SAR Group may raise up to $100 m for battery business in 2018-19

SAR Group may raise up to $100 m for battery business in 2018-19

SAR Group, makers of water purifiers under Livpure brand and automotive batteries and storage solutions under Livguard brand, is looking at raising between $50 million and $100 million during this financial year for its battery business.

The Group was founded by Rakesh Malhotra and Navneet Kapoor in 1988. Livguard, founded in 2014 with an overall investment of around ₹200 crore, has grown to be the third largest player after Exide and Amaron (Amara Raja Batteries) which account for nearly 85 per cent of the Indian automotive batteries market, Malhotra told BusinessLine.

Livguard clocked around ₹950 crore revenue in FY18, said Rakesh Malhotra, one of the founders of the SAR Group.

All eyes on renewables

Another business vertical of SAR Group — Livpure water purifiers — is sufficiently capitalised and no more investments will be required in the near future, Malhotra noted, unless the company decides to enter new categories such as air purifiers.

Malhotra believes the battery business will gain additional interest as power conversion, energy storage and other applications around renewable energy and e-mobility will be the next big ticket opportunity in India, which is now the third largest renewables market after the US and China.

Ncubate Capital Partners, the private investment arm of SAR Group, is exploring the renewable space, looking for projects and technologies around storage, e-vehicles and data analytics.

“Today, no renewable system is complete without adding storage and power conversions to it, that’s the space where the maximum opportunity lies because that’s under-served,” he said.

“The generation side is now pretty much done, that’s a scaled business now and that is for larger funds to invest, but the storage technology is yet at an early stage and there is plenty of opportunities on the horizon. These things will start shooting up in the next couple of years”.

According to Malhotra, while utility-scale projects may rely on storage technologies that have been developed outside India, rooftop solar and micro-grids are still open for innovations that could come from within India.

“There is a large defused market for renewable energy storage solutions that is yet to open,” he said.

Three out of 14 start-ups funded by Ncubate since 2012 operate in the renewable energy storage and e-vehicle space, Malhotra said.

Ncubate is an early investment platform that provides growth capital, business expertise and skill-gap fulfilment.

So far, Ncubate has invested around $25 million and has planned additional $25 million investments, Malhotra said. Three of Ncubate’s portfolio companies are looking at raising up to $40-45 million this year, he added.

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