South Korean private equity firm Stonebridge Capital will likely hold the final close for its blind-pool fund in the coming weeks, sources close to the matter said on Monday. The size of the fund could end up more than its initial goal of 300 billion won.
It took about a year for the firm to close the fund. Stonebridge Capital started raising capital last spring after it was picked by the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) as one of the general partners to manage a fund investing in mid-cap opportunities.
KDB, the anchor investor in the fund, committed 100 billion won on condition of a fund size of 300 billion won or more. Stonebridge Capital initially faced challenges raising the remaining capital, like other smaller firms, with domestic investor demand being concentrated on larger managers, which led to a delay in the target closing date.
But its fundraising accelerated this year as the firm consecutively won mandates from domestic institutions to manage money earmarked for private equity. Stonebridge Capital secured 25 billion won from Construction Workers Mutual Aid Association in January, followed by capital commitments of 50 billion won and 10 billion won, respectively from Teachers’ Pension and the Pension Foundation of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Korea in April.
Both Teachers’ Pension and the Pension Foundation of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Korea are the first investors in a blind-pool fund managed by Stonebridge Capital.
Teachers’ Pension previously invested 70 billion won in the firm’s project fund dedicated to buying 800 billion won redeemable convertible preferred shares (RCPS) issued by SK Incheon Petrochem back in 2012. This investment generated a money multiple of 1.5 times.
Meanwhile, the Pension Foundation of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Korea is emerging as an active investor in the Korean private equity scene. Having these two institutions as new limited partners also means that Stonebridge Capital has achieved progress in expanding its investor base.
The final close of the fund would mark the creation of the firm’s fourth blind-pool fund. Stonebridge Capital is currently managing the one trillion won Corporate Partnership fund – in which SK Group and the state-run National Pension Service (NPS) invested – on behalf of NPS. It is also managing the 170 billion won fund with a focus on the healthcare sector as well as the 240 billion won secondary fund as a co-general partner with KB Securities PE. (By reporter Kim Hye-ran)