Siparex exceeds mid-market target

French private equity firm, Siparex, has closed its third mid-market buyout fund at €146 million, well above its €120 million target. The fund, launched in 2000, held a closing at €90 million in April 2002. It started investing in early 2001 and has already participated in 11 deals, investing €45 million. The largest single commitment (€6 million) was to Groupe Moria, which manufactures precision instruments for eye microsurgery.

Siparex SPF III Middle Market, which is managed by Sigefi Private Equity, will invest in a total of 25 to 30 French mid-market companies with revenues of between €15 million and €200 million. The fund succeeds Siparex SPF I, which raised €38 million in 1993 and has returned an IRR of over 30 per cent on its first 30 realisations. Siparex SPF II was launched in 1997; it raised €90 million and is now fully invested.

All three funds focus on expansion capital situations and buyouts, with the emphasis increasingly shifting to the latter. Only 13 per cent of the first fund’s capital was committed to buyout situations, while this portion rose to 40 per cent of the second fund and is expected to make up 70 per cent of the new fund’s investments.

These deals will be valued at between €10 million and €50 million for buyouts and less than €100 million for expansion finance. The fund will invest a minimum of €3.5 million per deal, but the group can contribute up to €15 million thanks to co-investments from other Sigefi funds.

The group manages capital totaling €788 million, 49 per cent of which is dedicated to expansion and buyout deals. Last year it invested €72.9 million in LBOs and expansion deals, this is a nine per cent increase on the amount invested in 2001.

International investors from Canada, Japan and Switzerland invested 26 per cent of the latest fund’s capital. Repeat Siparex investors committed 78 per cent.

Sigefi also invests outside of France through Siparex Croissance and Siparex Développement, which both invest a maximum of 15 per cent in other countries. The group recently appointed Stefano Zavattaro as senior investment manager in charge of a new Milan office and launching an initial expansion capital fund in association with the Italian financial group Finnat. He joins from GE Capital.