&#836449m for Lead Equities debut

Lead Equities, a first time Austrian fund, has exceeded its target and raised €49 million for later stage investment. The firm set out to raise €40 million and achieved this amount at its first closing in January this year. Investors in the fund include Deutsche Asset Management, Generali Insurance Holdings, Hypo Alpe-Adria, HypoVereinsbank (via ACTIVEST) and Investkredit.

The Vienna-based firm was founded by Dirk Brandis and Stephan Zöchling. Brandis was a founding partner of Schroder German Buy-Out Fund I and acted as advisor and co-investor with Cinven. Zochling has previously worked in senior corporate finance roles for HSBC and Constantia Privatbank.

Members of Lead Equities investment committee include Carl-Peter Forster (CEO Adam Opel), Guido Schmidt-Chiari (former CEO Creditanstalt), Stanislaus Turnauer (owner and CEO Constantia Industrial Holdings) and Siegfried Wolf (executive vice-president MAGNA International).

The fund targets investments in mid-market companies in “old economy” sectors such as the automotive, engineering, healthcare and consumer industries. It is looking for buyout through to development capital deals, as well as filling the funding gap created by the Basel II banking regulations. Its geographical focus is Austria, Central and Eastern Europe, Italy and Germany.

A spokesman for the firm said. “While fund raising was challenging, especially for a first-time fund, our industrial and managerial network clearly set us apart from competition and proved a strong selling point to investors.”

Lead Equities is working closely with Munich-based fund management company, AUCTUS, enabling portfolio companies to gain access to new markets more easily. The AUCTUS team includes Dirk Schekerka, previously with Granville Baird Capital Partners and Steffens, Alvano & Partners, Ingo Krocke, former managing partner with Wellington Partners and associate with Apax Partners, and Dirk Sachse, former investment manager at Granville Baird Capital Partners.