GE private equity arm holds off on new China buys

A private equity unit of General Electric said last week that it would focus on its existing investment portfolio in China rather than investing in new projects over the next two to three years amid poor market conditions.

Zhu Wenqian, head of private equity and business development of Greater China at GE Commercial Finance, says asset managers and investors would have to prepare for “a sustained war” before the markets start to recover.

“Over the next two to three years, I can’t see good opportunities (for companies) to go listing, so the most important thing to do at present is cash management,” she says.

GE Commercial Finance, with assets of more than $335 billion globally, is a unit of GE Capital, the flagship investment arm of General Electric. In China, GE Capital invests in companies directly and it is also a limited partner of CITIC Capital, an investment arm of China’s top financial conglomerate CITIC Group.

In terms of deals, GE focuses on buyouts and controlling stakes in China, says Zhu, who adds that CITIC Capital was the only local buyout fund that GE had so far invested in. —Reuters