Mekong scores back-to-back deals with third fund

The Ho Chi Minh City-based firm invested a combined $15m in logistics provider Nhat Tin and jewellery company Ben Thanh.

Vietnam-focused private equity firm Mekong Capital has completed two deals in less than two weeks from its latest buyout fund, the $112.5 million Mekong Capital Fund (MEF) III.

The firm invested $7.6 million in Ho Chi Minh City-based company Ben Thanh Jewelry, which used to be 100 percent state-owned. Founded in 1987, BTJ is one of the oldest gold and gemstone retailers in Vietnam. Mekong’s investment will be used to launch a new line called PRECITA. Following the deal, Chris Freund, founder and partner of Mekong Capital, will join Ben Thanh’s board of directors as its chairman.

This week, the firm also struck its fifth deal from MEF III with postal service provider Nhat Tin Logistics, investing approximately $7 million in the company. Nhat Tin provides domestic and international door-to-door delivery services for all types of goods, with more than 170 points of delivery and handling more than 20,000 orders per day.

Commenting on the transaction, Chad Ovel, a partner with Mekong Capital said: “We believe that the express delivery sector in Vietnam offers tremendous opportunity for growth, especially thanks to ever-increasing demands from the country’s retailing and e-commerce industries.”

Mekong Capital is currently deploying its latest Vietnam-focused fund, the 2015-vintage MEF III which raised $112.5 million in May 2016. In the past year, capital from the fund hd been invested in the restaurant operator Wrap & Roll, pawn shop F88 and ABA Logistics.

The firm has four funds under management including the $18.5 million Mekong Enterprise Fund I, the $50 million Mekong Enterprise Fund II and the $64 million Vietnam Azalea Fund which makes minority investments in later stage companies with imminent listing plans, according to PEI data.