Woori Private Equity Asset Management Co. Ltd. (Woori PE) plans to raise 300 billion won ($280 million) in a global private debt fund jointly with a Hong Kong securities firm, targeting companies in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The unit of South Korea’s Woori Financial Group has recently signed a preliminary agreement with the unidentified securities company in Hong Kong to launch the fund, according to a Woori PE source last week.
Woori Bank, the flagship company of the financial holding group, is considering participating as an anchor investor in the fund which targets 9-10% annual returns.
Woori PE expects to use global networks of the Hong Kong securities house, which it just described as a big company, to attract investors.
The fundraising comes just after Kyungwoo Kim, a former managing director of Nomura Securities’ debt capital market team, was installed as chief executive officer of Woori PE in March.
He is its first CEO coming from outside Woori Financial Group and touted as an expert of hybrid and derivatives-linked bonds.
At Nomura, he managed Korea Development Bank’s sale of a $1 billion global bond early this year and the issuance of a $500 million hybrid bond each by Kyobo Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and Heungkuk Life Insurance Co. Ltd. last year.
Previously, Kim had worked for JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley after studying at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
“With the hiring of the investment banking expert as our new CEO, we will be able to increase our presence in the market,” said the Woori PE source.
Since the launch of Woori Blackstone PEF, its second fund, in 2010, Woori PE has not yet rolled out another fund.
The second fund had invested in South Korean companies and achieved 13.2% returns, according to the source.
South Korean institutional investors are among the largest investors in global private debt funds which focused on developed markets such as the United States and Europe.
By JiHoon Lee
<Edited by Yeonhee Kim>
Photo: Getty Images Bank