WestBridge Backs Housing Fin Co – Times of India – 27-Nov-2014
December 2, 2014 - Uncategorized
Private equity fund WestBridge Capital has invested around Rs 100 crore for a 20% stake in Chennai-based affordable housing finance company Aptus Value Housing Finance India, its second private market investment this year in the financial services sector. WestBridge, which manages $1.2 billion in funds, had picked up stake in Bengaluru-based NBFC Vistaar Financial Services earlier this year and has been one of the early investors in SKS Microfinance.
Aptus was founded by M Anandan, former MD, Cholamandalam Investment and Cholamandalam MS General Insurance, and focuses on disbursing loans in the range of Rs 3-15 lakh catering to the informal income segment. The latest round of investment will help in expanding Aptus’ network, which is currently at 40 branches concentrated in southern India. Its existing investors include India Financial Inclusion Fund and Granite Hill India.
“We are targeting groups whose salaries are not easily verifiable — that segment is huge and under serviced in India. We’ve so far disbursed loans to 70 different types of customers, including small restaurant owners, jewellery sellers, among others,” Anandan told TOI. “We’ve developed a cash flow/standard of living assessment for each customer in the absence of conventional income documents, by doing detailed assessment of their economic activities,” Anandan said, adding that Aptus was targeting a loan book of over Rs 2,000 crore by financial year 2019 from the current Rs 320 crore. Some of the major players in the category include Gujarat-based housing finance company Gruh Finance, a subsidiary of HDFC, Shubham Housing, India Shelter Finance Corporation, among others.
K P Balaraj, co-founder & MD, WestBridge Capital, said, “Affordable housing finance is a very large market, and essential for broader financial inclusion. We believe Aptus with its leadership and credit culture will emerge as a market leader in this segment.”
WestBridge Capital, spun off from the blue chip Silicon Valley venture capital fund Sequoia Capital more than three years ago, primarily invests in small- and mid-cap publicly traded firms. Its portfolio includes the likes of Kajaria Ceramics, electrical equipment company Havells India, Cera Sanitaryware and Astral Polytechnik. Besides Aptus and Vistaar, its other private investment is in Dr Lal Pathlabs, which operates diagnostic centres nationally and is on course to go public next year. WestBridge holds 13% in the Gurgaon-based company.