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Mahesh SinghiFrom a very humble beginging to investment banking advisor Published On: Thursday, March 12, 2015 Views 2502

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Born on the 1st of August 1965, Mahesh Singhi is the Founder & Managing Director of the Mumbai based Singhi Advisors – a global investment banking company that focuses mainly on providing services like mergers, acquisitions, disinvestments, corporate advisory, etc to firms located domestically & internationally.

Personally; Mahesh has pursued his Bachelors in the field of Mechanical Engineering from Malaviya National Institute of Technology and as a father of two he loves spending time socializing or pursuing adventure sports like Bungee Jumping, Rock Climbing, Sky Diving, Para Sailing, Trekking, etc! Although he is not a die-hard movie buff, but there is one movie that continues to greatly inspire him; it is a 2005 Hindi flick directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, Iqbal.

Now unlike many from the fast-moving investment banking world; Mahesh Singhi does not hold the basic qualification that is “Required” for an investment banker these days! He is not a typical Ivy League educated banker that you usually come across, neither is he an MBA or a CA, or for that matter an IIT-ian, IIM or some fancy B-School pass out.

He just another, simple and humble man living next door who has roots belonging to Jodhpur but holds great vocabulary skills and happens to run one of the most successful mid-market investment banks in India which has handled more than 800 assignments and with a closure of over 100 transactions valued at more than $4.8 billion, has global footprints across 18 sectors and 20 countries.

ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY

Mashesh had a very humble and non-exsistent beginning, before he accidentally stumbled upon his destiny – investment banking!

Soon after he completed his studies; he began his career by joining ‘LML Vespa’, Kanpur in 1987 at a salary as low as INR 1,400/month. For the next one year he continued his job at the shop floor level and then later went on to join ‘Ferro Alloys’ – a rolling mill in Nagpur, for a hiked monthly salary of INR 1500/month. Although his work was still at the grass root levels but the knowledge he gained was incomparable.

What kept pinching him was that; even after working so hard he drew a salary which was not even close to what the chartered accountants of his age earned (P.S. INR 5,000 min).

At that time; some of his C.A. friends suggested him to try consulting; for one major reason that it had far more money than what he currently earned, working at the shop floor level.

And coming from a middle-class background with no good job; that seemed like a good idea too! Plus, looking at the factors that he didn’t have any money to invest, there wasn’t much to lose and that he could do anything; consulting was the best option.

Hence, in the next six to seven months he left Nagpur and moved to Mumbai.

After coming to Mumbai; Mahesh began by taking up a table space in an office complex at Bhandup in January 1989. From here, he started approaching clients to provide consultancy to small engineering firms including advising them on maintenance of machinery and their optimal utilization, basically – project consulting!

In his initial stages; the major work he got was after attending the IMTEX engineering machinery show, and later from Mumbai’s engineering clusters which had 20-30 factories in one building alone.

In the same year itself; apart from basic project consulting, he also began helping first-time SME entrepreneurs transform projects from concept to commissioning.

The first biggest project he got was worth INR 4,00,000 which got him a consultancy fee of INR 8000, till then he only drew enough money for him to survive in Mumbai which included paying INR 4000 for accomodation.

Tasted a pinch of success; from 1992 to 1996, Singhi started rigorously working on scaling up his project consultancy work.

Till ’96 it was just a one-man crew; which later transformed into a six-member team. And this team of his began working on with sick companies, to help them sell their non-core businesses.

Having multiple hands; Mahesh got the freedom & leverage of looking elsewhere too! Hence with generous advise from his dear ones; he also entered the financial world!

Now even though he didn’t have the namesake “Required” formal qualifications but just like earlier, the fearless man didn’t let that affect him much and leaped into the highly competitive financial advisory business.

And this wasn’t restricted to just fund-raising, but was a lot more diversified and technical; which also included private equity, valuation, mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, loan syndication, working capital finance, project appraisal, turnaround management and restructuring of sick units!

While this was in process; it was of utmost importance that the company moved to a better or rather more presentable office. Hence, they also shifted from the suburbs into the corporate heart of Mumbai i.e. Bandra Kurla Complex.

Since then there was no looking back for the company; the major chain of events that have taken place till date are mentioned below: –

