PE fund briefs, week of March 22, 2010

Littlejohn turnaround fund progressing nicely

Littlejohn & Co. is closing in on the target for a fund it launched a little more than a year ago.

The Greenwich, Conn.-based turnaround shop has raised about $800 million so far for Littlejohn Fund IV, which was launched in January 2009.

That figure is expected to jump to more than $1 billion by the end of the first quarter, according to a source with information about the matter, which would put the fund within reach of its $1.25 billion target and $1.35 billion hard cap. The firm will likely wrap up its fund-raising in the middle of the second quarter, said the source.

Littlejohn raised $850 million in 2006 for its predecessor fund.

Backers include the Employees Retirement System of Texas, the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System and the Virginia Retirement System.

Portfolio companies include Synchronous Aerospace Group, a maker of aircraft parts; CoActive Technologies, which makes electromechanical switches; Van Houtte, a coffee roaster and distributor; Clean Earth, a processor of contaminated soil; and Penda Corp., which makes automotive exterior trim and accessories. —Nancy Gordon

New mezz fund in Florida

Former partners of Gator Mezzanine Fund have launched the Florida Mezzanine Fund, with backing from CapitalSouth Partners of up to $450 million. The fund will invest from $500,000 up to $30 million in debt and equity in small and mid-sized Florida-based companies. The firm made two investments in tandem with its official launch, in Great HealthWorks Inc., a Ft. Lauderdale-based marketing and distribution company, and Association Financial Services, a Miami-based financial services company for condo and homeowner associations.

Elevar raises $70M

Elevar has raised $70 million for a “poverty-focused” growth equity fund focused on such underserved markets as India, Mexico, the Philippines and Peru. It will back microfinance institutions and other providers of essential services.

Sterling raises $820M

The Sterling Group has closed its third fund with $820 million in capital commitments. The Houston-based firm focuses on mid-market private equity opportunities. It closed its prior fund with $470 million in 2005.

Latin firm launches yuan fund
SinoLatin Capital, a Latin American natural resources private equity fund, has been approved by the Shanghai-Pudong Government to raise and manage an RMB-denominated private equity fund. The firm is the first only Latin America-focused firm to have been approved to manage RMB-denominated private equity funds in China.