Yamada, ZICO Group set up platform to bridge funding gap between Japanese investors and Asean SMEs

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 26): Japanese firm Yamada Consulting Group Co Ltd and local ZICO Group have teamed up to offer a platform for advisory and consulting services aimed at bridging a funding gap between Japanese investors and Asean small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The partnership comes as more Japanese corporations are speeding up their transformation via acquisitions, amid an ageing population and slow domestic growth, while SMEs in the region urgently need alternative sources of funding, besides banks, which has been given renewed importance by the Covid-19 outbreak, it said in a statement.

The platform will offer SMEs with professional services support and access to these corporations as well as pre-initial public offering (IPO) investors, and providers of mezzanine capital and private equity, initially targeting those in the range of US$10 million and US$50 million each.

The platform will also leverage on Yamada’s expertise to provide technical, consulting and corporate restructuring services.

Meanwhile, projects will be geared towards achieving business succession and transformation for target companies and SMEs, eventually leading up to exits through IPOs or trade sales.

In addition, both sides will develop and execute corporate finance and merger and acquisition (M&A) advisory projects; identify and facilitate international buyers and sellers; create, secure and execute sell-side and buy- side mandates; and support geographic acquisition strategies of corporate finance clients.

President and chief executive officer (CEO) of YCG said the potential for more investment flows between Japan and Asean makes it more conducive for both parties to collaborate, following the Covid-19 outbreak.

“We see ZICO as a partner who shares our aspirations in seeking to build economic bridges between the two regions,” he said.

Meanwhile, ZICO managing director Chew Seng Kok said the collaboration will facilitate the provision of such services between Japanese companies and Asean businesses, especially SMEs, in obtaining investments or divesting their businesses to international investors.

Going forward, ZICO also announced separate agreements with two Malaysian sell-side advisory companies, which are Sage 3 Sdn Bhd and Anderson Corporate Restructuring Sdn Bhd.