Exclusive: GEM Benelux closes fund on €275m

The Utrecht-based firm officially launched the fund in April.

Gilde Equity Management Benelux (GEM Benelux), a lower-mid market firm based in the Netherlands, has closed its oversubscribed third fund on its €275 million hard-cap, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

The firm started talking to existing investors last year and only officially came to market last month, when it published a private placement memorandum, the sources said.

GEM Benelux is currently wrapping up the legal paperwork ahead of an official first and final close, which will be held next month.

The firm confirmed to PEI it had raised €275 million for Fund III, but declined to comment further.

It is understood the re-up rate was approximately 100 percent. Most of GEM Benelux’s existing investors increased their allocations, according to the sources. The firm also attracted two new investors. GEM Benelux did not use a placement agent, the sources added.

GEM Benelux’s Fund III is substantially larger than its predecessor. The firm’s second fund is a €200 million 2010-vintage. In 2006, GEM Benelux raised €150 million for its first fund.

GEM Benelux was originally part of Gilde, one of the oldest private equity firms in the Netherlands, founded in 1982. In 1996, the firm split up its operations into three independent firms: Gilde Equity Management, Gilde Healthcare and Gilde Buy Out Partners.

GEM Benelux targets “profitable companies run by motivated and experienced managers who possess entrepreneurial zest”, according to its website. It typically invests in growth businesses with a strong niche market position, a proven track-record and sustainable cash flows. It targets companies with enterprise values of between €15 million and €150 million.

The firm’s fundraising has been helped by a number of successful exits in recent years. Last September, GEM Benelux sold Hg, a supplier of specialty cleaning products, to Gilde Buyout Partners. In 2012, it sold Salad Signature, a sandwich spread business, to AAC Capital Partners. In 2011, it sold Socaz Group, a business operating in the oil sector which GEM Benelux carved out from Shell, to Cipelia. It is understood this netted GEM Benelux a 10x return.