Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 7 August 2020

BRS Ventures eyes acquisitions to boost growth

Exclusive: the company is also considering the IPO of its pharmaceuticals unit Neopharma

Binay Shetty the chief executive of BRS Ventures says the company looking at acquiring companies in its core markets in GCC and India to boost growth. Antonie Robertson/The National    
Binay Shetty the chief executive of BRS Ventures says the company looking at acquiring companies in its core markets in GCC and India to boost growth. Antonie Robertson/The National    

BRS Ventures, an Abu Dhabi investment company founded by Indian businessman BR Shetty, is looking at acquiring companies in its core markets in the Arabian Gulf and India to boost growth, its chief executive told The National.

The company is looking at acquisitions in health care, financial services, education, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, vegetable oil, environment and tea sectors.

“We are looking at acquisitions within the sectors that we have,” said Binay Shetty, who is also the son of the founder. “These eight sectors we feel are interesting sectors. [They are] sectors that we have knowledge of and management teams that can run the activities.”

BRS Ventures has assets worth $4 billion (Dh14.69bn) and owns companies such as NMC and Finablr, which are listed on the London Stock Exchange. Other companies under the umbrella include pharmaceuticals unit Neopharma, BR Life, Royal Catering Services and Bright Riders Schools, among others. In the past few years, the company raised its investments in India as well as across the region via acquisitions and new projects. BR Life bought hospitals in India and is aiming to become one of the top healthcare groups in the country. It also invested in education, financial services, environment and other sectors.

In the GCC, NMC continues to invest to grow market share and Finablr made some investments in Saudi Arabia with a company called BayanPay, Mr Shetty said.

The company also acquired Abu Dhabi Vegetable Oil Company and started a joint venture in waste management with an Indian company Ramky to handle medical and hazardous waste, which will be operational by the end of the year.

In another major transaction last year, BRS Ventures bought Assam Company for $150 million. “The last one we did was last year in a tea plantation in India, this is a 35,000 acres tea plantation, with 14 tea gardens and 14 tea factories. It’s a 108-year-old company set up by the British and it’s a huge company,” Mr Shetty said.

BRS Ventures is aiming at 6 to 7 per cent annual growth in its assets in the next five years and is also looking at taking some companies public or securing a strategic investor. Divesting from some investments is also being considered if the company “doesn’t fit in its portfolio”, he said.

“The ideal situation is to take the company public, the second best option is to get a strategic investor and scale up business bigger and take it to the market when things are favourable,” said Mr Shetty.

BRS Ventures is considering selling shares in its pharmaceuticals manufacturing unit, Neopharma, which operates in 50 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Far East and South-East Asia.

“That would be the largest company that we can take to the market, may be in the next couple of years,” he said, without giving specific details on where Neopharma is likely to be listed.

Neopharma started with a single manufacturing plant in Abu Dhabi and has since built a second facility in the UAE in addition to acquiring various businesses that have enabled it to widen its operations in the US, Japan, India, Russia, Brazil and Bangladesh.

Finablr, a UAE holding company for brands including Travelex, UAE Exchange and Xpress Money, was listed on the London Stock Exchange in May after completing an initial public offering that valued the company at $1.6bn.

“We’ve heavily invested in the GCC for the last four decades. All of these [companies] have started in a small way, grew over the years and now some of them have reached a scale and size that it’s become sizeable enough to take it to the public market.

“Like we did it with NMC in 2012, and Finablr this year, hopefully we will look up at some other businesses in future as they scale up as well,” he said.

Updated: November 9, 2019 05:47 PM



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