In brief firms and funds

CDC Group, the UK government-backed emerging markets private equity fund of funds, has committed US$20m (€15.36m) to Lombard Asia III, an Asian private equity fund managed by Lombard Investments. The Lombard Asia III fund has to date raised about US$200m (€153.7m). It will invest in rapidly growing companies in South-East Asia and Greater China, helping them expand domestically and throughout the region. Lombard Investments is an independent, international private equity investment firm with a 21-year track record in emerging Asian economies. The South-East Asia investment team is led by managing director Pote Videt, a former senior managing director of Goldman Sachs and CSFB, who has led mergers and acquisitions in the Asian region. The region has drawn an increasing level of attention from private equity groups in recent years. Total investment in private equity in Asia exceeded US$53bn (€40.7bn) in 2006. However, to date there has been limited fundraising for investment in South-East Asia. Commenting on the Lombard Asia III fund-raising, Thomas Smith, a managing director of Lombard, said: “Over the past 10 years, Lombard has been developing on-the-ground intelligence in emerging Asian markets, often overlooked by private equity investors, that are benefiting from strong intra-Asia trade. It is particularly notable that South-East Asia, a key focus of our new fund, reported a US$25bn (€19.2bn) trade surplus with China in 2005. Over the last 10 years, we have acquired substantial ownership interests in many well-established, market leading companies at low entry prices and have helped them outperform. We believe Lombard Asia III is well positioned to continue this strategy across the region.” Lombard began investing in Asia in 1996 and has made more than 50 investments in the region. Richard Laing, CDC chief executive, said: “Factors such as solid economic and corporate earnings growth and the shortage of providers of risk capital are creating some very attractive investment oportunities, especially in markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia .We are delighted to be investing in this fund with Lombard. The team’s knowledge and expertise in this region will be invaluable.”

  • Wendel Investissement has reported revenues of more than €5bn for 2006, representing an increase of 11%, with organic growth within the group’s subsidiaries increasing by 7% over the year. Construction group Bureau Veritas and French materials group Materis both performed well. The former reported a 12% increase in net sales to €1.85bn, with organic growth of 7% . Materis reported a net sales increase of 19% to €1.62bn and organic growth of 8%. These performances were offset, however, by a 2% decline at book publisher Editis, which recorded €754.9m in sales, and the Dutch oil subsidiary, which reported sales of €242.7m.