Brenninkmeijers to go large in US

The family's investment vehicle Bregal is reportedly planning to invest up to $650m in Centre Partners, a New York-based buyout firm.

The Swiss Brenninkmeijer family is reportedly planning to invest up to $650m with New York-based private equity firm Centre Partners, according to Bloomberg.

The family, which started the C&A clothing retailing group, recently made a E495m investment in Englefield Capital, the private equity firm set up by former Warburg Pincus professional Dominic Shorthouse. Englefield closed its debut fund in May on E700m.

The Brenninkmeijer family makes its private equity investments through Bregal, an investment vehicle based in Vilvoorde, Belgium. In addition to backing Englefield in the UK, Bregal also participated in the E1.5bn spinout from Deutsche Bank of private equity firm MidOcean Partners earlier this year.

Last month, Centre Partners acquired ESS Holdings Corporation and its subsidiaries, EMCO Sales and Service and Action Wholesale Service. In May, the firm acquired Bumble Bee Seafoods from ConAgra Foods. In July 2002, the firm invested in medical products and therapies company Kaz, which then simultaneously announced it acquired the Honeywell Consumer Products business of Honeywell International. Terms of those deals were also undisclosed.

Centre Partners, with offices in New York City and Los Angeles, is a private equity investment firm focused exclusively on supporting strong middle market companies. Founded in 1986 by Lester Pollack, Centre Partners and its affiliates have invested over $3bn of equity capital in more than 80 private equity transactions.

The Brenninkmeijers are part of a recent trend of wealthy European families committing large cornerstone investments to private equity firms. In January, the Halley family, which is the largest shareholder in the Carrefour retailing group, set aside E700m for co-investment in Change Capital, the start-up private equity business launched by Marks and Spencer chairman Luc Vandevelde. The firm has access to E1bn for investment.