Editor's take: The week that was—June 10-15

Editor's take: The week that was—June 10-15

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Let’s begin this weekly wrap-up with some of the latest scoops from the team at DealStreetAsia.

Southeast Asian private equity (PE) firm Northstar Group is understood to be in discussions to sell its stake in Singapore-based precision parts manufacturer Innovalues to Beijing-based state-owned enterprise China Finecast International Corporation.

UK-based infrastructure investor Actis is targeting to raise $500-600 million for its latest climate-focused fund, sources told DealStreetAsia. The fund will invest in companies across the Asia Pacific.

Singapore-based venture capital (VC) firm Leo Capital has closed its third fund far below its target corpus of $125 million as the firm struggled with investor reluctance amid a tough fundraising environment, a source familiar with the matter told DealStreetAsia.

LP-GP updates

PE firm EQT is seeking to consolidate ownership in its Southeast Asia portfolio companies amid a surge in growth equity investments in the region and a lacklustre IPO market.

Brookfield Asset Management is looking to raise $5 billion for a fund anchored by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that aims to scale up climate finance in emerging markets.

PE firm L Catterton is seeking $800 million for its fourth pan-Asia fund, according to a Private Equity International report. The main fund is accompanied by two country-focused vehicles targeting India and Japan.

Hong Kong-based PE firm PAG is set to conclude fundraising for its latest buyout fund at $4 billion, falling short of its original target of $9 billion, per a Bloomberg report.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the US, committed over $1 billion to a string of funds managed by B Capital, TPG and MBK Partners in Q4 2023.

China-focused CDH Investments, which manages over $27 billion, has joined hands with a state capital investor for the launch of a mezzanine fund to deploy about 2.5 billion yuan ($344.6 million) in internet data centre infrastructure.

Notwithstanding the emerging private market opportunities in Southeast Asia, the region still needs to build its track record to attract more capital from family offices, said Calvin Ng, co-founder and managing director of fund and wealth management firm Aura Group.

Asia Pacific-based limited partners (LPs) are the most bullish on secondaries, as they are also more positive about private market distributions than global peers, according to a Coller Capital survey.

PE giants such as Blackstone are set to sharply ramp up spending in Japan over the next few years, seeing opportunities for high returns in a market with favourable factors including the weak yen, according to a Nikkei report.

India’s early-stage deep tech fund Bharat Innovation Fund, which has backed the likes of Entropik Tech and A5G Networks, is gearing up to launch its second vehicle, a top executive told DealStreetAsia.

As LPs from Japan and South Korea eye private markets for higher returns, fund managers in the region have a fresh pool of capital to tap into. However, there are some considerations for international GPs, especially emerging ones, when they seek to add these investors to their LP base.

Updates from SE Asia and Greater China

Infrastructure investors Actis and I Squared Capital are among the companies considering bids for Beijing Capital’s wholly owned Singapore waste management unit ECO, according to a Reuters report.

Capital raised by startups based in Southeast Asia rebounded in May, mostly because three big-ticket deals were sealed in the month. However, the overall fundraising environment remained subdued compared with 2023 levels.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a financing package of up to $80 million for Vietnam-based Lien Viet Post Joint Stock Commercial Bank (LPBank) to support the bank’s expansion of access to finance for women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises.

Singapore-based biotech company Genetic Design and Manufacturing Corporation (GDMC) has entered into voluntary liquidation, according to regulatory filings. The startup had in January announced raising $21 million in a Series A round led by PE firm Celadon Partners and backed by SEEDS Capital and NSG Ventures.

Singapore-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer Durapower Holdings became profitable in fiscal year 2023 as its revenue more than doubled, according to regulatory filings.

Indonesian consumer infrastructure platform NWP Property has secured a sustainability-linked syndicated loan facility of $135 million from a group of lenders led by CIMB Bank Singapore.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is weighing a proposal to extend a loan of up to $20 million to IDX-listed media company PT Tripar Multivision Plus.

Indonesian fitness platform Fit Hub is understood to have finalised a $12-million funding round backed by investors, including Wavemaker Partners and Cercano Management.

After days of speculation, ByteDance confirmed plans to lay off staff at its e-commerce arm in Indonesia following the merger of its short video platform TikTok and marketplace major Tokopedia.

Indonesian B2B fintech company Paper.id has raised an undisclosed sum in a Series B round led by Square Peg.

Private funding for firms across mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan plunged 32% to $2.5 billion in May over the previous month, as China’s uneven economic growth and ongoing geopolitical tensions weighed on investor sentiment.

Hong Kong Investment Corporation (HKIC), the government-owned investment firm widely perceived to be the city’s version of Temasek Holdings, has formed a strategic partnership with the city’s AI unicorn SmartMore. The partnership comes as HKIC is set to make its first batch of widely anticipated startup investments.

More Chinese companies are expected to go public this year in the US even as ties between Washington and Beijing remain strained and strict cross-border listing rules have effectively closed the pipeline, according to the vice chairman of Nasdaq.

Oabay Inc., which provides trade credit digital transformation solutions through its wholly owned subsidiary in mainland China, is merging with a blank-cheque firm in a $393-million deal to commence trading on the Nasdaq.

Asia-focused blank cheque company Chenghe Acquisition II has raised $75 million in a US IPO, while China’s Rising Dragon Acquisition has filed to raise $50 million in its IPO.

Chinese IoT security solutions provider Ingeek has closed its Series C round at almost 300 million yuan ($41.4 million) to explore overseas opportunities by servicing the country’s going-global intelligent connected vehicles.

News from India

A spurt in megadeals worth at least $100 million in May brought some respite to Indian startups grappling with a funding slowdown. At least six megadeals worth $1.07 billion were closed in May, the highest in the last two years in terms of value and volume.

Asset manager BlackRock has slashed the implied value of its stake in Indian edtech firm Byju’s, which was once valued at $22 billion, to zero. US-based Baron Capital Group was more generous, estimating the Indian company is now worth nearly $24 million.

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor is looking to sell a stake of up to 17.5% in the planned IPO of its India unit to raise up to $3 billion in what could be India’s biggest-ever IPO, per a Reuters report.

Battery Smart, an Indian battery-swapping network for electric vehicles, has raised $65 million in a Series B funding round led by LeapFrog Investments.

Sabine Hospital and Research Centre has secured $50 million in a funding round led by mid-market PE firm CX Partners.

360 ONE Wealth Asset Management, a wealth manager for ultra-high-net-worth individual families, has agreed to buy Times Internet-owned ET Money for Rs 365.8 crore ($44 million) in a stock swap and part-cash deal.

Solar power solution provider Candi Solar has raised $38 million in an equity funding round led by Norfund, Kyuden International, and STOA.

Bengaluru-based consumer electronics startup Indkal Technologies has bagged $36 million in a funding round led by Mauritius-based Aries Opportunities Fund.

Advent International-backed contract development and manufacturing organisation Suven Pharmaceuticals has signed an agreement to buy a 67.5% stake in Sapala Organics for Rs 229.5 crore ($27.5 million).

Deep dives

In Vietnam, one of Asia’s fastest-growing markets with a burgeoning digital economy, tech giants from Alibaba to Amazon have been busy drawing up plans to set up data centres to meet growing demand and comply with regulatory requirements to store their customer data locally.

While startup fundraising in India has started to show signs of recovery, late-stage deal activity has remained subdued compared to the last few years. Late-stage funding deals (Series C and beyond) plunged to a five-year low during Jan-May 2024 owing to a prolonged funding winter that hit the Indian startup ecosystem in the second half of 2022.

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