Hispania Capital Holds Close For Fund II At More Than Half Target

Firm: Hispania Capital Partners LLC

Fund: Hispania Private Equity II LP

Target: Between $150 million and $200 million

Amount Raised: $105 million

Hispania Capital Partners LLC is holding its own in the tough fundraising market. The Chicago-based firm, which invests in lower middle-market companies that serve the Hispanic population in both the United States and Puerto Rico, recently closed on $105 million in capital commitments for its second fund.

That puts the shop well on its way to its aim of securing between $150 million and $200 million in pledges for Hispania Private Equity II LP. Not bad considering the fund was launched in mid-October.

Returning investors include Verizon’s Pension Fund, the Municipal Employee’s Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago and the Public School Teachers’ Pension & Retirement of Chicago. A number of fund-of-funds investors are among the firm’s new limited partners, including Centinela Capital Partners, making a commitment on behalf of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System; Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group; and Fairview Capital Partners, investing on behalf of both the Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds and the New York City Employee Retirement System. Also, two funds of funds managed by Muller & Monroe Asset Management LLC made pledges.

Hispania Capital expects to hold a final close for the fund before the end of 2009. The firm was co-founded in February 2003 as a small business investment company by Carlos Signoret and Victor Maruri. It secured $125 million for debut fund Hispania Private Equity, which closed in May 2004, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Portfolio companies for Fund I include CSA Group Inc., a provider of engineering and other project delivery services headquartered in Miami; Eastern Research Services, a Philadelphia-based telephone data collection company; and NEPS LLC, a Salem, N.H., digital document software provider.

“We are pleased with the performance of our Fund I investments, including two successful exists which have returned over 50 percent of invested capital to date,” said co-founder Signoret, also a managing principal, in a statement accompanying news of the closing.

For Fund II, Hispania Capital plans to invest up to $20 million per platform deal. It’s looking to make both buyout and growth equity investments in companies with “compelling value propositions, proven management teams, positive cash flow and annual revenue in excess of $10 million,” according to its press release.

The firm believes its specialized approach provides some insulation from tough economic conditions.

“In what is an adverse macroeconomic environment, our investment thesis, which targets the non-cyclical drivers of U.S. Hispanic business growth, and our investment strategy, which is not dependent on favorable credit markets, position HCP to provide attractive returns to our investors,” said co-founder and managing principal Maruri in the statement.