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Bain & Co 2022 Annual Southeast Asia Private Equity Report: Deal Value Hits Record $25 Billion in 2021

13th May 2022 | Singapore

Bain & Co, one of the world’s top management consulting firm, has released the 2022 Annual Southeast Asia Private Equity Report, providing a review of Southeast Asia Private Equity in 2021.  Key highlights include Asia accounting for over 25% ($1.7 trillion AUM) of global private equity market, Southeast Asia deals value hitting a record high of $25 billion, Southeast Asia macro fundamentals remain robust and primed for post-COVID recovery, opportunities in capitalising on increase of 40 million working population by 2030, and ESG is here to stay and is a top priority.  See below for key highlights, data and key comments from Bain & Co Partners & Advisors Usman Akhtar, Suvir Varma and Tom Kidd. 

 ” Bain & Co: Deal Value Hits Record $25 Billion in 2021 “


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Bain & Co 2022 Annual Southeast Asia Private Equity Report

Jakarta, Indonesia

2021 in Review:

  • APAC activity: Strong growth across APAC – Asia now accounts for over 25% of global PE market 
  • 2021 Share of Asia PE vs World: 27% (2021: $1.7 trillion)
  • Southeast Asia deals: SEA deal value rebounded vs. 2020 – doubling to all-time high of $25 billion in 2021 
  • Fundraising: Picked up slightly vs. 2020 with continued shift to pan- APAC funds 
  • Multiples: Dipped slightly for SEA vs 2020; but broadly in line with post- 2018 levels 
  • Industries: Internet/tech again accounted for lion-share of deal volume/value in SEA 
  • Investment stage: Growth equity investment activity continues to rise 

2021 APAC Private Equity Data

  • Deal Value Accelerated: $296 billion (2020: $198 billion, 2019: $155 billion)
  • Exit Value Rebounded : $172 billion (2020: $83 billion, 2019: $90 billion)
  • Fundraising Remained Low  (Closed Funds): $144 billion (2020: $135 billion, 2019, $174 billion)s
  • Exclude: Real Estate & Infrastructure 

Private Equity Industry Voice

  • Investors in Southeast Asia are more concerned about finding right opportunities and have greater degree of uncertainty on COVID vs. APAC peers 
  • GPs (General Partners) feel good about the macro environment getting past worst of COVID 
  • Southeast Asia expecting more favorable returns in next 3-5 years 
  • GPs think role of margin expansion will decline as return driver in future 
  • Recognition that multiple expansion may no longer be sustainable return driver. Investors are looking to topline growth and operational improvements 


3 Key Themes Moving Forward:

1) Southeast Asia: 

  • Southeast Asia macro fundamentals remain robust and primed for post-COVID recovery 
  • Southeast Asia remains attractive, macro tailwinds are intact 
  • Emerging ASEAN is getting younger 
  • ASEAN working population to increase by 40M by 2030 
  • Urbanization in ASEAN will be more sustained 

2) The Great Re-rating:

  • first generation of SEA unicorns have struggled in the public markets year to date 
  • we expect valuation reset to have a set of implications on private market investments 
  • Potential for down rounds and re-setting of valuation demands by lead investors 
  • public market valuation adjustments are flowing through to private investments 
  • Renewed focus on growth and profitability 
  • Private companies that have strong balance sheets and low burn rates are positioned well 
  • Public market turmoil and recent IPO performances have complicated exit path for many late-stage companies 

3) ESG

  • ESG is here to stay: ESG is not only a core part of investment evaluation, but is increasingly a driving theme in investment strategy 
  • integrating ESG assessments into due diligence process is now common
  • firms are pursuing a wide range of ESG investment themes 

ESG investment themes:

  • Clean Energy: 53%
  • Safe / Fair / Inclusive Communities: 44%
  • Sustainable Food & Health: 38%
  • Smart Mobility & Cities: 30%
  • Clean Industrial Process: 30%
  • Carbon: 28%
  • Materials / Circularity & Environment: 27%
  • Transparent Financing & Governance: 26%


3 Key Themes in 2022 

  1. Robust secular fundamentals. Southeast Asia continues to offer investment appeal by virtue of its young, large, and rapidly digitizing population. 60% of GPs remain favorable on regional markets and on future driven expectations especially as the region looks primed for even further post-Covid-19 recovery and can expect to capitalize on a 40 million working population by 2030.
  2. The great “re-rating”. 2021 saw some high-profile first-generation unicorns firm up their plans to go public. However, several of Southeast Asia’s tech giants have been affected by the global hit to high-growth tech stocks. In the short-term, there could well be caution exercised by investors, who will aim to ensure they calibrate valuation expectations on private market tech investments to reflect the current environment.
  3. ESG is here to stay. Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) has shifted from a niche consideration to a top priority. The overwhelming majority of PE funds (over 90%) surveyed expects to increase efforts and focus on sustainability and ESG in the coming 3-5 years, with more than half of the assets they diligence including an ESG component. Across the spectrum of sustainability topics, the top three ESG investment themes are clean energy, safe, fair & inclusive communities and sustainable food & health according to survey results.


