UAE's Gulf Capital eyes tech investments in SE Asia with fourth fund

UAE's Gulf Capital eyes tech investments in SE Asia with fourth fund

Satellite view of South East Asia as seen on Google Maps

UAE-based investment firm Gulf Capital is expected to launch its fourth PE fund this year targeting more assets in Southeast Asia, a top executive told DealStreetAsia.

Southeast Asia is where we believe we can talk to a lot of founders and sponsors, and talk about the ability to take their businesses to West Asia,” said Shantanu Mukerji, Private Equity Managing Director, Gulf Capital.

Mukerji, formerly Southeast Asia managing director at L Catterton Asia, is based in the firm’s Singapore office, which was set up in December to cover investments in Southeast Asia and India. 

“Gulf Capital is not new to Asia. In the last 15 years, we’ve done 14 joint ventures or acquisitions across Asia. And if you look at the portfolio today, more than half of the revenue of the portfolio companies comes from outside the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region,” Mukerji said.

“We’ve done a lot of acquisitions in Asia, but they’ve been part of a portfolio company that originally started in the Middle East. But now we’ll start putting more focus on actually originating new opportunities in Asia. Private equity is a very local business, and the ability to have a team here allows us to originate [deals].”

The upcoming vehicle follows the predecessor, GC Equity Partners III, which closed in 2016 at $750 million. The firm is currently deploying the tail-end of the fund, Mukerji said.

In December, the firm announced that the fund’s fair value rose 67% over the period end-September 2020 to end-September 2021, owing to the strong performance by portfolio companies in the fintech, healthcare, technology, sustainability, and businesses services.

Gulf Capital manages over $2.5 billion in assets across seven funds and investment vehicles. According to Mukerji, 70% of Gulf Capital’s LP commitments come from investors outside of the MENA region.

Edited excerpts of the interview with Mukerji:

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