AG Insurance buys into Gimv growth fund

The Belgian insurance company has invested €65m in Gimv’s “XL” fund, which closed on €609m in 2010 and has deployed close to half of its capital.

AG Insurance has invested €65 million in European mid-market firm Gimv’s “XL” fund, which invests in businesses located in Flanders, the Northern region of Belgium.

By investing in the fund, which closed on €609 million in 2010, AG will acquire part of the commitment and existing investment of VPM, an independent organisation owned by the Flemish government that supports economic investment in Flanders. VPM was an original cornerstone investor in the fund in 2009, having invested €250 million.

Gimv was also a cornerstone investor in its own fund, having committed €250 million at the same time as VPM. After securing €500 million, investors including Dexia Insurance Belgium and BNP Paribas Fortis’ private equity investment arm brought the total to €609 million. These LPs join insurance company Ethias, financial services company ING Belgium and a group of high net worth individuals who invested in the fund via an investment company set up by BNP Paribas Fortis’ private banking arm.

“This investment fits perfectly with AG Insurance’s investment policy to devote more resources to the Belgian economy,” AG Insurance chief executive officer Antonio Cano said in a statement. “In Gimv we have found a partner looking for long-term investments in local growth companies just like us.”

The Gimv-XL fund invests in businesses with an enterprise value of between €75 million and €750 million in Flanders, and aims to make between 10 and 15 investments of up to €100 million in healthy businesses with the potential to expand their operations beyond the Flanders region.

The fund has a 14-year maximum life span and has already invested close to half of the fund in businesses including renewable energy company Electrawinds, food business Vandemoortele and video production company XL Video.

AG Insurance and Gimv were unavailable for comment at press time.