The focus of private equity investors in China time and again goes back to domestic consumption, an increasingly important growth engine in the world's second largest economy.
Asian private equity firm RRJ Capital has agreed to invest $50 million in one of China's largest paper packaging firms, Nature Packaging Group, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The investment will give RRJ a 'substantial minority' stake in Nature Packaging, he added. RRJ's investment will dilute the stake held by the firm's chairman and founder Lin Shiwang, who will remain invested.
Nature, based in China's southeastern province of Fujian, provides packaging services for sectors including apparel, food and beverage and home appliances. Its customers include beverage conglomerate Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co., liquor maker Tsingtao Brewery, as well as sportswear makers 361 Degrees International Ltd. and Xtep International Holdings Ltd. Nature makes a range of paper products from cartoons, shoe boxes and paper bags, to high-end boxes for belts and cuff links.
The investment gives RRJ a way to capitalize on China's growing consumption, especially among its middle class, said the person. One of the perks of investing in packaging is that the industry is not reliant on the success of any one brand. Investors have gotten into trouble betting on certain chains and brands in China's food and beverage industry, where food scandals, for example, have delivered big blows to the reputation of dairy products produced on the mainland.
China's paper packaging industry is 'very fragmented' and Nature Packaging, because of its large size, is in a position to expand quickly, said the person. The business earns higher margins than upstream services like manufacturing of raw paper products, including paper pulp. Nature Packaging supplies more than half of the paper packaging needs for many of its customers, he added.
The firm, founded in 1978, owns two production facilities in Jinjiang city in Fujian province and another facility in the southeastern city of Xiamen.
RRJ isn't the first private equity firm to cotton on to the attractiveness of packaging companies. U.S. private-equity firm TPG Capital spent $600 million in 2012 on a Taiwanese packaging company that had manufacturing facilities in China, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Suzhou. The firm, HCP Holdings Inc., produces luxury packaging for cosmetics firms including L'Oreal SA, Shiseido Co., and Procter & Gamble Co.
RRJ, founded in 2011 by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker and founding partner of China-focused Hopu Investment Management Co. Richard Ong, is based in Singapore and Hong Kong. The firm is investing out of a $3.5 billion second pan-Asia fund which it raised last year.
Rich Press/Bloomberg知情人士表示，亚洲私募股权投资公司RRJ Capital已经同意向中国最大的纸包装公司之一的大自然包装集团(Nature Packaging Group)投资5,000万美元。
大自然包装集团位于中国福建省，为服装、食品、饮料及家用电器等行业提供包装服务。该公司的客户包括饮料业巨擘杭州娃哈哈集团有限公司(Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co.)、啤酒制造商青岛啤酒(Tsingtao Brewery)以及运动产品制造商361度国际有限公司(361 Degrees International Ltd., 1361.HK)以及特步国际控股有限公司(Xtep International Holdings Ltd. ,1368.HK, 简称:特步国际)。大自然包装集团的纸类产品系列包括卡通纸、鞋盒和纸袋，以及腰带和袖扣的高档包装盒产品。
RRJ并非首家看到包装类企业吸引力的私募股权公司。美国私募股权公司德太投资(TPG Capital) 2012年对在上海、广州和苏州等中国大陆城市设有工厂的台湾包装企业兴中控股(HCP Holdings Inc.)投资了6亿美元。兴中控股主要为化妆品公司生产高档包装材料，客户包括为欧莱雅(L'Oreal SA)、资生堂(Shiseido Co.)和宝洁(Procter & Gamble Co.)。
RRJ由高盛(Goldman Sachs Group Inc.)前银行家、厚 投资管理公司(Hopu Investment Management Co.)联席创始人王忠信(Richard Ong)于2011年建立，办公地点在新加坡和香港。RRJ将通过去年建立的规模35亿美元的第二只泛亚基金投资大自然包装集团。