The Washington State Investment Board (WSIB) has approved an up to $250 million commitment to investment group Blackstone’s second pan-Asia fund, according to a statement by the US pension fund.
Blackstone Capital Partners Asia II (BCP Asia II) has a target size of $6 billion and will invest in large‐scale control buyouts of growth businesses in India, China, Korea, Japan, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
WSIB had also committed $200 million to Blackstone’s first Asia vehicle in 2018. The fund, which was closed at $2.3 billion that year, delivered a 27.77% net internal rate of return (IRR) for WSIB as of end-September 2020, according to the pension’s investment report.
During its full-year 2020 earnings call earlier this year Blackstone said that it planned to increase its investments in Asia over the next few years based on the scale of the economies in China and India. “There could be opportunities in (South America and in Africa) over time, but I think in terms of geographic growth, Asia and the big economies in Asia are the most interesting,” Blackstone’s president and CEO Jonathan Gray said in the call.
The latest commitment in BCP Asia II is part of WSIB’s over $1.9 billion approved investments in various global fund managers, which include $600 million in TA Associates’ $10.5-billion private equity fund, TA XIV; $750 million in KKR North America Fund XIII, $300 million in Emerald Energy Venture; $100 million in PGIM Agriculture Fund; and $200 million in PSG V.
In addition, WSIB will also invest up to $2 billion in Evergreen Park Investment Fund, a private equity fund that will make co‐investments alongside funds in which WSIB is an investor. This fund will focus on leveraged buyout and growth equity investments.
WSIB is a known limited partner in a slew of Asia-focused funds, such as the KKR Asian Fund series, PAG Asia funds, Foutainvest China, Centurium Capital, Affinity Equity Partners, Warburg Pincus‘ China and Southeast Asia funds, and real estate investment manager Crane Capital, among others.
Private equity accounted for nearly $29.6 billion in the pension fund’s $164.9 billion assets under management by the end of 2020.