Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.
Clix Capital co-founder Pramod BhasinA fair amount of cheer is back in Clix Capital co-founder Pramod Bhasin’s voice. Not disillusioned by the breakdown in talks of the company’s potential amalgamation with private sector lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB), Bhasin has more ideas charted out for his non-banking financial company (NBFC). The plan now is to create a strong digital franchise to serve segments where Clix Capital has its strengths—providing loans to small businesses for their working capital needs and expansion plans, besides providing a range of loans: Unsecured personal, home, wedding, vehicles or medical emergency. Bhasin—who had earlier founded NYSE-listed business process management firm Genpact—continues to be focussed on growing inorganically despite the sour LVB deal. “The [LVB] deal is over, it is past us. But we are definitely interested in looking for partnerships in the fintech, retail-focussed NBFC space and even micro-finance companies,” he told Forbes India, over phone. Plans to seek a banking licence at some stage are also definitely on. “That is why we were looking at LVB,” he added. Last month, the government approved the amalgamation of LVB with DBS Bank India Ltd (DBIL), the Indian arm of Singapore-based parent DBS. The moratorium imposed by the RBI on LVB in previous weeks was also lifted and all of LVB’s 563 branches will function as DBIL branches. DBIL has 33 standalone branches. LVB’s forced amalgamation with DBS probably worked best for both partners. DBS brought in Rs 2,500 crore upfront into the amalgamation, which was more than what Clix Capital would have. Bhasin planned to raise fresh capital after the merger. LVB, due to its strong retail franchise and network, would have given a fillip to Clix Capital to expand its reach. Both the Clix companies have combined assets under management (AUM) of Rs 4,500 crore as of September 2020, servicing at least 50,000 small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) and over two million customers across its business platforms. Backed by AION Capital, Clix is an unlisted company in which AION has a near-85 percent stake. Bhasin and co-founder promoter Anil Chawla have small, undisclosed stakes. Based on ICRA Ratings data, Clix Capital showed an over 4x jump in revenues to Rs 507.21 crore as of March 2020, from Rs 123.46 crore in FY18. Its bottomline also rose to Rs 53.32 crore in March this year, compared to Rs 11.57 crore in FY18. India’s banks and NBFCs have seen a contraction in lending activity in recent months, but it, along with collection efficiency—the number of people who have paid back loans out of the total borrowers—has been improving each month. “We will see a much faster rebound in business than expected,” Bhasin said. Bringing in the Genpact experience