CCMP Asia Closes Fund, Changes Name

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Private equity firm CCMP Capital Asia said on Monday it raised $1.2 billion for its third buyout fund, pulling the money together at a time when lending is tight, volatility high and valuations falling.

Major investors of Asia Opportunity Fund III L.P., the latest buyout fund that CCMP Capital Asia has raised since 1999, include long-time limited partners of CCMP such as the Asian private equity arm of Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and some global public pension plans and sovereign wealth funds, CCMP said in a statement.

“The fact that we were able to close our third fund amidst the current market conditions is indicative of the confidence our core blue chip investor base has in the firm,” said Andrew Liu, the firm’s chief executive.

“We’re planning to continue our successful investment strategy of acquiring controlling stakes in mid-to-large companies in Asia-Pacific,” Liu added.

The new buyout fund will also focus on sectors such as consumer and retail, industrial manufacturing and services in particular, Liu said in the statement.

CCMP Capital Advisors is the private equity group that spun out of Wall Street bank JPMorgan (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in 2006. CCMP Capital Asia became the Asia-focused buyout division of the firm.

CCMP Capital Asia also said it was changing its name to Unitas Capital when its affiliation with CCMP ends on Jan. 30, 2009.

Liu will remain CEO of Unitas, the firm said. CCMP Capital Advisors and CCMP Asia operated and raised funds independently during the last three years, the firm said.

Despite the tough market situation, in particular in the developed nations, global investors try to hedge investment risks and seek juicy returns by pouring their money into emerging markets such as China and India.

Last week, private equity firm Actis announced it had closed a new $2.9 billion global emerging markets fund, exceeding its initial fund-raising target of $2.5 billion. (For details: [nPEK230397])

Last month, FountainVest Partners, backed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL], said it had raised nearly $1 billion for its first China-focused private equity fund.

Asia Opportunity Fund II L.P., the $1.59 billion buyout fund raised by CCMP Capital Asia in 2005, invested in several areas including clean technology, services, environmental protection, retail and automobiles in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia, according to industry data service Zero2IPO.