Exclusive: Ex-Deutsche exec raises $339m China fund

James Goulding’s Limetree Capital will invest in car parks across China.

Limetree Capital Partners, a private equity fund launched by former Deutsche Asset Management Asia chief executive James Goulding, has closed its first China-focused fund “heavily oversubscribed”, raising $339 million, people familiar with the situation have confirmed to Private Equity International.

The fund, which will invest in and operate car parks in China, was originally targeting $300 million, with a $325 million hard cap, but managed to increase the cap slightly to address significant investor demand.

While the vehicle is still waiting for some legal documents to be finalised, it has secured all its commitments and will not raise any more capital.

The fund is made up of 60 percent US-based investors – the majority of which were pension funds and endowments, a source explained. About 25 percent of the fund is represented by European investors, with the balance from Asia and the Middle East.

The fund has had two interim closes since its launch in March last year, the first close completing in May 2013.

Limetree intends to invest in China-based car parks, acquiring the land as well as establishing operating companies to run as businesses.

While the firm has other vehicles, which focus on other sectors in Asia for example beachfront land, this is its first car parking fund capitalising on the overcapacity of the automobile sector in China.

Mercury Capital Partners acted as placement agent on the fund. Limetree could not be reached for comment and Mercury declined to comment.

A number of firms have invested in the sector in China, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Unitas, CDH Investments and Warburg Pincus.

Similarly, in February 2013, China Resources Capital teamed up with Dutch pension fund asset manager APG to establish a $265 million fund focused on investing in city car parks in China. APG and CR Capital each committed $120 million. Other investors included Macquarie Capital and Wilson Parking Hong Kong.