PEI 300: RRJ Capital tops Asia fundraising

The China and South-East Asia focused buyout firm ascends to the top ranks of private equity firms in the region.

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Singapore and Hong Kong-based firm RRJ Capital leapt to 22nd place with $10.4 billion in this year’s PEI 300 rankings from the 43rd spot with $6.7 billion last year.

The firm raised its RRJ Capital III with $4.5 billion in commitments in September after just nine months in market, a record capital-raising in Asian private equity history and bigger than the $4 billion raised by Baring Private Equity Asia in February last year.

Its China buyout and growth capital funds have generated strong returns over the years. RRJ’s first, a 2011-vintage $2.3 billion fund, achieved a net internal rate of return of more than 15 percent. That fund invested in agriculture, food, natural resources, consumer, and financial services sectors.

Its second fund of $3.6 billion generated returns of more than 20 percent, according to the New Jersey Division of Investment. It received one of the biggest LP investments globally from anchor investor Temasek Holdings, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

Run by former Goldman Sachs partner Richard Ong and his brother Charles, a former chief investment officer at Singapore’s state investment corporation Temasek Holdings, RRJ has more than $10 billion in assets under management, which is impressive for a firm that was founded only five years ago.

More than half of RRJ’s investors are US pension funds including the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Oregon State Treasury, Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois and Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System. Its Asian investors include sovereign wealth funds such as Temasek Holdings and China Investment Corporation, as well as Tokyo-based Daiwa Securities Group, according to PEI Research.

RRJ’s recent deals include Dunkin’ Donuts’ franchise in China and in Houston-based Cheniere Energy, and in January, it booked a 3x return on investment from Chinese online education company Tsingda.

The 2016 PEI 300 rankings are based on the amount of private equity direct investment capital a firm has raised between 1 January 2011 and 1 April 2016. Our top 50 firms have generated an average IRR of 14.9 percent since inception (net of fees), according to Bison’s data.

To read the full PEI 300 report click here.