Hong Kong-headquartered asset management firm CLSA Capital Partners has raised $77.5 million so far for its Asia/Australia-focused secured private credit fund Lending Ark, according to a filing.
Five investors have so far committed to the fund – Lending Ark Asia Secured Private Debt Fund I – since its launch in August 2019. The fund has already invested $35 million in PeopleFund, a South Korea-based finch platform that offers loans and investment products.
The firm has not specified a maximum target and timeline for the fund. The filing, which was signed by Hyein Jun, Chief Finance Officer at CLSA Singapore, said the fund is a private equity fund based in Cayman Islands.
On its website, CLSA Capital said Lending Ark invests in high quality, secured private debt opportunities across Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
The fund invests in privately negotiated, three- to five-year maturity, secured private debt financing, senior/mezzanine tranches of asset-backed securities, and bank collateralised loan obligations.
“Lending Ark’s strategy is to generate steady, current income while capturing the opportunity that arises from the imbalance between the growing demand for credit from issuer serving the rising Asian middle class and the shrinking supply of credit available from banks due to capital constraints,” CLSA said.
CLSA Capital Partners is the asset management business of CLSA, the international platform of China’s leading investment bank CITIC Securities. It has more than $5 billion in funds under management and eight offices across the region, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Last month, CITIC said it plans to replenish the capital of its Hong Kong arm with up to $1.5 billion to expand its international operations.
The initial close of Lending Ark Asia Secured Private Debt Fund I comes as private debt funds are seeing increased interest from capital-hungry sectors that are facing a liquidity crunch and a pullback in financing from mainstream avenues.
According to Preqin’s 2020 Global Private Debt Report, the total asset under management (AUM) of Asia-focused private debt funds has increased significantly over the past six years.
At the end of 2019, the total AUM stood at $57 billion against $27 billion by the end of 2014. Debt investors located in Asia also increased from 115 to 477 in the past five years.