Malaysia allows foreign venture firms to enter

The Southeast Asian nation has approved publicly listed Japan Asia Investment Company as the first foreign venture firm to operate alongside its 57 domestic firms.

The Securities Commission of Malaysia has approved the application of Japan Asia Investment Company (JAIC) to become the first foreign venture firm to operate in Malaysia.

JAIC, listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, will join 57 local venture firms operating in Malaysia as of 31 August.

The entry of JAIC will increase Malaysia’s pool of private equity funding as well as venture funding, the Securities Commission said in a statement. JAIC is active in buyouts, restructurings and secondary investments.

Established in 1981, JAIC is a Japanese venture capital firm that started as a semi-government investment firm until it became independent in 1989.

The firm manages $1.4 billion (€974 million) in assets across 11 funds and maintains offices in a number of cities in North Asia and Southeast Asia as well as one in Silicon Valley in the US.

Although JAIC is the first venture firm allowed to operate in Malaysia, foreign private equity firms have invested in Malaysia in the past.

Emerging markets-focused private equity firm Actis, based in London, has backed three Malaysian management buyouts: aluminium die-casting product manufacturer Teknicast in 2008, aluminium formwork designer Mivan Far East in 2007 and personal care products manufacturer Unza Holdings in 2004.