AXA opens Vienna office

The Paris-headquartered private equity firm has opened two new locations this year on the heels of closing its €1.6bn Fund IV.

AXA Private Equity has hired Thomas Wilfling to lead its Eastern European expansion.

Wilfling was formerly director of financing for Austria, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions for UniCredit Markets and Investment Banking at Bank Austria Creditanstalt.

He will be joined at the firm’s new Vienna location by existing AXA professionals Marton Hunek and Dimiter Tschawow. Hunek joined AXA’s Paris-based co-investment team in 2006, while Tschawow joined the firm’s Frankfurt fund of funds team in 2006.

The Vienna-based team will mainly look for corporate takeover opportunities, but will also source growth capital, mezzanine, infrastructure and co-investment deals, the firm said in a statement.

The Austrian location gives the firm a sixth European office, having earlier this year added a Zurich office to its existing locations in Paris, London, Frankfurt and Milan. It also has offices in New York and Singapore.

The firm’s continued expansion contrasts with the staff reductions and office closures being employed by some of its peers. 3i, The Blackstone Group, Cognetas, Investcorp, Shuaa Capital, the Carlyle Group and American Capital have all eliminated positions and or offices in light of changing market conditions.

AXA in June closed its fourth LBO fund on €1.6 billion, more than triple its predecessor. The firm has roughly $25 billion under management across various private equity strategies.