Advent attracts European investors

Global private equity investor, Advent International has raised euro2 billion for its latest fund, Global Private Equity IV (GPE IV). Around 70 per cent of the fund is allocated to European investments, while the remainder will be invested in North America and Asia. The new fund brings total funds managed by Advent International to euro6.5 billion.

In Europe, GPE IV will target buyouts and established growth companies in the range of euro100 million and euro500 million, as well as selected larger investments in key industries. Sector focus will be on speciality chemicals, media, pharmaceuticals, business services, telecoms and late stage technology.

The new fund, which was launched a year ago, has attracted 35 new investor groups and over half of the fund’s investors are European, demonstrating the surge of interest in private equity as an asset class among European institutions. Will Schmidt of Advent said: “There was a lot of difference between the US and European investors. At the beginning of this year many of the US investors had slowed down, but in Europe they were keen to invest and build up their private equity portfolios.” He added that a lot of US investors had over-allocated funds and given that a substantial chunk of the fund was focused on Europe these investors were wary about making further commitments. “The US is really going through a whole reassessment of venture portfolios,” he said.

Investors in the fund include Abbey National, British Columbia Investment Management, CalPERS, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, GE Equity, GM Investment Management Group, NIB Capital Private Equity, Partners Group, Robeco and the State of Michigan. Steve Tadler, managing director of Advent International, said: “The commitment of our investors, even in the wake of recent events, reflects the strength of focusing on strategic assets in key growth industries.” He added that 2001 had been a tumultuous year, but that the transactions the firm is currently working on demonstrate that this year and next should be the best investing period in a decade.

Advent has invested in over 500 companies in 35 countries and the firm’s portfolio companies have raised over $9 billion through IPOs and public debt offerings. European investments from the GPE III, Advent’s last global fund include Vinnolit, Europe’s fourth largest PVC producer acquired from Celanese and Wacker-Chemie; Jazztel, Spain’s first facilities-based CLEC, now quoted on Nasdaq; Alexander Mann, a leading UK staffing business; and Trinity Pharmaceuticals, a generic drugs company sold to Chiesi Farmaceutici.