After real estate, Rohatyn invests in Asian infra

The Rohatyn Group has acquired a 60% stake in mid-market infrastructure private equity firm CapAsia, which focuses solely on non-BRIC emerging Asia. CapAsia has over $400m of assets under management.

Emerging markets-focused The Rohatyn Group (TRG), a private investment firm, has bought a 60 percent stake for an undisclosed amount in Singapore’s CapAsia, a mid-market infrastructure private equity firm solely targeting non-BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] Asian countries, TRG announced yesterday.

The deal, which is set to close by the end of the first quarter, will see Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB Group divest the 60 percent stake in CapAsia, although it will still own 40 percent of the infrastructure outfit. 

CapAsia manages three infrastructure funds – one of them Shari’ah compliant – managing over $400 million of assets, TRG said in a statement. The firm has raised in excess of $500 million in capital and employs more than 18 investment professionals in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bangkok. Its investments include a Kazakh electricity utility and wind parks in Pakistan. 

CapAsia was founded in 2006 by CIMB and South Africa’s Standard Bank, but CIMB became CapAsia’s only shareholder in 2011, when it bought out Standard Bank.

For TRG, CapAsia is the next step in its Asian growth strategy, which saw the New-York based firm acquire a 50 percent stake in real estate fund manager ARCH Capital Management, based in Hong Kong, last June.

“The CapAsia transaction builds on TRG’s strategy to grow our private investing business in Asia in infrastructure and real estate and well complements our 2011 investment in ARCH Capital,” Nicolas Rohatyn, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of TRG, commented in a statement.

Rohatyn, an ex-JP Morgan veteran, is the son of legendary Lazard investment banker Felix Rohatyn, who is largely credited with helping New York avoid bankruptcy in 1975. Rohatyn the elder is a strong proponent of US infrastructure investment, as outlined in his 2009 book, Bold Endeavours: How Our Government Built America, And Why It Must Rebuild Now. 

In an exclusive interview with Infrastructure Investor in May 2010, Rohatyn the elder argued for the creation of a $60 billion US infrastructure bank that, leveraged with other sources of capital, “beginning with private sector capital”, would be able to provide up to $1 trillion to help modernise US infrastructure.