European Capital’s buyout head to leave

Simon Henderson will be succeeded by Giles Cheek and Alex Morey at the helm of the buyout team.

European Capital, the listed affiliate of American Capital, has confirmed the departure of its head of buyouts Simon Henderson, as reported by PEO earlier today.

It has appointed Giles Cheek and Alex Morey to run the team, according to a statement. Cheek and Morey will report to Nathalie Faure-Beaulieu, the firm’s managing director for the UK and Northern Europe.

Henderson joined European Capital in 2005 from Barclays Private Equity, where he was a director, and had worked since December 1995. He is looking to set up his own individual outfit, according to a high-ranking source at the firm.

Cheek joined the firm in 2005 from his position as a director at Duke Street Capital, a UK mid-market firm. Morey joined in 2006 from CSFB Private Equity, the buyout arm of Credit Suisse, where he worked for 10 years.

European Capital, the listed affiliate of American Capital, the private equity firm, said in a statement it intended to continue investing in buyouts in Europe, dismissing a report in the UK newspaper Daily Telegraph, which said Henderson’s departure marked the firm’s withdrawal from buyouts in Europe.  

“It has been tremendously rewarding building a new franchise over the last three years and firmly establishing European Capital on the map for mid market buyouts in the UK,” Henderson said in a statement.

Ira Wagner, president of European Capital Financial Services, said the firm was continuing to develop its buyout and mezzanine team.

The denial came in a statement of the listed firm’s first quarter results. In the first quarter of 2008, European Capital made five mezzanine investments  €142 million ($220 million) compared to €267 million invested in 10 companies in the first quarter of 2007. It also worked on four add-on acqusitions for its buyout portfolio.

European Capital raised more than €520 million in capital in the first quarter of 2008, compared to €47 million raised in the same period last year and €518 million in all of 2007.

It also realised €115 million from investments in the first quarter of 2008, against €163 million the previous year and €707 million in the full year 2007; a portion of these funds can be used for reinvestment.

The firm invested €1.5 billion in 2007 and more than €1.5 billion in the last twelve months.

European Capital’s share price was down €0.03 at 1635CET.

A separate source said MidOcean Partners, another transatlantic private equity firm, began to fully pull out of the UK last month, confirming a report by the Telegraph.