From: By Sundeep Tucker in Hong Kong and Katherine Demopoulos,in Jakarta
CVC Capital Partners has struck a Rp7,200bn ($770m) deal to acquire Indonesia's leading department store chain, in the strongest sign to date of increasing foreign investor interest in the country.
Pending regulatory approval, the buy-out group will gain control of Jakarta-listed Matahari Department Stores, in the country's biggest private equity deal.
CVC's Asia-Pacific unit is among the most prominent buy-out houses in the region, but the Matahari deal marks its first foray into Indonesia, a country often overlooked by global private equity groups.
Foreign investor interest in Indonesia has risen after the recent re-election of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in the belief that added political stability will help fuel Indonesia's strong economic growth.
Indonesia was given a vote of confidence yesterday by Fitch, which lifted its ratings to one notch below investment grade.
In October, Hopu Investment Management, a Beijing-based private equity fund, acquired a 4.9 per cent stake in Lippo Karawaci, an Indonesian-listed real estate and hospital developer - its first foray outside China.
"Private equity firms are getting more and more comfortable with the political situation in Indonesia and this CVC deal is a clear sign of that," said a person familiar with the acquisition. The deal is being made through Meadow Asia, a bid vehicle that plans to own 91 per cent of Matahari Department Stores, an 88-outlet chain.
CVC will own 80 per cent of Meadow Asia, with the remainder held by Matahari Putra Prima, the deal vendor, a listed retail conglomerate controlled by Indonesia's Lippo Group.
Matahari Putra Prima will retain ownership of its hypermarkets, supermarkets, pharmacies and bookshops.
CVC was advised by Standard Chartered and Goldman Sachs, while Malaysia's CIMB and Standard Chartered are providing the financing.www.ft.com/privateequity