Mauritius fund offers $1.67b for Sahara's Aamby Valley

A Mauritius-based investor, Royale Partners Investment Fund, on Friday said it has offered to invest US$ 1.67 billion (over Rs 10,700 crore) in embattled Sahara group's Aamby Valley project. The investment offer, proposed as a debt arrangement, comes at a time when the Supreme Court has ordered auction of the Aamby Valley resort town between Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra. Sahara group pegs the market valuation of this project at over Rs 1 lakh crore.

Royale Partners Investment Fund Limited, registered in Mauritius as a global business company, is owned by Dubai- headquartered RPMG Investment which is into investment management, private equity, asset management and proprietary trading.

Replying to emailed queries about its proposed deal with Sahara group, RPMG Investment said, "As deposed by Sahara before the Supreme Court of India, Royale Partners Investment Fund Ltd and its Limited Partners have agreed to invest US$ 1.67 billion in the Aamby Valley Project. It, however, declined to share further details, saying the deal terms are confidential.

Sahara's advocate Gautam Awasthi, meanwhile, said in a statement that the group had moved an application before the Supreme Court seeking permission for entering into an agreement with Victor Koenig UK Limited, with the nominee Royale Partners Investment Fund Limited, for inviting an investment of US$ 1.67 billion into its Aamby Valley project.

"With the aforesaid proposal, Sahara's had also prayed for stopping the auction process. After hearing counsels for Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India), amicus curie and Kapil Sibal, senior advocate for Sahara, the Supreme Court has opened a window for Sahara by permitting them to enter into the negotiations and deposit the amount before this court, and that is Rs 1,500 crore to be deposited before the next date," he said.

Awasthi further said that it was said by the judge that if Rs 1,500  crore is deposited, then auction order will be withdrawn.

On Sebi lawyer stating that the regulator could not find the said  Mauritius-based company 'Royal Partners Investment Fund Limited', Awasthi said, "The reason which we have found of this confusion is a typo error in the spelling of the concerned company wherein the spelling of Royale was mentioned as 'Royal' instead of 'Royale'."

The Supreme Court on Thursday said the auction process will go on according to the schedule, but if Rs 1,500 crore is paid, as proposed by the group, into the Sebi-Sahara refund account by September 7, then it may pass an appropriate order.