Carlyle hires European director

Former Merrill Lynch banker Eric Fellhauer has joined the private equity firm’s German team as a director for European buyouts.

Carlyle Group, the US-headquartered private equity firm, has made a further addition to its European team with the appointment of former Merrill Lynch banker Eric Fellhauer.


Fellhauer joins the US firm’s German team of directors and will be based in Munich. Prior to joining Carlyle, Fellhauer was a senior member of the M&A team of Merrill Lynch for five years in both their London and Frankfurt offices. Before that he worked with Deutsche Bank for four years. 


Fellhauer was involved in a number of major international M&A projects in the industrial, automotive and consumer goods sectors including Bosch's acquisition of Buderus, Tchibo's sale of Reemtsma and Siemens's acquisition of Atecs.


Fellhauer, who joined the firm in mid-July, said he was looking forward to working with Carlyle, which has a strong position in Germany’s automotive sector, one of his major focus areas. “Carlyle is the leading private equity firm in the German automotive market and we hope to capitalise on the great opportunities here.”


Carlyle’s German portfolio includes Beru, a manufacturer of cold-start products for diesel-powered engines, which was acquired in 2000, and Edscha, a manufacturer of door hinges, convertible roof systems and driver controls for the automotive industry, which was acquired in January 2003 in a E220m deal.


Fellhauer will work within the firm’s European buyout team, for which the firm is currently raising the follow-up to Carlyle Europe Partners (CEP), the E1bn fund launched in July 1998 and which is now fully invested. The firm’s recent E1.5bn acquisition of Avio, the Italian aerospace unit of Italian automobile manufacturer Fiat, was financed from the firm’s $3.9bn US buyout fund, Carlyle Partners III, and Carlyle Europe Partners.


The size of the firm’s latest European fund is yet to be disclosed, although is thought to be around twice the size of CEP I. Carlyle, bound by SEC regulations prior to the holding of a first close, has yet to reveal details of the fund. However, European sources report that the fundraising has been well received, both in Europe and the US, with a first close expected within the next two months.


The fundraising process has been interlinked with an escalated recruitment drive at the firm, which has seen a number of high-profile appointments in Europe in 2003. In April, Duncan Lewis, former CEO of GTS/Ebone, joined the firm as senior advisor to its global telecommunications and media group at the firm’s London offices. In January, Ulrich Schumacher, president and CEO of German semiconductor company Infineon Technologies, joined the advisory board of the firm's E650m venture capital fund Carlyle Europe Venture Partners.


The firm is also currently in exclusive negotiations with French conglomerate Saint Gobain over the acquisition of its roof tiling business, Terreal, in a deal estimated at between E500m and E550m.  This transaction, if completed, is likely to be the first investment from CEP II.