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CapMan going pan-Nordic

Finnish buyout specialist CapMan has restructured its business activities to emphasise its pan-Nordic focus. The acquisition of Nordic Private Equity in Denmark in 2001 and Swedestart Management in Sweden in February 2002 was the catalyst for the firm’s consolidation of its activity within the Nordic markets.

CEO Ari Tolppanen stresses the firm has always had a pan Nordic vision. “We made our intention to become a pan Nordic player clear right from the beginning. It was a question of when rather than how.”

CapMan has a workforce of 70 spread across the Nordic capitals of Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen. The new structure comprises three business units (buyout, technology and life science) and two support units (group finance and administration and group development) in each country.

Other groups targeting the region are Industri Kapital, EQT and Nordic Capital, although these players are looking at the larger scale deals. In CapMan’s mid-market segment, there is only really 3i investing on a pan Nordic level, says Tolpannen. But 3i is a pan-European fund, he says, while CapMan has funds dedicated solely to the Nordic region and for the time being has no ambitions to expand to the rest of Europe.

Several appointments have been made with regards to the new business structure. Heikki Westerlund, senior partner, has been appointed head of the buyout unit with Leif Jensen, senior partner, acting as deputy. Lennart Jacobsson, founder of Swedestart, has been appointed as head of the technology unit with Petri Niemi acting as deputy. Jan Lundahl, a former Swedestart partner, is head of the life science unit. Olli Liitola, senior partner, has been appointed head of group finance and administration and Vesa Vanha-Honko is head of group development.

CapMan is drawing near to a final close of its seventh fund, CapMan Equity VII. A final target for the fund has not been disclosed, but so far the fund has secured EURO188 million from 17 investors. The fund increases CapMan’s funds under management to EURO1,330 million, of which EURO465 million is managed through its affiliated company, Access Capital Partners. Investors in the fund include the Swedish pension fund Sjtte AP-fonden and the European Investment Fund. CapMan itself has committed EURO15 million.