* KKR hires have specialist credit lending experience in SE Asia
* US buyout giant continues to expand through credit in Asia (Adds details of KKR’s credit strategy in Asia)
By Stephen Aldred
HONG KONG, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Global private equity firm KKR & Co LP said on Tuesday it has hired Jaka Prasetya as managing director to lead the firm’s credit and special situations initiatives in Southeast Asia as it expands its credit lending strategy in the region.
Prasetya, who will be based in Singapore, joins KKR from Leafgreen Capital, a firm founded in 2011 that provides finance to mid-cap companies in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Prasetya is joined at KKR by two of his partners at Leafgreen, Rahul Bhargava and Allan So, as the U.S. buyouts giant signals its plans to expand a business model it pioneered under its India head Sanjay Nayar.
The business model adopted by KKR in Asia is very different to that in the United States and Europe, where private equity makes its profits through large buyouts. In Asia, loans as small as $50 million are a growing part of KKR’s business.
“With our first deal in (Indonesia) in 2013, we look forward to exploring new opportunities to provide both equity and credit solutions to companies to suit their long-term needs,” said Ming Lu, Co-Head of Asia Private Equity at KKR.
KKR agreed to buy a 9.5 percent stake in food company PT Tiga Sejahtera Food Tbk, making that investment through its KKR Asset Management unit rather than its $6 billion Asia buyouts fund.
“With urbanization, rising wages and a young and growing working class, we see excellent opportunities in Indonesia with good companies looking for varied financial solutions,” said Prasetya. (Reporting by Stephen Aldred; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee and Matt Driskill)