Gilde increases investors for second BO fund

Dutch private equity firm, Gilde Investment Management has expanded its investor base for its second buyout fund, which raised E530 million. As with all of Gilde’s funds Rabobank, the Dutch bank, was the anchor investor but the number of limited partners in the fund totaled 25, compared to just four in the last fund. Other investors include international pension funds, insurance companies, fund-of-funds and banks. Geographically, the number of investors was evenly divided between the Netherlands, France and the US. Gilde’s last fund did not include any US investors but, with the help of Salomon Smith Barney as placement agent, the firm managed to secure commitments from seven American institutions before the events of September 11.

Gilde started raising the fund in July last year and held an initial closing of E400 million in January, mostly raised from sources Gilde partners had strong personal relationships with. In addition to the E470 committed by investors, the fund received E60 million when Norit, the Dutch purification company, was taken private and sold last year. Gilde’s last buyout fund, an evergreen vehicle, raised E364 million in 1997.

The fund started making investments last year and has already committed 40 per cent of the fund’s capital. It will be targeting mid-market European deals between E50 million and E300 million, aroundhalf of the investments are likely to be in the Netherlands with Germany and France also prominent. Investments include the acquisition of Soudronic, a manufacturer of turnkey systems for the metal packaging industry and of high technology laser welding equipment for the automotive industry, for CHF340 million, Royal Gazelle, bicycle manufacturer, for E142.5 million and the autoplastics division of Sapa for SEK1.22 billion.

In addition to the activities of Gilde’s buyout fund the company also invests in technology companies, food and agri-business start-ups and small Dutch LBOs.