Carlyle Group is in the early stages of exploring an entry into India's private credit market, joining global firms drawn to the area.
Executives from the U.S. private equity investor's Hong Kong office have visited India to understand the country's private lending opportunities in recent months, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
A decision isn't imminent and plans for a credit strategy in the country may still change, the people said. Carlyle will invest in India through its existing global credit funds, the people said.
A Carlyle spokeswoman declined to comment on the firm's credit plans for India.
Private credit has grown in prominence globally as money managers lend directly to companies as banks step back. The potential expansion would see Carlyle join global firms seeking to expand their lending in India. Apollo Global Management, which provided $750 million in financing for Mumbai International Airport Ltd., is recruiting a credit chief to lead the firm's business in India. Oaktree Capital Management, Ares Management and Blackstone are also competing for deals.
As part of the deliberations, Carlyle will consider hiring a leader for the potential business and build out a team once it finalizes its strategy, the people said.
Carlyle, which began as a private equity investor, has built out private credit in recent years. Overall, credit assets account for about 39% of the firm's $381 billion assets under management, according to an investor presentation as of March 31.
Private credit investments last year accounted for about $5.3 billion across 77 transactions in India, according to a report by Ernst & Young. The report forecast demand for private credit will include special situations funding and bridge financing for initial public offerings over the next year or two.