Funds in brief top news

UK buyout house Cinven has closed its fourth fund at €6.5bn. The fund was raised in six months according to the firm, and was heavily oversubscribed. It received commitments from over 100 institutions, with more than 90% of the investors in Cinven’s third fund, a €4.4bn vehicle raised in 2002, returning for Cinven IV.

Cinven III has only made three exits to date: Fitness First, the UK gym chain that was sold to BC Partners for an enterprise value of €1.2bn in September 2005; NCP, the UK car parking business that was sold to 3i for £555m, generating a return of around 3x in July 2005; and Unique Pubs, which it sold to Enterprise Inns earning a 2x return.

Despite only three realisations, out of a total of 18, Cinven had returned almost 100% of invested capital to investors by the end of last year. Cinven was superceded in its fund raising efforts however by Permira closed its latest fund at just over €10bn.

  • Crédit Agricole Private Equity has launched two new funds focusing on renewable energy and infrastructure. Capenergie is apparently the first venture fund focused solely on renewables, and has €100m to invest in companies such as specialized developers, promoters, equipment suppliers and operators. The Credit Agricole group committed €80m to the fund, with the remainder raised from third party investors. The second fund is a €400m vehicle called Meridiam Infrastructure, which will specialise in equity and quasi-equity financing for infrastructures financed by private-public partnerships. Crédit Agricole Private Equity has also announced it is to discontinue two funds: CACI 2 (focussed on later-stage financing and LBO) and Mezzanis 2 (mezzanine) funds, in July 2006.
  • Argos Soditic has exceeded the €250m target of its fifth fundraising at second close reaching €26m. Euroknights V is almost twice the size of its predecessor fund and will focus on mid-market investments in continental Europe.
  • Partners Group has reached a final closing for its most recent fund-of-funds Partners Group European Buyout 2005 (B) at €279m. The fund will focus exclusively on European small- and mid-cap buyout partnerships and direct investments. Partners Group European Buyout 2005 (B) has already committed €114m to nine leading European buyout funds.
  • Babson Capital Europe has closed its first Mezzanine Fund, Almack Mezzanine I, at €800m. Babson Capital Europe has over €4.5bn under management in senior secured and mezzanine loans. The investment strategy of the Fund will be targeted at both large and mid-market mezzanine investments in the UK and Continental European markets.