AFIC’s half-year figures show increased investment

AFIC reports that the value of private equity activity in France in the first half of 2003 has increased by 16% compared to the same period last year, while across Europe as a whole activity has decreased by 8% in the same period.

On a less positive note, the amount of new capital raised has fallen dramatically from around €2.5bn in the first half of 2001 and 2002 to just €804m in the opening six months of this year.

AFIC calculates that France’s share of overall European private equity activity has risen from 16% in the first half of 2002 to 21% so far this year. The French venture capital association has recorded 730 investments worth a total of €1.656bn for the first six months of the year, last year this period accounted for approximately 20% of the annual investment total.

Investment activity focused on small- and medium-sized businesses with companies employing less than 500 people representing 92% of investments by number and 50% of the total amount invested. The most popular industry sectors were telecoms (31% of the total investment volume), industry (23%) and services and transport (20%).

Deals were concentrated among a small number of investors with just 20 funds responsible for 80% of the amount invested. Five major deals accounted for 43% of the total investment volume and the next five largest transactions brought the total up to 55%. The remaining 720 deals had a combined value of €749m. Independent firms invested 73% of the total, captives 19%, semi-captives 7% and public sector 1%.

For the first time these statistics, produced with PricewaterhouseCoopers, are based on responses registered by AFIC members on a dedicated Internet site. This method of data collection means the figures should be more accurate than in the past, with a 74% response rate from funds managing 90% of the total assets under management. The new survey, in co-operation with EVCA and Thomson Venture Economics, has made it possible to identify the amount invested in France by French funds (€1.318bn), as opposed to international investment in France (€47m) and French investment abroad (€338m).