RRJ on track for US$3.5b venture capital target

Firm has expansion plans for Hong Kong children's clothing retailer Kingkow

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 4:37am

Investors have poured US$3.1 billion into the second fund launched by RRJ Capital, one of Asia's biggest venture capital firms, just US$400 million shy of the target it aims to amass by the end of March, according to chief executive Richard Ong.

RRJ, a Cayman Islands firm with offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, had already invested in Hong Kong children's wear retailer SKC Group and planned to help it expand in China, Europe and the United States, the Malaysian dealmaker said.

US and Canadian pension funds, Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds and prominent Asian funds contributed to RRJ's second fund and its first fund of US$2.3 billion, Ong said.

He declined to say if Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek was among the contributors. His brother, Charles Ong, left his post as a Temasek senior managing director to join RRJ as co-chairman and co-chief executive last year.

"Our focus is investing in China and the consumer sector. We are looking at the food, health and consumer sectors," Richard Ong said.

RRJ completed its acquisition last week of 75 per cent of SKC, which owns the Kingkow children's clothing brand, Ong said, declining to reveal the investment amount.

"We can work with RRJ to take the company to another level. We hope to expand in the region and internationally," said SKC chief executive Sabrina Chu, who owns a quarter of the retailer. SKC will consider acquiring brands and distribution businesses in the US and Europe.

She said Kingkow could easily open 50 stores in the next two to three years, mostly in mainland China, through self-owned stores and franchises. It now has 20 stores in Hong Kong and another 120 in Asia, mostly in mainland China.

Last year, SKC acquired half of Shenzhen-based children's wear brand Andil, Chu said. "Andil will easily have 500 stores in China in the next two to three years, mostly franchisees."

Although she did not rule out a Hong Kong listing for SKC, she said an offering was not likely in the next two years.

Triplex Biosciences, a Chinese biotechnology firm that RRJ has invested in, planned to list in Hong Kong in the next 12 to 24 months, Ong said.

About a year ago, RRJ teamed up with CK Life Sciences to invest in AAB (China), a mainland diapers and sanitary napkin makers, Ong said.