Standard Life reaches ?892m

Standard Life Investments has reached a third close on European Strategic Partners II (ESPII) at €892m. The fund is aiming for a final close later in the year at €1bn. The third close brings a further €153m from North American, Scandinavian and UK clients. These commitments are in addition to those previously secured from UK and European corporate and local pension schemes and Middle Eastern investors – see EVCJ October 2002, page 8.

The capital raised exceeds the total €868m raised by its predecessor fund European Strategic Partners (ESP) in October 2000. The third close of ESP II brings total private equity assets under management at Standard Life Investments to over €2bn.

Over €200m has already been committed on behalf of ESPII to funds including Barclays Private Equity European Fund, Charterhouse Capital Partners VII, Graphite Capital VI, the Italian Private Equity Fund IV, CapVis II, Altor 2003 and Permira Europe III.

Investors in ESP II will benefit from a dual offering and have the choice of participating in either a partnership made up exclusively of private equity funds or a partnership consisting of at least 70 per cent private equity funds and 30 per cent direct investment opportunities.

Jonny Maxwell, chief executive of Standard Life Investments, said: “It’s a tough fund raising environment, but our pipeline of prospective investors is strong and we hope to have a further closing later in the year. The investment selection process is ongoing and I believe future investments will be as compelling as those made so far. Our co-investment programme is ongoing and deal flow is strong with two transactions already in the portfolio. It’s a great market for buying private equity deals.”