Worldwide PE fund-raising activities at 8-year-low in Jan-Mar quarter

According to a research report by the Preqin, 92 private equity funds worldwide raised an aggregate $42.3 billion in the January-March quarter of the 2011 calendar year, the lowest level since 2003

New Delhi: Difficult fund raising conditions slowed the pace of global private equity (PE) fund-raising activities to an eight-year low of $42 billion in the January-March period of 2011, reports PTI.

It is clear that fund-raising remains extremely challenging, but it is expected to rise as the year progresses, according to a research report by the Preqin.

As per the report, 92 private equity funds worldwide raised an aggregate $42.3 billion in the January-March quarter of the 2011 calendar year, the lowest level since 2003.

The quarterly figure represents a decrease of 11% from the $47.1 billion collected in the October-December quarter of 2010.

"The private equity fund-raising market is currently in a transitional period. The majority of the significant funds which began fund-raising prior to the onset of the financial crisis have now closed, with vehicles closing in Q1 (January-March) 2011, having mostly launched in 2009.

"With the typical fund raise now taking around 16 months from launch to finish and with 2009 being a slow period for new fund-raising launches, it is logical that Q1 2011, would be a slow period for final closes and we are anticipating an increase as 2011 progresses," Preqin spokesperson Tim Friedman said.

Following a consistent fall in the number of funds and the aggregate collections during 2009 and most of 2010, the first quarter of 2011 has seen a rise in both the number and value of funds being raised-a sure sign of rising confidence among fund managers that conditions are starting to improve.

There are currently 1,649 funds on the road seeking $663 billion worldwide-this represents the highest-ever number of managers in the market at one time.

Funds primarily focusing on the US have raised the most capital during the first quarter of 2011, with 45 funds garnering a total of $25.9 billion.

With respect to funds focused on Asia and the rest of the world, excluding the US and Europe, 24 such funds raised a total of $9.9 billion in the first quarter of 2011, while 24 European-focused funds mopped up an aggregate $6.5 billion.

Buyout funds raised the most capital, with 20 funds raising an aggregate $12.6 billion. Four natural resources funds collected a total of $5.1 billion, including EnCap Energy Capital Fund VIII, which at $3.5 billion was the largest fund to achieve a final close during the quarter.

Looking forward, conditions appear far more encouraging, as 38% of the investors surveyed plan to invest more capital in 2011 than in 2010 and 32% intend to allocate the same amount of capital as they did last year.

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Corporate lobbyist Niira Radia appears before PAC

The panel, headed by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, is understood to have sought clarifications from Ms Radia on the tapped conversations which include allegations of trying to influence portfolio allocation to ministers in the UPA-II government

New Delhi: Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today quizzed corporate lobbyist Niira Radia in connection with the alleged irregularities in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation, reports PTI.

Ms Radia, whose tapped phone conversations with politicians, corporates, bureaucrats, and journalists, form a key part of the investigations into the 2G spectrum scam, appeared before the PAC at the Parliament House complex here.

The panel, headed by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, is understood to have sought clarifications from her on the tapped conversations which include allegations of trying to influence portfolio allocation to ministers in the UPA-II government.

In the calls, Ms Radia, chairperson of Vaishnavi Corporate Communications, is allegedly heard making efforts to ensure that DMK leader A Raja gets the telecom portfolio. Mr Raja is now in jail in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata is scheduled to appear before the PAC at 3pm.

The PAC is expected to record the evidence of Mr Tata on the recent developments in the telecom sector, including allocation of 2G and 3G spectrum.

On Tuesday, the PAC had asked Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani, Etisalat DB Telecom CEO Atul Jham, S-Tel CEO Shamik Das and Unitech Wireless managing director Sigve Brekke to appear before it.

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FIIs invested Rs10 lakh crore in FY10-11: SEBI

Market experts said that it was strong FII inflows that provided the much-needed warmth to the Indian capital markets at times when the global economy continued to reel under the pressure of financial sector crisis

New Delhi: Betting high on Indian market, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have purchased stocks and bonds worth Rs10 lakh crore in the fiscal ending 31st March, reports PTI.

FIIs have purchased stocks and debt securities worth Rs9,92,595.15 crore in the fiscal 2010-11, according to the latest available data with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India).

At the same time, FIIs sold shares and bonds worth Rs84,6157.71 crore during the fiscal-still leaving behind an investment of over Rs1.46 lakh crore for the fiscal. In dollar terms, foreign funds invested $32.22 billion.

FII inflows are described as 'hot money' because they can be pulled out anytime.

In the calendar year 2010, overseas investors have infused a whopping Rs1.79 lakh crore or $39.47 billion.

FIIs had poured in Rs83,423 crore in the Indian market in 2009.

Market experts said that it was strong FII inflows that provided the much-needed warmth to the Indian capital markets at times when the global economy continued to reel under the pressure of financial sector crisis.

According to analysts, FIIs have been pumping funds into emerging markets like India because of their strong growth potential.

Besides, rising concerns over the European countries' debt issue, political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and nuclear disaster in Japan are also driving foreign funds into the Indian market.

Market analysts further said that FII inflows into the country will continue to rise this year as well because Indian market continues to be attractive.

"FIIs are bullish on Indian market as the stock market is on self correction mode and quite attractive at this time.

Besides, situation in the rest of the world is not good so they don't have much opportunity," CNI Research head Kishore Ostwal said.

He further said, "FII inflows were not disturbed by the 2G scam, financial bribery scandal and inflation concerns. We are bullish that shopping will continue in this year as well."

"Apart from the country's robust economic growth, weakness in the overseas markets due to the European crisis, Federal Reserve's second quantitative easing plan and the Indian government's disinvestment (measures) added to the huge inflows.

2010 has broken all the records of investment by FIIs," SMC Capital's Jagannathan Thunuguntla said.

Analysts believe the government's disinvestment in public sector companies, including Coal India, MOIL and Shipping Corporation of India, provided more investment opportunities to FIIs.

Foreign funds are quite bullish in equity stocks and have poured in Rs1.1 lakh crore in the 2010-11 and infused Rs36,317 crore in the debt market.

In January 2011, overseas investors had poured in Rs5,363 crore in stocks and bonds, but the scenario changed in February, when they were net sellers of Rs3,270 crore.

However, in March they infused Rs6,883 crore in the Indian market.

This has taken the gross purchases in the country by FIIs so far to close to Rs47 lakh crore.

After taking into account the outgo of Rs42 lakh crore, overseas investors have made a net investment of over Rs5 lakh crore since the markets were opened up for them in 1992.

This includes about Rs4.47 lakh crore in stocks and the rest in debt securities.

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