Mumbai: ICG Strategic Equity, the private equity arm of the US-based Intermediate Capital Group, has made its first investment in Asia, agreeing to buy a portfolio of Standard Chartered’s private equity assets for $1 billion, ICG said in a statement Monday.

The portfolio will be managed on a day-to-day basis by Affirma Capital, a newly formed, independent private equity firm owned and operated by the senior leadership team of Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) led by Nainesh Jaisingh.

The portfolio comprises private equity investments in 35 companies across South-East Asia, India, China, South Korea, the Middle East and Africa, with Affirma Capital having assets under management of $3.6 billion.

This includes the portfolio being acquired by the ICG Strategic Equity funds, as well as assets managed for third-party investors in SCPE’s existing Marina and Korea Funds.

Bloomberg reported on 22 March that Standard Chartered may sell off its loss- making private equity arm. The private equity unit was initially profitable but its fortunes started to turn in late 2015, partly because of the drop in the price of oil. Former SCPE head Joseph Stevens left the bank in 2016 after failing to conclude a buyout deal, and Standard Chartered decided to seek an exit from most of the business by 2018, the report said.

Ricardo Lombardi, Managing Director of ICG Strategic Equity, said in a statement, “We are excited to acquire this high quality, diversified portfolio of private equity assets in partnership with Affirma Capital. The team of 55 investment professionals, led by Nainesh Jaisingh, has a strong track record, extensive experience and deep, local networks in the regions we are investing in."

“ICG Strategic Equity’s execution capabilities now span across North America, Europe and Asia and our ability to develop innovative liquidity solutions combined with our strong capital base make us an attractive partner for leading sponsors globally," he added.

ICG Strategic Equity, which targets private equity investments through fund restructuring transactions, co-investments, spin-outs and other special situations, was launched in 2014 and until now, had been focused on investments in North America and Europe. It currently operates with a team of 12 investment professionals based in New York, London and Hong Kong.

“This first transaction for our Strategic Equity business in the region demonstrates its global reach and potential for growth. The success ICG has enjoyed, first in Europe and more recently in North America, has shaped our strategy toward our expanding business in Asia, with Asia’s growing economies creating significant investment opportunities for ICG," said Benoit Durteste, chief executive officer of ICG.

In July this year, SCPE acquired South African conglomerate Naspers’ stake in Travel Boutique Online (TBO), a business-to-business travel distribution company, for an undisclosed amount.

SCPE’s other investments in India include financial services firm Northern Arc and autocomp maker Craftsman Automation. In January, SCPE sold its stake in Sterlite Power’s transmission business back to the company for a little over 1,000 crore.

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