news in brief

NBGI Private Equity, a UK mid-market subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece, has held a £62.5m (€92.1m) first close of its second fund, which has a target of £100m (€147.3m). NBGI said the bank, which was sole investor in its €100m 2000-vintage debut vehicle, has already underwritten the full amount, but the firm is in talks to raise the remainder from third party investors. Six of Fund I’s 13 investments have been exited to date, realising an overall gross IRR of 76% and a cumulative money multiple of 6.9 times, or 2.5 times total cash invested in all 13 deals. Disposals include the £135m IPO of Superglass, the £50m secondary buyout of Nationwide Autocentres and the £22m sale of Brambles Foods to Duke Street Capital’s Food Partners.

• Ed Truell’s Pension Corporation Investments (PCI) has announced impressive results for two pension schemes acquired from Terra Firma Capital Partners in June. Despite market volatility, Threshers’ pension scheme has moved from a £24m (€35.4m) deficit to a £10m surplus, as well as growing the £1.17bn assets of the Thorn pension scheme by 1.1%. Shortly after acquisition, PCI said that it moved Thresher’s First Quench Pension Scheme into surplus by transferring £32m of cash from Thresher’s balance sheet into an escrow account. The scheme’s 60% investment in stocks were sold and moved into absolute return assets, while four experienced trustees were also appointed. “We’ve avoided both the credit markets and equity positions at a time of market de-risking, and so we’ve been able to transform both the risk and funding profile of the scheme,” said Truell.

Blackstone reported increases in income and revenues in its first quarterly report as a listed entity, with second quarter net income of US$774.4m (€568.5m), up from US$224.1m in Q2 2006, and revenue increase to US$975.3m, compared to US$324.6m in the quarter last year. The group said the figures were the result of strong growth in all four business segments: corporate private equity; real estate, which increased revenues to US$1.1bn from US$275.7m in the period in 2006; marketable alternative asset management, up from US$121.6m to US$324.9m; and financial advisory, which saw revenues grow from US$122.8m to US192.8m. Blackstone raised US$4.1bn in a flotation in late June, but has been trading below an opening price of US$31 a share ever since.

• Partners Group, a Swiss alternative asset manager, has increased net profits for the first half of 2007 by 72% to Sfr107.5m (€65.7m) and grown its assets under management by 61%, or Sfr4.7bn, to Sfr22bn (US$18.3bn). The increase in assets resulted in net revenues of Sfr146.7m. Partners Group, which floated on the Swiss stock exchange last March with a market cap of Sfr2.24bn, said approximately 91% of revenues were driven by management fees on investment products, supplemented by additional income from organisational fees and performance fees. Assets under management are expected to approach Sfr30bn by the end of 2008.