Friday, December 15, 2006

Nikko, Ambit form AMC JV

Japan-headquartered Nikko and the Ambit group have agreed to form an asset management joint venture in India. Nikko Asset Management has assets of about $90.7 bn under management. It has been an active participant in the offshore Indian asset management market for over a decade now and was one of the earlier foreign institutional investors in India via the group's regional base in Singapore. Since 2004, Nikko Asset Management has invested in additional offshore infrastructure, most notably by establishing a regulated group company in Mauritius and a dedicated India fund management team in Singapore that has enabled the group to expand its Indian investment management capacity rapidly, in particular by facilitating the successful launch of the Nikko BRICs Equity Fund in March 2006.

Ambit is one of the leading financial services group in India. Its primary interests lie in investment banking, private equity, stock broking and consulting. It was established in Mumbai as a boutique investment bank in 1997 by Managing Director Ashok Wadhwa, a former Managing Partner of Arthur Andersen in India.

With respect to the deal, Nikko intends to acquire a 74.9% of the JV while Ambit will hold the remaining portion. The two firms have already agreed to many of the key terms of their cooperation and anticipate entering into a definitive agreement in early 2007. The JV plans to commence the formal licensing process with the Indian financial regulators and plans to beef up infrastructure in anticipation of the formal launch of investment activities.

Ambit has just recently announced a JV with TV18 and the Centurion Bank of Punjab for providing an online broking platform to retail clients.

Credit Suisse, UBS, Aviva, Korea`s Mirae Asset, AXA (with the Bharti group) and Pioneer, are some of the other big-ticket names that are planning to enter the booming Indian mutual fund business.

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