Advent International sets up in Spain

Following a string of successful deals in the Spanish market, Advent International has set up a team in Madrid, led by the former Spanish Dresdner Kleinwort Capital team. Jaime Carvajal Urquijo will be chairman of the new office, Juan Diaz-Laviada is managing partner and Luis Camilleri is a partner.

Advent has been investing in Spain for several years and believes that the Spanish market offers a wide range of opportunities for private equity investment. Investments to date include JazzTel, Spain’s first CLEC quoted of both Nasdaq and Easdaq and the first Spanish company to issue high yield bonds; Alcala Farma, an expanding pharmaceuticals business and Alta Gestion, a staffing company. Carvajal and his team has previously invested with Advent through DrKC in Advent’s major Spanish investments and the announcement represents a consolidation of a long-standing partnership.

The Spanish team will concentrate on later stage, majority position investments and buyouts, but will also look at certain minority position expansion capital deals.

Advent regards Spain as an important market to have a presence – the economy is progressing well and there is an increasing number of players setting up in the market, making for a healthy competitive environment. Candover has recently appointed a Spanish advisor to originate deals and Bank of Scotland earlier this year set up its Madrid office to cash in on what opportunities are out there. But will the houses be fighting for deals?

Managing partner Juan Diaz-Laviada said: “The number of deals here does not match the amount of money available for investment.” But the competition does not worry him. “It is a natural extension of a maturing market and what is happening in the rest of Europe. We are not concerned about the growing number of players. We have the advantage of being active in the market for many years.”

Camilleri, Carvajal and Laviada have been investing in the Spanish private equity market since 1988 – first through Iberfomento, the firm they founded and latterly through Dresdner Kleinwort Capital, whose Iberian operation was formed through a joint-venture with them in 1998.

There is a healthy flow of deals lined up for consideration, says Laviada. “We have a pipeline of deals on the horizon in the industries where Advent has experience – media, technology and business services.”

The firm will also be covering the Portuguese market. “This is not an easy market, it is a very small market with cultural differences, but we will still be looking at deals there.”