3i going larger in Shanghai

From its new Shanghai office, 3i is in the process of beefing up its investment team whilst looking at increasing the size of its equity commitment in transactions.

3i, the London-listed international private equity group, is set to ramp up its activities in China.

Speaking from a 300-strong gathering to mark the official launch of the firm’s Shanghai office, group communications director Patrick Dunne told PEO that 3i was currently seeking new recruits for the office as well as setting its sights on larger deals.

Heading up the Shanghai operation is director Albert Xu, who has been overseeing Chinese investments from the firm’s Hong Kong office since 2001. Working alongside Xu is Anna Cheung, who was a founding member of the Hong Kong office and who has also spent some time in the London buyout team. Dunne said 3i was “currently recruiting” in Shanghai, but declined to say how many new hires were likely to be drafted in.

We are not bound to invest particular amounts, but we have seen opportunities to do bigger deals

Patrick Dunne, director, 3i

Responding to a Reuters report that 3i would like to increase the size of its investments in China to as much as $50 million (€40 million) per deal, Dunne said: “We are not bound to invest particular amounts, but we have seen opportunities to do bigger deals.” He said the firm had so far committed a total of $100 million to seven Chinese businesses from its Hong Kong office.

Dunne said the firm would invest in China from its balance sheet, and would do so opportunistically rather than by way of a set allocation to the country.   

He added that the firm was primarily targeting growth capital investments in the consumer goods, healthcare, media and manufacturing industries. Current Chinese portfolio companies include advertising company Focus Media and fire alarm manufacturer GST Holdings.

In June, 3i recruited four new professionals to its Hong Kong office, including vice presidents Daizong Wang and Jae Kim. Wang was previously in the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, while Kim was at Intel Capital, where he focused on investments in the US, Korea and Japan.

China is not the only Asian market where 3i is bolstering its presence. In March, it recruited Anil Ahuja, JP Morgan’s head of India, as managing director and head of Indian investment activities.