Mishra, former CIC and former chairman of MCX; Rajiv Agarwal, former member of Sebi; Abhijit Sen, board member at IDFC; and Karuppasamy, ex-ED of RBI.

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