KKR wants to spend big part of new Asia fund in Japan

TOKYO, July 11 Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:42am EDT

TOKYO, July 11 (Reuters) - Private equity firm KKR & Co , fresh from completing a record $6 billion Asia fund, wants to spend a significant portion of its money in Japan, the head of KKR Japan said.

Hirofumi Hirano, managing director and chief executive officer of KKR Japan, said on Thursday his firm wants to play a part in the restructuring of Japanese industry via the fund, whose completion was announced on Wednesday.

Speaking to a small group of reporters at his office in Tokyo on Thursday, he said KKR would invest in Japanese firms whose debt was rated at "junk" status, but only if they had the potential for recovery after being restructured with an injection of fresh equity.

Hirano, who joined KKR earlier this year from turnaround advisory firm AlixPartners, also said KKR would seek opportunities among Japanese mid-size companies, including those based outside Tokyo, as such firms were the most popular targets for buyout deals in Japan.

KKR's Asian II Fund follows the $4 billion Asia fund it raised in 2007 and a $1 billion China Growth Fund in 2010, the firm said in a statement. It said it had invested more than $5 billion in Asia since 2005, building a regional portfolio of 30 companies employing around 100,000 people.