Italian insurance giant launches €615m fund

Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali has launched a new private equity firm aimed at investments in Central and Eastern Europe.

Established in late 2008, PPF Partners’ maiden fund officially launched in June with a fund of €615m raised from Generali and PPF Group, a Dutch financial group owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner.

Headquartered in Guernsey and with an office in Prague, the six-strong team has already made a number of investments in the waste management, oil and gas, leisure and media industries in the Czech Republic, Romania and Ukraine. These investments were acquired from predecessor firm PPF Investments, which was owned by PPF Partners’ chairman and CEO, Tomáš Brzobohatý.

Brzobohatý heads the new firm with president and chief financial officer Mel Carvill

Carvill said: “PPF Partners’ aim is to deliver outstanding value to shareholders and investors by partnering over the long-term with the most promising businesses, helping management improve strategic positioning and operational performance.”

The firm, which is 72.5% owned by PPF Group and 27.5% held by Generali, will open up further investment opportunities to external investors and hopes to expand to €5bn in assets under management within five years.

Brzobohatý’s was previously the controlling shareholder and chairman of PPF Investments, a Central and Eastern European fund which has sold some of its assets to PPF Partners. Prior to this, Brzobohatý was responsible for the corporate finance, private equity, real estate and investment banking divisions of the wider PPF Group.

Carvill comes from Generali where he was regional head of Western Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, and responsible for the group’s M&A activities, the research & corporate development office and international regulatory affairs.

The two are joined by Ladislav Chvátal, Marek Herold, Ivo Nejdl and Miroslav Nosál.

Giovanni Perissinotto, Assicurazioni Generali co-chief executive, said: “This new venture with our colleagues at PPF is consistent with our business plan objectives to reinforce this asset class. The current market dislocation is providing a broad range of business opportunities as asset values have fallen and a shortage of liquidity is creating difficulty for other acquirers. Even in difficult times there are interesting opportunities to create value for the Group.”