Aureos closes India fund

Aureos Capital has raised $75 million for its Aureos India Opportunity Fund, PE Week has learned.

Sev Vettivetpillai, a Bangkok-based CEO of the firm, told PE Week that the firm’s recent $4 million investment in the clinical research organization Accutest was made from the new fund. Vettivetpillai also says that the firm will invest in India from the India Opportunity Fund as well as the firm’s Aureos South Asia Fund, a separate regional $75 million fund that Aureos began raising early in 2005 and which is nearing its final close.

About half of the South Asia Fund will be invested in India, with the rest directed to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Investment sizes will range from $3 million to $5 million in small and medium-sized businesses. Vettivetpillai says Aureos will avoid the IT sector in India, in which investment sizes range from $6 million to $10 million since those are being driven by U.S. VC firms entering the market.

The firm, formed by the U.K.-based CDC and Norway’s NorFund, manages more than $550 million in assets, in 14 separate regional investment funds, such as in China, Central America, Africa and the Pacific Islands. Vettivetpillai envisions raising a separate fund for Malaysia in the future. The two new funds and investment plans follow on a recent re-organization of Aureos, which was formerly majority owned and controlled by CDC and NorFund. NorFund recently sold its equity in the fund to Aureos’ management, which now owns 26 percent. An additional 22% of equity will be transferred to the managers over the next two years.

Meanwhile, one of Aureos’ longstanding LPs, The Netherlands Development Finance Co., has committed $100 million to Aureos over the next several years to be invested in various funds. The LP, however, will not take any equity in Aureos.

Vettivetpillai admits that Aureos is not well known, but it employs more than 70 investment professionals worldwide and in its headquarters in London. Vettivetpillai says that his group’s lack of name recognition stems from the firm not ever trying to promote itself. —Jerry Borrell