PEI 300: Asian GPs strengthen their presence

RRJ, Hony, MBK and Baring Asia raise a combined $30.4bn.

Click here to see larger image.

Sixty-five private equity firms based in Asia-Pacific made it to this year's PEI 300, compared to 53 firms in 2015, posting one of the strongest fundraising years on record. 

RRJ Capital has claimed the top spot among Asian firms appearing in Private Equity International’s PEI 300, an annual ranking which measures capital raised over a five-year rolling window.

On the back of a $4.5 billion fundraise in September last year, as well as strong and consistent returns across all three funds, the China and South-East Asia buyout firm placed 22nd in our rankings. Supported by continued interest from US funds and Asian sovereign wealth funds, RRJ has successfully raised more than $10.4 billion in five years.

Beijing-based Hony Capital was the other Asian firm to appear in the top 50, its first time. It jumped 32 places to claim the 43rd spot in our rankings. The North Asia-focused firm has raised a total of $7.1 billion since 2011 and has shown no sign of slowing down even amid China’s economic restructuring and dim growth prospects. 

Just last month, Hony closed its eighth fund on $2.7 billion, exceeding its $2 billion target. It has invested in 80 companies since 2003, of which 30 are Chinese state-owned enterprises. Among its big-ticket transactions, it acquired UK restaurant chain Pizza Express, oil company Santos and US film studio STX Entertainment.

RRJ and Hony were joined by MBK Partners and Baring Asia in the PEI 300. Together they raised almost $10 billion more than last year's rankings, with a total of $30.4 billion from 1 January 2011 to 1 April 2016, which is still just half of the total raised by Blackstone alone that took the crown at number one. 

Seoul-based MBK Partners missed top 50 by an inch. The firm shot up from 67th place in 2015 to 51st this year, moving slightly ahead of buyout firm Baring Private Equity Asia. MBK is known for the largest buyout in Asia-Pacific region last year, Tesco’s South Korean unit for over $6 billion. Over the years, MBK has increased the amount of capital at its disposal and raised $6.5 billion across four funds. In October 2013, MBK closed its third buyout fund MBK Partners III on its $2.7 billion hard-cap after just one year in market. This year, it’s seeking $4 billion for its latest fund, which will focus on TMT, financial services, healthcare and retail in China, Japan and Korea.

Baring Private Equity Asia, which appeared in 44th place last year, has dropped out of our top 50 ranking, moving a few notches down to number 52. Jean Eric Salata’s firm rose 75 places in our rankings last year on the back of its heavily oversubscribed sixth pan-Asia vehicle, which hit $4 billion, a record amount for the Hong Kong-based firm and up 60 percent from the prior fund it closed in 2011. The firm has been deploying capital actively in the region, with deals focused on mid-market opportunities in China, India, Japan and South Korea.

Geographically, Hong Kong remains the city to beat when it comes to capital raising in the Asia-Pacific region. Private equity firms based in Hong Kong fundraised a total of $52 billion across a five-year period. RRJ, Baring Asia, PAG and Affinity Equity Partners, all based in Hong Kong, account for more than half of capital raised in the city-state.

Beijing comes in second just at $25 billion, Shanghai at $21.7 billion, Seoul at $15.9 billion, while Sydney trails behind at $4.6 billion.

To read the full PEI 300 report click here.