Firms and funds in brief

  • Japanese institutional investors are set to triple their allocations to private equity in the next two to five years, according to latest research from Swiss fund of funds manager Adveq. Some 25.2% of Japanese institutions current invest in the asset class, the majority of which began after 2000. More than half currently allocate less than 1% to private equity, but those allocating up to 5% will double from 14.3% to 28.6% in the next two to five years, while those committing up to 10% will increase from 2.9% to 8.6%. To date, 67.3% has been directed at the domestic Japanese market, but the target allocation to Asia is expected to rise by 2.5% and that for the US and Europe for by 1.4% in the next two to five years.
  • European mid-market firm Baird Capital Partners Europe has partnered with globalisation-focused advisory business Tholons in Bangalore, India to provide its portfolio companies with on the ground support and expertise, including partnerships with third parties and distribution of products and services within the domestic Indian market. A senior adviser at Tholons will work exclusively with Baird portfolio companies, particularly those in the business services sector. Baird already has operations in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, with a team of 20 operating professionals focused on portfolio companies. Baird companies with a presence in India include Cerillion, which provides business support systems to telecom providers. There are no current plans to invest in Indian companies.
  • Endless, the buyout and turnaround fund focused on UK-headquartered businesses, is to open up a new office in Birmingham and has recruited Nick Leitch to the position of investment director to lead the office. The office, which is due to open in March 2007, will serve UK corporates in the Midlands and will follow the business model Endless has deployed in Leeds and Manchester. The office will focus on businesses that to date have suffered from a substantial lack of investment. Leitch, who previously led Ernst & Young’s asset-based lending (ABL) team, is due to start his role in Birmingham on March 12. Garry Wilson, a partner at Endless, said: “We have long known there was considerable opportunity to make dramatic positive changes to companies in the North of England, and very similar considerations have shaped our thinking in respect of the Midlands. We are delighted, therefore, to be announcing the opening of an office in Birmingham and to have secured Nick Leitch to lead this crucial endeavour.” Endless is looking for further expansion opportunities and will open an office in London in the second half of 2007. Endless is a private investment vehicle that supports UK-headquartered buyouts and turnarounds with equity and debt injections. It was set up by former Andersen and Ernst & Young advisers Garry Wilson and Darren Forshaw in December 2005.