Harald Mix, a co-founder and former senior executive at Stockholm-based LBO house Industri Kapital, is preparing to launch a E600m buyout fund to invest in the mid-market in the Nordic region.
Mix, a pioneer of the Nordic buyout industry with a reputation for taking a banker's approach to deal making, helped establish Industri Kapital in 1989 and turn it into the region's largest private equity house by value of deals done. He left the firm a little over a year ago. Mix is believed to be recruiting an investment team to target investments in small to medium-sized companies in Scandinavia, while holding talks with institutional investors to establish market interest in the project.
A fund with E600m of equity plus leverage could have a significant impact on the Nordic private equity scene, where comparatively few firms are currently investing in the midmarket. Of the region's three dominant players, Industri Kapital, EQT and Nordic Capital, all of which have raised billions of Euros of capital, only the latter retains an active interest in medium-sized transactions.
Among the smaller firms that Mix would be competing with is Procuritas Partners, a long-established operator which recently held a second closing on E185 for its third fund, aiming for a final closing on E300m by the end of the year. Other competitors would include Investor Growth Capital, a vehicle controlled by the Wallenberg family, CapMan, Danish funds Polaris and Axcel as well as Ratos, the quoted Swedish private equity firm. Among the Anglo-Saxon houses that have invested in the Nordic mid-market are 3i and Bridgepoint Capital.
Local practitioners estimate that there are around 3,500 medium-sized companies in the Nordic region, some 10 per cent of which consider a change of ownership every year. Historically around 20 to 30 buyouts are completed per year as a result.
Whether or not Mix would return to the buyout business has been subject to considerable speculation in Swedish private equity circles. 'Given his background and experience, it'd be boring if he didn't do anything', commented a senior investment official at a large public pension fund in Stockholm.
Another former Industri Kapital executive to have recently resurfaced in the market after leaving the firm is Christian Lorenzen, who is one of three founders of Langholm Capital Partners, the newly established London-based private equity fund that earlier this week announced a E225m first closing for its debut fund with an E100m commitment from Unilever.