• TCR Capital, a French buyout firm focused on the lower middle markets, has closed its third fund with more than €160m in capital commitments. TCR invests in smaller French companies, typically with enterprise values between €30m and €100m, in various sectors including business-to-business services, specialised distribution, leisure and niche manufacturing sectors.
Two investments have already been made from the new fund: Locatel and Holding trophy. TCR Capital Partners III is the successor to FCPR TCR Industrial Partners (TCR II), which closed in 2003. TCR II is fully committed with six investments in the French mid-markets.
• PPM Capital, the European private equity firm spun out of parent company Prudential PLC in November 2007, has changed its name to Silverfleet Capital. Prudential finalised the sale of its captive private equity arm to its existing management team last year after two years of negotiations.
Silverfleet currently has 11 companies in its portfolio, including department store chain TJ Hughes; medical device sterilisation company Sterigenics International Inc; management and administrative service provider TMF; and dental products distributor European Dental Partners. It has offices in London, Munich, Paris and Chicago. Silverfleet Capital remains responsible for managing about €700m of private equity investments on behalf of Prudential’s UK Life Fund alongside a newly raised independent fund.
• After seven months of fund-raising Vermeer Capital, a new French turnaround firm focused on small and mid-sized companies, has held a €75m first close on its debut fund. A final close on €90m is expected within the next three months.
Vermeer Capital invests in small and medium-sized French companies in turnaround situations (loss-making businesses, distressed LBOs, shareholders conflicts, etc.). The fund will only take majority positions in its target companies and aims to be an investor with hands-on involvement in the turnaround process (crisis management, difficult negotiations, re-motivation of teams, etc.).
The management team includes Jean-Louis Detry, president and founder of Vermeer Capital, who has led several successful turnarounds including Disques Vogue (first independent French record company), and Datacine Group (cinema post-production industries bought-out from Vivendi Universal). He recently led the turnaround of Leon de Bruxelles, a French chain of restaurants, whose value has increased 11-fold in five years. Michel Bon is a senior partner and a member of the investment committee. He is the former CEO of France Telecom and has also been CEO of Carrefour as well as the Caisse Nationale arm of Credit Agricole.
• HarbourVest Partners is targeting US$2bn for a dedicated secondaries fund, according to regulatory filings. Called Dover Street VII, the vehicle had already secured more than US$940m in commitments as of February. Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank Securities and Lehman Brothers are serving as placement agents.
HarbourVest has traditionally made secondary deals through both its Dover Street and general fund-of-funds vehicles, but LBO wire reports that it plans to shift towards only doing secondaries from Dover Street.
• Credit Suisse last week reported its first quarterly loss since 2003, with results that were much worse than had been expected. In leveraged finance, the bank wrote down SFr1.7bn in the quarter, up from SFr0.8bn for full year 2007. Its exposures now stand at SFr20.8bn, down 41% from SFr35.1bn at the end of the year.