US / THAILAND - The $151bn California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has invested $75m in the newly established Thailand Equity Fund, a private equity fund that will begin investing in large Thai companies from next year.
The new fund, which received support last week from Thailand's Ministry of Finance, is sponsored by San Francisco-based Lombard Investments and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC). The fund is expected to reach $250m, and will invest in the manufacturing, telecommunications, media, energy and power, services, consumer products, hospitality and food sectors.
Additionally, the fund will only invest in companies that agree to comply with Thai government and IFC environmental and social policies, including high standards of corporate governance and transparency.
Asia's economic crisis has created an unprecedented investment opportunity, said William Crist, president of CalPERS Board of Administration. This fund will allow us to participate in the renewed growth of Thailand's leading enterprises while securing a good long-term investment for our members.
CalPERS' $75m investment makes it the largest investor in the fund. Other investors include the Thai Finance Ministry, which will invest approximately $30m; the Industrial Finance Corporation of Thailand with $10m; $5m a piece from the Thailand Government Pension Fund and the Government Savings Bank; and 13 members of the Thai Bankers Association who will contribute a total of $50m.
The remaining investors are the IFC, which contributes $3.7bn to the fund, and the Asian Development Bank, which has a $25m investment.
By Geoffrey Ho
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