KKR sets up $50 million international coronavirus relief fund

FILE PHOTO: Trading information for KKR & Co is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - KKR & Co Inc KKR.N has established a $50 million global relief fund to help people affected by the new coronavirus, according to a letter the U.S. private equity firm sent to its investors on Tuesday.

The fund will support the immediate needs of frontline medical workers, ensure food security to vulnerable communities, provide benefits and financial coaching for affected employees among KKR portfolio companies and assist small businesses facing difficulties, the letter said.

The capital for the fund comes from “significant contributions” by KKR executives in addition to a direct donation from the firm itself.

KKR executives, including co-chairmen George Roberts and Henry Kravis and co-presidents Scott Nuttall and Joseph Bae, will forgo any further salary and bonuses in 2020 as a part of the relief fund, the letter said. KKR declined to comment.

KKR's intiative comes as other private equity firms have annnounced donations to support federal and state governments battling the outbreak. Blackstone Group Inc BX.N said on Monday it would donate $10 million to New York State and $5 million to organizations providing food delivery to healthcare workers and first responders. Apollo Global Management Inc APO.N also announced relief efforts worth over $30 million to healthcare workers and food banks.

Since the pandemic began, more than 385,000 cases of the new coronavirus has been reported in the United States, resulting in nearly 12,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman