Korea’s VIG Partners acquires HiParking

Rising affluence in South Korea and consumer demand for convenience are current trends driving private equity investments, says VIG managing partner Jason Shin.

Seoul-based mid-market buyout firm VIG Partners has bought a majority stake in parking management company HiParking for KRW 27 billion ($23 million; €20 million).

The investment came from Vogo Fund II, VIG’s second buyout fund that raised $350 million in 2013 and which has now been fully invested.

The firm is currently raising its third fund, VIG Fund III, targeting $500-600 million.

“As motor vehicles – and consequent consumer demand for parking convenience – increase along with the rise in Korean GDP per capita, the Korean parking industry will become more institutionalised and consolidated as was the case in US, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe,” said Chulmin Lee, managing partner at VIG Partners.

Jason Shin, managing partner at the firm told Private Equity International: “The consumer demand for convenience, better service, as well as Koreans’ rising affluence are some trends we are seeing now. There is an explosive growth in the markets that captures increasing disposable income.”

The firm has made investments in lens manufacturer Samyang Optics, massage chair manufacturer Bodyfriend, e-commerce portal Enuri.com, underwear company Mcorset, insurer Yang Life Insurance, and bidet manufacturer Novita.

VIG recently sold South Korea’s Burger King franchise BKR to Affinity Equity Partners for KRW 210 billion, resulting in an internal rate of return of more than 30 percent, as reported by PEI. It took control of the company in 2012 and has since nearly doubled its restaurants and established 24-hour outlets and drive-thru services, resulting in a 30 percent increase in daily average sale per outlet.

VIG has invested over $1.3 billion across 11 companies in South Korea, with shareholding control in nine of these companies, it said on its website.