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Chequers closes maiden fund above target

Chequers Capital, formerly Charterhouse France which gained its independence last year, has reached a final close on its debut fund at EURO300 million. The final close was 50 per cent above the original target of EURO200 million.

Commitments were secured from over 30 institutions with around one third coming from America, one third from France and one third from other European countries and the Middle East.

Denis Metzger of the firm said: “We found US and European investors very responsive to the concept of a country-specific fund that we were promoting. Facing a strong demand for our fund, we were able to select a balanced portfolio of high profile investors that can bring value to our strategy.”

Broken down by type of investor 37 per cent comes from fund-of-funds, 19 per cent from banks, 17 per cent from public pensions, and 16 per cent from insurance companies.

Among others, Access Capital Partners, Commonfund Capital, Fondinvest Capital, HarbourVest Partners, JP Morgan Fleming Asset Management and LGT Capital Partners have provided fund commitments.

The team of five partners plans to pursue the same strategy as prior to gaining independence working closely with management of well-established French companies in the EURO30 million to EURO200 million deal size range. With the larger amount of new capital under management, Chequers Capital will seek to be sole or lead investor and will consider opportunities in all business sectors apart from technology and real estate.

To date the new fund has completed four deals totalling EURO40 million, including the acquisition of the French taxation services business of The Profit Recovery Group International, known as Groupe Alma, for $48 million. The other investments are business-to-business distributor CAE, Cegetel and manufacturing company, Tractel.

Charterhouse France was part of the Charterhouse Development Capital group. The UK division of the group carried out its own buyout last year and retains the right to use the name. The group’s original parent was Credit Commercial de France, which HSBC bought in July 2000, giving rise to the division of the private equity group. The French and UK operations invested from different funds, making it easy for them to spinout separately.