Blackstone’s president has flagged a greater focus on Asia for the growth of the New York-based group in coming years, as the private equity firm moves to close two Asian funds.
Addressing analysts during company’s first-quarter results announcement, Jon Gray said: “You’ve seen we’re just completing raising our second Asia fund in real estate. We are raising our first Asia fund in private equity.
“I think that in Asia, given its growth, which is significantly higher than Europe and the US, we’d like more exposure, and our investors would like more exposure there.”
Speaking during a conference call, Blackstone’s chief financial officer, Michael Chae said Blackstone expected the Asia real estate fund to shortly hit its hard cap of US$7bn (€5.7bn), while Blackstone’s first Asia private equity fund also nears its revised hard cap, of US$2.25bn.
Blackstone’s current largest investments, he said, are in sectors with secular growth tailwinds, including global logistics, life sciences, US and Spanish housing, and Indian office.
“Conversely, our real estate funds have less than 5% exposure to US retail real estate. The public REIT index, in contrast, has a 20% retail weighting.”
Blackstone’s chairman, Steve Schwarzman, said: “Our limited partners appreciate our model and how it can drive outperformance with less risk.
“That is why global allocations to alternatives continue to rise, with Blackstone taking its share. Our total capital inflows exceeded US$18 bn in the first quarter.”
Schwarzman said that, since the start of 2015, Blackstone’s LPs have entrusted the firm with $289bn of capital.
“Over that same timeframe, we’ve returned to our LPs $143bn through realisations.”