Carlyle reports ’best ever year’

The US-headquartered private equity firm has released global activity figures for 2004 that show $5.3bn returned to investors, $2.7bn invested and $7.8bn raised.

Global private equity firm The Carlyle Group has released a summary of its activities in 2004. According to the numbers, cash distributions to investors were nearly double the total of 2003.

The firm returned $5.3 billion (€4.1 billion) to limited partners in 2004, compared with $2.3 billion the previous year. The money was returned through 71 partial and full exits, including the IPO of US directory solution group Dex Media and the sale of a stake in South Korean commercial bank KorAm Bank to Citigroup in a transaction valued at $2.73 billion.

The firm also had a busy exit year in Europe with realisations from 11 buyouts including the sale of a stake in German automotive suppliers Beru AG for €218 million and Honsel International Technologies, which it bought in 1999 in Germany’s first ever private equity backed PTP.

In terms of new investment, Carlyle invested $2.7 billion in 107 global investments compared with $2.6 billion in 2003. Notable deals included participation in the US consortium acquisitions of cinema chain Loews Cineplex for $1.5 billion and satellite operator PanAmSat Corporation.

In Asia, the firm completed one of the largest LBOs ever seen in the growing Japanese buyout market with the $2.03 billion purchase of wireless data provider DDI Pocket from KDDI Corp.

The significant increase in the amount of money Carlyle raised in 2004 – $7.8 billion, up from $2 billion in 2003 – was principally down to a speedy first close for its US buyout fund Carlyle Partners IV on $5 billion in December. The $6.5 billion fund is expected to hold a final close in the next few months.

The firm also held final closings of two further funds, the $1.1 billion Carlyle/Riverstone Global Energy and Power Fund II; and Carlyle High Yield Partners VI, which raised $400 million.

Carlyle co-founder and managing partner Bill Conway said in a statement: “This was Carlyle’s best ever year. We both invested more money than ever before and returned more money to our investors.” However, Conway added that 2005 would be “a challenging year” for the firm.

Carlyle currently has more than $24 billion under management, with offices in North America, Europe and Asia.