Is Asia-Pacific private equity on the rebound?

This article originally appeared in The Business Times (Singapore) - subscription required.

After a two-year slumber following a decade of record capital inflows, private equity (PE) in the Asia-Pacific region posted a surprisingly strong start in 2014. Investment value in the first quarter shot up to US $22 billion, more than double the total over the same period last year. Exit value improved in several important markets, and a number of large investors appeared poised to increase their commitments to PE firms operating in the region.

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As always, the headline numbers don't tell the entire story. The early-year surge lacked breadth and was dominated by a number of megadeals, including Temasek Holdings' US $5.7 billion agreement to acquire one-quarter of Hong Kong retailer A S Watson Group in March. Deal value has also slacked off somewhat in recent monthsthe second quarter has so far been less impressive than the first.

But even if increased deal activity comes in fits and starts, what's most encouraging is that the PE industry is finally beginning to recycle capitala necessary prerequisite to restoring healthy long-term growth. As the industry works its way through a crucial multi-year transition, the increases in deal value and exit activity are important signs of progress.

Read the full article in The Business Times (Singapore) - subscription required

The writers are, respectively, a Bain & Co partner who leads the firm's Asia-Pacific Private Equity practice and a practice-area manager on the Private Equity practice.