Temasek, DBS to launch $500 million debt financing platform

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Southeast Asia's biggest lender DBS Group Ltd and Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings will jointly launch a $500 million debt financing platform, joining a growing trend by banks and investment funds offering debt funding.

Headquartered in Singapore, EvolutionX will provide financing to growth stage technology-enabled companies across Asia, with a focus on China, India, and Southeast Asia, DBS and Temasek said in a joint statement on Friday.

"Apart from helping founder entrepreneurs avoid dilution of share equity in the company's initial stages of development, growth debt also serves as a complementary tool to tide these companies, which are often cash strapped," Tan Su Shan, group head of institutional banking at DBS said in a statement.

A record number of start-ups have sprouted up in Southeast Asia's key hubs of Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam over the past couple of years but venture debt is still in its infancy as firms mainly depend on equity financing.

Temasek already has a joint venture with United Overseas Bank providing debt financing to startups.

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by James Pearson)