Advantage Capital past first closing

The new UK private equity house, backed by Lloyds TSB Development Capital, has raised £10m for a mid market buyout fund.

Advantage Capital, the London-based private equity firm set up in 2001, has announced the first closing of its debt private equity fund at £10m (E16m).

The firm, founded by Trevor Jones, a former Gresham Trust executive, and Martin Bodenham, a corporate finance specialist and former partner at KPMG and Ernst and Young, said over 20 investors have signed up to the fund. The investor base includes institutions as well as high net worth individuals.

Targeting UK buyouts with a transaction value of up to £30m, the fund is looking to specialise in what the firm calls “difficult deals with real merit”. These may include investments in companies that operate in unpopular sectors or involve newly configured businesses whose trading history is too short to be particularly meaningful. According to a statement issued to date, “Advantage Capital will adopt a non-herd approach to investing and will consider each deal on its underlying merits. Management will always be key.”

Lloyds TSB Development Capital has contributed 25 per cent of the commitment received to date. The firm has signalled its interest in investing alongside Advantage, thus affording the firm access to a larger amounts of equity if necessary.

Looking for a total of £40m, the fund is expected to remain open until the summer of 2002. Advantage said interest in the fund was strong at a time when many other private equity firms were retrenching.