Former VTB exec launches EM specialist

Gemcorp says it has already raised $500m from European institutions for its very broad remit

A team of emerging markets specialists headed by Atanas Bostandjiev, the former UK and International CEO of Russian investment bank VTB Capital, has launched Gemcorp, an investment firm that will focus on emerging markets.

Gemcorp will originate and execute deals in which it will invest as a principal, as well as offering investment advice, according to a statement.

The firm’s cornerstone investors, all unnamed European institutions, have committed $500 million to the open-ended fund, and have agreed to be locked in for five years.

A Gemcorp spokesperson declined to comment beyond the official statement.

Gemcorp has yet to make any investments, but a source familiar with the group’s plans told Private Equity International that the firm had deals in the pipeline. The investment team will apparently look at a mixture of liquid and less liquid assets, potentially pursuing both full buyouts and minority investments.

Ex-VTB executive Bostandjiev, who was also formerly a partner at Goldman Sachs, is joined by three other managing partners. Philip Hamilton, who has worked at Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and VTB Capital as a managing director, will focus on managing relationships with co-investment partners and executing transactions. Selim Baskar, who has held roles at Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, will be responsible for the origination and execution of investments. Parvoleta Shtereva, who has spent the majority of her career managing credit portfolios for Black River Asset Management and Goldman Sachs, will focus on managing the firm’s investments, due diligence and execution.

Headquartered in London, Gemcorp, which will invest through its own funds and through co-investment in private equity, debt and hybrid transactions, will primarily be focusing on investments in the financial services, natural resources, and infrastructure sectors across global emerging markets, according to the firm’s website.

The firm has the freedom to invest across Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, emerging Asia and Latin America. However, a source familiar with its plans said that the firm’s focus on risk management implied it would be unlikely to over-expose itself to any single country.

“We want to position ourselves as the access point for institutional investors when it comes to investing in emerging market sovereign and private sectors,” Bostandjiev said in the statement. “We see a significant gap where traditional financial institutions are unable to meet the growing demand from emerging markets clients for flexible and reliable debt or equity financing solutions.”

Gemcorp currently employs 17 people. The team of managing partners will be joined from 1 November by Sarah Walton as chief financial officer, a chartered accountant who has spent 14 years at Goldman Sachs. Bojidar Savkov and Tue Sando, who have both held roles at Merrill Lynch and asset management firm Duet Group, also join the team as partners.