SJ Berwin leads for Asia fund manager on $647m debut closing

SJ Berwin has taken the lead role for Asian fund manager Equis Funds Group on the final closing of its first fund at $647m (£402m).

The Asian infrastructure fund exceeded Equis’s target of $500m (£310m), and has already made two investments in the region – a hydroelectric generation project in India and one of Southeast Asia’s largest solar generation platforms.

The fund is the first for Equis – a group of which focuses on energy investments in the region and has offices in Bangkok, Chengdu, Delhi, Hong Kong and Singapore.

It is currently in the process of finalising the third and fourth investments for the fund, which should be completed in early 2013, and is also on track with its second fund, which expected to close next year.

SJ Berwin took the lead counsel role, with Hong Kong private funds head Tony Gibson (pictured) leading a team from the firm advising on the fund structure for Equis and negotiating with investors.

Cayman Islands firm Harneys handled Cayman aspects, with finance and funds partner Tim Bridges in the lead role, while tax and private equity partner Steven Bortnick of US firm Pepper Hamilton acted for American investors.

SJ Berwin currently has two Asian offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong, with funds formation among its core practice areas.

In September, the firm relocated the co-head of its international funds department and former managing partner of the Paris office George Pinkham to lead the Hong Kong base, in an effort to boost its regional funds capabilities.

Past funds work for the firm in Asia has included advising sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation, while the UK firm has also worked with fund manager Eagle Asia and private equity firm Aureos.