Polaris-backed Altair Capital hits first close of $150m maiden ASEAN fund

The central business district in Singapore. Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

Japan’s Polaris Capital Group-backed Altair Capital has made the first close a little below $100 million for its maiden ASEAN fund, a top executive with the firm told this portal.

Gary Ng, a partner at Altair Capital, said the firm was planning to raise $150 million in total by June next year.

The fund’s first close limited partners are largely from Japan and Singapore but he said Altair is also targeting LPs from other regions.

Singapore-headquartered Altair Capital said it is targeting ticket sizes of $10-25 million, covering sectors such as consumer, education, healthcare, manufacturing and services. The sectors are directly influenced by Altair’s connection to Japan’s Polaris Capital Group as its ASEAN affiliate.

“By working in the same sectors as Polaris, we hope to tap the potential synergies that may arise through these connections,” said Ng. “We see a lot of interest among Japanese strategic corporates in buying into ASEAN businesses.”

According to Ng, the ability to present a Japanese exit route gives Altair a key competitive advantage. He also believes they have an edge when it comes to mid-market buyouts since there are few similar-sized players in the market today.

“Many of the other buyout firms out there today are much larger, around $400-500 million,” said Ng. “They used to be $200 million, focusing on $20-million equity cheques, but because they’ve raised much larger funds, they’ve moved on to bigger ticket sizes. So in terms of small buyouts, we don’t have many competitors in the market.”

In terms of growth capital, Altair Capital competes with the likes of Falcon Capital, UOB, and Mekong Capital in the region. These funds, however, tend to focus on a single market.

“Unlike a single country fund, we are not pressured to invest all our capital in one market. This means we can look at valuations across the region and pick deals that have a better risk/reward ratio. We think this gives us an advantage of making better deals,” said Ng.

Altair Capital currently has teams in Singapore and Indonesia, with plans to add staff in Vietnam and Malaysia.

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.