With India emerging as one of the most preferred investment destinations globally, World Bank's private equity arm, International Finance Corporation, aims to cross $500-million mark in new investments by June.
"IFC's currently-held portfolio is $1.3 billion (as of June 2006) making India its fourth-largest country of operations. In this financial year (ending June 2007) we hope to surpass the $500 million level in new investments in India," IFC South Asia Senior Manager Sujoy Bose said.
During the year, IFC invested over Rs 91.71 crore in a subsidiary of Moser Baer, a manufacturer of optical storage device, and infused about Rs 82 crore for assisting Kanoria Chemicals in its expansion plan.
It has also picked up 11.48 per cent stake in Granules India for around Rs 26 crore and has committed a $50-million loan to Orissa-based cement manufacturer OCL India Ltd.
IFC would also invest over Rs 101.37 crore (($ 25 million) to help expansion of the production capacity of electronic bikes marker Electrotherm India in Gujarat.
"As a multilateral institution, it is our job to seek out small and medium sized companies with a potential for significant growth and play the role of a strategic investor and adviser to strengthen their competitiveness and to help them become environmentally more responsible," Bose said.
The private lender said despite strong economic growth in the past years, poverty still remains widespread in India and hence at an institutional level, IFC helps in improving SMEs' access to finance.
IFC's focuses on supporting companies that do not have easy access to long term funding. In the past, IFC had invested in companies such as Bharat Forge and Titan Watches, which later grew into global brands, in their early stages.
The list also includes industrial giants like Tata Steel, Larsen and Toubro, Bajaj Scooters and Arvind Mills.
In the financial sector, IFC played an institution- building role and was a founding investor in key financial institutions such as HDFC and IDFC and continues to be their partner. "About $300 million has been invested by IFC in the financial sector this year in India," Bose said.
IFC has invested about $23 million in equity in Cairn India, wherein it would work towards extending the company's leadership on environmental best practises and social development.