CalPERS gets a rosy Valentine

The California State Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Investment Committee met on Valentine’s Day this month and made the following private equity commitments totaling $75 million:

* CalPERS committed $30 million to The Carlyle Group’s Carlyle Asia Growth Partners III. The fund has a target of $350 million and plans to hold a final close in March. It held a first close of $201 million in December. The fund will invest between $5 million and $35 million in non-leveraged transactions for minority positions in startup companies in various sectors. The investments will focus on Asia with a preference for deals in China, India, Japan and South Korea.

* The pension system agreed to invest up to $30 million, or about 20%, of Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s DFJ Element fund. The fund recently held a first close of $120 million and raised its cap to $225 million. It expects to have a final close by the end of the second quarter. The fund invests in clean technology venture deals. CalPERS’ commitment comes from its $200 million allocation to the CalPERS Environmental Technology Program, which was established in 2004.

* CalPERS also committed $15 million to Rockport Capital Partners’ second fund, Rockport Capital Partners II. The fund closed in January with more than $261 million in commitments. It will invest between $1 million and $10 million in various stages of energy companies. The fund focuses on energy and power technologies, advanced materials and process and prevention technologies. Similar to DFJ Element, CalPERS’ commitment comes from its $200 million allocation to the CalPERS Environmental Technology Program.

At the same Valentine’s Day meeting, the CalPERS Investment Committee received a report from LP Capital Advisors and Pacific Community Ventures on the CalPERS California Initiative Program. The program, which, launched in November 2001, invests in underserved areas.

The program had gained 16.3% in annual returns as of September. The report states that the 68 companies backed by the program have created almost 2,500 jobs. Almost 600 of those jobs are in California.

CalPERS also reported that State Street Bank and Trust would continue to serve as the pension system’s master custodian. The Boston-based firm will provide full accounting and custody services for CalPERS.

CalPERS has more than $206 billion under management and more than $9.4 billion in alternative investments and private equity. It is a limited partner in funds managed by firms such as Austin Ventures, Blackstone Group, Coller Capital, Lexington Partners and U.S. Venture Partners.