Growasia seeks a passage to India

Indian M&A is booming. And Growasia wants a part of the action. It has set up an alliance with IndiaƆs Icra to help source transactions.
There are two ends of the M&A scale in Asia. There are the multi-billion dollar transactions such as the PCCW’s takeover of HKT and then there are a swathe of small- and medium-sized transactions. Growasia is a boutique internet company which was established last year to capture the latter. Its shareholders include GK Goh, Crosby and OUB, one of Singapore’s largest banks. FinanceAsia spoke to Growasia's CEO Ian Gibbs (pictured) about the firm’s recent move into the Indian market via an alliance with Icra

Q: Why was Icra selected as a partner? Isn't it a rating agency?

A: Icra, which started out in 1991, is a company which focuses on investment information and credit rating services. Since its formation, it has developed three core services, although the name of the company could be misleading in identifying the nature of the business. The three core services are: rating services, information services and advisory services. Icra has been in all these three businesses for some years now.

Icra is a very established name in the marketplace and as you obviously would know, it is an established player in India. We scouted around and we felt that the best match was with Icra. Their content carries a premium and we have started using their content in our knowledge centre.

Ian GibbsQ: What size Indian companies are we talking about as the target?

A: Basically, Growasia was set up to focus on the small- and medium-sized enterprise market. In India, typically, this definition would cover companies with annual revenues of up to $50 million.

Q: Is this aimed at India's software sector predominantly?

A: No. Growasia has listings in more than 30 industries, ranging from agriculture to heavy equipment industries to IT to transportation and commerce. Hence, this alliance is not aimed solely at the computer software industry. For example, we have even done some work on a leisure project in India too.

Q: What percentage of Growasia's deals are you forecasting will come from India?

A: Growasia has just entered into India and we are now putting in place the building blocks for our business there. As you probably know, India is a huge economy and we feel the potential is there. We will be in a better position to give some numbers a few months down the road.

Q: How many transactions has Growasia done now in Asia as a whole?

A: Currently, there are about 500 opportunities for investment in Growasia and slightly more than 100 of them are involved in active negotiations/discussions stage. These assets/businesses to be transacted are spread across the region.

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