Editor’s take: The week that was – December 9-13

The DealStreetAsia logo is pictured at its annual conference in Singapore.

I start with the mega-deal in the Indonesian banking space. Bangkok Bank Pcl, Thailand’s third-largest lender by assets, has agreed to buy an 89.1% stake in PT Bank Permata for about $2.7 billion, in the first major overseas acquisition for a Thai bank.

From India, we had this development on Ping An Global Voyager Fund leading the Series D funding round of $70 million in Indian automobile classifieds platform CarDekho. The investment marks Ping An’s first venture bet in India.

We had this exclusive story on private equity firm Lombard Investments closing a $70-million investment in Vietnamese floriculture company Dalat Hasfarm for a majority stake.

In other scoops, we reported that Southeast Asian deals platform Fave is seeking to raise $50 million in an upcoming Series C round. Singapore-based cross border payments firm Nium (formerly InstaReM) is also in the market seeking to raise $75-100 million in a Series D funding round. A US-based strategic investor is in talks to lead the round.

From Indonesia, we had this story on EverHaus investing an undisclosed amount in men’s healthcare company Newmans. Also,

Evermos, an Indonesian social commerce platform focused on Muslim products, has raised a Series A funding round of $8.25 million led by Jungle Ventures.

In another startup fundraise, Singapore-based Neuron Mobility has secured $18.5 million in Series A funding from GSR Ventures, Square Peg Capital and others. GSR Ventures is incidentally an early-backer in China’s DiDi Chuxing.

Fundraising milestones

Singapore’s Vertex Holdings has closed its $730-million Vertex Master Fund (VMF), which deploys capital directly into Vertex’s six network funds. Temasek remains the anchor investor for VMF. This is the first time that Vertex is raising capital externally at the master fund level.

Singapore-based venture capital firm TNB Aura is in the midst of planning its second fund, having already deployed and allocated around 70% of its maiden fund.

SE Asian private equity firm Provident Capital Partners, which has invested in Gojek and Pomelo, is said to have raised around $200 million for its second fund. The vehicle is set to achieve the final close in the first quarter of 2020.

Impact Investments

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is proposing an equity investment of up to $5 million in Incomlend, a global invoice exchange platform backed by Singapore-based venture capital firm GTR Ventures.

IFC is also considering a proposal to extend a debt facility of $150 million to Indonesian lender BTPN. which will use the proceeds to expand its green financing and MSME businesses.

Singapore-based Circulate Capital has made the first close of its debut investment fund aimed at tackling Asia’s ocean plastic crisis at $106 million. The fund’s investors include PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.

Exit path

Actis is said to be exploring an exit plan from its investment in Indonesia’s private school company Singapore Intercultural Schools. The stake sale plan is expected to help Actis monetise its investment gain from acquiring Abraaj’s portfolios.

Baring Private Equity Asia is seeking to exit its four-year-old investment in Indonesian specialty hospital Jakarta Eye Centre. The PE giant is said to be in the process of roping in a sell-side advisor to facilitate the transaction.

Greater China Monitor

In government-driven fundraising activities, we had China Everbright Limited partnering local authorities in eastern China’s Taizhou city to set up a new fund for healthcare investments in the region. The fund has targeted to collect $284 million.

We also carried this news on government-led Shenzhen Capital Group unit partnering Suning Logistics to set up a billion-yuan fund for equity investments in the logistics real estate industry.

In IPO-related developments from Chinese companies, we had Loha Co. Ltd, a technology-driven fresh products distributor and smart retailer, filing in the US to raise up to $37.605 million.

Molecular Data Inc, China’s e-commerce platform catering to the chemicals industry, has filed with the SEC to raise up to $70 million.

Venus Medtech, a Chinese company that produces heart valve replacement devices, has raised $308 million in an IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

We had this detailed report on Taojiji, an e-commerce startup that once attempted to challenge its Nasdaq-listed Chinese fellow Pingduoduo, declaring bankruptcy on Monday [Dec 9] – months after being embroiled in a liquidity crunch as a result of burning millions of U.S. dollars to retain aggressive expansion.

Meanwhile, Sweetome Group, a shared accommodation operation spin-off from Chinese online short-term lodging rental unicorn Tujia.com, has bought out two domestic vacation rental startups, CityHome and iYOUJIA.com, representing the latest acquisitions to promote a further consolidation in the country’s burgeoning home rental market. Sweetome acquired the two domestic vacation rental startups as an indirect move to rope in a cluster of their investors such as Airbnb and Nasdaq-listed Chinese online travel agency Trip.com.

Interviews and analysis

As 2019 wraps up, the year holds several lessons for the private capital markets. Notably, WeWork’s failure to launch and downward spiral, after tens of billions of dollars in investment, has likely set investors on edge at a time when several industry players are already expecting tougher fundraising conditions in the year ahead. “Investors will be more cautious about high-growth companies with a high burn rate and without reasonable unit economics,” Yar-Ping Soo, Partner, Primary Investments team, Adams Street Partners,  told DealStreetAsia, in this interaction.

Indonesian unicorn Bukalapak’s recent announcement that its co-founder and CEO Achmad Zaky will be stepping down from the role, and replaced by someone from outside the company, ex-banker Muhammad Rachmat Kaimuddin, came as a complete surprise even to people within the company. Zaky’s seemingly sudden departure follows efforts to cut costs in the name of driving higher efficiency towards business sustainability. Read on for a comprehensive insight into this top-deck change.

The Southeast Asian region’s dealmaking landscape this year has been characterised by the mega, private fundraising rounds of tech unicorns. A record 166 deals were struck in the PE and VC space in Singapore – up from 154 deals done last year and a dramatic increase from the 47 investments just five years ago. The technology sector accounted for nearly half of the $6.5-billion worth of private equity and venture capital deals struck in the city-state, according to global consultancy Duff & Phelps. In this chat with us, Duff & Phelps managing director Srividya Gopal reckons there are three to four emerging unicorns that could rise to the ranks of the existing ten in Southeast Asia in the coming year.

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.