ISIS Equity Partners III nears target

ISIS Equity Partners has announced the second close of its current fund at £143 million, with a commitment of a further £7 million expected shortly. ISIS Equity Partners III was launched in September last year and held a first close at the end of the year. ISIS hopes to reach the ultimate target of £175 million by the end of 2003.

This fund succeeds the ISIS Investment Plan, a series of annual limited partnerships, which raised £159 million and were invested between 1999 and 2002. According to Wol Kolade, managing director of ISIS Equity Partners, this move to a more standard 10-year investment vehicle reflects the increasing confidence ISIS’s investors have in the firm. Commitments to the fund have come from the group’s parent, Friends Provident, as well as a local authority pension fund, an overseas insurance company and an investment trust. Further fund raising activity will target new investors as ISIS seeks to extend its investor base.

The firm’s focus is UK-based companies with enterprise values of between £5 million and £50 million. ISIS invests between £3 million and £20 million in situations including buyouts, buy-ins, expansion, acquisitions, shareholder restructuring and some earlier stage opportunities. Its favoured sectors are business services, consumer markets, healthcare, IT and media. ISIS Equity Partners also manages six venture capital trusts.

Kolade said: “We are delighted with the vote of confidence that our clients have given us in the current difficult climate. We believe that the depressed IPO markets and the uncertain corporate environment provide an excellent backdrop for making investments in high quality mid-market companies.”

In addition to its London and Birmingham offices, ISIS Equity Partners has recently opened a Manchester office and also plans to extend its activities to Reading shortly. Wol Kalade and Mark Advani head the team of 17 investment professionals. Macfarlanes is advising on the fund raising.