Permira Taps Goldman Pro for China

HONG KONG (Reuters) – UK-based private equity firm Permira [PERM.UL] said it has tapped a longtime Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) banker as its head for Greater China, becoming the latest global buyout firm to beef up its presence in the region.

Henry Chen, who spent the last nine years with Goldman sachs, most recently as co-head of the general industries group for Asia excluding Japan, will run Permira's office in Hong Kong, which opened in June.

Permira, which opened its other Asian office in Tokyo in 2005, has made two deals in the region.

Last year, Permira struck a deal to pay about 250 billion yen ($2.29 billion) for Japanese agrichemical firm Arysta LifeScience Corp.

Also last year, it paid roughly $840 million for a 20 percent stake in Macau hotel and casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group (0027.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which is planning to build the world's second-largest casino.

While buyout firms are attracted to Asia's high-growth economies, they have been frustrated by a dearth of opportunities to buy control of companies in a region where many of the biggest targets are run by families or governments.

In China and elsewhere, private equity firms have typically settled for minority stakes.

Still, global heavyweights are building out their operations in the region. Earlier this month, U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group (BX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it was opening a Beijing office and hired a former government official as its chief representative there.

Permira advises funds with committed capital of roughly $30 billion. (US$=109.38 yen) (Reporting by Tony Munroe; editing by Dominic Whiting)