  • In 1999; Singhi & Associates entered the venture capital advisory and distressed asset sales genre and tore the market apart with its success!
  • Cracked two of the most important deals of his career:
  • First was with Pioneer Embroideries Ltd, a player in the embroidery space in India. It had plans to acquire Salzer Textiles, a part of the Coimbatore-based Salzer Group. Mahesh successfully closed this next to impossible acquisition deal in 15 months and created a non-erasable reputation for himself.
  • The second was for Dubai-based Jumbo Group, founded by late Manu Chhabria, which wanted to sell a pump manufacturing unit. The deal was the first cross-border one for Singhi Advisors and Mahesh successfully closed the sale of the unit to Wilo AG of Germany, one of the world’s largest pump manufacturers. With the closure of this deal, he very handsomely created a name for himself and Singhi Advisors as a whole, in the Global market for Mergers & Acquisitions.
  • By 2004, Singhi Advisors became a full-fledge investment bank and went on to open offices in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Surat, UK, Mauritius and Australia in the next three years! Along with that; they also signed a number of deals and brought about a series of additions which included:
  • Purchase of 15% stake in Hakoba Lifestyle Ltd, by Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd.
  • Began advising on disinvestments and also handled structured fundraising for Ashoka Group and Vybra Automet Ltd.
  • Increased their team strength to over 30 professionals, by 2005.
  • Become a INR 5 crore i.e. INR 50 million entity and had associations with reputed business houses including the A V Birla, Bajaj and the Jumbo Group, Sumitomo Chemicals, Datamatics, IVRCL, Hakoba and Nimbus, Etc!
  • Successfully and patiently, closed the INR 180-crore sale of Mid-Day Multimedia – a media company, to Jagran Prakashan in two years.
  • In 2013; almost 10 years later, Singhi Advisors began expanding its reach!
  • It advised or rather closed the pact between Australia’s Linc Energy & Adani Enterprises worth $2.7 billion in cash and royalty. This was also the largest investment by an Indian firm in Australia.
  • Acted as the financial advisor for sale of aluminium extrusion business of Bhoruka Aluminium Ltd to YKK AP – part of YKK Group which was a $6 billion Japanese player.
  • Aggressively hired senior top-level professionals for various profiles such as wealth management and family office practice, hospitality & corporate real estate and PE backed corporate M&A practice; from India’s leading consulting and PE firms. Some of these hires included Krishna Kartha (from Emirates NBD, Dubai), Ashish Bagadia (Avendus Capital), Ashish Jain (Xander Advisors) and Sanjay Malhotra (SBI Capital Markets) as directors.
  • And with that, they also largely changed their focus area towards cross-border M&As
  • So far; 50% of the business or the deals they pocketed were via cross-border transactions, 40% of the deals came from buy-side firms and the rest i.e. 10% came from sell-side firms.
  • But in 2014; Singhi Advisors entered or started a different ball game altogether: -
  • A member of ‘Mergers-Alliance’ since 2007, Singhi Advisors acquired 15% of their stake; making it an equal partner along with its five other founding partners. Together the alliance now plans to tap opportunities in Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia and the Middle East.
  • After Indian PM Narendra Modi’s successful visit to Japan; a lot of japanese investors started to show interest in the Indian Market and the firm closed many Indo-Japanese deals including: -
  • Sale of Bhoruka Aluminium to YKK AP Inc – world’s largest zipper maker ($22 million),
  • Sale of Wadia Group’s laminates business to Aica Kogyo ($20 million),
  • Joint venture deal between the Sunways Group & Rohto Pharmaceuticals ($17 million),
  • Sale of Surat-based Span Diagnostic’s in-vitro diagnostics business to Arkray Inc ($20 million), Etc!
  • Sale of the travel business of Vacation Exotica to Balmer Lawrie.

SINGHI ADVISORS PVT LTD

As mentioned on their website; Singhi Advisors (www.singhi.com) is an independently owned, global Investment Banking firm which provides result oriented services in mergers & acquisitions (M&A) and capital raising, since the past two decades. The company has 5 Primary Board of Directors i.e. Mahesh Singhi, Michael Parkinson, R. N. Bhardwaj, D. P. Roy & Prakash Nene.

Some of the portfolios that Singhi Advisors provides service for are: Mergers & Acquisitions, Disinvestments, Strategic Advisory Services, Private Equity, Management Buyout, Distressed M&A, Joint Venture & Valuations.

Founded in 1989; Mahesh Singhi – Founder and Managing Director of Singhi Advisors, in just two decades has successfully transformed the firm from ground zero into one of the most trusted and globally leading M&A Advisory Firms.

A team of strong, aggressive & experienced team of over 40 professionals who have been working across different offices; have helped Mahesh and ‘Singhi Advisors’ maintain its track record of diversity in the deal making, be it with family owned business houses, professionally managed companies, publicly listed companies, privately owned companies, fortune 500 companies, small to mid-sized companies, cash-backed transactions, equity swaps, transactions between healthy clients to distressed situations, etc! Due to such dedication and fruitful results; the company has been able to achieve 60% repeat business and 70% success rate.

Singhi Advisors is also an exclusive Indian member and strategic stake holder in ‘Mergers Alliance’ (www.mergers-alliance.com), which is a UK-based network of 20 independent leading investment banks from across the globe, who provide high quality advice to organizations who require international reach for their M&A strategies. Some of the services they provide include: Acquisitions, Buy Outs, Company Sales, Debt Capital, Debt Restructuring, Development Capital, IPO’s & Project Finance.

The network has a collective strength of more than 450 professionals which is spread over 50 offices in 25 countries. It focuses on local & international deals up to $500 million in value across a wide range of sectors and since 2012, has collectively completed over 230 deals, in 30 countries with an average value of more than $17.5 billion.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Esteemed member of several organizations like FICCI, AIAI, IFA, and Institute of Chartered Engineers
  • Former Director, Member of Audit Committee and Member of Remuneration Committee Pioneer Embroideries Ltd.
  • Singhi Advisors is:
  1. Listed amongst top 5 M&A advisory firms in India
  2. Ranked 6th in the country by the volume of deals closed
  3. The only Indian company to become a member /equal owner of ‘Mergers Alliance’, which is now ranked 16th in the global M&A league by Thomson Reuters

END NOTE

We are, whom we have advised! A motto close to his heart, which has helped him come this far, making him the true inspiration that he is.

In their whole journey so far; Singhi Advisors under Mahesh’s guidance has successfully managed to overcome its major challenges that have crossed their paths in the process of growing. Be it 98’s, loss of staff in a team of just six people, or one of their team member starting a rival business, or for that matter managing the loan they took of INR 500,000 to get a bigger office; Mahesh along with his wife (also a director on the board) have beautifully tackled all the problems and have rose above them.

What makes Singhi a successful banker is the fact that; he has never left matters in the hands of mere analysts or junior bankers, rather he has lifted up his sleeves & with his realistic approach, himself has worked closely with his clients to understand their company and has helped to prepare the pitch, the strategy & has also guided them along the way.

Author:

YoChef puts the spotlight on emerging businesses and reputed personalities to help young entrepreneurs learn from their experiences. Watch out for posts published under YoChef to discover entrepreneurial journeys and life lessons.

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