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F&C Ventures in waiting

Rod Richards, managing director at F&C Ventures, notes that the soon-to-be-independent venture capital company is currently caught in a regulatory and administrative gap. Just days before Christmas an agreement setting F&C Ventures free of its parent company Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust plc, by way of a management buyout, was signed. The deal, in the offing for some time, was contingent upon the sale of Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust plc by its parent company, HypoVereinsbank to the Dutch insurance company Eureko BV.

Now that the agreement has been signed Richards expects it to complete towards the end of February. The regulatory and administrative gap is namely the wait for IMRO approval, something that is not expected to prove problematic on account of the fact that the management team remains the same, and administratively there is the issue of name changes. This is likely to affect F&C Ventures itself and that of Foreign & Colonial Enterprise Trust plc, which it manages.

On the third party fund side of the business namely FCV Capital Partners, which is currently investing Fund V, – Richards does not expect the institutional investors to be unduly concerned. Fund V was raised by the summer of 1999 for GBP185 million and has a four to five year horizon. It looks set to keep pretty much to this timeframe given that it is roughly 25 per cent invested 18 months into the life of the fund. The fund invests in mid market UK buyouts.

Having no immediate post buyout fund-raising requirement puts Richards and his 12-strong investment team (comprising six partners) in an enviable position. The newly independent operation can still be found in London’s Berkeley Square.