Bhanu Choudhrie is an entrepreneur and investor with decades of experience in the private equity space. He’s the founder and director of C&C Alpha Group, an international private equity firm with a keen emphasis on emerging markets. During his impressive career, Bhanu Choudhrie has acquired valuable insights into investment strategy. Here, he shares his thoughts on maximising value in the private equity space.
Bhanu Choudhrie’s C&C Alpha Group
Choudhrie founded C&C Alpha Group in 2002 to serve as a holding company for a group of private investors. These investors had operated in venture capital funding for more than 30 years. Today, C&C Alpha Group’s team includes financial analysts, entrepreneurs, strategy consultants, project managers, and project developers.
Global business incubation across diverse industries
C&C Alpha Group has a history of successfully incubating businesses worldwide. The firm has a diverse portfolio but mainly invests in the following industries:
- Banking, including fully digital banking platforms.
- Health care, including dedicated, niche health care services.
- Hospitality, including exceptional hotels and restaurants.
- Real estate, including commercial and residential developments.
- Utilities, including desalination and wastewater technology companies.
Headquartered in London, C&C Alpha Group has offices in India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Adding to its international footprint, the firm also has a significant presence in the United States. The C&C Alpha Group team analyses global economic trends and identifies businesses in market niches that are poised for growth.
Bhanu Choudhrie and C&C Alpha Group’s investment approach
C&C Alpha Group creates stakeholder value through organic growth and strategic partnerships. The firm backs strong management teams and pursues opportunities for generating long-term value.
Specifically, C&C Alpha Group takes a mid-to-long-term view of investments. The firm achieves exits through recapitalisation, listing, or partnering with top-tier private equity firms.
Overseen by Bhanu Choudhrie, C&C Alpha Group has an entrepreneurial approach with a high appetite for risk. The firm’s investments encompass both start-ups and mature companies in emerging and established markets. The firm also invests in turnaround situations that may necessitate operational or financial re-engineering.
C&C Alpha Group creates business value by:
- Leveraging the C&C Alpha Group team’s experience to realise investment opportunities.
- Partnering with powerful management teams and enriching their capabilities to enhance performance.
- Incubating projects to boost their expansion and maximise growth.
Choudhrie emphasises that C&C Alpha Group takes pride in incubating promising projects. His firm values its role in guiding start-ups through the transition from entrepreneurial risk-taking to organised and sustainable growth.
Bhanu Choudhrie’s private equity expertise and investment successes
Bhanu Choudhrie brings profitable investment insights in his role as the founder and director of C&C Alpha Group. His areas of investment expertise include sourcing deals in countries like China, India, and the Asia-Pacific region and providing clarity on emerging markets.
Choudhrie also advises companies on business incubation and growth strategies they can use to optimise their potential. These are some of the organisations and investment projects Choudhrie has supported throughout his career.
C&C Alpha Group made its first major investment in Air Deccan, India’s earliest low-cost airline. Many credit Air Deccan with pioneering India’s affordable travel market. G. R. Gopinath founded the airline in 1997, taking inspiration from the commercial flight industry in the U.S.
During this time, the aviation industry experienced a significant surge in growth as air travel reduced journey times. More people could afford to take flights rather than travel by train.
C&C Alpha Group invested in Air Deccan in 2003 when the airline owned just one plane. Over five years, C&C Alpha Group helped Air Deccan expand to the point where the airline was operating 200 flights a day and transporting 7 million customers each year.
Full-service Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines acquired Air Deccan in 2008. The Indian National Stock Exchange listed Air Deccan with a market capitalisation of $500 million.
Choudhrie helped establish the specialist psychiatric care provider Alpha Hospitals and served as a board member from its inception.
C&C Alpha Group incubated Alpha Hospitals for 13 years. During this time the business saw strong growth and employed over 1,000 staff across three sites. U.S. firm Cygnet Healthcare acquired Alpha Hospitals for $95 million in 2015.
Choudhrie is a director of Alpha Utilities, a leading water technology firm based in the UAE. The company produces tailored water products for consumption and industrial use. Alpha Utilities is also a specialist provider of desalination plant construction and operation services.
In 2017, Alpha Utilities won a significant contract from the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority to build a reverse osmosis desalination plant in the emirate. This new plant contributes to Alpha Utilities’ combined output of 3.7 million gallons of fresh water per day.
Bhanu Choudhrie: maximising value in private equity
Today, Choudhrie leverages his decades of private equity experience across senior roles at various organisations. At C&C Alpha Group, he oversees investment strategy and works with a group of experienced investors.
C&C Alpha Group provides venture capital for early-stage companies and supports mature businesses looking to expand into new markets. These are some of Choudhrie’s insights into maximising value in private equity.
Finding a balance between profitability and capital preservation
The biggest barrier to growth for many businesses is cash flow. As such, Choudhrie explains that it’s sometimes important to prioritise capital preservation over profitability.
Maintaining a healthy cash flow during a private equity firm’s ownership period of a company is essential. Cash flow can help companies meet operational expenses, fund growth initiatives, and service debt. As the Covid-19 pandemic illustrated, capital preservation is especially important during challenging economic times.
Choudhrie says: ‘Sometimes it is better to be less profitable if it allows you to keep hold of capital because raising capital yourself can cost you more than the profit you have sacrificed.’
Private equity investors often seek external funding to grow portfolio companies. Investors should carefully consider the cost of raising capital – which could involve fees or interest payments – in the context of their overall financial strategy.
Supporting portfolio companies, minimising risk, and finding market gaps
Choudhrie says it’s important to be selective when choosing new ventures to invest in. ‘For every two or three opportunities we invest in, we will probably turn down 100.’
C&C Alpha Group minimises risk by starting small and incrementally increasing investment. The firm only takes higher investment risks once the team has established a solid foundation with the company.
C&C Alpha Group also looks for companies that seek more than financial support. ‘We want to be partners, not just investors,’ he explains. ‘We can bring an infusion of capital, but we will also provide added value through our expertise, international contacts, and management support.’
About Bhanu Choudhrie
Bhanu Choudhrie studied International Business and Marketing at Boston University in Massachusetts. He has also completed the Owner / President Management programme at Harvard Business School.
In 2008, the UK’s Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards named Choudhrie ‘Entrepreneur of the Year.’ The award recognised his extensive business successes and philanthropic work with charities and other enterprises.
Choudhrie is a former director of the bank holding company Customers Bancorp. He also sat on the board of the Executive and Risk Committees of Customers Bank in Philadelphia.
In 2010, Choudhrie became the chairman of the Business Advisory Board for Commonwealth Games England. In this role, he raised money for more than 500 athletes who represented England at the Delhi Games that year. In 2012, Choudhrie joined the board as a non-executive director of Commonwealth Games England.
Learn more about Bhanu Choudhrie.