Charterhouse opens France office

Charterhouse Capital Partners has hired Xavier Thoumieux and Thierry Gisserot as founder partners of the firm’s first office in continental Europe.

Xavier Thoumieux and Thierry Gisserot have joined Charterhouse Capital Partners from CDC Equity Capital to launch Charterhouse’s new French office.

The new office in Paris is London-headquartered Charterhouse’s first office in Europe, although it has been investing in the region for a number of years.

Thoumieux and Gisserot are joining as founder partners from CDC Equity Capital, the subsidiary of CDC Ixis Private Equity that focuses on leveraged buyouts.

CDC Equity Capital was set up in 1998 and Gisserot and Thoumieux worked alongside Charterhouse on a number of major French LBOs including engineering group Cégélec and broadcaster TDF.

Speaking to PrivateEquityOnline, Thoumieux confirmed that the new office would be up and running by the end of the month. Commenting on activity in the French market generally, he said: “The market is calm. Prices are high and banks are continuing to lend a lot of money.”

One of the firm’s differentiating characteristics is to invest its funds across a relatively small number of deals, each of which tend to require a larger portion of a fund’s equity capital than the firm’s competitors would typically allocate to a single investment.

In October, Charterhouse completed the £1.35 billion acquisition of over-50s UK leisure and insurance group Saga in one of the largest buyouts of 2004.

Charterhouse is currently investing from Charterhouse Capital Partners VII, a €2.7 billion fund closed in July 2003.