Alchemy Closes GBP100 Million, Now Looks to Germany

By the end of 1997, Alchemy Partners, the private equity group established by Jon Moulton, had closed annual commitments of GBP101 million (ecu 152 million) from 14 institutions for its open-ended 12-month rolling structure, the Alchemy Investment Plan.

Having raised the maximum annual capacity originally envisaged (EVCJ April/May 1997, page 5), and with nine deals under its belt at press time, Alchemy is now preparing to launch a similar investment plan for Germany.

Details of the German Plan have not yet been finalised, but it will closely resemble the UK Alchemy Investment Plan in both structure and size, according to Jon Moulton. In terms of focus, it will probably place less emphasis on the “difficult” deals favoured by its UK counterpart, and instead cast its net more generally in the German middle market, where Alchemy sees massive potential.

Given that the path to Germany has been well trodden by UK private equity groups of late, the question “Why Germany?” is scarcely worth asking. Jon Moulton encapsulated the views of his peers, commenting: “Germany is probably the market with the greatest potential in Europe, and there could be a very good decade ahead as the economy comes back off the floor”.

The fact that both Jon Moulton and partner Eric Walters have previously done several transactions in Germany, while four of the UK Alchemy team have worked there and speak German fluently, should help the group get a head start. So should the recruitment of Scott Greenhalgh, who is joining Alchemy as a partner in early 1998.

Scott Greenhalgh was previously a director of HSBC Investment Bank’s specialised financing division, where he was responsible for establishing specialised financing activity in German-speaking Europe and Scandinavia and led financings for deals including KabelMedia, Tarkett, Empe, Infox and AHC. For four years, he was based in Dusseldorf, working in co-operation with Trinkaus & Burkhardt.

When the German Plan is launched, Scott Greenhalgh will move to the new Alchemy office in Frankfurt. Alchemy will target both investors in its existing structure and new groups for the German Plan.

So far, the group has raised capital for its UK plan from institutions in the UK, the US and the Middle East. The UK participants are Baltic, British Aerospace Pension Fund, Pantheon Group and West Midlands Pension Fund. They were joined by AT&T, BankAmerica Capital Corp., Chase Capital Partners, General Motors Investment, Hughes Medical Research Institute, the Investment Fund for Foundations and Yale University from the US and Amiz and United Bank of Kuwait from the Middle East.