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The former Asia head of  investment bank Link Asset & Securities, which was sold to ICAP PLC last year, has set up a private-equity firm to invest in the region, reports the Wall Street Journal. Paul Robine, 31 years old, has set up TR Capital Group in partnership with Paris-based Group Tikehau. A fund managed by TR Capital has made investments in two third-party private-equity funds specializing in India and Pakistan.

It manages another fund on behalf of Proparco, the Development Finance Institution of the French government, which invests in private companies in developing countries. This fund also will look to make direct investments in private companies in the Asian region, in particular in China and Southeast Asia.

The Asian investment firm will capitalize on the liquidity crisis, particularly for SME’s in Asia which presents an opportunity for investors.

"The current market correction presents attractive valuations as the best vintages are formed during period of crisis," the daily quoted Robine as saying.

Robine is joined by Colin Sau, a director at TR Capital, who spent eight years at Suez Asia, a joint venture between Suez Group and Crédit Agricole SA for private-equity investment in the region.

The two founding partners of Group Tikehau, who began their careers at Merrill Lynch in Paris, Antoine Flamarion and Mathieu Chabran, worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG ost recently.

John Booth, who founded Link Asset & Securities with Charles Davies in 1997, sits on TR Capital's strategic committee, alongside Jean Pierre Lafon, a former French ambassador to China.

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