CLSA hires water expert in Asia

Richard Woodling has joined the Hong Kong-based PE firm to develop water sector investments months after the firm acquired India’s Luminous Water Technologies.

CLSA Capital Partners has hired an operating executive specialising in the water sector to join its Clean Resources Asia Growth Fund, according to a company statement.

Richard Woodling will be based in Singapore and advise the firm’s water-related portfolio companies and source and evaluate global water technologies for the fund. His appointment was effective on 1 October.

Most recently, Woodling served as director of global research and development at Siemens Water R&D Centre in Singapore.

He has 24 years of prior experience in the water industry in a number of fields, including activated carbon modification, advanced biological treatment, low energy desalination and sea water pre-treatment. He has also held senior operating and technology positions at Siemens Water and US Filter Corporation.

“We have known Richard for many years and are delighted to have someone of his calibre join the team,” said Peter Kennedy, head of the Clean Energy Resources Asia Growth Fund at CLSA, in the statement.

“Our portfolio companies are already benefiting from his knowledge and network and I know he will substantially bolster our strategy in the water sector.”

CLSA’s Clean Energy fund so far has three investments in the water sector, including a desalination company with operations in Norway and China, a high-quality membrane company in China and an Indian water business.

“We focus on two core sectors – water and sustainable agriculture. In our water [investments] our value-add is to bring in new business development opportunities and now really technology enhancement. So a core part of our strategy as a fund is to source global technology for application in Asian markets,” Kennedy told Private Equity International.

CLSA acquired another water purification business in India recently, albeit from its ARIA IV fund, which is currently fundraising. In July, the firm invested INR 550 million (€7 million; $9.2 million) in Luminous Water Technologies, PEI reported earlier.

CLSA Capital Partners has $2.6 billion in assets under management and offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo. The firm manages several private equity funds, including ARIA Investment Partners, Japan-focused CLSA Sunrise Capital and Clean Resources Asia Growth Fund.

The Clean Resources Asia Growth Fund is about 70 percent deployed and CLSA expects to launch a second fund with the same focus sometime next year, according to the firm.