LP corner, week of Aug, 2, 2010

Illinois TRS to commit up to $1.1B

The Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois intends to commit between $700 million and $1.1 billion to private equity over the course of its new fiscal year, and may also sell some interests in older funds, according to the pension’s new tactical plan. The pension fund’s fiscal year began July 1.

Should it even hit the low end of its target commitment range, the $34 billion pension fund will have reached its target allocation to the asset class of 10 percent. The actual allocation now stands at 8 percent.

Areas of special interest include North American small and mid-market, sector-focused buyout funds; global corporate finance funds, especially those operating in Europe and Asia; and opportunistic direct co-investments.

The pension fund is searching for an adviser to help run the co-investment program, which will likely account for about 10% of the limited partner’s total annual private equity commitments.

Spokesperson Dave Urbanek added that between 12 and 16 commitments will be made with the $700 million to $1.1 billion.

In addition, the LP recently announced a $75 million commitment to Energy Investors Funds’ United States Power Fund IV, earmarked for investments in the power and electric utility industry, and an additional $50 million to Blackstone/GSO Capital Solutions Fund, a distressed debt fund, bringing the total pledge to that fund to $150 million.

In other news, the pension re-hired PCG Asset Management as its private equity consultant, a role it has held since 2007. PCG beat out six other firms for the spot. —Nancy Gordon

Colorado pension pledges to four

The Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado recently pledged nearly $60 million to several private equity strategies, including international, distressed and small to mid-market buyout funds, as the limited partner approaches its target for the asset class.

The $2.9 billion plan sponsor’s actual allocation to private equity stands at 13%, just below its target allocation of 14%, according to CIO J. Scott Simon.

Netherlands-based Gilde Buy Out Partners received a slug of €11 million ($13.4 million) for its fourth fund, earmarked for mid-market deals in Western Europe. Gilde Buy-Out Fund IV closed on June 30 with €800 million ($1.04 billion).

Elsewhere, Hong Kong-based SAIF Partners received a pledge of $10 million for its fourth fund, earmarked for growth equity and buyout deals in China and India. The vehicle is reportedly nearing a close with $1.25 billion.

In the distressed arena, the state pension fund committed $15 million to H.I.G. Bayside Loan Opportunity Fund II, earmarked for distressed loan investments. Bayside Capital, an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, buys bank and public debt, including senior bank debt, junior secured debt, mezzanine debt and bonds. The firm is seeking $1 billion for the vehicle, according to a May regulatory document.

And on the buyout front, the pension pledged $20 million to J.H. Whitney & Co.’s J.H. Whitney VII, which will be used for investments in U.S.-based small and mid-sized companies with strong growth prospects. The firm is seeking $800 million, according to a regulatory filing. —Nancy Gordon