Murugappan moves full circle

Alagappan Murugappan rejoins Indian investment bank ICICI Securities as head of equities after a three-year stint in private equity.
Alagappan Murugappan is joining ICICI Securities, the investment bank subsidiary of India's largest private sector bank, ICICI Bank. Murugappan joins as head of the equities business from private equity firm Deeva Capital where he was a partner.

Murugappan spent one year at Deeva where he was one of three founding partners. Deeva Capital is a start-up private equity firm which has secured about $100 million of international seed funding. The move represents a full circle for Murugappan who left ICICI Securities in early 2004, bitten by the private equity bug. At the time, Murugappan moved to Actis (erstwhile CDC) as an investment principal with the responsibility for leading and coordinating fundraising activities relating to South Asia and for deal generation in India. Murugappan joined Deeva from Actis in early 2006.

ICICI Securities has been scouting for a head of its equities business since Devesh Kumar left a few months ago to turn entrepreneur. Kumar had built the firmÆs equities broking business almost from scratch but the team has been severely depleted over the last few months with various international firms poaching from ICICI Securities to build up their equities practices.

When Murugappan left ICICI Securities he was head of investment banking. But in returning to the equities side of the business he is returning to the area in which he cut his teeth. Prior to ICICI Securities, Murugappan had a long innings at Cazenove in India, heading its India operations. At the time, Cazenove in India operated primarily in the equities broking area. Murugappan began his career with Cazenove in London after qualifying as a solicitor in England; he holds an LLM from Cambridge University.

Observers comment that the fairly unusual move back to investment banking from private equity is a sign of how competitive the private equity business has become in India. Booming equity markets have resulted in a paucity of good deals, as many owners prefer to use less restrictive public markets to finance their cash flow needs. The few lucrative private equity deals are being chased by a number of firms with large amounts of capital to deploy. In such an environment, boutique private equity firms like Deeva are finding it challenging to source and close.
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