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Ex-Warburg Pincus China head targets up to $1.5 bln for China fund - sources

By Julie Zhu

HONG KONG, June 22 (Reuters) - Private-equity firm Centurium Capital, founded by former Warburg Pincus China head, is targeting to raise up to $1.5 billion in its China-focused fund to invest in healthcare and consumer sectors, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The fundraising by Centurium - set up by David Li after he had worked with the U.S. buyout firm for 14 years - adds to a massive industry-wide pool of money for acquisitions in China, which is popular among investors given its rapid urbanization and rising incomes.

Centurium has already received nearly $1 billion in commitments from its investors, known as limited partners (LPs), the two sources said.

The investors in Li's debut fund include sovereign wealth funds, fund-of-funds and big family offices in China and overseas, one of the sources said, without giving any details.

Beijing-based Centurium, which will primarily seek buyout and growth investment opportunities across China's healthcare and consumer sectors, is aiming to close the fundraising round by the end of the year, said the source.

Centurium declined to comment on its fundraising plans. All the sources declined to be named as the matter is private.

Li had led investments for Warburg in China's top car rental service provider CAR Inc, medical devices maker Lepu Medical Technology and biotech firm China Biologic Products.

Centurium, with its fundraising, will be joining a list of China's homegrown private equity firms including Hillhouse Capital Group, Primavera Capital Group and Hopu Investments that have been raising dollar funds since late last year.

Hillhouse, which has received commitments of more than $10 billion in a new private equity fund, is set to break a $9.3 billion record set by U.S.-based KKR & Co's Asia buyout fund for the region last year. (Reporting by Julie Zhu in HONG KONG; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Himani Sarkar)