BNP Paribas to spin out PAI

BNP president Michel Pébereau is undertaking a review of the bank’s operations which could lead to the spin-off of PAI.

PAI (formerly Paribas Affaires Industrielles), the private equity division of French bank BNP Paribas, is to be spun out by its parent company according to French business daily Les Echos. The firm, France’s leading LBO firm with a portfolio in excess of E7bn, will likely be bought out by its management as part of a strategic review currently carried out by BNP Paribas chairman Michel Pébereau.

Pérebeau has reduced the BNP Paribas’ investment in private equity since 1998, resulting in an increase in fundraising from external sources. PIA is in the process of raising its largest fund to date, a E1.8bn LBO fund, with final closing scheduled for June this year. The firm has banded together with CVC Capital Partners to bid for French electronic parts supplier Legrand.

PAI management currently operates the PAI LBO Fund, launched in 1998 by PAI management and the first fund sponsored by BNP Paribas, as well as BNP Paribas' direct portfolio in Europe.