Blackstone says India top Asian market, eyes infra investments
MUMBAI, Feb 14 (Reuters) - India will continue to be Blackstone Inc's (BX.N) biggest market in Asia and the private equity giant may consider infrastructure investments there in the future, a top company executive said on Tuesday.
The U.S-based firm, which manages nearly a trillion dollars in assets globally, said India is one of its best-performing markets. It is bullish on the South Asian nation due to its faster growth than other large countries and a "government oriented towards growth", Jonathan Gray, Blackstone's president and chief operating officer, said at a press briefing.
"India is a major part of the anchor of our Asia strategy. Japan and Australia follow that," Gray said.
Blackstone said it manages assets worth $50 billion in India, including in private equity and real estate.
It has made over a billion dollars in real estate share sales alone in the past year, Reuters has reported.
Private equity deals in India totalled $32 billion last year, a 27% drop from 2021. However India's share of total Asia funding rose to 25% from 16% in the same period.
Gray said Blackstone will also consider investing in Indian infrastructure in the future, a sector where its peers such as KKR and Co Inc (KKR.N), as well as pension funds including the CPP Investment Board and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) are already active.
Blackstone also plans to invest more in data centres and warehousing, said Amit Dixit, its India senior managing director, stemming from a rise in ecommerce transactions as well as India asking technology giants such as Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google to store customer data locally.
Even as Blackstone remains bullish on India, Gray said more certainty around tax and capital market laws will help increase foreign investments in India.
"Capital markets has many more rules in India," he said, making exits difficult.
Blackstone, however, is taking a selective approach in China, as geopolitical factors have made it hard to invest in the world's second-largest economy, Gray said, in a rare public comment about investing in China, which is aiming to boost its economy after it recorded one of its worst growth levels in nearly half a century last year.
Private equity-backed mergers and acquisitions in China slumped 67% in 2022 year-on-year, totalling $36 billion, Refinitiv data showed.
China's share in Asia's total private equity deal value dropped to 28% in 2022 from 41% in 2021, the data showed.
The U.S. government has been tightening scrutiny over U.S. investments in China as tensions over trade and technology persist.
President Joe Biden's administration plans to ban investments in some Chinese technology companies and increase scrutiny of others, Reuters reported last week.
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