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Bharti Airtel’s Akhil Gupta invests in Anil Ambani’s ICEX

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Bharti Airtel group veteran Akhil Gupta has become an investor in Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX), part of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, buying a 5% stake in the bourse valuing it at Rs 200 crore.
Gupta and another Delhi-based investor, Vijay Sharma of BN Enterprises, have bought 5% each in ICEX in personal capacity from state-run MMTC ahead of a rights issue being launched by the exchange tomorrow, sources said.
With the latest share transfer, MMTC’s stake has come down from 26% to 16% in the bourse, where Reliance Group firm Reliance Exchange next Ltd is the anchor investor.
The transaction has given a valuation of Rs 200 crore which is currently on a revival path.
Addressing the shareholders of Reliance Capital on September 30, 2015, chairman Anil Ambani had said the company was at an advanced stage of relaunching ICEX and expected to grow the business in a significant manner with a target to attain leadership position within three years.
Through the proposed rights issue, ICEX is looking to raise Rs 50 crore and the much needed capital would be infused in the exchange to re-start its operations.
The rights issue would be completed by the first week of February.
Sources said that Gupta can play an active role in working with Reliance Capital team led by Sanjit Prasad, who was formerly with leading commodity bourse MCX, to get ICEX operational.
This is the second investment by Gupta after an investment along with US-based private equity major KKR made in the leading asset reconstruction company International Asset Reconstruction Co (IARC).
Set up by Tata Capital and HDFC Bank, IARC is into acquisition of non-performing loans from banks with an aim to unlock the value from the underlying assets.
Gupta, a chartered accountant by qualification, is vice chairman at Bharti Enterprises and executive chairman at Bharti Infratel, both part of Sunil Militated Bharti group.
He has been closely associated with various strategic, financial, mergers and acquisitions and business performance issues and transformational initiatives for the Bharti group.
Gupta has also played a pivotal role in Bharti’s phenomenal growth and has been closely involved from the very beginning in the group’s telecom business and has led the formation of its various partnerships with leading international companies and investors.
He was also instrumental in separation of tower infrastructure of Bharti Airtel and forming Indus Towers, a joint venture with Vodafone and Idea, which has become the largest tower company in the world.

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