LP corner, week of June 29, 2009

Maine plunges into PE

The Maine Public Employees Retirement System recently approved a pledge of $30 million to Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners VII. The placement is Maine’s first private equity commitment, said CIO Andrew Sawyer.

The state pension fund’s private equity program, established last year, has a 5% target allocation. For this year, the LP will likely commit between $165 million and $200 million, Sawyer said. The intent is to invest across a broad array of strategies, including buyouts, venture capital, distressed and mezzanine funds. It will be allocated based on market conditions and the transactions that the LP sees in the marketplace, said Sawyer. He hopes to reach the target allocation in three to four years.

In March, Maine hired Cliffwater to provide private equity investment consulting services. Sawyer came on board in February 2008 and created the state’s private equity program.

Hellman & Friedman will make 10 to 15 investments through fund VII in financial services, media, software, business services, health care, energy and industrial companies. The San Francisco-based firm has a $10 billion target for the vehicle. —Nancy Gordon

Philly pledges $10M

The City of Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement recently approved a $10 million investment to TA Associates’ TA XI, marking the limited partner’s first investment with the firm.

The $3.2 billion retirement fund currently plans on committing $40 million in 2009, said CIO Christopher McDonough.

The city pension fund’s actual allocation to private equity stands at about 11.5%, with a target allocation of 12 percent. Pledges made last year include those to Altaris Healthcare Partners II ($20 million); Blackstone Capital Partners VI ($20 million); Levine Leichtman Capital Partners IV ($25 million); and Riverside Capital Appreciation Fund V ($20 million).

The LP began committing to private equity in 1991.

Boston-based TA Associates intends to raise $3.5 billion for its 11th fund, which will be used to make equity investments of between $60 million and $350 million. —Nancy Gordon

European FoF raises $1B

LODH Private Equity AG, a subsidiary of Swiss private bank Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, has closed its European fund-of-funds Euro Choice IV with about $1 billion in pledges.

The firm invests in buyout and growth capital funds in Western and Eastern Europe. Regula Mori, director of marketing and investor relations, said the firm has The firm has already committed to seven funds, but he declined to disclose the names of the funds.

In late 2006, LODH raised about $690 million for its third fund-of-funds. Dutch pension fund Stichting Nedlloyd Pensioenfonds and Dancap Bank invested in fund III.—Nancy Gordon