China, Beware: Private Equity Takes Note of Smaller Asian NeighboursPrivate equity investors may find deals in Indonesia and Malaysia a more worthwhile bet when seeking investments in Asia, amid waning economic growth in China.
Many general partners are now turning their focus to Southeast Asian nations as the “best proxy” for Asia’s growth story, according to Brian Chia of Baker & McKenzie’s member firm Wong & Partners in Malaysia. In comparison, China’s star has started to dim, with many economists expecting the mainland’s August economic data to show stabilization, although at relatively low levels. The data are due for release later this week.
The Malaysian economy, however, has proven “buoyant” and sectors like food, consumer, education and manufacturing are still attracting regional interest, said Mr. Chia, adding that “investors like any industry which has a consumer angle.” In China, the consumer story has taken a few steps back, with Morgan Stanley Asia’s economists estimating that the country’s overall “disinflationary trend is still on track.”
Key Malaysia-based players include Navis Private Equity, which manages more than $3 billion, investing in both private and public transactions. The firm secured capital commitments worth 230 million Ringgit ($74 million) for a Malaysia Growth Opportunities Fund I last year, according to its website. Even though Navis is based in Kuala Lumpur, it also targets other Asian countries including Thailand and Singapore. [read more]