BofA veterans launch $100m private equity fund

Chet Walker, the founder of Bank of America’s private equity and mezzanine financing business, has launched Forsyth Capital Investors with a single LP, Barry-Wehmiller Companies. The firm's co-founder and managing director is Kyle Chapman, who also worked at Bank of America's private equity financing business.

Forsyth Capital Investors has launched a $100 million debut fund focused on investments in manufacturing, business services and distressed and turnaround opportunities.

The firm, based in St. Louis, Missouri, will focus on small to mid-market companies in the US with earnings between $5 million to $10 million, and will make equity investments of $10 million to $30 million for majority ownership positions.

The firm is led by Chet Walker, founder of Banc of America Capital Investors, a private equity and mezzanine partnership that provides capital for growth financing, buyouts and recapitalisations. Walker retired from the bank in 2003. The firm's co-founder and managing director is Kyle Chapman, another Capital Investors veteran.

The firm’s sole investor is the Barry-Wehmiller Companies, a global supplier of engineering and manufacturing technology. Forsyth will partner with Barry-Wehmiller and use its operational expertise to assist in investments. Walker has served as a director on the company’s board.

“We’re going to work very closely with them in making acquisitions and operating the company,” Walker said in an interview.

Forsyth will look to partner with management teams on its acquisitions, he said.

Forsyth is coming into the private equity world at a time when the economic downturn has just about reached the bottom and will begin to start its slow climb out of recession, Walker said. 

“I think presumably we’re not too far from the bottom of the cycle,” Walker said. “How much worse can it get? We believe we’re on the bottom part of the cycle, at some point there will be a turn and that will be an outstanding time to make private equity investments.”