Over the past 12 months, traffic increased substantially on the Indian deal street. The Narendra Modi government, the first to win an absolute majority in 30 years, has partially eased longstanding policy paralysis, leading companies to trek to the market to raise funds and strike deals. Many state-owned and private companies, weighed down by heavy loans, ran to tap the cheaper US dollar market, which had a big appetite for Indian risk. They did this to refinance existing debt and also access fresh loans in both Indian and foreign currency. Some companies sold shares to adhere to the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s stipulation of a 25% public float.
With online shopping on a roll, e-commerce sites were the flavour of the year with investors queuing to pick up stakes. Even big conglomerates and major state-owned entities raised money in multiple tranches, while some large acquisitions and mergers took place in a staggered manner. Such deals have been clubbed together to provide a holistic view of these transactions.
Some interesting deals – such as Kotak Bank’s purchase of ING Vysya Bank, the Pfizer-Wyeth merger, and Reliance selling off its flagship Vimal business – have not been included as they have yet to close. Real estate deals of the beleaguered Sahara Group didn’t find a place in our line-up, as the group’s owner was sent to prison for failing to refund over ₹200 billion (US$3.1 billion) with interest to investors. Selling land parcels was largely to raise money for his bail.