Asia news

WL ROSS BUYS CAR PARTS SUPPLIERS
WL Ross & Co, a US restructuring specialist, has acquired Japan's Mitsuboshi Belting Kaseihin Co and BST Safety Textiles for a combined $305 million (€240 million). Ross bought Mitsuboshi from its listed parent company and acquired BST from PPM Capital, the private equity arm of UK insurer Prudential, in a secondary deal. Mitsuboshi supplies instrument panels, cockpits and other plastic products for automotive interiors to Japanese automobile makers. BST has proprietary technology for creating fabrics used for side curtain and rollover airbags.

TPG MOVES ASIA HEAD TO TOKYO
TPG Newbridge has moved its chairman of Asian and Japan operations, Steven Schneider, from Hong Kong to Tokyo, where he will become chairman of the firm's Japan operations. Akio Ishida has also been lured away from Merrill Lynch Japan, where he was vice-chairman of investment banking. The two will join Jun Tsusaka, a managing director for TPG Newbridge in Tokyo. “Both appointments reflect the growing momentum of our business in Asia and now, increasingly, in Japan,” said Jim Coulter, a co-founder of Texas Pacific, which recently merged its operations with Asian affiliate Newbridge Capital.

MBK LEADS $123M KOREAN ACQUISITION
MBK Partners, together with strategic partner Hyundai Capital Service, a unit of Korea's car maker Hyundai Motor, are acquiring a 58.4 percent stake in Korea's HK Mutual Savings Bank. The transaction value for the controlling bank is 117.4 billion Korean won ($122.6 million; €95.8 million). MBK will buy a 39.9 percent stake in the bank for 80.2 billion won ($83.9 million; €65.4 million), while Hyundai Capital will acquire an 18.5 percent stake for 37.2 billion won. MBK Partners is also competing with Goldman Sachs, Carlyle Group, TPGNewbridge, CVC Asia Pacific, Macquarie Bank and KKR for China Network Systems, Taiwan's top cable TV operator in a transaction estimated to fetch about $1.4 billion.

CHAMP PRIVATE EQUITY LOSES DIRECTOR
Paul Wilson has resigned from his position as a director at Sydney-based buyout firm CHAMP Private Equity. He will leave CHAMP by the end of the year, and will then be subject to a 12-month “non-compete, non-poach” clause covering private equity and the healthcare industry. Attributing his departure to the need for “a break and a change”, Wilson said he would spend some of his gardening leave working at Sobo, a restaurant he owns on Bondi Beach, as well as at InSCRIPTion, a content generation company for Australian film, theatre and television where he is chairman.

SARATOGA TARGETS UP TO $500M
Saratoga Capital, which has offices in Singapore and Jakarta, has launched a roadshow for a new fund which is aiming to raise between $300 million and $500 million for investment in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. The three main areas to be targeted by the fund are infrastructure, natural resources and distressed buyouts. Saratoga, which was established in 1998, is hoping to announce a first close in December.

BARING ASIA RAISES $490M FUND
Baring Private Equity Asia has raised $490 million in a new fund, its first since spinning out of ING-sponsored Baring Private Equity Partners in 2004. Baring Asia Private Equity Fund III had a target of $400 million and had three times as many investors as its predecessor, said founding partner and chief executive officer Jean Eric Salata. The fund was almost twice the size of Fund II, which closed on $257 million in September 2002. Fund III will continue to target mid-sized companies across sectors in China, India, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and for the first time, Japan.

NIKKO AUSTRALIA ARM AGREES FIRST DEAL
Nikko Principal Investments Australia, the private equity arm of Nikko Cordial Corporation, has acquired FleetPartners, a vehicle leasing and management business, from Australian and New Zealand Banking Group for A$379 million ($290 million; €226 million). The transaction is Nikko's first since it launched its private equity business in Australia in May and will be funded using Nikko Cordial's balance sheet. Macquarie Bank advised Nikko and arranged debt financing for the transaction.

CLEARSTONE LAUNCHES MUMBAI OFFICE
Clearstone Venture Partners, a venture capital firm with offices in Menlo Park and Santa Monica, has set up an advisory office in Mumbai to be headed by Rahul Khanna, who relocated from Silicon Valley. In India, Khanna will identify and support portfolio companies across sectors including telecom, media, entertainment and financial services. Clearstone Venture Advisors provides early stage funding ranging from $2 million to $5 million for each investment. From the recent $200 million fund Clearstone Venture raised, about $40 million can be made available for investments in India, a spokesman said.