Samena and Catalyst merge India credit units – exclusive

The two firms are merging to launch a new India-focused private credit fund to raise capital from both domestic and foreign investors.

Samena Capital, the Dubai-based investment manager, is planning to merge its India credit unit with Catalyst Management Advisers, an Indian private credit investment manager.

The two are in the process of setting up a five-year close-ended private credit fund named SC India Credit Opportunity Fund targeting mid-market lending opportunities in India while avoiding the real estate and infrastructure sectors.

The fund is looking to raise $150 million to $200 million within the next 12 to 18 months. Both firms have each committed $25 million, totalling a $50 million as the initial close of the fund.

After the merger, the new entity will bring together the onshore vehicle of Catalyst and the offshore vehicle of Samena Capital, raising capital from both domestic and foreign investors. Samena Capital and Catalyst will hold a 51 percent and 49 percent stake in the new entity, respectively.

Siddarth Bhargava, founding partner of Catalyst, has been appointed as the chief investment officer and portfolio manager of the new entity. He will be working with a team of eight to 10 investment professionals from Catalyst and Samea.

Prior to the merger, the Indian credit unit of Samena Capital had an open-ended India credit fund launched in 2013 delivering an IRR of 22 percent in Indian rupee terms.

Catalyst is a new Indian private credit investment manager set up in June last year by Ashutosh Maheshvari, former chief executive of Motilal Oswal Group’s investment banking business in India, Siddharth Bhargava, former senior executive at Goldman Sachs SA, and Amit Khosla from private equity fund Asiabridge Capital.

Samena Capital is a principal investment group focusing on the subcontinent, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. It has raised $1.1 billion in assets since 2008 and manages total capital commitments of approximately $700 million across three primary investment strategies: private equity, direct investment and credit.