21 Centrale eyes first close on Fund V – Exclusive

The French branch of 21 Partners has announced an ‘evolution’ in its governance structure.

21 Centrale Partners, the French branch of 21 Partners, is set to hold a first close on its fifth fund on between €120 million and €150 million, Private Equity International has learned.

The first close will take place in early spring, and will coincide with the fund’s first deal, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

21 Centrale Partners V, which has been in market since early 2016 according to PEI data, is targeting €400 million.

Investors in the firm’s previous fund, the 2009-vintage €380 million 21 Centrale Partners IV, include French pension fund Caisse de prévoyance des agents de la Sécurité Sociale et assimilés, according to PEI data.

This week 21 Centrale announced changes to its governance structure. Managing partner François Barbier has been appointed deputy general manager to chairman Gérard Pluvinet in anticipation of taking over Pluvinet’s role in early 2019. At that point, Pluvinet is expected to join the firm’s advisory board.

As part of the changes, managing partner Jacques Rossignol, who has been with the firm since 2008 and in his current role since 2014, will leave the firm at the end of March.

A source familiar with the matter told PEI that Rossignol would be joining French private equity house Alpha Group.

Barbier will be responsible for implementing the firm’s investment strategy through its fifth fund. 21 Centrale’s investment committee now consists of Pluvinet, Barbier, Stéphane Perriquet, Fabrice Voituron and Antoine Vigneron. Voituron and Vigneron were promoted to partner last September.

21 Partners runs two other country-specific programmes: the 21 Investimenti funds in Italy and the 21 Concordia funds in Poland.

In February 2016 21 Investimenti reached a final close on its third vehicle on its €343 million hard-cap, as reported by PEI. 21 Investimenti III launched in 2015 with a target of €300 million and held a first close in February 2015 on €220 million.

In September 2015 21 Concordia held a final close on its debut fund on its €100 million target, as reported by PEI. The fund includes a GP commitment of €1 million from the four managing partners, and has two cornerstone investors: the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Fund (EIF). The fund is also backed by Polish state-owned bank Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), which has set up a fund of funds to invest in SMEs through private equity funds, as reported by PEI.