South Korean private equity firm Stonebridge Capital is nearing a closing of its blind-pool fund, further pushing for efforts to achieve the fund’s 300 billion won target.

Stonebridge Capital’s latest fund is close to reach its 300 billion won target, sources familiar with the matter said on April 22. The firm started raising capital a year ago after being selected by the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) to act as the general partner of a fund investing in mid-cap opportunities, on the condition that the fund size is 300 billion won or more.

KDB, the anchor investor in the fund, provided 100 billion won. In a first close late last year, the fund received 210 billion won in commitments, or 70 percent of its target size.

KDB later eased the threshold for the fund size to 70 percent of the initial target, as many smaller PE firms in the country have faced difficulties in raising money with investors’ capital being concentrated on larger managers. But Stonebridge Capital is sticking to the initial target, aiming for a final close later this year.

During this year, the fund has secured additional commitments from domestic institutional investors, including Construction Workers Mutual Aid Association with 25 billion won and The Pension Foundation of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Korea with 10 billion won.

The fund so far has reportedly raised about 250 billion won. With some other institutions considering investing in the fund, commitments from a few more investors would allow the firm to hold a final close on the fund.

Stonebridge Capital started as a venture capital firm in 2008, and transformed itself into a private equity-focused firm after separating its VC unit in 2017. It has since expanded its presence in the industry. In 2018, it was selected as a co-general partner, along with KB Securities PE, for a 236 billion won secondary fund backed by National Pension Service (NPS), the country’s biggest public pension fund.

In 2019, Stonebridge Capital was chosen by NPS to manage a one trillion won PE fund where the pension scheme invested in a partnership with SK Group, one of the country’s largest conglomerates. The firm also took over KSNET, Net1 UEPS Technologies’ Korean payments processing business, in a buyout that closed earlier this year. (By reporter Kim Hye-ran)