Duke Street seeks Iberian deals

Duke Street Capital Group has set up Iberduke Capital Partners. The Madrid-based private equity business is raising its maiden fund with a target of EURO120 million, which is expected to close by year-end.

Iberduke Participaciones has completed its first close at EURO80 million and is focusing on mid-market buyouts with an average enterprise value of EURO30 million to EURO300 million. Duke

Street owns a 51 per cent stake in Iberduke. Finpro, the firm’s partner in Portugal, is also a shareholder in the venture. The fund is intended as the first of several to be managed

by Iberduke.

Iberduke will be targeting the leisure, media and content, business support services and diversified industrial areas sectors in which Duke Street has an established track record across Europe.

The fund will be making a select number of acquisitions, probably only between two and four from its first fund. It will focus on businesses with the potential to establish leading market positions not only in the Iberian market, but also across Europe.

The management team will also hold an equity stake in the fund. Former managing director of Inversiones Ibersuizas, Robert Warfield is heading the management team and will be supported by Margarita Garcia who was previously a private equity analyst at Ibersuizas. Antonio Regalado and Miguel Gimenez will support the team in transaction origination and execution. Both are co-founders of Altava, a Madrid-based corporate finance boutique and direct investments firm. Director Patrick Maxwell and associate director Colin Curvey will also be involved in Iberduke’s activities working from Duke Street’s Spanish desk in London.

The benefits of the Iberduke structure, says Robert Warfield, is that it combines the benefits of an experienced team on the ground in Madrid with the support of a leading pan-European private equity institution.

Iberduke is Duke Street’s first subsidiary out of the UK, but says Patrick Maxwell, the fact that the fund has been set up as a subsidiary is not all that relevant. The main reason he states is that the only way of tackling the Iberian market is by having a team on the ground. He adds: “We have a core strategy in place whereby Duke Street is looking to cover three core continental European markets France Germany and the Iberian region.”

As far as fitting in with Duke Street’s growing debt business is concerned, Maxwell says the main focus in the Iberian market is private equity. “The two are technically quite separate. The debt business will remain a London-based business, although it is possible that deals will arise from our contacts in the Iberian region,” he said.

Duke Street is one of many making the most of opportunities in the growing Iberian private equity market. Earlier this year, Carlyle set up in Spain and is still on the look out for its Spanish mega deal. And 3i, who has been present on the Spanish scene for a number of years, has recently opened an office in Lisbon, Portugal.

Spanish private equity investments continue to rise, according to the Spanish venture capital association, ASCRI.

For the first six months of the year, EURO597 million was committed with the number of investments also up reaching 197 transactions.