Hedge Funds Busy Planning New Asia Funds

Apr 7 2008 | 2:22pm ET

Hedge fund honchos announced plans for a slew of new fundraising efforts to take advantages of opportunities in Asia—and investor appetite for them—at an industry summit.

Tribridge Investment Partners and HSBC Halbis Capital Management unveiled plans for new hedge funds, while ADM Capital said it would raise almost $1 billion for existing funds, and KGR Capital indicated that it was mulling a launch and fundraising drive.

Hong Kong-based Tribridge will launch a Korea-focused fund on June 1, Eugene Kim, chief investment officer, told the Reuters Hedge Funds and Private Equity Summit in Hong Kong today. The firm is also prepping an Asian asset-backed securities fund for launch by the end of the year.

The Korea fund, which is set to debut with no less than US$10 million to US$20 million in an offshore version, aims to take advantage of the capital markets deregulation in South Korea, set to take effect next year. Looser regulations are expected to set off a wave of consolidation in the financial sector.

“Given our background as Koreans, we’ve always wanted to run a Korea fund,” Kim told the attendees.

The planned asset-backed fund is expected to launch with between US$50 million and US$100 million.

Meanwhile, at a Reuters summit in London, HSBC Halbis alternatives chief Bill Maldonado said the firm would launch an India mid-cap fund, which it would split from its India market neutral fund.

The new India offering is set for launch in the third quarter with as much as US$400 million.

“We’d like to separate it from our main hedge fund,” Maldonado said, adding that HSBC Halbis plans to launch further emerging market funds. “If we see opportunities, we’ll put those into a different product so people know exactly what they’re getting.”

Back in Hong Kong, ADM Capital said it would raise about US$950 million for its funds to take advantage of distressed debt opportunities in Asia.

Robert Appleby, chief investment officer of the US$1.9 billion Hong Kong-based firm, called those opportunities the best in a decade, especially in China and India, although Australia and Turkey are also full of potential.

He said ADM would raise as much as US$700 million for its Marcelus funds, and another US$250 million for its flagship ADM Galleus Fund.

Also speaking in Hong Kong, KGR co-founder John Knox was less definitive, but said his firm was considering both a new fund launch and a share sale for its London-listed fund.

The offering of KGR Absolute Return PCC shares could almost double its size. Knox said the sale could net as much as £50 million (US$99.7 million) for the fund.

“We’re looking very hard at a further issuance of shares,” he said. “We certainly have seen some appetite from investors.”

Knox added that KGR may also set up a new market-neutral fund or managed account, with as much as US$200 million.

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