Morgan Stanley raises $440m for debut Thailand PE fund

Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Pixabay

Morgan Stanley on Monday announced securing $440-million for its North Haven Thai Private Equity and related funds, exceeding an initial target of $300 million.

North Haven Thai PE is managed by Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA), the Asia-focused PE investment platform of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. The fund was launched in partnership with Bangkok Bank and will make investments in companies with significant operations in Thailand. It is also the inaugural Thai fund to be managed by Morgan Stanley.

Bangkok Bank is said to be one of Southeast Asia’s top regional banks and Thailand’s market leader in corporate and small-and-medium enterprises (SME) banking, with 17 million customer accounts and total assets of $102 billion as of March 31, 2018.

“The success of our fundraising effort demonstrates that our clients recognise the significant potential we see in Thailand for this value-oriented investing strategy,” said Morgan Stanley Investment Management private credit and equity head David N. Miller.

The fund counts International Finance Corporation (IFC) among its investors. IFC had proposed an equity investment of $20-25 million in North Haven Thai PE last June. DEG Invest, an emerging market-focused German government agency has also pumped in $25 million into the fund, according to its disclosure.

The North Haven Thai PE fund will target business that are beneficiaries of strong urbanisation and per capita income growth trends and government initiatives, per the Morgan Stanley statement.

“Thailand has one of the most active M&A and financing markets in ASEAN, its per capita GDP has doubled in the past ten years and the supply of private equity capital remains relatively low. When seen through that macro lens and when combined with Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia’s investing experience and ability to source opportunities on a proprietary basis, we believe Thailand is a highly attractive market,” said Chin Chou, head of private equity investing in the Asia Pacific for Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

MSPEA’s previous four private equity funds include the $330-million Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia I in 1999, the $525-million Asia Fund II in 2005, the $1.5-billion Asia Fund III in 2007 and the current $1.7 billion Asia Fund IV. As of June 30, 2018, Morgan Stanley Investment Management has $474 billion in assets under management.

Among other Thailand-focused funds, Bangkok-based PE firm Lakeshore Capital is currently investing out of its first $60-million fund.

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