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BigPhone store in Cambodia
Mekong Capital describes its investment in Mobile World as one of its best deals ever. The Vietnamese company is now expanding its Big Phone chain of stores in Cambodia. (Photo by Masayori Ishikawa)
The Big Story

Southeast Asia's private equity firms have a secret weapon

Local funds rely on insight, not size, to find deals that bigger rivals may miss

RYUSHIRO KODAIRA, Nikkei senior staff writer | Southeast Asia

BANGKOK -- While the giants of private equity -- including KKR, Blackstone, and Carlyle -- are just starting to make waves in Southeast Asia, smaller local funds have long recognized the region's potential, particularly in times of crisis. And they have proved themselves adept at filling niches larger players have so far overlooked.

Navis Capital Group was founded in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, the year after the Asian currency crisis struck. The firm's founders -- Richard Foyston, Nicholas Bloy and Rodney Muse -- all previously worked with The Boston Consulting Group and put their know-how to good use.

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