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French PE investments down 46 per cent in 2001

The French private equity association reports a drop in PE investment to pre-1999 levels.

AFIC, the French private equity trade association, has published statistics for 2001 that highlight a major downturn in French private equity investment, reports Financial News.

Figures for 2001 show that a total of E2.7bn was invested, down 46 per cent on the figures for 2000. The figure for 2001 was even slightly lower than the pre-boom levels seen in 1999, when E2.8bn was invested in private equity investments.

Early stage and development capital were the biggest casualties, reporting a 58 per cent fall on 2001, while leveraged buyouts dropped by a more modest 30 per cent. Buyouts still account for around 50 per cent of all private equity transactions in France.

But the figures also provided some encouragement to an industry that has been in freefall in the US for the past year. Buyout activity was bolstered by a number of big deals including the E770m spin out of Cegelec from Alstom in July 2001 – led by CDC Equity Capital – and Candover’s E800m buyout of Picard Surgelés  in February 2001.