PE giant Carlyle Group in the market to raise new Asia fund

Photo: Reuters

Alternative investment giant Carlyle Group has hit the market to raise a new Asia-focused fund after raising $27.5 billion of new capital in 2020, despite disruption due to the pandemic.

The PE firm did not disclose the target amount for the new fund, Carlyle Asia Partners Growth II LP, but told the US Securities and Exchange Commission that the fundraising could last more than one year.

In Asia, Carlyle manages five Asia buyout funds totalling $15.55 billion and two China funds. In 2018, the firm raised $6.6 billion for its Asia private equity fund, its biggest that time, exceeding a $5 billion target.

Last year, Carlyle raised 258 billion yen ($2.3 billion) for its biggest Japan fund, aiming to pick up businesses shed by conglomerates as well as companies where elderly owners have no obvious successors. The fund was more than twice the size of the third, which raised 120 billion yen.

Carlyle’s existing portfolio firms in Asia range from a stake in Chinese internet giant Tencent’s e-book unit China Literature to Metropolis Healthcare, an India-based global operator of pathology laboratories. It invested $200 million in Kakao Mobility, South Korea’s online taxi-hailing and parking services providers, in February.

The company’s notable partial exit in the Asia Pacific region in 2020 was the sale of a 10-percent stake in SBI Card, the second-largest credit card issuer in India, through one of the largest, Indian large-cap private sector IPOs in a decade. Carlyle acquired a 26 per cent stake in SBI Card from GE Capital in 2017.

Strong results in 2020

Carlyle Group
Image from Carlyle Group.

In its 2020 Annual Report released last week, Carlyle CEO Kewsong Lee said the firm generated strong financial results last year despite the disruption caused by the global pandemic.

Carlyle delivered record fee-related earnings of $520 million, raised over $27.5 billion of new capital, invested $18 billion, and realised $21 billion in proceeds despite the difficult environment. Its assets under management soared to $246 billion in 2020.

It generated $762 million in Distributable Earnings (DE), its best year since 2015, and DE per common share of $2.05 increased 21 per cent over 2019.

“We recognized early that COVID-19 would have long-lasting implications on how we live and work, so our mentality shifted quickly to adapting and innovating, rather than waiting and seeking a return to ‘normal’,” Lee said.

Other PE firms that have raised buyout funds in the region recently include Singapore-headquartered Asia Partners, which made the final close of its inaugural vehicle at $384 million. Novo Tellus, another Singapore-based PE firm, also reached the final close of its latest PE fund at $250 million. 

Last year, four Southeast Asia-focused PE funds managed to record a final close – three of these were closed in the second half of the year – with a total corpus of $1 billion. Seven global funds with partial allocations for Southeast Asia also secured a final close in 2020.

Neal Kok and C.K. Yan, PE directors at KKR & Co earlier said Southeast Asia’s sizeable millennial and rapidly urbanising population is shaping the speed of growth and technology innovation in the region. KKR has so far raised approximately $13 billion for its fourth Asia-focused buyout fund, which is already a record amount and the largest pan-Asia PE fund in the world.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.