US firm makes largest private equity transaction in Vietnam

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US-based alternative asset manager KKR has decided to acquire a 10 percent stake in Masan Consumer Corporation valued at US$1.6 billion, making the investment the largest ever private equity transaction in Vietnam.

The KKR's fourth investment in Southeast Asia and first in Vietnam would decrease Masan Group's stake in Masan Consumer from 86.6 percent to 78 percent, said the group.

Ming Lu, a spokesman for the New York-listed KKR, said it was excited to be making the largest ever private equity investment in Vietnam. "This investment demonstrates our strong conviction in the business prospects of Masan Consumer, as well as in Vietnam as a whole," he said in a statement.

Masan Consumer, currently the market leader in fish, soy and chili sauce and the second largest producer of branded instant noodles had its 2010 revenues increase to VND5,690 billion (US$272 million) from VND2,004 billion ($96 million) in 2008. Net profits for the corresponding period rose to VND1,253 billion ($60 million) from VND402 billion ($19 million).

Founded in 1976, KKR is a leading global alternative asset manager with $61 billion in assets under management as of 2010. With over 600 people and 14 offices around the world, KKR manages assets through a variety of investment funds and accounts covering multiple asset classes.

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