J-STAR exits Japan’s energy solutions provider ESCO

Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

Tokyo-headquartered alternative asset manager J-STAR Co Ltd announced that it has exited energy savings solutions provider ESCO for an undisclosed sum, marking its third liquidity event so far this year.

The transaction is carried out via a buyout of ESCO Holdings Corporation, a firm established by the current ESCO management. The size of the transaction was not disclosed.

J-STAR, a mid-market player in the Japanese PE market acquired ESCO for an undisclosed amount in 2015. The firm was the seventh portfolio company of J-STAR’s second fund, a 2012-vintage vehicle that raised $162 million.

“We have supported ESCO in stabilising its management foundation and building a sustainable business model during our investment when the markets are anticipated to go through evolutions as Japan faces energy shortage as a structural issue,” J-STAR said.

ESCO provides energy-saving products and services to residential and commercial buildings and conducts inspections of Japan’s high-voltage substation facilities.

Early this month, J-STAR also exited Yokoi Manufacturing, a firefighting equipment maker, and NHS Insurance Group, one of the largest independent insurance agents for life and non-life insurers in Japan.

The Japanese PE firm sold its stake in Yokoi to HATSUTA SEISAKUSHO and NHS Insurance to Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Company, according to separate announcements.

J-STAR, founded in 2006 in Tokyo, provides capital to small and medium enterprises with a corporate value ranging from ¥3 billion to ¥10 billion.

Since its establishment, it has invested and/or supported more than 46 transactions in various industries such as consumer durables, services, healthcare, media, and manufacturing.

Its portfolio companies include clothing retailer WEGO Co Ltd, automotive parts manufacturer Honest Co Ltd and restaurant chain operator Echigoya Co Ltd.

In October 2019, the PE firm acquired three internet media companies – content creation firm Kurashino, lifestyle media publisher 1k, and user behaviour analyst CRAFTA – for an undisclosed amount.

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.