Blackstone holds first close for RMB fund

The US buyout firm has collected an undisclosed amount for its debut RMB-denominated fund, launched in August 2009 with a target of RMB5bn.

Global private equity heavyweight The Blackstone Group has held a first close for its RMB-denominated fund, the Shanghai Blackstone Equity Investment Partnership, which has a target of RMB5 billion (€528.7 million; $765 million).

The amount collected was not disclosed, and Blackstone was unavailable for comment at press time.

As of July 2010, the fund had collected roughly half its target amount and was expecting to hold a final close by September last year, a source close to the firm told PE Asia at the time. Blackstone launched the fund in August 2009.

According to a statement, the fund received commitments from Chinese government entities, state-owned enterprises and large domestic corporations. Last July, Chinese media reports indicated that Shanghai Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Development Corporation, a real estate and infrastructure developer, had committed RMB2 billion to the fund. Shanghai Ace, a listed coal and clean energy resources company, committed RMB300 million to the fund in June 2010.

Blackstone's first RMB-denominated fund is sector-agnostic, but will reportedly focus on companies in the alternative energy, environmental and medical sectors.

Fellow buyout shop The Carlyle Group held a first close on more than RMB2.4 billion for Carlyle Beijing RMB Fund at the end of July last year. The fund, which is also targeting RMB5 billion, has attracted commitments from Beijing State-owned Capital Operation and Management Center (BSCOMC), Beijing Equity Investment Development Fund, other large state-owned enterprises, private companies and individuals.

Blackstone's RMB fund will make growth equity investments, while the Carlyle fund will invest in large growth companies. Carlyle will look to invest between $100 million to $200 million per transaction.

TPG Capital is currently in the market with two RMB funds, one each in Shanghai and Chongqing and both targeting RMB5 billion. On the other hand, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts closed its USD-denominated China Growth Fund on $1 billion recently.