Jacob Ballas, the New Delhi-based private equity firm, has paid around $39 million for a minority stake in Karaikal Port, an operator of a deepwater port on the south east coast of India. The port’s operation was awarded to Karaikal on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis by the government of Puducherry in 2006.
The acquisition has been made by Jacob Ballas’ $440 million NYLIM Jacob Ballas India Fund III and comprised both new shares as well as a secondary purchase from existing investors. The secondary sale was reported to include shares owned by the IDFC-managed India Infrastructure Fund. Karaikal had previously attracted around $100 million of private equity investment in total from IDFC and Ascent Capital.
Karaikal Port will use the new funds to assist an expansion of capacity from an already-planned 21 million tonnes annually to 28 million tonnes. It currently operates three multi-purpose berths and two berths dedicated to coal cargo, with the aim of having nine berths by 2017. As well as coal, it handles a variety of dry cargo including fertilizer, cement and sugar; and also has dedicated infrastructure to handle containers and liquid cargo.
Jacob Ballas has made a number of previous infrastructure investments including in Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) businesses SEW Infrastructure and PNC Infratech.