Joanna Nolasco February 19, 2016
As part of a U.S.-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit that kicked off earlier this week, President Barack Obama has welcomed Southeast Asian leaders to California to discuss various economic and security issues. According to the White House, ASEAN countries amount to the U.S.’s fourth-largest trading partner; the region has become the third-largest economy in Asia—seventh largest in the world—with a combined GDP of $2.4 trillion.
Needless to say, the investment opportunities in Southeast Asia have not been lost on U.S. PE firms.
Though still dwarfed by the U.S. PE activity in China and India, Southeast Asian countries have attracted more and more investment in recent years. According to the PitchBook Platform, U.S. PE firms completed a decade high of 23 deals in Southeast Asian companies in 2015. What’s more, that figure is more than double the deal count of 2013.
Within the region, U.S. PE shops have most actively invested in Singapore and Indonesia, with those two countries alone accounting for over half of all U.S.-Southeast Asian deals since 2010. Interestingly, the past couple of years have seen a Southeast Asian newcomer to U.S. PE portfolios: Myanmar. TPG notably invested in mobile-phone tower operations company Apollo Towers in 2014, around two years after U.S. sanctions on the country were eased.
U.S. PE firms have most commonly backed Southeast Asian companies through growth investments, with the deal type accounting for around 25% to 45% of all transactions each year since 2010. Of the 52 U.S. PE investors active in Southeast Asian deals since 2010, 33 oversee at least $1 billon in assets. Here are the most active investors in that timeframe, along with their deal counts: