KUALA LUMPUR: Government linked private equity fund Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas) portfolio companies posted a 30.2% and 31.3% growth in revenue and earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (Ebitda) for financial year 2022 (FY22).

The fund which was founded in 2009, released its FY22 annual report today.

Through Ekuinas’ investments, bumiputera equity ownership increased to RM6.5 billion, or 1.6 times the capital invested and total shareholders’ value grew to RM8.2 billion, translating to 2.1 times the capital invested. In addition, bumiputera participation in management at portfolio companies grew by 21.9% since Ekuinas’ entry.

On fund performance, the private equity firm said its Ekuinas Direct (Tranche II) Fund recorded a Gross Portfolio Return (GPR) of RM716.6 million, and a Gross Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 11.9% per annum (p.a.), which was an increase from RM654.0 million recorded in the previous year.

Meanwhile, Ekuinas Direct (Tranche IV) Fund recorded a GPR of 91.1 million and IRR of 77.2%, while Ekuinas Direct (Tranche III) Fund delivered a GPR of RM133.5 million and IRR of 3.1%.

As for its outsourced investments, Ekuinas Outsourced (Tranche I) Fund saw improvements with an IRR of 4.1% as compared to 2021 performance of 3.3%. On the other hand, Ekuinas Outsourced (Tranche II) Fund performance remained subdued with a negative IRR of 2.7%, down from negative IRR of 0.8% in 2021.

Ekuinas chairman Raja Tan Sri Arshad Raja Tun Uda said the firm encountered headwinds in 2022.

“In 2022, especially the second half, saw macroeconomic headwinds and subdued sentiment – a trend we see will sustain well into 2023. While global geopolitical conflict remains unresolved, businesses continue to forge ahead, focussing on operational excellence, resilience, and agility, mindful that disruptions are to be expected and energy shifts, climate change, decarbonising of our economies and food security continue to gain momentum,” said Arshad.

Commenting on Ekuinas’ performance, Arshad, commented, “Despite the uncertain economic environment, Ekuinas continued to deliver on our mandate to increase Bumiputera wealth creation through equity and participation and elevate Malaysian companies to their next phase of growth.

“Both Ekuinas’ direct and outsourced funds successfully increased bumiputera equity ownership to the tune of RM6.5 billion, the equivalent of 1.6 times the capital invested. There was also an increase of 21.9% in bumiputera management across its portfolio companies since Ekuinas’ entry, while total shareholders’ value increased to RM8.2 billion or 2.1 times the capital invested.”

In FY22, Ekuinas acquired a controlling stake in Xenergi Sdn Bhd, as a bolt on investment for portfolio company Davex. Ekuinas also incorporated Dana ASAS, a RM100 million fund with deal ticket size of RM10 million to RM30 million, aimed at high potential mid-market bumiputera companies.

Ekuinas CEO Syed Yasir Arafat Syed Abd Kadir said, “Value creation continues to be a core component of Ekuinas’ efforts to deliver value and catalyse growth in portfolio companies through customised approaches that address each company’s unique opportunities and challenges.

“Ekuinas leveraged on digitalisation as the backbone for boosting operational efficiency and enhancing innovation. These initiatives have resulted in the rapid growth in revenue and Ebitda for our portfolio companies, strengthening their profitability and competitiveness.”

He said that the oil & gas, logistics, retail and healthcare sectors drove Ekuinas’ performance in FY 2022 and that the deals pipeline is expected to be healthy for 2023.