PROFILE-‐ ARUN PANCHARIYA Arun Panchariya has over 20 years of rich experience in entrepreneurship, industry and trading, spanning across a broad range of geographic locations and deal sizes. He is adept in the trading of direct equities, commodities, futures, derivatives and other financial and money market instruments. He offers advisory and consulting services for international offerings of Indian and international listed & non-‐listed companies and has strong ties with debt providers and equity sponsors. I started early…my foundation in the manufacturing industry helped me gain a lot of experience in grassroots businesses TEXTILE AND MANUFACTURING Arun started his career in 1992 at a proprietary concern-‐ Alka Textile Mills, and was primarily engaged in the business of manufacturing and trading of textiles, and marketing of its products in the western region of India. In 1994/95, Arun joined Alka Spinners Ltd. (later known as Alka India Ltd) as a full-‐time director. It is here that he gained experience in the manufacturing of 100% cotton yarn, blended yarn, textile and spinning yarn. He also learnt soft skills, administrative skills and corporate culture at Alka India. Incidentally, Arun made his first foray into the financial services during this period, when he successfully handled the Greenfield project IPO of the company. Being a whole time director, Arun personally designed the fund raising program, and in the process learnt in detail about working capital, term loans, commercial loans and the underlying processes for the same. Arun joined Panchariya Gin Pvt. Ltd. in 1998, where he learnt all about the ginning industry. Dealing with suppliers (farmers) buying cotton, interacting with distributors, wholesalers and traders built my negotiation strengths and more importantly, I learnt how to deal with different kinds of people. I also learnt how important agricultural products are in our day-‐to-‐day life and how farmers work hard to provide the same… Alka India started its 100% export-‐oriented software business around the same time, so Arun completed his MCSD/MCSE courses and handled this new stream of business as well. During this period, Arun was also a Director with Karnavati Fincap Limited, which then changed its name to Vasudev Textiles & Industries Limited, and was then sold to new management. This company is now known as Asian Granito Limited, now one of the largest players in the tile industry in India. The decline in the textile industry made Arun look at other avenues of business, and in 1999, was appointed as the CEO/MD of Kuber Cooperative Bank.
It wasn’t easy leaving my comfort zone in textiles and entering financial services. I had the IPO experience, but this was a different ball game altogether. However, I took it as a challenge to prove myself… BANKING-‐ THE FIRST STINT At Kuber, Arun dealt with all aspects of retail banking, housing loans, trade finance and commercial banking. He handled RBI audits, learnt banking policies, and attended numerous seminars to keep himself up-‐to-‐date with the latest in the banking industry. His hard work showed great results-‐ at the time of taking over the bank, it’s capital & networth was 3 million INR, this increased to 20 million INR(inclusive profits and reserves) by the time he retired in 2003, and all its financial years ended in profit. The performance graph of the bank during his tenure was always taking up the ladder . Business travel always excited me, the prospect of meeting new business people, exploring new business ideas. I still travel extensively, clocking in an average of 20 travel days a month! COMMODITY TRADING In the year 2000, Arun started traveling to the UAE, where he saw exciting trading opportunities. This resulted in him establishing a general trading company-‐ Vintage FZE, in Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai. Initially trading in computer hardware, software and copier paper, Vintage expanded its trading portfolio to include aluminum, heavy metal scrap, copper scrap and commodities like rice, pistachios, saffron and vegetables. This hands-‐on experience in commodity trading helped Arun build his base in the trading industry, and he grew the company from a turnover of US$ 1.3 million at inception to an impressive US$ 141 million in 2009. Meanwhile Alka India also started a division for trading of physical gold and silver bullion, and this too was overseen by Arun. The success of Vintage FZE prompted Arun to shift base to Dubai, and he voluntarily retired from Alka India and Kuber Bank, so that he could focus on his trading business which he found more exciting. In 2003, Arun became a member of the DGCX and also entered into a tie-‐up to market the FX online trading platform of RCG FX London, which was owned by the 2nd largest commodity broker in