Japan’s Unison Capital beats fund target

The Tokyo-based buyout house has announced the final closing of its second private equity fund on 75bn yen: 50% ahead of its original target.

Unison Capital, the Japanese private equity firm, has closed its Unison Capital Partners II fund on 75 billion yen ($724 million; €541 million). The final total exceeds the original target of 50 billion yen by some 50 percent.

The Cayman Islands-registered second fund is the successor to Unison’s debut fund, Unison Capital Partners LP, which closed on 38 billion yen in July 2000. It will continue the first fund’s strategy of investing in buyouts of mid-market companies in Japan.

In a statement, Unison said it had received “strong support form international and domestic institutional investors” but did not reveal the identity of individual investors in the fund.

Unison’s experience highlights what has been an outstandingly successful last 12 months for Asian private equity firms on the fundraising trail. For example, in October 2004 Hong Kong-based Affinity Equity Partners closed its second fund on $700 million (beating a $500 million target), while in December HSBC Asia also closed its latest fund on $700 million.

According to figures from the Asian Venture Capital Journal, firms in the region raised $5.03 billion in fresh capital during the first half of 2004, compared with $3.32 billion in the whole of 2003. Figures for the second half of 2004 are not currently available.

Unison Capital was formed in October 1998 and is headed by partners John Ehara, Tatsuya Hayashi, Tatsuo Kawasaki, Kenichi Kiso and Osamu Yamamoto. Ehara, Hayashi, Kawasaki and Kiso had all formerly worked at Goldman Sachs in investment banking and/or private equity roles. Yamamoto joined the firm in January 2001 after five years at McKinsey & Co.

Unison’s current portfolio companies include; Orient Credit Co, a consumer credit business; Mine-Mart Co, a discount liquor retailer; and Tohata Inc, a confectionery products manufacturer.