Permira hires ex-KKR deal-maker Fujii to head Japan ops: Reuters

(Reuters) — Permira said on Wednesday that it had hired ex-KKR deal-maker Ryotaro Fujii to head itsJapan operations, as the European private equity firm chases billion-dollar deals in the world’s third-biggest economy.

Fujii previously played a key role on KKR’s Japan deals team. He was involved in the U.S. fund’s acquisitions of a temporary staffing agency Intelligence Holdings and Panasonic Healthcare, a healthcare unit of Panasonic Corp.

Permira is willing to invest in deals worth up to a few billion dollars in Japan, and the fund is planning to expand its deals team in Tokyo to about six investment professionals from four, Fujii told Reuters in an interview.

“The environment surrounding private equity firms has changed drastically… Japanese companies are more willing to listen to proposals from private equity firms,” said Fujii.

“Because of Japan’s new corporate governance code, corporate management have become more serious about improving return on equities.”

The governance code, which took effect in June, aimed at making listed firms more accountable to shareholders, which could encourage companies to increase dividends and improve returns.

“Japan’s has become relatively more attractive. Its economy is recovering, even as there are concerns about outlook of the European economy and China’s growth is slowing down,” Fujii said.

Before joining KKR, Fujii was with Goldman Sachs in New York and Tokyo.