Carlyle Invests $500 Million in South Asia Focused Magna Energy

Carlyle Group LP said it plans to invest up to $500 million in a South Asia-focused energy company led by former Cairn Energy Plc executives.

The equity investment in unlisted Magna Energy Ltd. will help the U.K. company develop its oil and gas projects across the Indian subcontinent, Carlyle said in a statement.

Magna was founded in 2013 by Mike Watts and Jann Brown, former executives of Cairn Energy, for oil and gas development and production, with a secondary focus on exploration.

“We believe there is strong growth potential in countries such as India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, which seek to grow their local energy markets,” the two Magna executives said in a statement.

Watts and Brown stepped down from Cairn in April last year amid a tax dispute with India. The country’s tax authorities have claimed that Cairn failed to pay sufficient tax on its $2 billion sale of shares in Cairn India Ltd. in December 2006. Cairn disputes the tax claim.

Funding for the Magna investment will come from Carlyle International Energy Partners, a fund that focuses on oil and gas investments in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

In April, Carlyle reported a 5.4 percent drop in first-quarter profit, weighed down by lower fees from managing hedge funds and by losses on its energy holdings. Carlyle’s largest announced investment in South Asia was the 2007 purchase of a $607 million stake in Indian home-loans provider Housing Development Finance Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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