SINGAPORE : Asian buyout firm Navis Capital Partners is targeting a $350 million raising in an inaugural credit fund that will provide private lending mainly to Southeast Asian companies, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The Kuala Lumpur-headquartered private equity firm will make credit investments in sustainable-focused businesses or sectors primarily in Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos and Cambodia, the sources added, declining to be named as the matter is confidential.
Private credit funds, which have potentially higher returns than bank financing, have gained traction in Asia over the last few years as companies tap alternative funding sources to equity and bank loans.
Navis Capital aims to reach a first-close of the fund, when the first batch of committed capital is secured for investment, by the first half of 2023, the sources said.
The buyout firm declined to comment.
Founded in 1998, Navis Capital manages around $5 billion in private equity capital and has six offices across Asia Pacific including Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to its website.
Its current investments include Canada-headquartered healthy nut snacks maker Dan-D Foods Group and Thailand's healthcare firm S-Spine and Nerve Hospital, the website shows.
Navis Capital expanded into private credit this year with the hire of former BlackRock's Asian private credit managing director Justin Ferrier as its managing partner, according to a statement in July.
Navis Capital said at the time it would focus on secured credit investments in businesses that typically resisted equity dilution in the early years when looking for capital for acquisitions and expansion or during ownership transitions.
Bigger private equity firm KKR in May raised $1.1 billion in its inaugural Asia credit fund. A month later, U.S. alternative asset manager Apollo Global Management formed an Asia-Pacific credit strategy with $1.25 billion of assets in partnership with Australian pension fund Hostplus.
"There are going to be a lot of credit opportunities and hybrid opportunities especially across Asia to deploy good capital behind those themes," Matthew Michelini, Apollo's head of Asia Pacific said at the AVCJ Private Equity & Venture Forum in Singapore last week.
The themes include climate transition and infrastructure finance, he added.
The "compelling situations" in the market have also prompted China's private equity firm Primavera Capital Group to expand into private credit early this year, its partner Jeffrey Lau said during the same panel discussion.