Clessidra closes €800m debut fund

Clessidra Capital’s debut vehicle, the largest private equity fund ever raised in Italy, has held a final close on €800 million.

Clessidra Capital Partners, the debut fund launched by former Fininvest chief executive Claudio Sposito, has held a final close on €800 million ($1 billion), according to a report from Reuters.

The fund held a first close on €560 million in October 2003, attracting commitments from Italian institutions including Telecom Italia, Assicurazoni Generali, UniCredito Italiano, Mediobanca and Capitalia. The first close also attracted non-Italian investors ABN Amro and CGU.

The second stage of the fundraising, to bring in additional international investors, was handled by placement agent CSFB Private Fund Group.

The fund has completed two deals to date: the €417 million acquisition of Italian telecom group Sirti alongside fellow private equity firm Investindustrial in September and the August acquisition of Italian gas network Edison Gas.

Clessidra will be hoping that deal flow in Italy picks up in 2005 after a quiet twelve months. Figures from research group CMBOR showed that only 24 deals worth €1.4 billion were completed in the first nine months of 2004, compared with 43 deals totalling €7.7 billion in 2003.

Clessidra is headed up by Claudio Sposito, the former chief executive of Fininvest, the holding company of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.