HANOI -- Malaysia-headquartered private equity firm Creador has invested $55 million in Switzerland-based retailer DALI Stores, which operates a chain of discount grocery stores in the Philippines.

Creador joined Philippines-based private equity firm Navegar for the investment, which was closed in early January, Creador founder Brahmal Vasudevan told DealStreetAsia.

For Navegar, the transaction is a follow-on funding round, according to Swiss law firm Lenz & Staehelin, which advised Navegar on its investment. The first round was announced in August 2022. Financial details of Navegar’s two tranches of investment were not disclosed.

A representative of Lenz & Staehelin declined to comment. DealStreetAsia has also reached out to both Navegar and DALI.

Meanwhile, Creador’s investment in DALI was made from its fifth fund, which closed above target with $700 million in commitments earlier last year. Creador V, which plans to invest in India and Southeast Asia, is about 40% deployed, Vasudevan said.

With operations in the Philippines, DALI claims it is the first neighborhood hard discounter in Southeast Asia. Hard discounters have a relatively narrow product line, focused on private-label products. The company sells food, personal care products and household items across 200 stores in the country.

The concept of discount stores, which are located in residential neighborhoods, is increasingly popular among consumers who seek more convenience and accessibility than hypermarkets offer, according to Vasudevan.

DALI says on its website that the Philippines, with a population of 110 million, is among the highest food-spending and disposable-income markets in Asia. Vasudevan added that the Philippines is set to be among the most active markets for investments for the firm.

Creador’s investment in DALI follows its backing for motorcycle ride-hailing business Angkas, credit bureau CIBI, and more recently, in August 2022, UNOAsia, the Singapore-based incorporator of UNO Digital Bank in the Philippines. Creador led a $11 million pre-Series A round investment in UNOAsia.

The firm, which has a team of eight investment officials in the Philippines, had earlier helped its Malaysian portfolio companies Mr. D.I.Y and Tealive expand into the Philippines.

The private equity firm is also looking to deploy about 35% to 40% of its fifth fund to companies in India, it told DealStreetAsia in an interview in November 2022.

Creador has raised about $2.2 billion across its five investment vehicles since its founding in 2011. The $580 million Creador IV fund was launched in 2019.

In terms of exits, Creador partially divested from Mr. D.I.Y and credit reporting firm CTOS when these companies made their public market debuts in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Tealive reportedly said last October that it will revisit its initial public offering plan once it reaches 1,000 stores in Malaysia by 2024.