Looking to Add European Assets: First Eastern Chairman
Victor Chu, the Chairman of Hong Kong based private equity firm, First Eastern Investment Group said he’s looking to add more European assets that may be trading at fire-sale prices because of the region’s debt crisis.
Chu, who launched a $500 million fund in 2010 to invest in small and medium sized (SME) businesses in the U.K., told CNBC’s “The Call” his firm had already invested over £100 million in the past 18 months.
“In the last two years, we’ve bought 7 businesses in the U.K. and we’re about to do another few more,” Chu said in Bangkok on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Southeast Asia.
Chu said the company’s strategy was to buy successful businesses in Europe and elsewhere in the world, and bring them back to Asia to help them grow.
“There are things we think we can add value, like buying European businesses and help them to grow in emerging markets in Asia,” Chu said. “China, India and ASEAN - these are the 3 pillars of Asian growth and we want to be very active in bringing international companies here and also bringing companies in this region into China.”
The company’s portfolio investments span luxury brands, mobile payments, a green investment bank and financial services in the U.K.
Asked whether he was worried about protectionism in the West, Chu said he expected the barriers to trade and investment to get worse given that it was an election year in the U.S.
“Our model is to take minority interest and help our partner to succeed in emerging markets, therefore will not be directly in contradiction with some of the domestic worries,” he said. “Indeed we'll add value to help employment, to protect employment at home and helping these companies to grow abroad.”
By CNBC's Rethi Santra