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Ontario Teachers’ grows presence in India with establishment of Mumbai office

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Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, with CAD242.5 billion under management, has established on-the-ground presence in India, opening a new office in Mumbai to build on its existing Indian portfolio.

The firm writes that having a local team and office will support Ontario Teachers’ in sourcing investments, nurturing long-term partnerships, and attracting strong local talent. The office is in the financial hub of the Bandra Kurla Complex and is Ontario Teachers’ sixth global office and third in the Asia-Pacific region.

“India is an attractive investment destination and will be one of our growth markets over the next 5-10 years.  It has a large, growing, and dynamic economy, with openness to foreign capital which makes it a strategically important market for us,” says Jo Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Mumbai office will target investments in India across all asset classes, including public and private equities, infrastructure, real estate, credit and venture and growth equity.

A founding team of approximately 10 team members will be based in Ontario Teachers’ Mumbai office by the end of 2022, comprising a mix of local talent and transfers from its other offices. This presence is expected to scale further as Ontario Teachers’ investment portfolio grows in the coming years.

Ben Chan, Executive Managing Director and Head of Asia-Pacific, manages all of Ontario Teachers’ activities in the region including oversight of its Hong Kong, Singapore and Mumbai offices.

Deepak Dara has been appointed Senior Managing Director and Head of India and will take on this role in early 2023. As Head of India, Dara will be responsible for accelerating investment activities and enhancing portfolio management in India. He will report to Chan.

Dara joined Ontario Teachers’ in 2020 as Chief of Staff to the Chief Investment Officer and has been instrumental in advancing many global and cross-asset class initiatives including the organisation’s five-year investment strategy, India strategy and ambition on climate action. Prior to joining Ontario Teachers’ Dara was part of the leadership team of the Boston Consulting Group’s principal investor and private equity practice.

“I am very excited to return home and to take on the role of Head of India. I look forward to working with our asset class teams and partners in the region and bringing our global expertise to bear in India. The last 12 months saw a marked growth in our investment activities in India, and I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to further build out our presence, networks and capabilities in the country,” says Dara.  

Keki Mistry, Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC Ltd.), one of India’s leading financial services conglomerates, has agreed to be a Senior Advisor to Ontario Teachers’. Mistry has nearly four decades of senior leadership experience in the banking and financial services sectors.

In his global advisory role, Mistry is helping to further enhance Ontario Teachers’ market reach, providing access to a high-quality network and opportunities, and sharing guidance on market dynamics. He is not involved in the day-to-day operations of Ontario Teachers’ business.

“I’m pleased to be partnering with Ontario Teachers’, one of the world’s preeminent institutional investors. I look forward to helping Ontario Teachers’ to continue to build its network and portfolio,” says Mistry.

“We see a breadth of attractive investment opportunities across public and private markets in India for a long-term investor like Ontario Teachers’. I am excited to work with Deepak to build out the team and continue to grow our portfolio in India,” says Chan. “I’m also delighted that Keki has agreed to come on as a Senior Adviser. He brings an exceptional depth of expertise and an invaluable understanding of the region, which will be critical as we continue to grow our business in India.”

Ontario Teachers’ holds a portfolio of public and private assets totaling more than CAD3 billion in India. Some of notable investments include:

Capital Markets

Edelweiss Alternate Asset Advisors (EAAA): Investment of USD350 million with EAAA, the largest private debt manager in India, with a focus on performing and distressed private credit investment opportunities in the Indian market.

Equities

Investment in a private equity funds: ChrysCapital, which focuses on IT/Business Services, Pharma/Healthcare, Financial services, Consumer/New Economy, and Manufacturing, and Kedaara Capital, which pursues control and minority investment opportunities in India.

Sahyadri Hospitals Group: The largest private hospital chain in the state of Maharashtra, comprising 8 hospitals with approximately 900 operating beds and 300 critical-care beds. Sahyadri was Ontario Teachers’ first control private equity buyout in India.

VerSe Innovations: One of the largest local-language based content platforms in India, which owns Dailyhunt (a news+ content aggregation app) and Josh (a Short Format Video app).

Infrastructure & Natural Resources.

KKR road platform: Invested into KKR roads platform which currently has six roads and has entered into binding agreements to acquire another five roads. The 11 roads are 820 km in length across 10 states.

Mahindra Susten Private Limited: Signed binding agreements with the Mahindra Group to acquire a 30 per cent equity stake in Mahindra Susten, a leading renewable energy business, at an equity value of INR 2,371 crore (~USD300 million). The parties will also explore setting up an Infrastructure Investment Trust (“InvIT”) comprising operational renewable assets. Over the next seven years, Ontario Teachers’ has committed to deploy an additional amount of up to INR 3,550 crore (~US$450 million) into the business and the InvIT.

National Highways Infra Trust (NHIT): Acquired a 25 per cent stake for INR 1,500 crore (C$248 million) in NHIT, an InvIT sponsored by the National Highways Authority of India, the Government of India’s agency for national highway development.

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF): Committed up to USD1 billion to NIIF, the largest infrastructure fund in India. The fund invests in equity capital in core infrastructure sectors in India with a focus on transportation, energy, and urban infrastructure.

Building on existing Asia-Pacific presence

The Mumbai office will serve to further enhance Ontario Teachers’ existing capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, the firm writes. Ontario Teachers’ has more than 65 employees in the region and approximately USD20 billion invested in Asia-Pacific across asset classes.

Ontario Teachers’ Hong Kong office, established in 2013, will continue to focus on the north Asian geographies including Greater China, South Korea and Japan. The Singapore office, established in 2020, serves as the base for investments into Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

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