Nikko sets up in Australia

Japanese investment bank, securities and asset management firm Nikko Cordial Corporation is ready to pursue private equity investments in Australia.

Nikko Principal Investments (NPI), the private equity arm of Japan’s Nikko Cordial, has established an office in Sydney. The firm has assembled an investment team of six that includes Gene Lorenz and Rob Nichols, former directors of DB Capital Partners, the private equity arm of Australia’s Deutsche Asset Management.

Lorenz has been appointed managing director of Nikko Principal Investments Australia, NPI said in a statement.

NPI, which combines characteristics of private equity firms with the ability to structure and underwrite debt, focuses on corporate as well as portfolio acquisitions and asset warehousing, with transactions ranging from A$475 million to A$1.2 billion in enterprise value. It invests from its own balance sheet, and has, to date, invested some A$11 billion ($8.3 billion; €6.5 billion) in Japan, UK and Europe, according to the statement.

NPI was founded in London in 1997, following which NPI Japan was established in 1999. The Australian initiative is aimed at providing NPI with a “springboard for investments in other countries in the Asia Pacific region, where there are considerable investment opportunities”, Hirofumi Hirano, chairman of NPI Japan, commented.

NPI UK CEO Brian Berry said: “Our decision to establish a presence in Australia, which is undoubtedly the most mature private equity market in Asia Pacific, will be followed up with a move into India over the next twelve months.”

In April, NPI acquired Cabot Financial Holdings, a debt purchasing business in the UK, for £275 million from Barclays Private Equity. NPI Japan recently invested in Bellsystem24, a manager of call centres, and in railway and property conglomerate Seibu Group. It is due to acquire the retail operations of Sony in June.