Clessidra opens next chapter with Fund III close

‘We feel the full support of our investors’, says CEO Mario Fera, as the firm makes 3x its money from the fund’s first exit.

Italian private equity stalwart Clessidra has finished off a difficult year by holding a final close and sealing its first exit for its latest fund.

The firm raised €607 million for Clessidra Capital Partners 3 and announced a final close to investors at the firm’s annual investor meeting in Milan last week. News of the final close was reported earlier this week by Private Equity News.

The final close on the fund coincides with its first exit; the firm has sold ABM Italia, a manufacturer of plastic storage boxes, just 18 months after acquiring it, to Keter Group, a portfolio company of BC Partners.

Financial details were not disclosed, but a source close to the firm said the deal valued the business at around €400 million. Clessidra and its LPs will make 3x its invested capital on the exit, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

2016 has been a year of change and challenge for Clessidra. In January its founder and chief executive officer Claudio Sposito died following a short illness. At that point the firm had raised more than €400 million for Fund III, but Sposito’s death forced the firm to stop fundraising and create a new leadership structure before seeking LPs’ consent to resume activity. This consent was received in July, after the firm had been sold to Italmobiliare, the holding company of the Pesenti family.

Italmobiliare committed just over €90 million to Fund III, equal to around 15 percent of the total fund size. This entitles the investor to a seat on the LP advisory board, something that Italmobiliare, as owners of the firm, will forgo to avoid conflicts of interest.

Before the death of its founder, Fund III had a target size of €800 million, but having had to wait until mid-September to get the green light from Bank of Italy to resume the fundraising, the firm decided to wrap up the fund at the reduced size in order to focus on its investment activity.

“We believe that the amount raised is appropriate for the growth strategy of Clessidra,” said Mario Fera, chief executive officer of the firm in a written statement, adding that the fund is now already 50 percent invested.

“We feel the full support of our investors” Fera continued. “At our recent annual investors meeting in Milan, our LPs were appreciative of the path paved over the last months. CCP 3 fund will present further opportunities for our co-investors which have already demonstrated us their trust by investing alongside Clessidra in the previous deals with CCP 3.”