Stronger-than-expected PE fundraising for SE Asia in 2020 shows region’s potential

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In the face of unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the fundraising performance of Southeast Asia-focused private equity funds in 2020 did not disappoint as investors remained largely confident of the region’s macro fundamentals.

According to Private Equity in SE Asia: H2 2020 Review, four SE Asia-focused PE funds managed to record a final close in 2020—three of these were closed in the second half of the year—with a total corpus of $1 billion. This compares to five final closes with $1.3 billion in total value in the previous year.

More encouraging was the interim closing performance of SE Asia-focused funds. Ten funds raised $1.4 billion in capital through interim closes in 2020, higher than six funds and $863.5 million in 2019. This, coupled with an expected regional economic recovery, raises expectations of a better overall fundraising performance this year.

“Southeast Asia performed relatively well through 2020, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Northstar’s core markets [Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore] were resilient with stable macro environments.  While some limited partners adopted a wait-and-see approach in Q2 and Q3 of 2020, we are now hearing them being rather positive towards Southeast Asia,” said Sunata Tjiterosampurno, co-chief investment officer at Southeast Asian PE major Northstar Group.

Tjiterosampurno believes positive LP sentiments were influenced by factors beyond the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Southeast Asia such as the ongoing digitalisation of businesses that was accelerated during the pandemic.

Rise of global funds

On top of the capital coming from SE Asia-focused funds, companies in the region are likely to benefit from global PE firms seeking to capitalise on emerging market opportunities outside China.

Seven global funds with partial allocations for Southeast Asia secured a final close in 2020, up from six in the previous year, with the total proceeds climbing 24% year-on-year to $16.8 billion.

Hong Kong-based Baring Private Equity Asia emerged as the largest fundraiser in 2020 after closing its $6.5 billion fourth Asia-focused fund, followed by CVC Capital Partners ($4.5 billion) and PAG ($2.75 billion).

Meanwhile, global PE giant KKR & Co secured $13.1 billion for its fourth Asia fund—this is the largest ever PE vehicle raised for Asia—and is yet to hold a final close for the vehicle.

“Southeast Asia’s sizeable millennial and rapidly urbanizing population is shaping the speed of growth and technology innovation. As such, key areas that we are focused on include financial services, education, healthcare, consumer, real estate and digital infrastructure,” said Neal Kok and C.K. Yan, private equity directors at KKR & Co, in a written response to DealStreetAsia.


DealStreetAsia – Research & Analytics’s latest report, Private Equity in SE Asia: H2 2020 Review, captures the trends in PE fundraising for Southeast Asia, including by global funds with a mandate to invest in the region.

Highlights include:

  • Fundraising performance per PE strategy (growth capital, buyout, etc.)
  • Trends in fundraising since 2018
  • Fundraising by regional and global funds for SE Asia
  • Funds currently in the market

The report is available exclusively to DealStreetAsia – Research & Analytics subscribers. Subscribe/upgrade your subscription now to access our entire set of reports. Still not sure? Opt for a one-month trial for $299.

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.