As many investors and finance people know, the United States has been the biggest laying field for PEE firms since 1980 as it is a developed market with mature structure and clear regulations. However, due to competition and limited resources in the United States, investors and PEE firms have a growing need for a new market to grow and expand their business. One of these new, emerging markets for PEE is the Southeast Asia region.
This Southeast Asia region is characteristic of developing countries that are rich with natural resources. Most of the countries in this region of Southeast Asia have a lot in common including; they are developing countries, they re rich with natural resources and they all have a big market in terms of population. One of the exceptions in this region is Singapore as it is considered a developed country, especially in the finance sector.
Southeast Asia is very lucrative in the sense that it offers a lot of opportunities for investors, including PEE investors and firms, however, in order to realize the revenues and returns of these opportunities these firms would need more knowledge on how to deal with the challenges in this new emerging market. Private Equity in Southeast Asia The emergence of Private Equity (“PEE”) markets outside the United States and Europe as significantly broadened the scope of portfolio diversification.
Also, due to the growing importance of PEE in nontraditional markets, the need for investors to broaden their knowledge has increased significantly as knowledge is the key in regards to international investing as a whole. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to provide relevant information about PEE market in the Southeast Asia as well as provide recommendations on how to deal with the challenges. Market Typology With the exception of Singapore, most companies in the Southeast Asia region are developing countries and are therefore referred to as an “emerging market”.
Table 1 describes the market typology of PEE market based on four market types. Table 1 – Market Typology Mature Markets Non-traditional markets in advance economies Emerging markets Frontier markets Economic structure Sophisticated Sophisticated Relatively developed Early stage of economic/financial development Economic stability High High Track record is being establish Track record still short Size of the economy and growth Large/high level of prosperity Varies Varies with high growth prospect Small size, lower level growth Debt markets Highly liquid Liquid Emerging Still embryonic
Exit markets Developed public equity markets with high market capitalization Developed public equity markets with significant market capitalization Relatively developed public equity markets with sufficient market capitalization Underdeveloped Global PEE firms Investing Investing Investing Very limited, if any investment Domestic PEE industry Developed Emerging Emerging Rudimentary PEE exits Considerable history Track record being established Visible exits already occurred Very limited Key markets United States, ELI-1 5, Switzerland Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Korea,
Slovenia, South Africa, Southeast Asia countries: Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines Bulgaria, Colombia, Pakistan, Astrakhan, Tunisia, Ukraine Source: Cornelius (2011). The term emerging markets has been widely adopted by international investors to refer to all developing countries. Specifically, “Emerging PEE markets” refers to those where an indigenous PEE industry is already developing and visible exits have begun to attract a growing amount of interest among international investors. Southeast Asian Private Equity market In general, PEE investment is growing in Asia entirely.
According to Perrine, PEE funds’ share of investments in Asia has grown from a mere 2. 6% in 2006 to 10. 6% in 2012, due to PEE funds investing a total of SIS$27. 8 billion in Asia (Figure 1). Although some of this increase in share can be attributed to the decline in PEE investment in North America and Europe as a result of the financial crisis, the PEE investment in Asia continued to grow at an average annual rate of 8% from 2006 through 2012. In fact, trends show that Asia was the only region in which PEE investment grew over this timeshare. Figure 1 – Global PEE Investments by Region (Left) and Trend in Asia for P
Deals Source: Pretentiousness Asia has continued to become increasingly attractive as a P destination over the years. According to an investor survey conducted by Ernst Young that involved both general and limited partners, 36% of the respondents believe that PEE investment in Southeast Asia will in fact increase. The survey results from 2012 to 2014 (figure 2) shows an increase in PEE investors’ confidence level AIBO Southeast Asia Market in comparison to China. Figure 2 – PEE Investors Survey: Which geography will see the most PEE activity in the next 12 months? Source: Ernst & Young
Based on Perrine data, the Southeast Asian PEE Investment reached the highest peak I terms of both investment value and number of deals in 2007, right before the financial crisis. There was a slowdown during the crisis but the markets start to bounce back in 2012. Figure 3 below shows the PEE Investments in major Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, the PEE Investments started to increase in 2012 after the financial crisis. While the PEE Investments in Singapore, Vietnam, and Philippines in 2012 started to recover after the crisis. Figure 3 – PEE
