Candover 2001 Fund has E3bn target

Candover’s chairman announced that the group had started marketing the fund in his speech on the company’s preliminary results for 2000.

Private equity firm Candover is looking to raise between E2.5bn and E3bn in its latest European management buy-out fund.

Stephen Curran, Candover's chairman, said in the company’s preliminary results for 2000: “The 1997 Fund is now 85 per cent drawn down. This will shortly increase to over 90 per cent. We have, therefore, commenced the marketing of the Candover 2001 Fund.

“Both the UK and European buyout markets performed strongly during 2000 and we anticipate that we will continue to see good quality deal flow. Our recent recruitment programme has added to our continental European skills base. This, combined with our current strong continental deal flow, ensures we are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the buyout markets, not only in the UK where we have a strong position, but also in our main target countries outside the UK, namely France, Germany and Benelux.”

Candover’s £850m 1997 fund is still immature, having had only had two realisations including the sale of defence and aerospace engineering business Claverham to Hamilton Sundstrand, at a gain of £23m over the £24m cost of the investment.

However its 1994 fund has an indicated gross internal rate of return of 55 per cent and Candover claims an IRR of 41 per cent a year since it was founded in 1980.

Candover announced in its preliminary results last week that total net assets were up 9.6 per cent to £246.6m from £225.0 in 1999. Pre tax profits increased to £11.7m from £10.5m last year and Net assets per share were up 9.4 per cent to 1079p.

Two of the private equity firm’s most significant investments in 2000 were the £210m buyout of First Leisure and the acquisition by Bourne Leisure of the Holidays Division of Rank to create a £1.1 billion holiday group; just after the year end, Candover has entered into an agreement to lead the E920m buyout of Picard, a French frozen food retailer.

Candover focuses on arranging and leading large buyouts in a range of sectors. Typically deals range between £50 and £1bn.