이 기사는 2020년 02월 19일 08:00 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.
Macquarie Korea Opportunities Investment (Macquarie PE) has begun a process to sell Korea Environment Technology (Koentec) less than three years after its acquisition of the KOSDAQ-listed waste processing company.
The PE firm initially bought about 33 percent of Koentec from South Korea’s Foosung Group through its wholly-owned subsidiary Green Energy Holdings in June 2017, and thereafter boosted its stake to more than 59 percent through open market transactions.
It is only about two and a half years since Macquarie PE’s investment in the company. One reason why the PE firm is seemingly rushing to exit its position in Koentec involves the rise of infrastructure funds, which has resulted in the high demand for attractive assets in the infrastructure sector.
In recent years, global infrastructure funds have shown a great deal of interest in potential investment opportunities in advanced Asian countries, such as South Korea and Japan. They are particularly upbeat about the growth potential of the environment-related industry including the waste processing sector.
Indeed, Macquarie PE has reportedly been tapped by some global infrastructure funds which tried to sound out the firm for a possible sale of Koentec. The PE firm apparently has chosen to benefit from increased interest in the company, rather than seeking an exit opportunity a few years later at a potentially higher value.
The situation is reminiscent of last year when MBK Partners sold Daesung Industrial Gases to Macquarie PE in a surprise deal that ended MBK’s two-and-a-half-year investment in the gas supplier. Assets in the industrial gas sector are also popular among infrastructure funds due to their stable cash flow generation.
Another reason for the PE firm’s decision on the planned sale is Koentec’s growing competitive edge in the domestic market.
The company, which is based in Ulsan, a major industrial city in the southeastern region of the country, operates facilities to treat industrial waste in two designated zones in the city. Last year, it was granted a permit for a new landfill, which will boost its waste processing capacity from next year. Thus, some industry watchers see the PE firm’s decision as an attempt to capitalize on a favorable outlook on the company’s long-term future.
A successful exit from Koentec would help Macquarie PE – which is currently working on raising capital for its fifth fund with a target fund size of 750 billion won ($630 million) – attract more investors to its new fund. Koentec is one of the portfolio companies in the PE firm’s third fund closed in 2014. The sale would also mark the first exit of the fund.
(By reporters Han Hee-yeon and Kim Hye-ran)