CITIC Capital Partners boosts Japan private equity team

CITIC Capital Partners is boosting its Japan private equity operations with the appointment of Hironobu Nakano as managing director, and the recruitment of two of his former colleagues.

CITIC Capital Partners, an affiliate of CITIC Capital Holdings, has recruited Hironobu Nakano as managing director and head of Japan, where the firm has been investing from a ¥17 billion ($140 million; €108 million) private equity fund. 

Nakano, who starts immediately, joins Masahiro Ito and Satoshi Ishida, two former colleagues from Industrial Revitalisation Corporation of Japan who were appointed as vice presidents at the end of last year.

IRCJ, a government initiative established in 2002 to help turn around struggling Japanese corporations, will be dissolved at the end of March this year. Nakano was a managing director at IRCJ, and before that, a founding member of Advantage Partners, a Japanese private equity firm founded by former Bain consultants. He has also worked at Toyota Motor Corporation.

CITIC’s Japanese team has grown to ten with the latest appointments, according to a spokeswoman in Tokyo.

In a recent interview, Zhang Yichen, CITIC Capital chief executive officer in Hong Kong, told PEO the firm expects to raise a second Japan-focused fund at the end of 2007. CITIC sponsored 15 percent of its maiden Japan fund, which also attracted commitments from six other Japanese institutional investors.

Prior to recruiting Nakano, Brian Doyle, managing partner of CITIC Capital Partners, was responsible for leading the firm’s Japan private equity investment activities. The Japan fund held a final close in February 2006, and has made three investments since 2004 when the fund was launched.

CITIC is raising its first China-focused fund, which held a first close in September last year on $220 million (€170 million). The fund has a hard cap of $350 million.

CITIC Capital Partners is part of the CITIC Group, which is one of the largest investment arms of the Chinese central government. The group was set up in 1979 to facilitate foreign investment in China when the country was just starting to open up. CITIC’s private equity program started with a $50 million US-focused fund in 2003.