Investment opportunities abound in Vietnam, says Warburg’s Perlman

Jeffrey Perlman at DealStreetAsia's Asia PE-VC Summit 2019.

The WeWork debacle may have dampened investor sentiment in tech-related, high cash-burn businesses. Investors have turned cautious and intensified scrutiny on such companies, and expectations of valuations of those businesses are considerably moderated. Yet, quality businesses in other sectors could continue to rise, says Jeffrey Perlman, managing director and head of Southeast Asia at private equity fund Warburg Pincus.

“For companies in spaces that investors want to be in, transactions will be sizeable,” Perlman told DealStreetAsia recently. “In the healthcare space in 2019, valuations probably surprised people quite a bit, in terms of the levels that some of these deals got done at.”

In his view, investors coming into Southeast Asia have been informed by their experience in other, more developed markets. “Investors have increasingly woken up to the opportunities here in Southeast Asia, and we’ve seen that especially over the last 12 to 18 months.”

There are plenty of opportunities in Vietnam, for instance, which has seen increased activity, in part due to the major transactions recently, including Warburg-backed real estate and retail corporation Vincom Retail’s $740-million public offering in November 2017. Such sizeable exits, Perlman said, have “definitely refocused investors on the market [in Vietnam].”

“There’s a group of talented entrepreneurs in the market who’ll continue to be looking for capital to grow their businesses,” he added. 

On the other hand, Indonesia is likely to be quieter in terms of investments in the coming year, in Perlman’s view. “There’s still that kind of overhang that comes after an election,” he said. But, the implementation of economic reforms by President Joko Widodo’s administration should help get things going. 

“If you have a longer-term horizon and point of view I think some of the continued reforms should position Indonesia in a good spot if you look out five to seven years from now.”

Below are edited excerpts of Perlman’s interview with DealStreetAsia about the private equity landscape.

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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.