Alpinvest Links with Excel

Excel Partners, which hopes to close its Pta 15 billion (ecu 90 million) target Excel Capital Partners III fund at the year end or early in 1999, has signed up Alpinvest of the Netherlands as a major investor.

Alpinvest has committed Pta 2.5 billion to Excel Capital Partners III and, through a co-investment agreement, may deploy additional capital in parallel with the vehicle to build its own Spanish portfolio. BancBoston Capital, another major investor in the Excel fund, has established a similar agreement. Constant Vermeulen, Alpinvest’s chairman, will sit on the fund’s investment committee.

By December, Excel Capital Partners III had rounded up commitments totalling more than Pta 12 billion, according to Tara Wright, responsible for investor relations at Excel. Alongside BancBoston Capital and Alpinvest, participants include BT Investment Partners and AIG, as well as repeat investors from Excel’s previous vehicles.

Constant Vermeulen said Excel’s established position in its domestic market, strong long-term track record and “very professional management team” headed by Jose Maria Lpez de Letona and David Bendel, made the group an obvious choice as Alpinvest’s Spanish partner.

The investment in the Excel fund takes Alpinvest one step closer to its goal of maintaining a presence in all key Western European countries, a strategy the firm has evolved during the past ten years. Through participations in locally-based funds allied with co-investment arrangements, Alpinvest has achieved broad geographic coverage without investing colossal resources to establish its own teams in each target market.

Its first foreign alliance, formed in 1989, was in Germany with TVM Techno Venture Managers. Alpinvest subsequently opened its own office in Frankfurt to cover non-technology investments in the German market. By 1993, Alpinvest had formed links with Alpha Associes in France, Lessius in Belgium and Candover in the UK. The group secured entry to the Italian market last year, through an investment in the L140 billion (ecu 72 million) Chase Mittel Capital Fund II (EVCJ February/March 1998, page 11). Alpinvest has also established a strategic partnership with Nordic Private Equity in Denmark. Constant Vermeulen said Alpinvest now plans to identify a partner in Sweden to increase its penetration of the Scandinavian private equity market, while the firm is also seeking opportunities to gain footholds in Switzerland, Austria and Ireland and may soon broaden its focus to encompass Central and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.