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Sun Capital to pursue turnarounds in Japan

The Florida-based investor in underperforming companies will expand its franchise through an office and senior appointment in Tokyo.

Sun Capital Partners, the rapidly expanding, Boca Raton, Florida-based turnaround private equity firm, will open an office in Tokyo.

As reported in the October issue of sister publication Private Equity International, which profiles Sun Capital and its two founders, Marc Leder and Rodger Krouse, Sun Capital has hired Shigeru Utsugi to head up Sun Capital Partners (Japan). Utsugi was most recently executive director with Basic Capital Management, a private equity affiliate of Mizuho Banking Group. Before that he worked with EastPoint Capital, a spin-out from Connecticut-based private equity firm Whitney & Co.

Sun Capital has rapidly expanded since it raised its $200 million debut fund in 2001. The firm now maintains additional offices in New York, Los Angeles, London and Shenzhen, China. Sun Capital has roughly 110 professionals at present.

The firm invests in “underperforming” companies across all sectors, and pursues companies with between $50 million and $5 billion in revenue. Sun Capital employs an extensive operations team to work with each portfolio investment on improving performance.

Last year Sun Capital closed a $1.5 billion fund, and also manages a $1.3 billion fund – Sun Capital Securities – that makes non-control debt and equity investments.

Many Western private equity firms have lately been opening operations in Japan, attracted by the country’s many mature businesses in need of investment and operating improvements. Market observers in Japan say a business culture that has long considered selling a business or division to be “shameful” is beginning to show signs of change.