There are few people as synonymous with Indian private equity as Ajay Relan. Therefore, when speculation mounts about his moving on from Citi Venture Capital International’s India operations to startup on his own, it is an exciting thought, to put it mildly. None of the reports that have appeared so far have been confirmed yet. In fact Relan himself denies any such plans.
While the two may or may not be related, Citigroup Inc’s troubles overseas on account of the US subprime crisis are now well documented — it closed the second quarter of fiscal 2008 (April-June) with $2.5 billion losses against a net income of $6.23 billion in the corresponding quarter in 2007. In May, Vikram Pandit, the firm’s just over six months old CEO who took over from Charles Prince, launched some hard restructuring measures to stem losses. The bank plans to write down more than $350 billion in assets over the next 2-3 years. This includes $9 billion on account of Old Lane, a hedge fund founded by Pandit which Citi bought in May 2007 for $800 million — read the press release on Old Lane’s restructuring.