Everstone targets co-investment partners with UTIMCO hire

One of South and South-East Asia's largest mid-market firms has recruited Suneel Kaji in New York.

Everstone Group, one of South and South-East Asia’s largest mid-market firms, plans to bolster its pool of co-investment partners with the appointment of a former University of Texas Investment Management Company director to its New York office.

The Singapore-headquartered firm hired Suneel Kaji as a managing director from the $45 billion pension to build co-investment relationships and strengthen existing ones, Sanjoy Chatterjee, president of the Americas, told Private Equity International.

Kaji was a founding partner and the principal co-investment affiliate of private equity consultancy Accordion Partners. He also spent time in Hong Kong as a vice-president at DLJ Merchant Banking Partners.

“Co-investments help us scale our business without having to dramatically scale our fund sizes,” Chatterjee said.

“We see a lot of potential large deals in the mid-market for quality companies that we can scale and we would need large co-investors for that. We’ve always looked at this type of deal but we want to make our execution more efficient.”

Everstone has already completed some transactions that included significant co-investments, having jointly established an Indian NBFC IndoStar alongside Goldman Sachs, Ashmore and several Everstone LPs in 2011, Chatterjee added. It also built the F&B Asia platform, which invested in Burger King in India, as well as Burger King and Domino’s in Indonesia, with co-investments from Everstone LPs.

Appetite for co-investments among North American LPs is increasing: Teacher Retirement System of Texas expects to increase its private equity co-investments allocation to 35 percent and double the investment team to 30 professionals, PEI reported on Wednesday. Staff at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System are seeking board approval for a quick turnaround on co-investment decisions to help build out its private equity co-investment strategy.

Everstone opened its New York office last year to expand its fundraising efforts globally as it gears up for its next vehicle. Everstone Capital III, its previous fund, closed on $730.5 million in 2015, according to PEI data.