Sector Spotlight:

  • Digital assets: APAC differentially embracing digital assets (crypto, NFTs, etc.) with new business models emerging 
  • Digital Assets: APAC saw a significant increase in digital asset investment value in 2021 
  • Digital Assets: There is strong interest in digital assets among institutional investors in APAC
  • Digital Assets: More APAC investors have invested in digital assets vs US/EU 
  • Healthcare: Digital health in SEA is poised for growth as entrepreneurs and investors learn lessons from other geographies
  • Healthcare: SEA digital health remains underinvested vs. other countries in APAC – opportunity for investment expansion going forward 
  • Consumer products: Positioned to benefit from post-COVID consumption rebound 
  • Consumer Products: Consumption set to explode as markets reach growth inflection point in the long term 
  • Consumer Products: Battle for loyalty in SEA consumer products has moved beyond price 


Bain & Co Advice:

  • Fold ESG into the fundamentals: Ensure that investment screening and assessment process includes ESG as a core consideration 
  • Double down on margin sustainability: Stress test unit economics for potential macro- economic turn; assess ability to manage inflation in the cost base 
  • Be nimble for opportunity: Consider bolt-ons, consolidation or buy-on-dip opportunities as macro environments creates uncertainty 


Usman Akhtar, Partner and Head of Bain & Company’s Southeast Asia Private Equity Practice:

“Southeast Asia as a region has bounced back strongly from the Covid-19 impacted year in 2020, with the 2021 activity level showing that investors were keen to make up for lost time. While PE investors continue to believe they can get strong returns in the region over the next 3-5 years, we also see them putting more emphasis on topline growth and operational improvements as expectations of multiple expansion become relatively muted.”


Suvir Varma, Senior Advisor to Bain & Company Global Private Equity Practice 

“Investors globally and especially in Southeast Asia are rightly concerned about finding the right opportunities to invest in amid the increased competition from global and local funds. Given the competitive intensity, funds would do well to have defined themes around which they wish to deploy capital, a clear investment thesis for each asset, and a prepared action plan to intervene should the macro conditions turn against them.”


Tom Kidd, Partner in Bain & Company’s Southeast Asia Private Equity Practice:

The economic growth that could be added to Southeast Asia from a number of exciting sectors is still substantial. While firms are understandably eager to capture these next waves of growth, long-term success will be achieved by those who pay more attention to their core investment themes and diligence, particularly in ESG integration as increasing pressures for businesses to take steps in climate action, diversity, equity and inclusion has caused a definite and enduring shift in the industry’s investment approach.”


What comes next for Private Equity in Southeast Asia


About Bain & Company’s Private Equity Practice 

Bain & Company is the leading consulting partner to the private equity (PE) industry and its stakeholders. PE consulting at Bain has grown eightfold over the past 15 years and represents approximately one-third of the firm’s global business. We maintain a global network of more than 1,000 experienced professionals serving PE clients. Our practice is more than triple the size of the next largest consulting company serving PE firms. Bain’s work with PE firms spans fund types, including buyout, infrastructure, real estate and debt. We also work with hedge funds, as well as many of the most prominent institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, endowments and family investment offices. Bain & Company supports its clients across a broad range of objectives that include deal generation, due diligence, immediate post- acquisition and ongoing value addition, exit planning, firm strategy and operations, and institutional investor strategy. 

About Bain & Company 

Bain & Company is a global consultancy that helps the world’s most ambitious change makers define the future.   Across 63 offices in 38 countries, we work alongside our clients as one team with a shared ambition to achieve extraordinary results, outperform the competition, and redefine industries. We complement our tailored, integrated expertise with a vibrant ecosystem of digital innovators to deliver better, faster, and more enduring outcomes. Our 10-year commitment to invest more than $1 billion in pro bono services brings our talent, expertise, and insight to organizations tackling today’s urgent challenges in education, racial equity, social justice, economic development, and the environment. We earned a gold rating from EcoVadis, the leading platform for environmental, social, and ethical performance ratings for global supply chains, putting us in the top 2% of all companies. Since our founding in 1973, we have measured our success by the success of our clients, and we proudly maintain the highest level of client advocacy in the industry. 

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