Emerging markets fund raising boom

Fund raising in the emerging private equity markets of Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa reached record levels in the first half of 2007 with 107 private equity funds raising US$21.5bn in capital commitments in the first half of 2007, compared to US$33.2bn raised by 162 funds in all of 2006, according to the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA).

Sarah Alexander, EMPEA president, says: “The pace of fundraising in the first six months of this year is evidence that investor interest in these markets is still growing. These half-year figures are impressive and we expect 2007 to be another record-breaking year for emerging market private equity fundraising. A number of funds held significant closes in late summer and several large funds are expected to close by year’s end.”

EMPEA estimates at least an additional US$7.7bn was raised in July and August, bringing the total raised year-to-date to over US$28bn. And funds raised for emerging markets private equity investments increased over nine-fold between 2003 and 2006, according to estimates.

Funds focused on Asia accounted for US$11.6bn of the total capital raised January to June, versus US$19.4bn raised in all of 2006. China- and India-dedicated funds alone drew US$4bn in commitments, while pan-Asian funds raised US$7bn. There are at least 21 US$1bn-plus Asian funds currently in the market including three funds each raising over US$3bn that are expected to close by the end of 2007.

Latin American funds raised US$1.4bn in the first six months of 2007. With the addition of two US$1bn-plus closes that took place in July, funds in the region are poised to match fundraising levels not seen since the 1990s.

Funds focused on the African region took in US$592m to June 2007. South African funds accounted for US$100m of the US$592m raised in the first half of the year. With the addition of two large closes by pan-African funds in July – one for US$1.3bn and another for US$523m – as well as US$1bn being raised by South African funds, 2007 looks to be a watershed year for fundraising in the region.

Fundraising for the Central and Eastern European region totalled US$3.6bn in the first half of 2007 and Russia and CIS funds accounted for US$2.1bn of total commitments.

Eight funds focused on the Middle East raised US$1.8bn in the first six months of 2007. As of August 2007, EMPEA counted 60 funds raising an additional US$14bn for investments within the region.

The Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA) is an independent, global industry association promoting a greater understanding of and a more favorable climate for private equity investing in emerging markets. EMPEA’s 167 members collectively represent 40 countries and over US$400bn in assets under management.