Investments in Southeast Asia Countries Source: Predisposed on Boston Consulting Group’s (BCC) report, from 2005 through 2010, Southeast Asia accounted for about 18 percent, by value, of PEE deals in Asia. In 2010, the value of the region’s deals was about one-fourth of China’s and 30% of Indian’s. Deal sizes and volumes vary significantly by country: Singapore has historically led in the number and size of deals, while Thailand and Vietnam have small and relatively underdeveloped PEE markets and have therefore lagged. Indonesia is extremely active – indeed, the largest PIP in the history of the
Indonesian stock market was a private-to-public deal. On the other hand, trend shows that Malaysia has delivered mix results. Overall, with a host of new players entering the region, Southeast Sais’s share of Sais’s deal pool looks set to continue to increase. The growing interest from investors and the recovery of PEE markets in Southeast Asia from the crisis is as a result of several growth-driving factors including: Macroeconomics growth According to Pain & Company data, the total GAP in Southeast Asia in 2011 was SIS$2 trillion, accounting for 4. 2 percent of the world total GAP and is expected to row at 4. To 7. 9 percent compound annual growth rate from 2011 to 2016. Natural resources The Southeast Asia region has lots of natural resources such as oil and gas, mineral, marine resources, fertile-land for plantations, palm oil, agro commodities, and many more. These natural resources can stimulate growth opportunities for companies who operate in the region that will lead to significant returns in their investments. Demographic Southeast Asia was home to a mostly young and dynamic population of nearly 600 million in 2011 and this population is projected to grow at 10. Percent compound annual growth rate from 2011 through 2016. With this type of demographic, Southeast Asia offers a big market for consumption especially in its lower to middle class population. In addition to creating a large consumer market, Southeast Asia demographic also provides human resources for companies to support their business in this region with relatively lower costs compared to other regions or countries. Economic Liberalizing Economic reform has spread across the region with democracy in politics and law enforcement significantly improving.
Restrictions on foreign investments and winnowers have been relaxed, and some governments are actively developing the PEE sector. At the same time, the connection between countries in Southeast Asia is strengthening to create rationalization and intraregional trades. Capital market Another driving factor is that the capital markets in Southeast Asia are generally underdeveloped and predominantly revolve around indirect finances. In other words, access to “traditional” capital markets is generally difficult however not for large companies and therefore PEE funds will emerge as a source of growth capital for rowing companies in need of financing.
China and India Slowing Economic Growth This is an external factor that creates opportunity for Southeast Asia to grow the PEE markets. Many investors shift their focus to Southeast Asia due to economic slowdown in the two biggest markets in Asia, China and India. Besides economic slowdown, PEE firms reportedly encountered challenges in these two countries. The main challenge in both countries is difficulty exiting investment or selling the portfolio companies. Ipso in China and India are currently inhibited by the regulatory body and market environments.
Beside PIP, the strategic selling also faces a problem because of the difficulty of negotiating attractive sales price with potential buyers, particularly in India in the wake of economic slowdown and currency depreciation. All the opportunities and driving factors create optimism for the investors including PEE investors. Result from a Joint survey conducted by Pain & Company and the Singapore Venture Capital & PEE Association (SVGA), showed clear signs of optimism about the regions’ prospects, which could have marked 2012 as the start of Southeast Sais’s time to shine.
Respondents looked for deal activity to increase substantially, especially in consumer, healthcare, and energy sectors. PEE firms that are active in the region reported that they would boost their investments in Southeast Asia, with some 40% of respondents planning to invest more than SIS$1 50 million in 2012, compared with Just 20% in 2011 (see figure 4). Figure 4 – Survey Result – Growing Optimism for PEE Markets in Southeast Asia One of the negative effects coming from those opportunities is the growing competition for PEE investments deals.
Such competition has led to concerns about oaring valuations that make most of the acquisition prices in Southeast Asia rise since 2012. The main cause of this problem is the limited number of good portfolio companies. Most of the PEE firms focused their deals on consumer-related sectors such as food, beverages, healthcare, media and telecommunication, and energy. It is understandable since these sectors are the one that have the best growth and return opportunity due to consumer market growth (huge and young population) in Southeast Asia.
