Rothschild & Co. is planning to add seven bankers in India before the end of this year as the firm looks to expand its footprint in Asia’s third-largest economy.
The firm, which currently has 18 staff in the country, is looking to hire from analyst to vice president levels across sectors such as health care and technology, according to Aalok Shah, managing director for India.
“We are advisers to Indian companies seeking global investors or buyers for their businesses and also to global investors who are keen to invest in India,” Shah said in an interview in Mumbai. Rothschild’s business in the country doubled its revenue in the last five years, and is the largest contributor in Asia to the firm’s top line.
The expansion comes as India’s dealmaking is bucking a global downturn driven by concerns over heightened inflation and a potential recession. The South Asian country has about $164 billion worth of deals announced so far this year, a 55% increase from the same period in 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani -- the country’s richest men -- have become key drivers of deals activity. Adani agreed to buy Holcim AG’s cement business in India in a $10.5 billion deal earlier this year. Adani Wilmar Ltd., the kitchen essentials firm owned by the billionaire, is scouting for local and overseas acquisition targets. Ambani could be vying for Metro AG’s wholesale unit in India.
Interest from both strategic investors and private equity funds in consumer-oriented businesses and parts of the health-care sector will also propel inbound M&A activity, Subhakanta Bal, another managing director at Rothschild in India, said.
“Many Indian founders are open to partnership as opposed to holding onto their assets,” he said. “There are more discussions today than 10 years ago, as the whole taboo around selling a business has gone.”
Rothschild can trace its links to India back in the 19th century when its business supported railway development across Europe as well as emerging economies such as India, according to its website. In one of its most recent moves, the firm hired Naina Lal Kidwai, previously chairwoman for India at HSBC Holdings Plc, as a senior adviser in February.
India has also become a hot market for green energy assets as global energy giants looking to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In April, Shell Plc bought renewable power supplier Sprng Energy Pvt for $1.55 billion. Japan’s Orix Corp. last year purchased a 21.8% stake in Greenko Energy Holdings, one of India’s largest renewable energy companies, for about $961 million.
Rothschild expects another $5 billion worth of deals in the nation’s renewable energy sector in the next 12 months, Shah said.“It will be more of a domestic consolidation play with several global funds seeking to buy large renewables platform assets,” he said. “Among renewables companies, we will also see consolidation in companies that are supplying power to central offtakers. We will see a lot of fundraising as well as strategic interest in these companies.”