August 8, 2018 / 8:24 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Investcorp looks to make direct investments in China, India

(Adds quotes, details, context)

By Tom Arnold

DUBAI, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Bahrain-based private equity firm Investcorp expects to make its first direct investments in China and India within 12 to 18 months as it increasingly widens its investment focus to Asia, its co-chief executive said on Wednesday.

The bulk of Investcorp’s investments since its launch in 1982 have been in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

“Relative to the past, we are much more embedded in Asia both from an investor perspective and in terms of scouting for investment opportunities,” Rishi Kapoor said on a media call after the release of the company’s earnings.

“The two big markets from an investment perspective in Asia are India and China.”

In an effort to help build the company’s client coverage in Asia, Investcorp opened an office in Singapore in April last year in part to help it raise more funds from institutional investors. It recently attracted its first Asian participation in its real estate offering.

Investcorp has invested in India and Asia through its portfolio companies, but is now scouting both markets for potential direct investments, said Kapoor, adding that Saudi Arabia was one of the other markets it was assessing.

The company reported on Wednesday a 4 percent rise in net profit for the year ended June 30, 2018 to $125 million, driven by growth across all its business lines.

Kapoor reiterated Investcorp’s plan to more than double its assets under management to $50 billion within five to seven years. It had $22.6 billion in assets under management at the end of June.

Half of the growth in assets would come from organic expansion, with the other half from inorganic growth, such as acquisitions, he said.

The Middle East’s private equity industry has been shaken this year by troubles surrounding Dubai-based Abraaj. It filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands in June after months of turmoil related to a row with investors over the use of their money in a $1 billion healthcare fund.

Asked if Investcorp was interested in acquisitions surrounding Abraaj, Kapoor said: “To the extent there was something, that would be premature for me to discuss. Generally speaking the scope of their activities are outside our core markets.”

In the last year Investcorp had record levels of fundraising, providing evidence that the fallout from Abraaj had had no secondary impact on the firm, he said. (Reporting by Tom Arnold; Editing by Jane Merriman and Susan Fenton)

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