CHAMP launches A$1.5bn third fund

The Australia- and New Zealand-focused firm has launched its third buyout fund, targeting A$500m more than its predecessor. The firm expects to hit a first close on the fund by April.

Sydney-based CHAMP Private Equity has kicked off fundraising for CHAMP III Funds, an A$1.5 billion (€753 million;$1 billion) fund focused on mid-market buyouts.

CHAMP is currently investing out of CHAMP II, an A$950 million fund that closed in September 2005 and is now almost entirely committed, Bill Ferris, executive chairman and co-founder of CHAMP Private Equity, said in an interview.

The new fund is targeting a first close by April. Fundraising is going to be a more “exacting” process this time around, considering that investors are more disciplined and demanding by virtue of the state of the capital markets at this time, Ferris said. However, he added: “We do think that 2009 is a very important vintage year for those investors who are able to take advantage of it”.

CHAMP III will continue to invest in mid-market buyouts in Australasia. Ferris said the focus will primarily be on Australia and New Zealand, but the fund will have the ability to consider transactions in Southeast Asia, a market where it has made investments for its portfolio companies.

The firm will look to make about 12 investments from its third fund. CHAMP has had a long interest in investing in health, education, financial services, food and in companies providing services to minerals sectors. These five sectors will continue to remain the primary focus of investments for the new fund as well, Ferris said.

The firm’s first buyout fund, CHAMP I, was an A$500 million fund that closed in mid-2000. The firm made nine investments from the fund and has exited six of them thus far.

Established in 2000, CHAMP also has offices in Brisbane and Singapore.