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LVMH-backed private equity firm closes US$1.45 billion Asia fund

Singapore

L Catterton, the US$15 billion private equity firm co-founded by luxury-goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, has closed its third Asia fund to back more retail and healthcare companies across the region.

L Catterton Asia 3 had a target of US$1.25 billion, but remained open after additional investors expressed interest, according to managing partner Chinta Bhagat. The fund eventually raised just under US$1.45 billion, with less than half deployed.

Its establishment comes despite challenges for consumer brands amid trade war concerns and slowing economic growth in China. L Catterton is betting that growing demand for improved medical and retail experiences among Asia's affluent will help offset these pressures.

"I don't think countries - I think cities," Mr Bhagat said in his first interview since joining the firm. "About 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the GDP that matters for a business like ours rests in first tier cities, and they've become enormous, with between 10 to 20 million people."

Mr Bhagat joined L Catterton in August from Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional Bhd, estimated by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute to have US$37 billion in assets under management. L Catterton Asia 3 will run for 10 years and seek deals across Asia. While the company's stated average ticket size in Asia is between US$50 million and US$150 million, Mr Bhagat said the size of the latest fund means it will largely focus on transactions north of US$100 million. Examples of investments could be a chain of dental clinics that also offer cosmetic services. BLOOMBERG

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