TPG to raise $736m for China

TPG will join the ranks of other Western firms raising RMB-denominated funds, including Carlyle, KKR and Blackstone. Read more about TPG in the forthcoming issue of PERE.

Global private equity firm TPG Capital is to launch its first RMB-denominated fund in Shanghai with a RMB5 billion (€579.7 million; $735.5 million) target, a senior industry source in Shanghai has confirmed.

Given that US dollar-denominated funds in China are still subject to restrictions on investment and unpredictable approval processes on deals, RMB funds have become increasingly popular with both domestic and foreign fund managers wishing to access the Chinese market.

Whether its RMB fund will invest in real estate at this stage is unclear however the firm has making moves in the sector of late as it seeks to increase its already extensive empire. Currently, real estate deals are made from its gloabl buy-out funds. Read more analysis on TPG's investments in the forthcoming September issue of PERE.

The RMB fundraise would follow some signficant success for TPG in Asia; in May, the firm reportedly reaped a 16x return multiple on its original investment in Shenzhen Development Bank by way of a partial exit to China’s Ping An Insurance.

In the last two years, global private equity firms have raced to set up RMB-denominated funds. In January, the Carlyle Group signed a memorandum of understanding with Beijing Municipal Bureau of Financial Work to set up the Carlyle Beijing RMB fund targeting RMB5 billion. The fund held its first close on RMB2.4 billion in July.

In November 2009, under the pilot programme that allows foreign private equity and venture capital firms to establish wholly-owned Chinese entities in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area, the Blackstone Group set up the RMB5 billion-targeted Blackstone Zhonghua Development Investment Fund, which as of July had collected half its target. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, meanwhile, is thought to be targeting up to $1 billion for its first RMB fund.

TPG's “China Partners I” fund will, in collaboration with the Shanghai government, invest in mid- to large-sized Chinese firms with a focus on the sectors of financial services, consumer, retail and healthcare, Reuters reported.

The fund is expected to start fundraising in the next several months, according to The Wall Street Journal.

TPG in 2008 raised approximately $4.2 billion for its fifth Asia-focused fund, however it later gave LPs the option to reduce their original commitment by up to 10 percent given the financial crisis' impact on LP liquidity levels and over-exposure to the asset class.

The conflicts of interest a GP may need to navigate between LPs in its dollar-denominated Asian or global funds and the LPs invested in RMB funds is an issue covered in more depth the September issue of Private Equity International magazine.

TPG declined to comment.