Mumbai: Centrum Capital Ltd has formed a dedicated Alternative asset unit—Centrum Asset Management—and hired co-founder and managing director of private equity (PE) fund Blue River Capital, Shujaat Khan to head it. Khan will be managing director and head of the asset management businesses at Centrum.
Khan will head strategy, governance, fundraising and investment decisions at the alternative asset business. It plans to raise funds from high net worth individuals and family offices, and institutions in India and abroad. Centrum currently manages a private equity fund—Kalpavriksh—and co-manages real estate funds along with India Property Advisors Ltd (IPAL).
“At Centrum, we have a plan of setting up a large alternative asset management platform, bringing current PE funds and new alternative investment funds (AIFs) under a single roof. We will launch AIFs for structured credit and distressed debt funds,” Khan said in an interview. “Global as well as Indian investors have an appetite for investments in Indian alternative assets and we want to use such interest from high networth individuals, family offices and corporate groups to create an opportunity in pooling all such investment options under one roof,” he added.
Prior to co-founding Blue River Capital, Khan was a managing director and investment committee member at ChrysCapital LLC. Earlier, he was an investment banker with Merrill Lynch International, based in Singapore, working on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance transactions across Asia, including India.
Blue River Capital is a PE firm focused on making investments in India with approximately $140 million under management. Khan will continue with Blue River for while since few more exits are pending with the fund.
Centrum, which has so far managed accounts for clients in structured credit and public market, will launch AIF funds in a couple of months, added Khan.
In April, Jaspal Bindra, ex-Asia Pacific chief executive officer at Standard Chartered Bank, joined Centrum as executive chairman in place of Chandir Gidwani who continues to be the main promoter. Gidwani has divested around 25% of his personal holdings in the group he set up over 20 years ago to Bindra who has spent three decades working at MNCs, a Press Trust of India report said.
Under Bindra, Centrum has been on a makeover process with entering into new areas of financial service such as PE and appointing industry leaders to head each vertical.
In November, Centrum had launched of its maiden PE fund—Kalpavriksh, with a proposed a corpus of Rs500 crore. The fund will invest in mid-sized, un-listed firms with a growth potential in fintech, education tech, healthcare and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sectors, according to a company statement.
Giri Krishnaswamy, who has earlier worked with organizations such as Inditrade, Nestle and Ranbaxy, has been named the chief investment officer at Centrum Capital.
The Centrum Group, set up in 1995 by Gidwani and Khushrooh Byramjee, has 125 branches spanning 48 cities and offers financial services to corporate and retail clients with its investment banking (equity and debt), wealth management, institutional broking and foreign exchange services.