RRJ Capital Ltd., run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Richard Ong, plans to raise at least $5 billion for a private-equity fund focusing on China and Southeast Asia, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
RRJ, based in Hong Kong and Singapore, has received more than $3 billion of commitments from investors, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. The firm plans a so-called first closing of the fund in September, according to the person.
At $5 billion, Ong’s fund would be one of the biggest ever raised for investments in Asia. Ong, who left his position as Goldman Sachs’s co-head of investment banking in Asia in 2008, garnered $2.3 billion for RRJ’s first fund a year ago and has invested almost 70 percent of that money, the person said.
Ong will be vying with KKR & Co., Carlyle Group LP and TPG Capital for money as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis rocks investor confidence worldwide. Fifty-three pan-Asia funds were attempting to raise a total of $22.3 billion to invest exclusively in the region as of last month, according to data from Preqin Ltd., a London-based research firm.
KKR is seeking as much as $6 billion for its second Asia fund, almost five years after it raised $4 billion for its first regional pool in 2007, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Fort Worth, Texas-based TPG Capital wants as much as $5 billion.
TPG raised $4.25 billion in 2008 for its previous Asia-focused fund, the region’s largest capital raising to date, according to the Asian Venture Capital Journal.
Wong Yong Teck, a managing director at RRJ, declined to comment.
RRJ’s team includes Ong’s brother, Charles Ong, who left his post in January as senior managing director of special projects at Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state-owned investment company. Last year, RRJ teamed up with a group including Temasek to purchase Frac Tech Holdings LLC, a Fort Worth-based hydraulic-fracturing services company.
The firm started meeting potential investors this week and expects to raise most of the money from the U.S., Europe and Middle East, the person said. Backed by investors including Temasek and Korea Investment Corp., RRJ Capital’s first fund has invested in Chinese diaper maker AAB Commodities Co.; Clean Energy Fuels Corp., a U.S.-based provider of natural-gas fuel for transportation; and Cheniere Energy Inc.
After leaving Goldman Sachs, Richard Ong joined Hopu Investment Management Co., a fund set up by Fang Fenglei, chairman of Goldman Sachs’s Chinese securities venture. He left Hopu early last year to start RRJ Capital.