First close for BPEP’s Iberia II

Baring Private Equity Partners’ Spanish unit has raised E72m at the first close of its second fund, including a cornerstone commitment from Caixa Catalunya.

Baring Private Equity Partners’ Spanish unit, BPEP España, has held a first close of its second fund, Baring Iberia II, raising E72m.

The fund, which has a final close target of E100m, has secured commitments from institutional investors as well as a number of Spanish savings banks including Caja Asturias, Galician bank Caixa Nova, Caja Castilla la Mancha and Caja España.

“Four of the six investors in Fund I have returned to Fund II which is a good indication of the confidence our LPs have in us,” said José Angel Sarasa, partner at Baring Private Equity who heads the firm’s Spanish operations.

Caixa Catalunya, which last year acquired a 20 per cent stake in BPEP España, has agreed a cornerstone commitment in the fund, although the size of the investment has yet to be disclosed. Caixa Catalunya was a major investor in the E60m Baring Iberia I Fund which was launched in 1999 and is now fully invested.

The fund has secured further commitments which bring the total to E83m although these commitments will not be included until the final close, which is expected by February 2004.

Sarasa said the firm had concentrated on Spanish investors for the fundraising. “We have focused our fundraising on Spanish institutions although we have spoken to a number of investors from outside Spain. We are confident we will reach the E100m target by February.”

The fund has yet to complete its first investment, although Sarasa said that the firm was in due diligence on three deals, the first of which will be announced later this month. “We are a generalist fund looking to participate in classic buyout and expansion capital opportunities.”

The fund will make investments of between E5m and E15m, although bigger deals will be considered as co-investments. Baring Iberia II will pursue a similar strategy to its predecessor, which has already returned 30 per cent of the fund’s capital to investors having made two exits. Sarasa said that he believed Fund I was in “very good condition.”

Cuadrecasas is acting as legal advisor to the fundraising. The fundraising has been coordinated without the use of a placement agent.