Permira Adds Alan Chen to Lead China Biz

Permira is the latest private equity firm to beef up operations in China, naming former Goldman Sachs banker Alan Chen to lead its business in mainland China, Reuters reported. Chen was formerly an executive director at Goldman’s special situations group. He will be based in Hong Kong. The firm plans to set up an office in mainland China after Chen comes on board.

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Permira has hired former Goldman Sachs banker Alan Chen to head its mainland China business, it said on Thursday, as it builds a team to source deals in China’s booming private equity market.

Chen, formerly an executive director at Goldman’s special situations group, will be initially based in Hong Kong, where Permira opened an office in 2008, the firm said, confirming what sources had told Reuters earlier.

The firm is expected to open a mainland office after hiring Chen.

Chen is the latest in a series of investment bankers joining global buyout firms in senior roles, as funds look to strengthen their deal teams in China.

Global firms, including Blackstone and TPG as well as investment banks such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman, have all set up private equity operations in China, heating up competition for deals, and the players who source them.

Last month, UK-based private equity firm 3i Group Plc hired Paul Su from Credit Suisse as a senior partner for 3i China, while Steve Sun also left Goldman earlier this year to work for TPG Capital .

As competition for talent has grown, TPG recently hired China deal maker Jingsheng Huang away from rival Bain Capital.

Permira’s thrust into China is also the latest sign of increasing European private equity firms’ interest in that market, where they have lagged their big North American rivals in setting up funds and teams.

European private equity firm Terra Firma on Wednesday announced it was opening a Beijing office to look for investments and M&A opportunities, while Swiss bank UBS

said last week it was setting up an asset management unit in China. Earlier this year, European firm A Capital and financier Jacob Rothschild set up private equity funds to tap China.

“Alan Chen’s appointment as Head of China marks another significant step in Permira’s development in Asia,” Alex Emery and Henry Chen, Co-Heads of Permira’s Asia business said in a statement.

“With significant capital already successfully deployed across the region we see strong appetite in China to create partnerships with entrepreneurs and families to help them accelerate the growth of their businesses.”

Capital committed to China’s private equity market totalled $652 billion at the end of June, according to UBS.

Permira was founded in 1985 and advises funds with a total committed capital of approximately 20 billion euros.

Its Asia investments include Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment and Japan’s Arysta Lifescience.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

(Editing by Kazunori Takada)