Emerging Asia leads LP attractiveness ranking – report

South-East Asia retains the top spot as the most attractive market for investment, while China has overtaken India to claim second place, according to the latest investor survey from EMPEA.

Investor interest in emerging Asia shows no signs of slowing down.

Similar to last year’s Global Limited Partners Survey, EMPEA’s latest report reveals that LPs view South-East Asia, China and India as the most appealing investment destinations across 10 emerging markets globally.

South-East Asia retains the top spot, while China has overtaken India to claim second place, with the two swapping positions from last year’s survey.

Emerging Asia-focused vehicles hauled in $76 billion or 85 percent of total private capital raised for emerging markets in 2018. Among the largest Asia funds closed in the last year include Hong Kong-headquartered PAG’s $6.1 billion Asia III and the $2.5 billion DCP Capital Partners I – the debut fund of former KKR China alumni and one of the largest funds dedicated to China post financial crisis.

Brazil, meanwhile, took fourth place in the ranking, after placing sixth in the last four preceding years, denoting the country’s improved economic prospects, according to EMPEA. Its Latin American neighbours, on the other hand, fell from fourth place in 2018 to sixth this year, following a challenging year in Argentina and Mexico.

Interest in Africa has held steady at fifth place, although the 2019 survey defines it mainly as sub-Saharan Africa. The Middle East stepped down to eight in the ranking following a “challenging year of geopolitical quandaries and questions about the region’s governance standards”, EMPEA noted in the report. The collapse of Dubai-headquartered Abraaj Group was put in the spotlight for alleged accounting inconsistencies and misappropriation of funds. Its founder Arif Naqvi faces a maximum penalty of 45 years in prison.

While LP perception of China, India and Brazil have continued to improve in recent years, the opposite is true of Turkey and Russia/CIS, which have retained their respective ninth and 10th places. Political uncertainty in these markets remains a top concern for LPs. No Russia-focused fund has reached a close since 2014 and 91 percent of LP respondents rated Russia/CIS as unattractive.

Mike Calvey, founder of one of Russia’s most prominent private equity firms, Baring Vostok Capital Partners, was detained in February along with two of the firm’s partners and an investment director over a dispute related to one of the firm’s portfolio companies.