RBPE continues to grow

After a year of gradual building the team at Royal Bank Private Equity is not far from completion in London, Paris – to be led by Jean-Marc Barrabes – is on track, the only hole being Germany. While no third party fund raising is on the cards, its co-investment arrangements are currently under review.

Mark Nicholls, who leads Royal Bank Private Equity, joined the Royal Bank in 1996 and Mark Farazmand in 1994. Together they have spent much of this year organically growing the team. Acquisitive growth was considered in the early days but rejected in favour of organic growth so that integration and cultural issues would not hamper the business.

The line up of directors now looks like this:

Mark Nicholls, managing director, located in London. David Giffin, deputy managing director, located in Scotland and ex-MD of Bank of Scotland’s structured finance group.

He heads European expansion at RBPE. Tim Farazmand, director, located in London, (the office which he heads) and is ex-3i. Henry Gregson, director, located in London and

ex-Phildrew Ventures. Paul Isaacs, director, located in London and ex-NatWest Equity Partners. Andy Macfie, director, located in Scotland and ex-Morgan Grenfell Private Equity. He heads RBPE’s cross border team. Simon Peckham, director, located in London and

ex-Wassall plc where he was corporate development director.

Jean-Marc Barrabes, director, located in Paris, initially started with Royal Bank Acquisition Finance in Paris a year ago.

A German office for the team is still near the top of David Giffin’s to do list with the priority placed on finding the right candidate to run the office before any team members are recruited. While the recruitment process has continued those on board have put GBP500 million of the banks’ money to work so far this year. This includes support for two public-to-private deals – Doncasters and Cannons – and in May the acquisition of Meridien Hotels, alongside Nomura Principal Finance.

While there are no plans to raise third party funds Tim Farazmand is in talks with three or four institutions about co-investment arrangements along the lines of that already in place with Parallel Ventures. Given the growth in the size of deal in which the team is interested – GBP20 million/ GBP50 million up to GBP300 million or more at a stretch, it’s not surprising that RBPE should wish for its co-investment agreements to have a sizeable stake in the businesses that it buys. Parallel Ventures invests around GBP250 million per annum and has co-investment agreements with 3i, Barclays Private Equity, Acland, Equivest (France), and Emerald (Italy) and a Spanish firm as well as RBPE.