I Squared Capital considers AG&P investment

Vol 24, PW 13 (20 May 21) People & Policy

Nobody will confirm it, but US-based private equity firm I Squared Capital, the parent company of Think Gas, is believed to be ready to provide funding to Singapore-headquartered AG&P Group’s Indian arm AG&P Pratham.

"This has been going on for a few months," confirms a well-placed source. "AG&P approached them (I Squared Capital) for funding, and they, in turn, put in a condition of taking over the company; talks are at an advanced stage."

One source speculates the deal is done, and it is only a matter of time before the companies issue a formal announcement. Even so, it is still unclear how much money I Squared Capital is ready to provide or whether it will be a loan or investment.

One source suggests the US private equity firm will provide a bridge loan of Rs100cr ($13.5m) to AG&P. Another says funding could be as high as Rs4000cr or $540m, enough to possibly acquire the company outright, through a mixture of debt and equity.

When contacted, former Petronet-LNG director finance and current Think Gas chairman Amitava Sengupta said he is unaware of any deal. "No, I am not aware of this," said Sengupta curtly.

"I can’t tell you anything on this; I Squared does a lot of things which we don’t know about." However, this report learns Think Gas has begun due diligence: company president Sandeep Trehan visited AG&P's offices in Chennai and Kerala in the second week of April.

"Think Gas sent three teams to visit AG&P areas to do due diligence," reports a source. When asked about Trehan’s visit to AG&P, Sengupta added: "Ask Trehan about it, as chairman, I don’t look after the nitty-gritty of the company or what is happening on the ground, there is no bar for anybody visiting a CGD company; at Think Gas, nothing is happening, but I can’t vouch for I Squared Capital."