Asia Private Equity Weekly News, Nov. 26, 2013

HONG KONG, Nov. 26 (Reuters) - News and developments in Asia private equity from Reuters News for the week ending Nov. 22.


NOVEMBER 22

OAKTREE CAPITAL Group LLC, the world's largest distressed debt investor, is among a group of firms buying shares of China Cinda Asset Management Corp as part of its up to $2.5 billion initial public offering, sources said.


NOVEMBER 21

HONG KONG-based private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners and three South Korean investors have teamed up to buy the London headquarters of retailer Marks & Spencer for around $321 million, adding to a string property deals by Asian investors this year.

YUANSHENGTAI DAIRY Farm, China's fourth biggest raw milk producer, is set to raise about $425 million after pricing its Hong Kong IPO below the mid-point of a marketing range.

BARCLAYS NATURAL Resource Investments (BNRI), a private equity division of Barclays Bank PLC, and Ilex Partners, a Beijing-based advisory firm, said they have formed a strategic partnership to help BNRI develop its portfolio companies in mainland China. ()

NOMURA HOLDINGS Inc and Intermediate Capital Group have agreed a 50:50 partnership that will structure and distribute mezzanine investments and funds, to be managed by a local Japanese fund management company. ()


NOVEMBER 20

FULLERTON FUND Management, a wholly-owned unit of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, is increasing its exposure to China, encouraged by reform plans that could benefit sectors such as consumer, infrastructure, clean energy and insurance.


NOVEMBER 19

BLACKSTONE GROUP'S Antony Leung is leaving his role as Greater China Chairman to lead a Hong Kong-based property conglomerate, the private equity firm said.

U.S. PRIVATE equity firm Blackstone and Indian developer Panchshil Realty are close to buying a majority stake in an office tower in Mumbai for about 9 billion rupees ($144 million), two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

SINGAPORE WAREHOUSE and industrial park developer Ascendas Pte Ltd said it has set up a programme with a target asset size of S$600 million ($481.60 million) to invest in Indian real estate. Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd is a principal investor in the programme.

CHINA'S TOP securities regulator reiterated commitments to easing the government's control over the initial public offering process, but said the government will also intensify its auditing of companies hoping to list.

ASIAN-INSPIRED jewellery company John Hardy Group is exploring a potential sale, according to people familiar with the matter. Bali-based John Hardy, a portfolio company of British private equity firm 3i Group PLC, has hired Rothschild to conduct a sales process, which is in the early stages, the sources said.


NOVEMBER 18

ASIA PRIVATE equity firm RRJ Capital is launching an up to $1 billion real estate fund that will mostly target investments in China, the firm's founder, former Goldman Sachs dealmaker Richard Ong, told Reuters.

A GOVERNMENT body called on Hong Kong's regulators to step up reforms to maintain the city's competitive edge as a premier offshore yuan hub and a global financial centre.

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    European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Wednesday the bank's low interest rate policies were not responsible for the problems that Deutsche Bank is facing (DBKGn.DE). Michael Kemmer, the head of Germany's BdB banking association, earlier on Wednesday told Deutschlandfunk radio that the ECB's low interest rate policy was partly responsible for the current problems that Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank (CBKG.DE) are facing. "No I don't share this view," Draghi told reporters when asked about Kemmer's remarks on Deutsche Bank and whether the bank posed a systemic risk.

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    NASA has signed an agreement with the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment (CAE) to cooperate on research that will help China's airports improve their management of air traffic, the U.S. space agency said late on Wednesday. China is the world's fastest growing aviation market but passengers often have to cope with long flight delays. The memorandum of understanding will see the two agencies use data from Chinese airports to identify potential efficiencies in air traffic management, with a view to improve air transportation automation for U.S. and Chinese aviation operations in the country.

  • Deutsche Post to buy UK Mail in boost to European network
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    Germany's Deutsche Post, owner of express delivery service DHL, on Wednesday said it had agreed to buy UK Mail in a push to strengthen its European foothold, while taking advantage of a post-Brexit vote slump in the pound. The German logistics giant said it would pay 440 pence a share for UK Mail, valuing the company at 242.7 million pounds (281 million euros, $316 million). "With this acquisition, we will further extend our network and have a strong foothold in Europe's three largest e-commerce markets, the UK, Germany and France," Deutsche Post DHL group board member Juergen Gerdes said.

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    AIG's ex-CEO Greenberg cites lawyers, accountants in fraud defense

    Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, the 91-year-old former chairman of former American International Group Inc , said at his fraud trial that he never would have considered doing a transaction that failed to pass muster with the insurer’s lawyers and accountants. Greenberg defended himself during his second day of testimony over two allegedly sham transactions. "The concept of converting underwriting losses to investment losses was intriguing," Greenberg said in the Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday.

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    European turboprop maker ATR to get new CEO - source

    A senior Airbus Group (AIR.PA) executive, Christian Scherer, is to be named as chief executive of Franco-Italian turboprop aircraft maker ATR, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. Scherer, who currently heads Airbus Group International, will replace Patrick de Castelbajac, who is leaving half way through his four-year mandate to return to Airbus, one of ATR's two shareholders, the source said, asking not to be named. Scherer is expected to serve the full four-year term at the world's largest regional turboprop maker, whose top post usually alternates every four years between joint shareholders Airbus Group and Italy's Leonardo Finmeccanica (LDOF.MI).

  • California suspends business relationships with Wells Fargo
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    California State Treasurer John Chiang on Wednesday announced a sweeping suspension of business relationships with Wells Fargo & Co as punishment for the company's defrauding of customers. In addition, Chiang vowed to work with the state's two giant public pension funds to change the management structure at the bank, which is California's oldest financial institution. California is the nation's largest issuer of municipal debt.

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    Just ask intrepid consumer reporter Bob Sullivan, who received his very own debt collection note after simply reaching out to a payday loan company (and alleged phantom debt collector) for a story. For starters, payday lenders don't typically report to major credit bureaus, like Experian, according to the bureau's Director of Public Education, Rod Griffin. "Any debt you enter into contractually you are obligated to repay, even if it doesn't appear in a credit report," Griffin said, and ignoring a legitimate debt could have serious consequences.

  • Devil's in the details of OPEC deal as Asia oil buyers stay cautious
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    Devil's in the details of OPEC deal as Asia oil buyers stay cautious

    SINGAPORE/SEOUL (Reuters) - Oil buyers from China to India remained cautious as they await details of OPEC's agreement to cut production for the first time since 2008 in order to reduce a global oversupply of crude. Global oil prices held onto gains on Thursday after soaring 6 percent in the previous session as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed on Wednesday to reduce output to a range of 32.5 million to 33 million barrels per day (bpd). The group will decide how much each country will produce at the next formal OPEC meeting in November, when an invitation to join the cuts could also be extended to non-OPEC countries such as Russia.