KKR, the US private equity group, has expanded its infrastructure and energy team into Asia with two appointments, according to a statement from the firm.
Tony Schultz joins KKR as managing director in Sydney, a new position within the firm, while Ash Upadhyaya, currently with KKR in the US, will relocate to Singapore.
Both appointments are effective immediately, KKR told FinanceAsia.
It is the first time KKR’s infrastructure and energy team has had a physical presence in the region, KKR told FinanceAsia; previously Asia was covered out of the US.
Schultz was formerly managing director in Sydney for EIG Global Energy Partners, the US-based energy investor, where he focused on energy, metals and mining investments in Asia.
Meanwhile, Upadhyaya – who joined KKR in 2011 – is a director on the firm’s energy and infrastructure team in the US.
“KKR aims to create a unique offering in the energy, infrastructure and natural resources market. We are very pleased to have Tony and Ash leading this effort in Asia," Joe Bae, head of KKR Asia, and Marc Lipschultz, global head of energy & infrastructure at KKR, said in a statement.
Prior to joining KKR, Upadhyaya (below) was a senior associate with Natural Gas Partners, with oversight of investments in the energy industry.
He has also worked for Shell International Exploration & Production in the Netherlands, focusing on the evaluation of redevelopment plans for fields across the group.
KKR manages a huge portfolio of investments, including financial services, infrastructure, energy, renewable energy and utilities assets.
In July last year it said it had collected a record $6 billion from investors for deals in Asia. The fund, called Asian II Fund, is the firm’s third in the region, following its $4 billion regional fund in 2007 and its $1 billion China Growth Fund in 2010. It said that 26%, or $1.47 billion, of the total fund was raised from Asia-based investors.
KKR is looking to spend the money on Asian companies benefiting from rising consumption across the region, such as retailers, education and healthcare providers.
But it is also seeking to take advantage of the clean energy push and environmental concerns of the region’s governments, which is spurring huge investment. In December last year it invested $40 million in United Envirotech, a Chinese water treatment group listed in Singapore. It had earlier bought $113.8 million of the group’s convertible bonds.
KKR said in a statement on Thursday that Schultz and Upadhyaya would use their sector knowledge to identify energy and resources investments in the region.
The firm set up in Asia in 2005 and has invested more than $5.5 billion in private equity investments in 30 companies across the region. It has more than 100 executives and senior advisers in seven offices, located in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
The firm, separately, said on Wednesday that it had closed a $2 billion fund for investments in unconventional North American oil and gas.
KKR said the fund – Energy Income and Growth Fund I – received strong backing from a diverse group of new and existing KKR investors globally, including pensions, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, endowments and family offices.
“The energy revolution has created an unprecedented opportunity and we are seeing many ways to partner with companies to help develop these important resources,” Lipschultz said in a statement.