With few big deals, private equity moves to be Asia’s new banker

Aug 5 (Reuters) – In three years, global private equity firm KKR & Co has provided over $1.5 billion in loans to companies in India, a business traditionally handled by state-owned and private sector banks.

Encouraged by that success, KKR – which rose to prominence with its hostile $25 billion takeover of U.S. food and tobacco giant RJR Nabisco in 1989 – plans to expand the niche business in China and across Asia.

The move by private equity into lending comes at a time when buyout deals in Asia are few and far between and as traditional banks retreat. Apollo Global Management, KKR and Olympus Capital are raising credit funds as they seek out alternative sources of income. At least $6.6 billion is being raised by 12 funds for investment in Asia, according to Private Equity International and Thomson Reuters data.

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