Exclusive: Perceva nears final close

The Paris-based turnaround firm could raise as much as €400m for its second fund.

Perceva, a French turnaround investor, is close to wrapping up fundraising for its second fund, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

The fund targeted between €175 million and €200 million, but investor demand currently stands at €400 million, the sources said. The firm will close the fund in the next few weeks but it is unclear on how much Perceva will hold a final close on, the sources added.

Perceva declined to comment.

Last September, Perceva’s managing partner Jean-Louis Grevet, told Private Equity International the firm had no concrete plans to raise another fund. “It might be next year, it might be the year after, it’s too early to say,” he said, adding that Perceva’s debut fund, which was approximately 80 percent deployed at the time, would do one or two more investments.

Paris-based Perceva was established in 2007 and is led by Grevet, a former partner at rival Parisian turnaround firm Butler Capital Partners. Perceva’s debut fund, a €150 million 2010-vintage which targets special situations in the French mid-market, closed in January 2011.

The last deal from Perceva’s first fund was an €11 million acquisition of Monceau Fleurs Group, a French flower business.The investment in Monceau Fleurs was Perceva’s seventh acquisition from the fund which also included investments in in luxury food caterer Dalloyau, Shark, a French business that produces motorcycle helmets and Mariteam, a French distributer of fish trade and seafood. Further investments included Supra, which is a subsidiary of EDF, a manufacturer and designer of domestic wood-fired heating products; BPI, an HR consulting business; and trailer manufacture Behm International.

Perceva is not the only French firm currently on the fundraising trail. Last December, Activa Capital held a €200 million first close on its third buyout fund, PEI revealed in January. The firm aims to collect €320 million for the vehicle. LBO France is also in market attempting to raise €1 billion for its White Knight IX. So far, LBO has amassed a number of commitments for the fund, which is expected to hold a first close on approximately €300 million in the summer.

“I do think sentiment [for France] has changed now,” Dominique Gaillard, a managing partner and head of direct funds at Ardian, told PEI in March. “Investors are more optimistic about France overall.”

Gaillard said France had been a tough sell during the crisis years due to the macroeconomic climate in France. “I often spent three-quarters of meetings explaining that it would be safe to invest in Europe and that the eurozone wouldn’t collapse.