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India sees green ventures blooming

business Updated: Oct 15, 2012 21:08 IST
Manu P Toms

In 2010, Subir Bajaj started an e-waste recycling business - a 20,000 square-foot plant on a one-and-a-half acre plot in Greater Noida - with an investment of more than Rs 10 crore. The proliferation in electronic garbage propelled his firm. While his firm, GreenTek Reman, will achieve operating breakeven this year, Bajaj plans to start six plants across India.

"We will approach investors once established and ready to enter newer avenues for e-waste management," he says.

From its modest beginnings in 1998, Flareum Technologies, which manufactures solar air conditioning and lighting solutions, has grown into a multi-crore business. Private equity firm Zephyr Peacock bought a significant minority stake in the company for R50 crore. International Finance Corporation too has picked up stake., a reverse logistics firm selling return-ed products - mainly gadgets - at a discounted price, has grown phenomenally. The company, set up in 2008 with a Rs 1 crore investment by Hitendra Chaturvedi, a former Microsoft executive, is poised to achieve Rs 250 crore in sales this year.

In step with rising global awareness of climate chan-ge, India has seen a steep rise in clean tech companies in the past decade or so. Bloomberg New Energy Finance ranks India 9th on number of pure-play clean tech firms, while clean energy asset financing skyrocked to $3.4 billion in 2010 from $560 million in 2004.

"The success of green start-ups depends on the product you are getting into. There have been many successful examples in solar and wind sectors," said Arvind Sharma, director, advisory, climate change and sustainability, KPMG.

"Green businesses are financially viable in the medium to long term but not self sustaining from day one. From an investment point of view, that is obviously a hurdle," said Ajay Lakh-otia, director, Vertex Ventu-re Holding, which has investments in companies such as Greywater.

The company, involved in water waster management, was founded by former Thermax executive Harshad Batiskar, with an investment of Rs 10 crore. Greywater, Flareum and are favour-ites of venture capital and private equity investors. According to Chua Joo Hock, MD, Vertex Venture Management, clean tech is an emerging sector in India.