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Pension funds

NPS picks Hillhouse Capital for private equity investment in Q3

The Chinese firm has already invested in some Korean unicorns, notably grocery delivery app Kurly and food delivery service Woowa Brothers

By Dec 02, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Hillhouse Capital Group in Bejing, China
Hillhouse Capital Group in Bejing, China

South Korea’s National Pension Service selected Beijing-based private equity firm Hillhouse Capital Group in the third quarter for its overseas private equity and debt investment, the pension fund said.

Founded in 2005, Hillhouse Capital manages $69 billion in assets as of March 2021. The Chinese private equity firm has backed many global unicorns -- China’s laundry detergent producer Blue Moon, accommodation app Airbnb and Chinese cosmetics firm Yatsen.

Hillhouse Capital has also invested in Korean unicorns over the years. In July, the Chinese firm participated in a global consortium that led a $200 million Series F fundraising round for Kurly Inc., a Korean online grocery delivery app. It was the Chinese firm’s follow-up investment in Kurly after participating in a combined $150 million investment with global investors, including Sequoia Capital and DST Global, in April 2020 and the participation in a 135 billion won ($114.9 million) investment in Kurly's Series D funding in 2019.  

Hillhouse Capital also invested in Woowa Brothers Corp., operator of the largest Korean food delivery app Baemin. Hillhouse Capital-led consortium, with the participation of Sequoia Capital and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, invested $320 million in Woowa Brothers in 2018. The three investors also invested 57 billion won in the Korean food delivery app two years before that. Now, German-based online food delivery service Delivery Hero SE is slated to acquire Woowa Brothers after selling off its stake in the Korean food delivery app Yogiyo.

Including the Chinese firm, NPS has hired 67 investment firms for private equity and debt investment on its behalf.

The world’s largest pension fund manages 918.7 trillion won in assets as of end-September. NPS plans to keep increasing private equity investment for mid-to-long-term asset allocation, Choe Hyung Don, head of the private equity and venture capital investment division of NPS, said during The Korea Economic Daily’s alternative investment forum ASK 2021 held in October. NPS has to make new commitments worth 20 trillion won and 70 to 80 new investments in the private sector every year, he said in a panel session of the forum.

Write to Jihyun Kim at snowy@hankyung.com
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