StanChart to kick off sale process for loss-making PE unit

The Standard Chartered Wealth Management Centre stands in Hong Kong, China, on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

Standard Chartered Plc, the U.K. bank with operations across Asia and Africa, is kicking off a sale process for its loss-making private equity unit, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Earlier this month, the bank sent so-called teaser documents on Standard Chartered Private Equity to gauge interest from potential suitors, including other buyout firms in Asia, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. More detailed information about the unit, which manages about $3.5 billion in assets, is expected to be distributed to interested parties in the next few weeks, one of the people said.

The private equity unit was initially profitable but its fortunes started to turn in late 2015, partly because of the plunge in the price of oil. Former SCPE head Joseph Stevens left the bank in 2016 after failing to conclude a buyout deal, and Standard Chartered decided to seek an exit from most of the business by 2018.

There is a possibility that current management of SCPE, headed by Nainesh Jaisingh, will partner with other companies to buy the assets, said the people.

A London-based representative for Standard Chartered declined to comment. Shares of the lender fell 0.3 percent Wednesday in London to 747.1 pence, the lowest in more than three months.

SCPE’s investments range from a Jordanian chicken company and a chain of shopping malls in Botswana to a Vietnamese play-center operator and an Australian cattle firm. More recently, it proposed to buy shares of a Singapore crane firm. About one third of the assets managed by SCPE belong to the bank, with the remainder owned by other investors.

Standard Chartered incurred restructuring charges of $353 million last year primarily related to its exit of the principal finance business, which houses the private equity unit, as well as redundancy costs, the bank said in its 2017 annual report. SCPE’s total losses since 2015 amounted to about $1 billion, one of the people said.

Also read:

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Bloomberg

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.