Leopard reschedules Fund II launch

The launch of Leopard Cambodia-Laos Fund II last year has been rescheduled with a $75m target and a close slated for the end of the year.

Leopard Capital has reset the launch date for its second fund targeting investments in Cambodia and Laos.

“The earlier planned launch date got pushed back after we managed to make two early exits and restocked the first fund's dry powder,” Douglas Clayton, chief executive of the firm told PE Asia.

Leopard Cambodia-Laos Fund II, came to market late last year. The new launch date was not specified, however it is expected to close by the end of the year following commitments from development banks and family offices, according to a notice on the firm's website.

The fund succeeds Leopard Capital’s $34 million maiden investment vehicle which closed in early 2010. The Leopard Cambodia Fund had originally aimed to raise $100 million but held a final close on $27.2 million in April 2009 as it intended to raise money for only a year. However, the firm reopened the fund at the end of June 2009 due to increased interest from investors, Thomas Hugger, Leopard Capital’s chief operating officer, told PE Asia then.

Fund II, which has an expanded target of $75 million from $50 million, will continue to make either minority or controlling investments in the regions’ financial services, agriculture and power space.

Although still relatively untapped, Cambodia has begun to see more attention from private equity firms.

In January this year, VinaCapital which had up to then invested exclusively in Vietnam, opened a new investment management business in Phnom Penh dubbed VictoryCapital and announced plans invest up to $100 million in Cambodia’s domestic economy over the next several years. The firm added that its ambition was to eventually launch a dedicated Cambodia fund.

However, Clayton noted that at this point, there would still be enough deals to go around.

“We are noticing an upsurge of interest in Cambodia and Laos from savvy investors searching for safe havens and commodity plays,” Clayton said, “there are more than enough greenfield opportunities for all, especially in the agriculture, processing, manufacturing and mining industries. This is a little paradise for patient, adaptive investors, who can bring their own technical and operational expertise – local skills are thin.”