Private Equity Holding Increases Capital

Bank Vontobel & Co increased the capital of its fund-of-funds investment company Private Equity Holding AG (PEH) by CHFr 217 million via a private placement earlier this spring. The investment company, established during the spring of 1997, now has equity capital totalling CHFr 617 million (ecu 375 million).

Ulrich Geilinger of Bank Vontobel said that 70% of the new capital raised came from institutional investors, primarily Swiss, and the balance from private individuals, a ratio broadly in line with the overall composition of PEH.

In accordance with its aim of building “a broadly diversified and professionally managed” private equity portfolio focused on Western Europe, Private Equity Holding has to date made commitments of some CHFr 800 million. This figure includes CHFr 213 million committed to direct investments, which typically are undertaken in collaboration with partner funds or as part of pre-IPO funding rounds.

Venture funds currently comprise some 20% of PEH’s fund portfolio, buyout funds 40% and balanced funds the remainder. Ulrich Geilinger said groups backed by PEH include Apax, Atlas Venture, Candover, Doughty Hanson, Mercapital, Procuritas, Technologie- holding and TVM.

Discussing the current market conditions in Western Europe, Ulrich Geilinger said his personal view is that “all the private equity markets are too crowded at present – including Germany – and there is too much money about” but added “the critical factor for PEH is not the market, but the team”.

Despite competitive market conditions, PEH appears confident of a continuing flow of quality investment opportunities, the group is currently contemplating another stock market placing this autumn to raise a further CHFr 200-300 million.

PEH’s six-strong management team is headed by Urs Ehrisman and Ulrich Geilinger, reporting to Bank Vontobel head of corporate finance Hans-Peter Bachmann.