UK mid-market firm Bridgepoint Capital has recruited Khai Tan from Advent International to head up a new office in Poland, as it looks to cash in on opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe.
Tan, who becomes a partner at Bridgepoint, is one of the leading private equity specialists in the region, having run Advent’s Polish business since 2003. Before that he worked as chief financial officer for Eastbridge, a consumer goods distributor, after starting his career as a banker with ING.
Bridgepoint becomes only the second western European buyout firm, after Advent, to open an office in Poland. A source said the firm had been looking at the region for some time, and decided that a combination of political, economic and commercial factors made this the right time to open an office on the ground.
The move highlights the growing private equity interest in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to local players and specialist groups like Mid Europa Partners, investors who have previously focused on western Europe are attracted to a number of countries in the region that are enjoying strong economic growth and the economic benefits of joining the European Union.
Bridgepoint managing partner William Jackson said opening the Polish office was a logical step for the firm. “Many of our existing investments already have significant interests in the region and a physical presence will allow us to support them more effectively with acquisitions or with operational developments there.”
The firm is yet to make any direct investments in the region, but a number of its portfolio companies have interests there. Some have sourcing or manufacturing operations, while others are looking at strategic acquisitions or facing competitive pressures from the region. Finnish vehicle inspection group A-Katsastus has interests in Latvia, Poland and Russia, while Austrian automotive parts group Forstinger is another such example.