Exclusive: Clessidra returns c.€1bn pre-fundraise

The Milan-based firm has nearly returned its entire €1.1bn Fund II.

Clessidra, a Milan-based private equity firm, has returned over €900 million of its €1.1 billion Fund II in recent months as it gears up to raise its third fund, according to sources familiar with the matter.

This week, Clessidra completed the sale of tire manufacturer Pirelli to Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft in a transaction that valued the business at €552.7 million. The deal was first announced in March.

Last month, Clessidra floated Anima Holding, an Italian asset management business in which the firm invested in 2009. This exit netted Clessidra a 3.5x return, the sources said.

Together with the €1.13 billion sale of Cerved Group, which Clessidra sold alongside Bain Capital to CVC Capital Partners last year, the firm will have returned over €900 million to its investors, just through these three transactions.

The distributions come as Clessidra is currently pre-marketing its third fund, for which it aims to collect a similar sum to its previous fund. The fund will officially come to market at the end of the summer and will target a first close before year end, sources say.

Park Hill is helping Clessidra with the fundraising process. Both Park Hill and Clessidra declined to comment.

Clessidra’s Fund II, which was raised in 2009, still holds four Italian companies – Balconi, a cake business; Euticals, a pharmaceutical firm; Buccellati, a jewellery business and Bitolea, a chemical company. The vehicle has enough dry powder for one or two more deals – depending on the size of the investment. The investment period for the fund ends in September.

Clessidra, which invests in Italian businesses, was set up in 2003 and is led by Claudio Sposito. The firm typically writes equity tickets between €50 million and €150 million.

Clessidra joins a number of Italian-based GPs currently raising capital for Italian funds. In February, Consilium held a €95 million first close on its third fund which has a €150 million target.

Ambienta, an Italy-based firm focused on investing in the environmental sector, is attempting to raise €300 million for its second fund. The firm held a €200 million second close in January.

Meanwhile, Xenon Private Equity was nearing a final close on its latest fund, which had a €150 million target and a €175 million hard-cap, PEI reported in February.