Astorg launches E300m Fund III

Adams Street, Axa Investment Managers and Morley Fund Management are among the investors in the E110m first close of Astorg Partners’ third fund.

Astorg Partners, the French private equity firm headed by Xavier Moreno, has held a first close of its third mid-market buyout fund.

Astorg III has secured commitments totalling E110m at the first close, with Adams Street Partners, Axa Investment Managers or Morley Fund Management among the investors. The first close includes investors from European and US investors.


“We are very happy to back Astorg Partners for the second time,” said Roger Wilkins, senior fund manager at Morley Fund Management. “They enjoy a very good reputation on the French mid-market scene, and have so far managed to go through several economic and investment cycles successfully,”


Astorg III has a final close target of E300m, scheduled for the end of March 2004. Global Private Equity, Paris-based placement specialist, is acting as placement agent for the fundraising.


The fund is significantly bigger than Astorg II, which closed on E185m in September 1999. Astorg III will be invested in French mid-size buyouts or buy-and-build opportunities, investing between E10m and E60m per transaction, in companies with revenues generally comprised between E50m and E300m.


Astorg has made three transactions during the past twelve months, including Vetsoca – a French textile retail chain; Laboratoire Pasteur-Cerba, a European leader in clinical esoteric assays; and the exit from Frans Bonhomme, the French leader in plastic pipes and fittings distribution, sold to Apax Partners in July 2003.


A fourth deal, the first to be completed from the Astorg III fund, was signed at the end of July and is expected to close at the end of September. Astorg Partners has yet to disclose the identity of the business to be acquired, which manufactures industrial heat treatment equipment.