KKR invests $250m in Vietnamese conglomerate Masan

The firm will pick up PENM Partners’ $100m stake in Masan Group and invest an additional $150m in the company’s meat platform.

Global private equity firm KKR will invest $250 million in Ho Chi Minh City-headquartered Masan Group and its nutri-science unit, a year after it exited its initial $359 million investment in the company's consumer business. 

KKR acquired Danish private equity firm PENM Partners’ stake in Masan Group for $100 million and invested a further $150 million for a 7.5 percent stake in the company’s meat producing business, Masan Nutri-Science, according to a company statement. 

In 2011, the firm invested $159 million for a 10 percent stake in Masan Consumer, Masan Group’s subsidiary that manufactures and distributes a range of food and beverage products, including soya sauce, fish sauce, instant noodles and bottled beverages. Two years later KKR invested another $200 million in the company, making the combined deal the largest private equity investment in Vietnam. Both investments were structured through KKR’s first Asia buyout fund, 2007-vintage, $4 billion KKR Asian Fund I.

Commenting on the latest deal Ming Lu, head of Asia private equity at KKR, said: “We have witnessed Masan develop a seasonings company into a $2 billion diversified consumer group and look forward to again backing Masan as they execute their growth plans.”

“This investment underscores our commitment to Vietnam in particular and to ASEAN generally,” Ashish Shastry, head of KKR Southeast Asia, added. “Vietnam holds great opportunity with its growing economy and favourable demographic trends. KKR is committed to investing in the market by partnering with leading companies such as Masan Nutri-Science.”

Masan Group is one of Vietnam's largest companies focused on the country's consumption and resources sectors. Along with Masan Consumer, the group also comprises commercial bank Techcombank, natural resources company Masan Resources, and animal feed business Masan Nutri-Science. 

Masan Nutri-Science expanded beyond the feed sector last year and entered pig farming with the acquisition of state-owned Vissan, which produces and exports meat, poultry and processed food.

With KKR's investment, Masan Nutri-Science aims to become the first integrated consumer meat platform in Vietnam.

Following the completion of the transaction Danny Le, head of business development at Masan Group and chief executive officer of Masan Nutri-Science, will become vice chairman of the unit. Pham Trung Lam, head of sales at Masan Consumer, will be appointed Masan Nutri-Science chief executive officer.

KKR is still investing its 2013-vintage $6 billion KKR Asian Fund II which is almost fully deployed. Last month, the firm sealed two big-ticket transactions in Japan – the $4.5 billion takeover of auto parts maker Calsonic Kansei and the $1.3 billion acquisition of Hitachi’s power tools unit Hitachi Koki.

The firm is also in market with its third pan-Asian buyout fund and has reportedly raised more than half of its $7 billion target.