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IFC plans to invest $1 bn in two years

Mumbai, Nov. 14: International Finance Corporation (IFC) plans to raise its investments in India to $ 1 billion in the next two years.

The investment arm of the World Bank has identified the information, computers and telecommunications sector as a major investment area though it is open to small and medium businesses and the media as well.

IFC investment officer (IT investments group) Daniel Crisafulli said IFC's investments in the technology sector include a semi-conductor design venture promoted by Vinod Dham, founder of a digital animation company in Hyderabad. IFC is comfortable with a return of 15-20 per cent from its investments in India, he added.

Crisafulli said IFC was also keen on investing in business process outsourcing ventures, IT-enabled services, software services and software products. “India figures prominently in our plans for emerging areas,” he added.

The corporation’s IT investment division normally invests in the range of $2-10 million. It is different from private equity funds in that it can successfully leverage the parent's expertise in other industries.

It also aims at a longer-term investment perspective than traditional private equity or venture capital firms.

“We can work from an early stage to a later stage where larger capital is required. This sets us apart from private funds,” he said.

IFC, which had invested around $700 million in the country, had funded the finance and insurance utilities, chemicals, textiles and non-metallic mineral production sectors.

IFC has committed a total of $1.86 billion for various portfolios in India since mid-2000 when it began its first investments in the country, he said.

The institution has not exited from any of the companies it had invested in, he said, adding that several of these entities were nearing the initial public offer stages.

IFC has invested around $3 million in Spryance Inc, a healthcare firm, for expanding its India operations.

The company, which has a centre in Chennai, plans to open two more centres at Pune and Hyderabad, with an additional workforce of 1,200, Spryance CEO and president Raj Malhotra said.

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