Lighthouse part-exits Dhanuka Agritech with a multi-bagger

Mid-market private equity firm Lighthouse has part-exited its over four years old investment in Dhanuka Agritech, a public-listed firm involved in the business of agro-chemicals & seeds, with a multi-bagger, it is learnt.

Lighthouse had invested Rs 35 crore in Dhanuka Agritech in late 2010 through a preferential allotment which gave it 8.25 per cent stake.
It started selling shares of the firm around a year ago and with the latest tranche early this week has divested a little over half of its stake. In the process it has pocketed around Rs 95 crore,with over 5x in gross returns in local currency.

In the latest tranche, it sold shares worth Rs 33.5 crore generating 8x returns.
The PE firm still holds around 4 per cent stake in Dhanuka Agritech which is worth about Rs 145 crore and the firm is sitting on unrealised gains of close to 9x on its remaining holding.

Responding to an email query sent to Lighthouse, Sachin Bhartiya, partner at the PE firm, said, “As per the company policy, we do not comment on any of our portfolio companies.”

Dhanuka Agritech has a distribution network of more than 7,000 distributors/ dealers selling to over 75,000 retailers across India and reaching out to more than 10 million farmers.

The company manufactures a wide range of agro-chemicals like herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and plant growth regulators in various forms – liquid, dust, powder and granules.

The company has almost doubled both its revenues and profits since the time Lighthouse invested in it. It is expected to end FY15 with profit of around Rs 100 crore.

Set up in the US in 2001 by Mukund Krishnaswamy (former executive of Lehman Brothers’ private equity team) and W Sean Sovak, Lighthouse has been investing in India since 2006. It also counts Boris Siperstein and Sachin Bhartiya as partners, and has Brian Larcombe (former global CEO of UK-based and LSE-listed private equity fund 3i Group) besides Barbara Vogelstein (former partner at Warburg Pincus and Apax Partners) as advisors.

(As published in Vc Circle 13th Mar 2015)