VCs eye Russian opportunities

Each partner is planning to invest about €10m per year in medium-sized Russian companies operating in fast-growing economic sectors.

This move fits in with KBC Private Equity’s strategy of expanding its private equity activities in Central and Eastern Europe. After the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and, recently, Romania, this move will help it get off the ground quickly in Russia, where it can call on the experience and presence of Absolut Bank, which was acquired by KBC Group NV last year.

For GIMV, the partnership is a follow-up to the Eagle Russia Fund it launched in 2006. Through its majority shareholding in Eagle Venture Partners, the management company of the ERF and other funds, GIMV has been active in Russia since 1996. Since then, the team has invested US$104m in 31 projects.

Based on current market opportunities, GIMV and KBC Private Equity expect to invest around €30m each over the next three years. The investment involved will be taken directly onto their balance sheets on a 50/50 basis.