Ex-Warburg MD’s Centurium hits $925m first close for China fund

Centurium Capital Partners, founded by ex-Warburg Pincus head of China David Li, is eyeing a year-end final close on its $1.5bn hard-cap.

China-focused Centurium Capital Partners, founded by ex-Warburg Pincus managing director and head of China David Li, has held a first close on $925 million after less than four months in market, Private Equity International has learned.

The firm launched Centurium Capital Partners 2018 in February with a $1 billion target and a $1.5 billion hard-cap, a source with knowledge of the fundraise told PEI.

Limited partners in the fund were mainly from Asia as well as North America and Europe. Centurium received commitments from sovereign wealth funds, fund of funds and family offices.

The firm is targeting 3x multiple on invested capital for its debut fund. It is expecting a final close on its $1.5 billion hard-cap by the fourth quarter of the year.

Capital raised from the fund will be invested in growth and control deals focused on consumer and healthcare, “a strategy Li has been executing his whole life”, the source added. The firm expects to allocate up to 45 percent of the fund for control deals, while the remaining 55 percent will be earmarked for minority growth transactions.

Joseph Chow, former managing director of Moelis & Company and Lei Lin, chairman and founder of automotive research provider TNS Sinotrust, will manage the fund alongside Li.

Li left Warburg in February 2016 after 14 years at the firm, where he helped build the firm’s China portfolio. He previously served as executive director at the investment banking divisions of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Since his departure, Li has served on the board of Warburg portfolio companies car service firm UCar Group and specialty retailer Jiangsu Kidswant, among others.

Other China-focused funds on the fundraising trail include CDH Investments, which is looking to raise $2.5 billion for its sixth flagship fund, CITIC PE, which has a $2 billion target for its third fund, and Primavera Capital Group which is reportedly targeting $2.8 billion for its third vehicle.

Centurium declined to comment on fundraising.