–12 FEB 2013 – ALLEN T. CHENG
China’s once-booming private equity industry is facing a logjam as a dearth of exit possibilities is slowing the flow of new deals in the sector, analysts and industry executives say.
The volume of private equity activity slowed dramatically last year, with some $17 billion invested in more than 700 companies, down from more than $30 billion invested in more than 1,700 companies in 2011, according to China First Capital, a Shenzhen-based investment advisory firm. Virtually all deals in China are minority equity investments in fast-growing private companies rather than buyouts of public companies as in the West. The industry was virtually nonexistent in China at the start of the 2000s but grew rapidly as Western investors rushed to participate in the country’s economic boom.
“You had an industry that grew very quickly but is not yet fully matured,” says Peter Fuhrman, chairman and CEO of China First Capital. “The PE firms raised huge money from LPs around the world and now face the challenge of not being able to exit their investments before the life cycle of their funds run out,” Fuhrman says. More…