* Former Warburg Pincus veteran for 20 years
* TPG seeks growth in distressed debt, real estate, healthcare (Adds comments, private equity fundraising, areas of investment)
By Elzio Barreto
HONG KONG, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Global buyout firm TPG hired industry veteran Chang Sun as head of its China business, looking to grow beyond traditional private equity investments and into distressed opportunities and real estate, among other areas.
TPG named Sun managing partner for China, where he will head the firm’s buyout, growth and social investing business, according to a statement on Monday.
He joins other senior TPG hires in Asia, including top executives in Australia and South Korea, as well as partners in Hong Kong and Beijing, with more potentially coming onboard as the firm expands into new areas, said Tim Dattels, co-managing partner, TPG Capital Asia.
“This business is a people business and people are our most important asset. We will continue to bring the best talent to our platform,” Dattels told Reuters.
Private equity firms are raising record amounts of funds for investments in Asia, where deals are getting larger in size as buyouts increasingly target gaining control of companies. KKR & Co in June raised $9.3 billion for its most recent Asian buyout fund, an all-time high, with volumes seen growing further as TPG, Bain Capital and Blackstone Group LP all tap investors for their real estate, credit and buyout funds.
TPG is in the middle of raising about $4.5 billion for its seventh Asia-focused fund, its biggest for the region, sources familiar with the plans previously told Reuters.
Total capital available for investment at the new fund could reach about $6 billion if co-investments from limited partners - pension funds and institutional investors who will invest in the TPG fund - are included.
TPG declined to comment on the new fund.
China’s slowdown could present opportunities in distressed assets and real estate, Dattels added, while the country’s focus on reducing the impact of pollution and its ageing population mean healthcare and green-technologies are also a potential focus.
“Healthcare, as an investment theme, is going to be an area that will be a powerful hydraulic over the long run and fits well into our global practice,” Dattels said.
Sun was previously a 20-year veteran at private equity firm Warburg Pincus in China, but quit the firm in 2015 to run his own agriculture and impact investment firm, Black Soil Group Ltd.
With more and more of China’s population moving to large metropolitan areas and the government shifting the economy to consumer-led growth, Sun said he saw opportunities in services, including those benefiting from an e-commerce boom.
“For future strategy, we need to have a macro view on where the Chinese economy is going,” he said.
“Urbanisation will continue to be a theme for years to come and the transition of the Chinese economy to more services and consumption will offer many services-related opportunities such as fintech, logistics and other infrastructure-type investments.” (Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Stephen Coates)