Emerging Markets PE Rises 55% in First Half

(Reuters) – Private equity investment in emerging markets totalled $13 billion in the first half of 2010, a 55 percent leap on year-ago levels and on track to beat 2009 levels, industry group EMPEA said on Wednesday.

An investment surge in Latin America and continued strong activity levels in China and India were behind the increase, the Washington DC-based Emerging Market Private Equity Association said in a statement.

EMPEA said 402 deals were done in the first half of the year, compared with 280 deals at this time in 2009. The average deal size at $51 million, was also bigger than last year.

Fundraising levels for private equity investment also rose, with $11 billion raised in the first half of 2010 versus $9 billion raised in the same period in 2009.

Asian funds, particularly Chinese funds, continue to account for more than half of the fund-raising total.

There were “notable upticks” in capital raised for funds investing in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, EMPEA said.

“African funds raised through June already exceeded the full year 2009 total, and some sizeable funds being raised point to a return to pre-crisis levels,” the group said.

Investors often look to private equity investment in frontier emerging markets, such as Africa, where stock markets lack liquidity or do not exist at all.

Two of the five largest private equity deals in emerging markets were in Brazil, EMPEA added, and private equity investment in the country soared 53 percent in the first six months of 2010 from whole-year 2009, to $1.513 billion.

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Sujata Rao. Editing by David Brough)