PE fund briefs, week of Nov. 23, 2009

Lender nears close on inaugural mezz fund

Maranon Capital is gaining ground on the $250 million target it set for its inaugural mezzanine fund, and the firm expects to hold a final close sometime next month, according to a source familiar with the situation.

As of mid-November, Maranon Mezzanine Fund has raised about $170 million in dry powder.

Counting verbal commitments (expressions of interest from limited partners that have not yet made formal pledges), the fund has just under $200 million in the hopper.

“Not too shabby in today’s tight market for a spin-out fund,” said the source.

The Chicago-based lender, which boasts a deep bench of ex-American Capital Strategies professionals, will blend the capital from its new sub-debt fund with its existing $350 million senior debt pool, allowing it to provide one-stop financing packages to lower mid-market companies.

Recent commitments to the new mezzanine fund include a $30 million slug from the Arizona State Retirement System, a $25 million pledge from the Illinois Teachers Retirement System and $7 million from Capricorn Investment Group. American National Insurance Co. is also an investor in the fund.

Mallory Capital Group is serving as placement agent.

Maranon Capital has been raising its inaugural mezzanine pool for about 18 months, and it’s expected that about 25% of the vehicle’s dry powder will already be deployed by the fund’s anticipated December close, the source said. —Ari Nathanson

CIMB Standard plans new Southeast Asia fund, Turkey office

CIMB Standard next year plans to raise $300 million for a new Southeast Asia infrastructure fun, and increase the target size of its Islamic infrastructure fund to $500 million.

The firm, which is owned by South Africa’s Standard Bank and Malaysia’s CIMB, also expects to open new offices in Indonesia and Turkey.

“We are already putting people in place,” Johan Bastin, Singapore-based CEO, told Reuters in an interview.

“How we market ourselves is that we are Asia but not China and India. A lot of LPs (investors) are overextended in China and India and we see ourselves as a nice complement to their existing portfolios,” he says.

CIMB Standard, which has offices in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, currently manages about $490 million in assets, including a $150 million Southeast Asia infrastructure fund and a $262 million Islamic infrastructure fund backed by the Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank. —Kevin Lim, Reuters

TPG offers to cut fund size

TPG Capital is offering investors the opportunity to reduce the size of their commitments to TPG Financial Partners, a source familiar with the situation said last week.

Investors can reduce their commitments to the fund to $2.5 billion, the source said, from an original size of $6 billion. TPG previously reduced the size of the fund to $4.6 billion in January.

The Financial Times earlier reported the news.

The reduction was not requested by limited partners, but was an effort to help their allocation pressures, the source said.

Such investors were hard hit by the financial crisis, and some found that the fall in value of their equity holdings left them overexposed to private equity as an asset class.

The source said the reduction offered was also to better size the fund for available opportunities. —Megan Davies, Reuters

Birch Hill tops $400M

Birch Hill Equity Partners has raised more than $402 million toward its fourth fund, according to LBO Wire. The Toronto-based buyout firm is targeting about $800 million for the effort.

Shannon Advisors is serving as Birch Hill’s placement agent.