Affin Hwang Hires Former RHB Bankers for Private Equity Push

(Bloomberg) -- Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd., the Malaysian investment firm that manages over $12 billion, has hired senior RHB Bank Bhd. dealmakers as it seeks to build out its new private equity business.

The firm hired Soon Poh Lean, RHB’s former head of mergers and acquisitions, as a founding partner at its Bintang Capital Partners unit, according to the private equity arm’s website. Theresa Lim, who was one of RHB’s most senior M&A bankers, joined Bintang as an investment director.

Bintang is looking for companies in Asia Pacific with visionary founders that have potential to become market leaders, Affin Hwang’s website shows. Targets should have an enterprise value of $20 million to $200 million.

Kuala Lumpur-based Affin Hwang is expanding its offerings as investment activity picks up in the region. Private equity firms have been involved in $112 billion of acquisitions announced in Asia Pacific this year, up from $80 billion during the same period in 2017, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Andrew Tan, another former M&A banker at RHB, has joined Bintang as vice president of investments, its website shows. Affin Hwang Managing Director Teng Chee Wai is Bintang’s chairman, while Johan Rozali-Wathooth, Affin Hwang’s deputy managing director, is executive director and managing partner at Bintang.

Bintang’s portfolio includes an investment in Bitsmedia Holdings Ltd., the developer of Shariah-compliant lifestyle app Muslim Pro.

Other private equity firms have also been bolstering their dealmaking teams in Southeast Asia. Carlyle Group LP hired Robby Winarta, a 20-year veteran of Credit Suisse Group AG, earlier this year to lead its Indonesia business. The U.S. firm also appointed Long Hoang, formerly with TPG Capital, as a director focused on Vietnam.

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