Buyout firms heading east: Alpinvest

Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:34pm EST
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By Lisa Jucca

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Emerging markets are destined to make up a bigger share of private equity deals as buyout firms seek a larger slice of their growth, the chief executive of leading private equity investor Alpinvest said.

Private equity dealmaking is starting to re-emerge after a torrid year in 2009, when falling sales and high debt burdens rocked the industry's portfolio companies.

But with new debt for deals now more expensive, buyout houses are likely to look to emerging markets as they seek out higher growth companies to meet their target returns.

"In 2009 almost 25 percent of the big buyouts were done in Asia," said Volkert Doeksen, Chief Executive Officer of Alpinvest.

"It won't necessarily mean it will be 25 percent in the next couple of years, but it is a signal that, over time, non-traditional markets will become a bigger element in private equity," he said.

Alpinvest is one of the world's largest investors in private equity, managing around 40 billion euros ($56.16 billion) in investments for Dutch pension funds ABP and PfZW.

Private equity firms including KKR KKR.UL, the Carlyle Group CYL.UL and CVC have been gearing up their presence in Asia, with CVC this week backing a $770 million buyout of Indonesian department store chain Matahari (MPPA.JK: Quote).

But investors remain cautious about the risks of plowing too much money into these emerging economies.   Continued...