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Wednesday, 13 December 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

Nazir confirms he’s mulling over private equity fund

JAKARTA: CIMB Group Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak confirmed he is considering plans to set up a private equity fund at a time when cross-border deals in South-East Asia offer “exciting” opportunities.

Nazir, who describes himself on his Instagram profile as a “semi-retired banker,” said the private equity idea is one of the things he is considering to keep himself busy.

He became CIMB chairman in 2014 after stepping down as the bank’s chief executive officer.

“I have been looking for opportunities to fill up that spare time. And private equity is one of the options that I am looking at,” Nazir, 51, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Jakarta earlier this month.

Nazir is helping start a regional private equity fund that will seek as much as US$1bil, Bloomberg reported last month, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Nazir would be joined by former CIMB banker Kenny Kim, former Indonesia trade minister Gita Irawan Wirjawan and David Heng, an outgoing senior managing director at Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, the people said.

Nazir declined to confirm the size of the private-equity fund or discuss details, saying it’s too early to comment.

But he said that private equity deals in South-East Asia had traditionally “underperformed” when compared with similar transactions in other regions.

“If you look at it today, there may not be so many deals. But if you think about creating deals – I think that could be a lot,” said Nazir. In particular, he described cross-border deals in the region as an “exciting opportunity.”

Private equity transactions in South-East Asia have more than doubled to US$38.4bil this year, from US$17.4bil during the same period in 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. — Bloomberg