Wadhawan Global Capital: Wadhawans set up shop in UK, invest to gain new experience –

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(DHFL) to fund homes for those without easy access to bank credit, the holding company of the mortgage-financier has built a British beachhead – initially to master the art of crowd-lending. (WGC), which owns about 38% of DHFL and is the controlling lever for the group’s financial businesses, has set up a London unit that opened its account through undisclosed – but sizeable – investments in the 12-year-old Zopa. Billed among the world’s first in peer-to-peer lending and the UK’s largest in this business, Zopa is likely among the first entrants into the British portfolio of the Wadhawans, who would benefit from the plunging valuations in London ahead of a turbulent Crowd-lending, or peer-to-peer lending, matches borrowers with savers, and creates a more financially rewarding platform than traditional banks and lenders, which have significant overhead costs. Targeting consumer loans, Zopa has cumulatively lent GBP 2.37 billion to UK borrowers over the past 12 years, according to data on the Web site of the platform. The latest move would allow WGC, which currently manages about Rs 1.30 lakh crore in assets, to institutionalise the group’s functioning through inclusion of professionals from diverse backgrounds. “We find the time right to foray into the international market, as we aim to gain new experience from global business models,” Kapil Wadhawan, group chairman of WGC, told ET from London. “This can help our businesses back in India, and help export the Indian consumer learnings to the other markets we will operate in… We plan to make three-four such investments over the next 12-18 months.” Wadhwan declined to disclose the quantum of investments. But the group’s commitments to innovative business models could go up to $350 million dollars, people familiar with the matter said. WGC’s wholly owned unit, known as Wadhawan Global Capital (UK), has been set up with the objective of investing in new-age , British customer-focused lending, and fin-tech companies. WGC offers an array of financial services products through DHFL Pramerica Asset Managers, Pramerica Life Insurance, Aadhar Housing Finance, Avanse Financial Services, and Arthveda Fund Management. Through all its group companies, WGC caters to consumers who may otherwise be denied small-value loans by the established banking industry. Kapil Wadhwan, his bother DheerajWadhwan, and their mother Aruna Wadhawan together hold 100% of the group’s holding company, WGC, a top-rated entity with a “structured obligation” – or a show of support to group companies. In the past few years, WGC group firms have drawn investments from the likes of Prudential Financial, Singapore’s GIC, Korean Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the International Finance Corp. Sale of 50% stake in DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance by DHFL at 64x return Two public issues of retail bonds for Rs 14,000 crore collectively. Acquired 50% stake in DLF-Pramerica Life Insurance Acquired First Blue HFC (earstwhile Deutsche Postbank HFC)