Osian's places 9.4% stake to Abraaj Capital for $20 million

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New Delhi, Mar 17 (UNI) Osian's Connoisseurs of Art today signed an agreement to sell a strategic minority stake to Abraaj Capital, the premier investment firm specializing in private equity investment across West Asia, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region.

The transaction, involving an investment of Rs 80 crores (US$ 20 million) will give Abhiraaj Capital approximately 9.4 per cent stake in Osian's. This means that Abraaj Capital has valued Osian's at approximately Rs 840 crores (US$ 210 million) post conversion by May 2008.

Neville Tuli remains the single largest shareholder in Osian's.

Additionally, the Vice Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of Abraaj, Arif Masood Naqvi will join the Osian's board.

The Osian's share price, which has been privately placed since 2001, has grown at a CAGR of approximately 85 per cent now reaching Rs 1600 per year through this latest private placement.

Abraaj's equity participation and board representation will assist the rapid business expansion and ongoing institutionalization underway at Osian's.

Speaking about their agreement with Abraj Capital, Neville Tuli, Founder Chairman and CEO of Osian's said, since its inception, we have sought to create a world-class infrastructure-building institution that takes a leadership position in key artistic and cultural sectors, demonstrating that a knowledge and creativity driven approach can also generate great wealth for the collective, let alone the institution.

''The unique internally cross-subsidized framework eventually creates a systematic and self-sustaining revenue model without pushing creativity into short term commercial compromises, so facilitating its developmental potential rather than minor trading opportunities. Osian's plan to become the first arts and cultural institution to publicly list is on schedule for 2009,'' Mr Tuli said.

Abraaj's partnership will further facilitate the expansion of Osian's while providing Abraaj with an ideal growth opportunity in the fast-growing art and culture sphere, he added.

Arif Naqvi, Vice Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of Abraaj Capital said,''Indian, Asian and Arab art is experiencing a period of historic change and development, and the cultural and financial opportunities are phenomenal.'' We are delighted to join the outstanding shareholder base of Osian's and to support Neville in his vision of creating an institution that provides an infrastructure for broad access to the arts in the widest sense whilst also demonstrating that this can be financially viable and attractive, he added.

UNI AR BJR KN2004

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