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Daily Dispatches – Private deals decline in Asia but Vietnam shines

Vietnam is the star performer in Asian private equity this year (Image via Wikipedia)

Vietnam is the star performer in Asian private equity this year (Image via Wikipedia)

The value and volume of PE deals in Asia is down, year-on-year, so far this year, but South East Asia is strongly ahead in the in the value of its PE-backed transactions, according to Private Equity International.

Private equity deals in Asia Pacific declined 19.7% year-on-year during the first seven months of 2013, to USD$12.2 billion from $15.2 billion, according to figures from data provider Thomson Reuters.

Despite an overall decline, private equity firms invested 18% more in value terms in South East Asia during the first seven months of this year than during the same period last year. In the year to August 2013, USD$30 billion was invested in the region, compared to just USD$25.4 billion the year before.

But the number of transactions dropped to 546 from 663, indicating that fewer but larger deals were completed in the sub-region.Vietnam bucked the trend, attracting USD$535 million of private equity investment, a record first half amount that already exceeded the full year totals for the last four years, according to data from Private Equity International and Dealogic.

China’s bank profits buckle

The Wall Street Journal says that slowing economic growth and tighter regulation are weighing on the profitability of and asset quality at China’s banks, with smaller banks expected to take the bigger hit.

With first-half earnings set to kick off, the country’s banks are expected to report single-digit profit growth, signalling an end to the era of supercharged gains.

Net-profit growth for commercial banks could drop to around 8% in 2013, down from 18.9% a year earlier, the government-backed China Banking Association estimated in a report published at the end of July.

AXA targeting top 3 slot in Asia

The French insurer’s Asia chief executive Francois-Valery Lecomte says AXA plans to bump Germany’s Allianz out of the top three foreign life insurers in Asia by 2015.

Finance Asia says AXA is on track to double 2011 sales by 2015, and this year become the region’s leading foreign general insurer by market share of gross written premiums.

More MDs for BNY Mellon

The fund house continues its regional hiring spree, says AsianInvestor, with the appointment of two more MDs – one for insurance and pension product development, and the other to cover mutual funds. Stuart Guinness will work in the Singapore office, while Richard Collis joins in Hong Kong.

Handy handbags

Women’s accessories are often regarded with bemusement by men, who cannot fathom the amount of money invested in fashion items or understand the need for more than one bag. Now women can happily defend their purchases, saying that they are a useful – and liquid – form of collateral when raising financing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that  Hong Kong’s Yes Lady Finance Co. deals in borrowers’  handbags, accepting them on the spot,  and bringing in assessors to check the bags’ condition and authenticity.

Yes Lady provides a loan within half an hour at 80% of the bag’s value—as long as it is from Gucci, Chanel, Hermès or Louis Vuitton. Occasionally, a Prada purse will do the trick. Secondhand classic purses and special-edition handbags often retain much of their retail prices.

A customer gets her bag back by repaying the loan within four months, at a monthly interest rate of 4%. Yes Lady says almost all clients repay loans quickly and reclaim their bags. The company recently loaned one customer USD$20,600 in exchange for a Hermès Birkin bag, but Yes Lady’s purse-backed loans typically start at about US$200.

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