Hyundai Scion’s Buyout Firm Invests $140.5 Million In Four Singapore Healthcare, Pharma Companies
Sylvan Group—the private equity firm cofounded by Chung Kyungsun, a grandson of Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-Yung—is investing $140.5 million to take majority stakes in four healthcare and pharmaceutical companies in Singapore.
The Singapore-based company is buying into pharmaceutical firms Juniper Biologics, a developer of oncology drugs, and Juniper Therapeutics, which specializes in treating osteoarthritis. It’s also acquiring stakes in orthopaedic specialist Artemis Health Ventures and radiology firm DX Imaging.
These maiden investments epitomize what the Sylvan considers as “double bottomline” businesses—profitable while at the same time having a positive social impact. These companies “are not only profitable but are also making a difference in the way they improve healthcare through innovation, strategic partnerships and investments in technology,” Chung, cofounder and managing partner of Sylvan, said in a statement on Wednesday. “We hope our equity and experience will help speed up their mission to transform lives and reinvent healthcare.”
Cofounded in 2019 by Chung and his Columbia University classmate Scott Jeun, Sylvan focuses on investing in profitable companies that are aligned with the United Nation’s sustainable goals. Besides healthcare, Sylvan is seeking investment opportunities in renewable energy, and education, believing that these sectors would have the most positive impact on environment, social and governance concerns. The target companies are mid-market businesses with enterprise values ranging from $200 million up to $1 billion.
“This whole concept of impact investment basically nurtures businesses that are mindful of social and environmental results,” Chung said in an interview. “Impact investment is not just out of goodwill.”
In order to attract investors, Sylvan is targeting a 25% internal rate of return for its investments. “Without achieving meaningful returns, I don’t think we will be able to increase the size of impact investing at all,” Chung says.
As the only son of Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance Co. Chairman Chung Mong-yoon, Kyungsun could have opted to work in the family business that spans automotive, construction and shipbuilding just like many of his cousins. However, his late grandfather once told him the rich people have the responsibility to give back to society, inspiring him to work in non-profit organizations including the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in the past decade, before establishing Sylvan three years ago.
Sylvan is backed by members of Chung’s family, who are among the wealthiest in South Korea, as well as Singapore billionaire Wee Cho Yaw’s United Overseas Bank, Hanwha Life Insurance and Kolon Industries. The firm is aiming to raise $400 million for its first fund, of which half has already been committed by anchor sponsors, according to Jeun.