It is a well established trend that Australian LPs are increasingly looking to internationalize their private equity exposure, arguably at the expense of domestic GPs. Foreign investors looking to enter Australia are not deterred. Sebastiaan van den Berg, managing director at HarbourVest Partners, has no plans to scale back, citing the country’s stable economy, rule of law and experienced GP community.
He does admit, however, that the retreat of domestic LPs leaves their foreign counterparts in a bind. "Perhaps from a more selfish perspective, less capital driving up valuations is better - to the extent that less capital is raised, we probably benefit from that net-net," he tells AVCJ TV. "But we want the GP community here to be successful and it's important for Australian LPs to be long-term active participants."
Nevertheless, an increasingly discerning domestic LP base and weaker economic conditions - Australia's natural resources sector is thriving, but this doesn't extend to the retail space, for example - have created more challenging conditions for GPs. Van den Berg doesn't expect everyone to survive, noting that, unlike six years ago, a rising tide is no longer floating all boats.
"What is happening now, as it becomes increasingly difficult to rely on the global macro environment and multiples arbitrage, the only way you can get attractive returns is through strong operational improvements," he says. "Only a few GPs are really good at that, so you probably will see some go out of business or merge and consolidate. That in itself is not a bad thing."
Updating your subscription status
South Korea continues to solidify its position as a premier destination for Asian private equity and venture capital investments. In 2014, nearly US$11 billion was invested into South Korean companies with exits topping US$8 billion, the highest return figures in the last 10 years. It is easy to see why international and domestic GP's hold South Korea in high regard, being one of few Asian destinations where large leveraged buyouts are possible.
Venture capital is also gaining momentum as the Park Geun Hye-led government continues to advance on initiatives to promote innovation and foster SMEs. With capital inflows and creative input from local and international VCs, South Korea is living up to its reputation as a flourishing venture ecosystem as we witness the rise of angel consortia, accelerators, and local offices for established VC funds.
This intensive and highly focused event will provide front row seats into one of Asia's most vibrant private equity markets. Key players will share their views on private equity and venture capital in Korea, Asia and beyond.
15 September 2015, South Korea- Westin Chosun, Seoul