Moreover, Southeast Asian countries still possess some classical robbers that can be considered as the major risks for PEE firms to invest in Southeast Asia. These risks include: Economic risk Economic conditions in most countries in South Asia, including Singapore are facing some macroeconomic risks, such as inflation, currency exchange fluctuation, and the dependency of foreign investment. All these risks can cause instability to the economic condition. According to Cornelius (201 1), between the time span of 1993 and 1999, many PEE firms failed to meet investors return expectation due to the currency exchange rate changes.
Inflation is another big problem in Southeast Asia, inflation can suddenly spike because of the sharply higher commodity prices thus leading to a considerable increase in the general price level. According to Cornelius, in emerging markets, including Southeast Asia, average consumer inflation surged to 9. 2 percent in 2008 from 5. 6 percent in 2006. The inflation rates can have a big impact on real investment returns. Political risk Political instability has been identical with the Southeast Asia region for decades. Political instability causes investment uncertainty and could potentially result in a monumentally different investment regime.
Governments in Southeast Asian countries still have a big role in business and economics. They control the business by imposing several regulations that can change from time to time creating uncertainty in business. Moreover, every time there is a change of government, the policy will be changed and can sometimes harm the investments that have already been made. Unanticipated changes in regulations have substantial return implications through their impact on production costs, market prices, and the repatriations of profits. Governance risk
Except for Singapore, all the countries in Southeast Asia hold governance problem, especially corruption and law enforcement. Law enforcement is very important for investors in relation with the protection of investors’ rights in case of disputes. There is an absence of well-functioning and predictable legal institutions in most countries that can give a negative effect for business and legal assurance. Of all the risks we consider in this section, corruption perhaps the most evil one. Corruption has many dimensions, including tax bribery, procurement bribery, and Judiciary bribery.
Corruption has flourished in previous years within the Southeast Asia region due to complex bureaucratic regimes. This risk can severely distort policy dimensions in all areas imposing huge macroeconomic costs. Conclusion and Recommendation 2014 will continue to be a competitive year for PEE investors in Southeast Asia. Pain ; Company stresses that with more PEE firms turning their focus to the region and cash rich corporate on the prowl for acquisitions, valuations in 2014 are expected to remain at lofty levels.
Respondents polled by the research outfit pointed o a scarcity of high quality target companies as one of the most pressing challenges. Macroeconomics volatility, political instability, and corporate governance are still the major threats in Southeast Asia. But with all the opportunities going forward, Southeast Asia will become the deal making hotshots, drawing an influx of PEE firms from the United States and Europe. However to get all the benefits that Southeast Asia offered and to get the best investment returns, PEE firms should be able to overcome the risks and challenges that exist in the region.
Some of the strategies and commendations are: Choose a focused Model An investing model focused on a specific industry sector or on Just one or two countries will maximize the chances of sourcing and converting the right deals. For example, targeting consumer sectors, since this sector offers a robust growth due to increases in middle-class populations and growing consumption. The biggest beneficiary country of consumption growth driven by growth in the middle class is Indonesia, the most populous country in Southeast Asia, with a population of over 240 million. Enhanced due diligence and deal-execution process
Allow plenty of time for due diligence process, especially when creating market scenarios and mapping industry structures and value chains. PEE firms that excel in converting more acquisitions into winners and avoiding losers use probing due diligence process to dig deeper into a potential target’s operations before they commit to an investment. Superior due diligence is very critical in Southeast Asia where information often less transparent and reliable sources of date are hard to find. A good due diligence can also reduce the negative effect from uncertainty in economic and political condition.
Proprietary sourcing and smart partnership To find the best companies quickly and avoid overpaying, fund managers need to forge alliances and have people on the ground that can spot opportunities before competitors do. To be able to do that, PEE firms should reinforce local connections and consider partnerships with conglomerates or family groups seeking to institutionalize their investment capabilities. Other potential partners include local PEE funds as well as local banks, government-linked organizations, and state-owned wealth funds. They can facilitate access and help build up a steady deal flow. PEE firms should consider