Standard Chartered finally exits private equity business

A sign hangs above the entrance to the headquarters of Standard Chartered Plc in London, U.K. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Standard Chartered Plc reached an agreement to separate its private-equity unit, ending more than two years of effort by Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters to get out of the business.

Intermediate Capital Group Plc said Monday that its funds are buying a majority of the bank’s private-equity assets in a transaction valued at about 790 million pounds ($997 million). The former Standard Chartered private-equity team, led by Nainesh Jaisingh, will run the portfolio in their new firm, Affirma Capital, after a management buyout.

The spinout will result in a $160 million charge, Standard Chartered said. The unit, which invests in companies across emerging markets, has helped create more than $1 billion of losses and restructuring costs since Winters took charge three years ago, and Bloomberg has reported he’s been looking for ways to exit the business since late 2016.

Standard Chartered briefly pared its losses after the announcement, before the shares resumed their retreat, falling 2.2 percent at 11:17 a.m. in London. The stock is down about 24 percent this year.

The business’s investments have included a Vietnamese kids’ play-center operator, an Indian movie-production company, a Jordanian poultry producer and, more recently, a Singaporean crane supplier. While initially profitable, its fortunes turned in 2015, partly because of the plunge in commodity prices.

Winters Revamp

Winters considered selling the business to its managers in 2016 before pledging instead to leave the business by the end of this year. The exit is just one facet of Winters’s revamp of the bank since he took charge in 2015: he has cut jobs in an effort to control costs, and is also weighing a plan to simplify its structure and reduce funding expenses, people familiar with the matter have said.

Intermediate Capital, or ICG, is a London-based asset manager that runs about $38 billion, according to its website, and says it specializes in alternative, mid-market corporate investments. ICG Strategic Equity said the deal marks its first foray into Asia and that it’s providing $400 million to Affirma for fresh investments.

Affirma, which will remain led by Jaisingh, will have 2.85 billion pounds of assets under management and 55 investment professionals, ICG said. People familiar with the matter have previously said that Affirma’s assets would include about $2.1 billion for third-party investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“We are grateful to Standard Chartered and our existing investors for their continued support,” Jaisingh said in a statement.

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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.