Chicago-‐ RCG Group. During his visit to London, Arun was impressed by the financial market there and saw a lot of opportunity for business. I was impressed by the work environment in London, the pulse of the financial centre. This was something I wanted to be part of, and I knew I could capitalize on my banking and IPO experience and create a financial services company… FINANCIAL SERVICES Pan Asia Advisors, an international corporate advisory firm and boutique investment-‐banking firm was set up by Arun in 2006. Through PAA, he advised international corporate on Private Equity, Mergers & Acquisitions, GDR, FCCB and debt funding. Arun worked on numerous transactions and assisted, both directly and indirectly, in raising fund of more than USD 2 billion
in the international market for global corporates. PAA also assisted clients in listings on the Luxemborg, DIFX and Singapore stock exchanges. I have exposure on various sectors-‐Media, Telecommunications, films, broadcasting, textiles, sugar, metal, retail, oil, industry and pharma among others. This gave me a deep insight into many business verticals, and I wanted to do more… INVESTMENT BANKING Having gained rich experience in a variety of business sectors, Arun now set his sights on the investment banking business. His trips to Europe brought him into contact with a private bank in Vienna-‐ Euram Bank. This resulted in a joint venture investment bank set up by PAA and Euram Bank and christened Euram Bank Asia Ltd., was established in the DIFC in 2008. Arun was appointed President of the bank, and the head of corporate finance and investment banking. He spearheaded a number of transactions in the first two years itself, notable mentions being a USD 3 billion deal for an oil and gas industrial park in Malaysia and gold, coal mining and oil refinery deals in East Asia, Australia and Africa. Under his leadership, Euram Asia declared 95% dividend in Year 1 and 90% dividend in Year 2, which was a huge achievement in itself. Investment banking brought me to the other side of traditional businesses; while my heart lay in the operational aspects of the business, my mind knew that investments drove such ventures...a dichotomy of sorts INVESTMENT FUNDS During 2007, Arun started working on setting up a structure to enter the investment funds business. The result was Cardinal Capital Partners, a fund management company set up in Mauritius and regulated by the FSC, and registered with SEBI as an FII as well. CCP promoted and managed IFCF, which started operations with an AUM of US$ 3 million and a Net Asset Value of US$ 1 per Share. By 2010, the fund had grown to an AUM of US$ 110 million, with an NAV of US $ upto 5.34 per share. Arun resigned from IFCF in June 2010, due to his pressing commitments at EBAL. SHIPPING & LOGISTICS In 2006-‐07, Arun set up Vintage shipping and logistics, a short stint in the logistics business. It didn’t do as well as expected, partly because of bad market conditions prevailing at that time. Vintage shipping reinforced one lesson-‐ timing is critical. It didn’t work out, but I will not give it up until it does!
ALLEGATIONS In September 21st 2011, Arun was caught unawares by a malicious allegation leveled by SEBI on PAA and himself. This was particularly surprising since both PAA and he did not even come under the jurisdiction of the regulator. SEBI issued an interim order pending investigation which they subsequently went ahead and confirmed on 17th Jan 2012, again pending further investigation. The SEBI allegations, though unfounded and baseless, rocked my boat…I resigned from EBAL immediately, resolving to prove my innocence and clear my name. I left India in the year 2002 and became an NRI to expand my business in the International markets where I am regulated. I am answerable to regulatory bodies local to the jurisdictions where I operate, but not to SEBI. . CURRENT STATUS Joined Signature Group on 16th January 2012 as director & partner. Signature is a private equity and corporate finance firm focused on the emerging markets of India, GCC and Africa. It currently manages US$ 1.2 billion of investments in these markets. Arun is also an advisor to The Falcon Fund Limited, which invests in the mining industry globally. AWARDS AND RECOGNITION Arun was honored with the “Business Person of the Year 2010 ” award at the 11th Asian Achievers Awards held at Wembley Stadium, London. The AAA recognizes the various outstanding roles played by Britain’s Asian community, Arun was also bestowed with the Asian Banker of the Year 2010 award by Asian Who’s Who International; he received this recognition from Ms. Cherie Blair in London.
Published on Nov 21, 2012
Arun Panchariya has over fifteen years of in-depth experience in financial services including private equity and retail banking across a ran...