PRICOA bows out of PE

PRICOA has decided to cease private equity investing to concentrate on its debt financing products. The group has integrated its European operations into the US division, Prudential Capital headed by Matthew Chanin, and Marie Fioramonti is managing director responsible for international investment activities.

Rumours that changes were afoot started last year after PRICOA shut down its Paris office and since then the European team has dispersed. The firm’s second fund PRICOA Private Capital Partners II, a €540 million pan European mezzanine and private equity fund which closed in October 2000, failed to live up to expectations and most of the European team based in London and Frankfurt have left following rumoured disagreements on the restructuring. Managing director Bruno Wanske left last year and former PRICOA director Rolf Brien has since joined rival Mezzanine Management.

Marie Fioramonti, managing director responsible for the international investment activities of PRICOA Capital Group, says it will continue as both a debt and mezzanine provider in Europe and still has a team of 16 in London (that covers UK and France), and three in Frankfurt (covering Germany and surrounding countries). There is also a team of six in Chicago managing investments in non-European/US territories.

Fioramonti envisages the European business growing substantially and PRICOA is in the process of adding to the team. The Paris office closed two years ago when PRICOA was going through some territory restructuring, but Fioramonti says it will reopen at some point in the future.

The group manages an international portfolio of $3.5 billion – of this amount around 20 per cent is dedicated to mezzanine. A new fund is definitely something the group is considering, but not in the immediate future, says Fioramonti.

As far the European portfolio is concerned, the group is continuing to manage portfolio companies, but will not be making any more private equity investments although it will still consider a private equity investment in conjunction with a mezzanine investment. The group has allocated a small amount of its €540 million fund to follow-on investments.