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Access closes second FoF

Paris-based fund-of-funds manager Access Capital Partners has closed its second generation fund at EURO277 million. The fund was launched last year and held its first closing at EURO200 million.

The fund is split into two compartments, EURO154 million will be invested in mid-market buyout funds and EURO123 million will be committed to technology focused venture capital funds. Investors, 90 per cent of which are institutions and 10 per cent high net worth individuals, had the choice of investing in either or both parts of the fund.

Access’s first fund was raised exclusively in Europe but the second generation has drawn around EURO30 million from US pension funds and a small amount from Middle Eastern investors. The fund’s other investors are based in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Finland, where Access has connections through its affiliation with CapMan. Philippe Poggioli, a partner at Access, said it is more difficult for fund-of-funds based on the continent to compete in the UK when raising capital.

Access is looking to invest in domestic buyout funds of EURO100 million to EURO600 million across Europe, including Spain and Italy. Poggioli said: “Going forward we believe higher returns will come from the mid-market. The market for large deals is overcrowded, too many big pan European funds mean auctions that result in higher prices.” Access favours the UK, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Netherlands for venture capital funds.

The fund fell short of its initial target, EURO300 million to EURO400 million, but Poggioli said the firm was happy with this in the current environment. “Raising the last fund was tough because it was our first, but the second fund was even harder in terms of institutional investors’ attitude to the asset class,” he said. Poggioli expects the fund to be committed over the next three to four years.

Still a relative newcomer to the increasingly crowded fund-of-funds market, Access was formed in 1999 and closed its first fund at EURO250 million in May 2000. The fund is now fully committed to 21 investments, nine growth and buyout funds and 12 technology funds. By the end of last year these funds had in turn invested in 254 companies based in 18 countries. The new fund has already made commitments to four buyout funds and three technology funds. Access now has EURO527 million under management.

Earlier this year Access expanded its team with the arrival of two new members: analyst Arnaud de Cremiers and monitoring officer, Elitza Nikolova. The size of the team is now roughly double what it was when the first fund was raised.