Investment firm KKR has appointed Shikha Sharma, former managing director and chief executive of Axis Bank, as an advisor to its corporate and real estate-focused non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India. These alternative credit businesses have a combined net worth of nearly ₹4,640 crores (roughly $660 million).
Sharma headed Axis Bank, one of the largest banks in India, until December 2018. Before Axis Bank, she was managing director and CEO of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co., one of the largest private life insurance companies in India. Sharma was also a founding Managing Director and CEO of ICICI PersonalFinance Services, where she helped establish ICICI Bank’s retail lending business and ICICI Securities’ joint venture with JP Morgan.
As an advisor, Sharma will assist KKR’s NBFCs by advising them on areas for business growth, value-creation opportunities, and strategic mergers and acquisitions, among other duties.
“India is structurally short of long-term capital, and this provides a compelling opportunity for our NBFCs to diversify and scale in many areas…Shikha’s experience will help us expand our presence in the financing sector and build on our NBFC’s large equity base to meet the ongoing need for capital in corporate India,” said Sanjay Nayar, member and chief executive of KKR India, in a statement on Thursday.
KKR set up an India office back in 2009, although it had already been making substantial investments in the country. Over the past decade or so, KKR has invested over $8 billion in Indian companies. Nearly half of that $8 billion is in PE deals and the rest in credit to more than 100 companies through its NBFCs. It is one of the largest capital exposures by a global PE investor in India.
The firm operates in the credit space through an NBFC and Alternative Investment Funds, suitably complemented with global capital pools. In December, KKR had appointed former Edelweiss Alternate Asset Advisors’ executives Sumanth Cidambi and Vijay Padmanabhan as directors for the firm’s credit business in India.