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General Atlantic to deploy up to $1 billion a year in India

Growth-equity investor General Atlantic expects to deploy up to $1 billion in new investments in India annually for the next few years, betting on businesses built around Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to expand financial inclusion and increase technology usage.

“We are tracking big policy changes announced by the government that will accelerate creation of digital infrastructure for services and products,” said Shantanu Rastogi, managing director and the firm’s India head. “Affordable supply, affordable infrastructure for financial inclusion, affordable data are big themes for us,” he said.

The planned investment compares with the $500 million to $1.2 billion that General Atlantic has invested per annum in recent years in Southeast Asia and India, Rastogi said. The New York-based company has deployed $4.6 billion in India over more than two decades. The private equity firm manages about $71 billion of assets globally.

PhonePe Pvt., a Walmart Inc.-owned digital payments app which says it has over 450 million registered users, is among the firms it has backed in India.

A decade ago, General Atlantic transitioned from backing companies providing export-oriented services to focusing on investments targeting India’s rising domestic consumption, largely in consumer-focused enterprise software, health care and financial services companies, Rastogi said.

In healthcare, General Atlantic has backed ASG Eye Hospitals and KIMS Hospitals in the country, according to Rastogi.

The government has launched production-linked incentives for medical devices and pharmaceutical companies in India, to bring down the cost of treatment and make the country more self reliant, said Varun Talukdar, a principal at the firm. That has led to investment in lower-cost medical equipment and consumables that are being built in India, Talukdar said.“India is really becoming a very interesting manufacturing hub for a lot of these medical devices and consumables,” Rastogi said, adding that the next 10 years could see the emergence of four or five large companies.

–With assistance from Kevin Dharmawan.

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