Carlyle invests record $17.9bn in 2016

The firm reiterates intent to raise about $100bn between 2016 and 2019.

The Carlyle Group invested $17.9 billion in 2016, a record for the firm, including $8 billion in corporate private equity, according to the firm’s co-chief executive David Rubenstein.

Investments were up from nearly $9 billion in 46 transactions a year earlier, including $5.3 billion in private equity. With 36 private equity transactions completed in 2016, the average deal size was about $220 million.

“Only five of our investments during the year were greater than $300 million in size,” Bill Conway, co-CEO, said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call on Wednesday.

Some of the larger investments included the acquisitions of Novolex, a packaging company based in the US; VXI Global Solutions, a global outsourcing business with operations in Asia and in the US; Shoen Clinic, a healthcare clinic in Germany; Pro Karma, a US-based IT services company; and Logoplaste, a packaging company based in Portugal. It also completed a number of small buyouts in South Africa, Brazil, Europe, Peru, Japan and the US.

Carlyle is not the only firm reaching new highs in terms of capital invested. Apollo Global Management said during its fourth-quarter earnings conference call last month that its funds together with co-investment partnerships invested $16 billion in 2016, a company record for the calendar year. The heavy investing pace comes despite a continued high valuation environment.

Washington-based Carlyle also realised a record amount of proceeds for its investors of $30 billion in 2016. For the quarter, it reported a net economic income of $6 million, amid losses related to its hedge fund business, which it has since mostly exited.

On the fundraising front, Carlyle reiterated its plan to raise $100 billion between 2016 and 2019. It raised $14 billion in 2016 and expressed confidence at reaching its goal.

“We’re confident that we can raise the money we’ve set out to raise because the track record is pretty good,” said Rubenstein. “We’ve already been in the market talking to investors early this year and last year about some of these large fundraises.”

He noted that investors in recent years have expressed concerns at the difficulty in securing commitments in some funds, including Carlyle’s.

“They are saying that they are nervous that they’re going to be squeezed out of funds and won’t be able to get in them,” he said.

“They want to know what do they have to do to get into the first closes of these funds and how much can they get in terms of the size. So it’s different than a couple of years ago when people would wait until the end. Now what you’re seeing is that people want to get in early, so I’m fairly confident. Obviously the world can always change.”