Indian corporates & PEs are again looking to deploy capital: Scott Adelson,
Houlihan Lokey – The Economic Times

November 7, 2014

When the US headquartered mid-market investment bank and corporate restructuring specialist Houlihan Lokey (HL) — a consistent league table topper for M&As under $1 billion, closing 140 deals every year –decided to tie up with veteran Tata Group man Rajiv Kochchar’s new entrepreneurial venture, Avista Advisory in 2010, there were quite a few raised eyebrows.

But that handshake soon translated into an equity alliance cementing the partnership further, the first of its kind for HL anywhere in the world. Thus far, the partnership has worked flawlessly, with Avista HL stitching up deals worth more than $5 billion in India alone. Interestingly, in the last two years, it has also emerged as the hottest shop in town for convertible bonds (read FCCBs) restructuring after successfully completing complex deals for Suzlon Energy and GTL Infrastructure.

In an exclusive interview, Scott Adelson, Co-president and Senior Managing Director, Houlihan Lokey, tells ET, M&A and PE fund raising activities are dominating corporate conversations. Edited excerpts…

Q. What are the top three trends in terms of new opportunities? Is it mostly M&A led or is it restructuring?
A. It’s much more M&A led. The tone in India is very positive.

Q. Are you saying that the Indian corporates that you are meeting now are now open to spending their surplus cash rather than conserving it?
A. There are always companies that are over extended and they want to sell off divisions and rebalance their portfolios, in any environment. But there are companies — both corporates and private equity companies — here that are eager to deploy capital.

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