Asia Pacific growth propels Grant Thornton record global revenues

11 February 2019

Global professional services network Grant Thornton has posted record global revenues on the back of its booming trade in Asia.

Global professional services network Grant Thornton has cited a transformational merger in Japan and strong organic Asia Pacific regional growth as among the primary reasons for the firm’s record global profits of $5.45 billion for the 2018 financial year to 30 September – up 9.4 percent network-wide on its previous year. For the Asia Pacific, that year-on-year growth figure stood close to a massive 19 percent.

According to the firm, over one fifth of its combined global growth was achieved courtesy of mergers and acquisitions, with the largest of its 24 deals for the year being the addition of Japan-based Yusei Audit Co. and Yamada & Partners Certified Public Tax Accountants – adding some 900 new professionals to the Grant Thornton network and “substantially boosting its tax and audit capabilities across the region.”

Next to Japan, Grant Thornton saw huge to considerable growth in the four largest economies of ASEAN, recording a whopping ~32 percent and ~27 percent rise in Indonesia and Malaysia, and healthy boosts in Singapore (16.3%) and Thailand (12.6%). “This is a testament that despite difficult times, we are still the trusted advisor for our clients because of our vast capabilities,” said Grant Thornton Malaysia country managing partner Datuk Narendra Jasani.Massive Asia growth fuels Grant Thornton record global revenuesAcross its entire Asian Pacific network, the firm reports that 42 percent of member firms grew revenues by upwards of 10 percent, a feat equaled by over half of Grant Thornton’s European members, where it also recorded above-average growth of 7.7 percent (Ireland, Greece and Spain the standouts at above 20 percent). Dollars-wise, Europe and the Americas accounted for roughly $4.25 billion of the network’s overall 2018 revenues.

Elsewhere, the firm’s Africa division took huge strides, growing by more than a half and buoyed by the addition of SizweNtsalubaGobodo – South Africa’s largest black-owned advisory – while, in terms of service lines, tax (14.8%) and advisory (10.4%) were the largest growth areas, with Assurance contributing around 39 percent of total revenues followed by Advisory and Tax at a respective 35 and 22 percent. Global headcount rose more than 6 percent to break the 50,000 people mark.

“Our success this year is the result of a deliberate strategic focus on our core mid-market client base, and our key strategic growth markets where we want to be successful,” said Grant Thornton International CEO Peter Bodin, who took the helm at the beginning of last year. “Being clear on where we need to develop our capabilities, and focusing on quality in those core markets, has underpinned this performance."

The impressive growth is further reflected in another significant milestone: with fellow mid-tier accounting and advisory network RSM having also now reported for 2018 – at $5.37 billion – Grant Thornton has quietly slipped past its closest competitor as now the sixth largest international network behind the Big Four and runaway mid-tier leader BDO (which posted revenues of close to $9 billion for 2018). Next on the list, Crowe Global, pulled in 2018 global revenues of $4.3 billion, up 14 percent.

Asia-based BCG-backed tech fund B Capital raises a further $400 million

09 April 2019

The BCG-backed B Capital Group has raised over $400 million in the first close of its second fund. Based in Singapore, B Capital has now raised $766 million across two funds.

Established by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and ex-BCG Senior Advisor Jav Ganguly in 2016 – and backed by Boston Consulting Group from the outset – the Singapore-based venture capital firm B Capital has according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing secured $406.1 million in commitments at the first close of its second fund – adding to $360 million raised last year for its first fund.

Launched toward the end of March, the second B Capital Fund has so far attracted 62 investors, and although a final close date or target hasn’t been disclosed, an unnamed source told Forbes that the VC firm is looking to double the size of its first fund. Meanwhile, B Capital has already built up a portfolio of 19 start-ups, with a focus on technology in the healthcare, financial services, industrial logistics and consumer enablement segments, and a particular eye to the Southeast Asia and India markets.

“We continue to strive to be a launch pad for entrepreneurs across a wide range of verticals and seek to provide our portfolio companies with the necessary resources and access to some of the most important business leaders,” said Saverin, who moved to Singapore in 2009. “We are committed to helping the next generation of entrepreneurs deliver transformative technology to the world and are strategically positioned to disrupt the realm of venture investing.”Asia-based BCG-backed tech fund B Capital raises a further $400 million Anchored by BCG, and partnering with BCG’s Digital Venture’s incubation arm, B Capital styles itself as a bridge between the innovative tech start-up realm and leading global corporate incumbents – bolstered by BCG’s deep client network (some 1,800 globally according to the consulting firm) and domain expertise in the investment fund’s areas of focus. Further, B Capital and BCG work together to uncover the most promising areas of investment.

“We partnered with the Boston Consulting Group because of their unique insights into the industries that we invest in and their unparalleled access to the world’s leading corporations,” said B Capital’s Ganguly, who in addition to spending the past six years with BCG served as a senior vice president at Bain Capital during the prior six. Earlier, Ganguly spent three years as a senior manager at MBB rival McKinsey & Company.

“It is inspiring to be backed by investors who recognise that our combined extensive experience as entrepreneurs and business creators provides a unique and valuable perspective as to how we support and provide capital to our portfolio companies,” adds Ganguly. “Our first-hand experience building and scaling enduring businesses has allowed us to bridge an important gap connecting entrepreneurs in need of resources to scale their businesses with corporations seeking to innovate and leverage emerging technologies.”

With B Capital said to be aiming to invest $20 million in each portfolio company, including reserves for future growth funding, Southeast Asian and Indian investments to date include Singapore short-term financing match-making platform Capital Match, ASEAN last-mile logistics provider Ninja Van, Carro – a Singapore-based vehicle sales and subscription service, and India’s Mswipe, a mobile point-of-sales solution.

“Whether it is funding availability, stage, talent, institutions, or exits, the presence of such whitespaces in the ecosystem makes it equally challenging and rewarding for investors,” Saverin and Ganguly wrote of the gaps in the Southeast Asian and Indian investment space in a founding post on LinkedIn. “We are very excited and bullish in the long run because we see the opportunity to bridge that gap and make a positive impact in a community of two billion people.”