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Ardian secondaries transactions hit $4.8bn in 2016

The investment firm's latest secondaries vehicle is 35% invested, according to its annual report. Here are the key figures for the firm's 2016 activity.

Ardian completed 18 secondaries transactions last totalling $4.8 billion last year, according to the investment firm's annual report released in early July.

There were seven private equity, four infrastructure and seven early secondaries transactions, the report noted.

The firm carried out 15 secondaries and early secondaries transactions totalling $6.2 billion in 2015, according to that year's annual report.

“We slowed the pace of investment through the first half of 2016 because of the major uncertainties in the market around conflict in the Middle East, the slowdown in China, the UK referendum and elections in the US,” Vincent Gombault, head of fund of funds and private debt, noted in the report. “But as visibility started to improve toward the end of the year the momentum on deals picked up again.”

Ardian's ASF VII reached final close on $14 billion, including $10.8 billion of dedicated secondaries capital, in April 2016. As of the publication of the report, it is 35 percent invested, it noted.

Ardian's infrastructure secondaries fund, ASF VII Infrastructure, has already amassed $1.7 billion. The Paris-headquartered firm's previous infrastructure secondaries fund, ASF VI Infrastructure, which closed three years ago on $525 million, has deployed $1.2 billion including funds invested through co-investments. It has achieved an internal rate of return of around 50 percent, according to the report.

The firm's secondaries assets under management were little changed at $26.2 billion, compared with $26.1 billion in 2015.

Looking ahead, there is a clear opportunity in large pension funds selling portfolios of stakes in order to focus on making more direct investments, usually via co-investments, Aridan noted. Mandates are also a growing area of opportunity for the firm.

“We won several new clients in 2016, especially in Germany where there are a lot of institutions that have not allocated money to private equity in the past but now want to build portfolios,” said Ardian's UK head Olivier Decannière.

“In the past they would have gone into primary funds of funds but the market has switched to mandates and that [favours] big, diversified managers like Ardian.”

Here are the four largest secondaries transactions Ardian completed in 2016:        

Seller   Transaction   Deal size    Closing date 
North American pension fund  17 LP interests  $1.4bn   April
US pension fund 13 LP interests  $920m  December 
Canadian financial institution 43 LP interests  $678m  March 
US pension fund 2 LP interests  $372m  January 

Source: Ardian