Arcis closes €175m secondaries fund

The Paris-headquartered European secondaries investor has announced the final closing of its third fund to focus exclusively on Europe.

Arcis Group, the European private equity secondaries fund manager, has announced the final closing of its ESD Fund III at €175 million ($212 million).

The fund, which held an initial closing in February 2003, is the third of the group’s vehicles to focus exclusively on the European market. At present, it is 10 percent invested.

With equal backing from US and European investors, Arcis also attracted a similar ratio of new versus existing investors. The new fund closed at almost twice the level of Arcis’ previous vehicle.

In a statement, Mark Burch, a London-based partner at the firm, said that the current environment represented an opportunity for specialist secondaries investors like Arcis that have “a strong European presence and expertise focussed on European private equity assets”.  Arcis has offices in Paris and London.

Market sources indicate that there is still considerable demand in the marketplace for secondary funds, despite the fact that significant amounts of capital have been raised for the strategy recently. In late 2002, London-based Coller Capital closed a $2.5 billion (€2.1 billion) secondaries fund, the largest such structure ever assembled. Multi-billion vehicles raised by Lexington Partners and CSFB Private Equity followed.

Last month, AXA Private Equity closed its Fund of Funds II on €250 million which target private equity secondaries. In late 2003, Swiss private equity manager Partners Group held an interim closing for its debut secondary fund on €90 million.

Founded in 1993 by Arnaud Isnard, managing partner, Arcis is one of the pioneers of the secondaries investment marketplace in Europe and in the US, where the firm is an adviser to VCFA Group.