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Buy-out firms are the new banks in emerging markets

ENERGY PRODUCERS have long had India over a barrel. The country is the third-largest oil importer in the world, yet its pipeline density is a quarter of the global average. It aims to add 15,000km to the network by 2022, awarding projects through strict online tenders. The few groups able to qualify can hope for sweet profits—if they can first find financing. This is at last becoming easier. In emerging markets, a new breed of lenders has begun acting as credit supermarkets, offering anything from working capital to multi-year debt. They look and quack like banks—but are in fact buy-out firms investing mostly rich-world money. As demand for financing surges in fast-growing countries, they will proliferate, argues Kanchan Jain of Baring Private Equity Asia. Her firm is nearing a four-year debt investment in a business that lays pipes in India.
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