Idinvest China platform to reach €1bn by early 2016

The Chinese-funded investment programme will target small and mid-market companies in France and Europe.

A €1 billion investment platform managed by France’s Idinvest on behalf of Chinese investors expects to reach its target size by the beginning of 2016, Idinvest managing partner Christophe Bavière told Private Equity International.

The Chance platform will hold its first close at €300 million by the end of this year, although it is expected to be half way to its target by then.

Chance is not a dedicated investment fund with its own team, but will invest in parallel with Idinvest funds, channelling Chinese capital into primarily French, as well as European, small and mid-market businesses where Chinese investors are under-allocated, Bavière said.

Previously, Chinese investors have targeted European private equity deals through plain vanilla funds and mega-buyouts, Bavière added.

Idinvest will select minority investments in line with its Chinese investors’ priorities, including food safety, the ‘silver economy’ of businesses related to the needs of the elderly, climate change, smart cities, agricultural and financial technologies and the internet.

The French firm specialises in low and mid-market transactions, including venture and growth capital, buyouts and co-investments, and also makes primary fund, secondary and mezzanine investments, as well as offering PE advisory services.

The programme will also help French and European firms form partnerships in China with the goal of not only increasing sales and revenue, but also potentially providing a launch pad into the African market, Bavière said.

China Merchant Bank, CIIC and the Shanghai Shentong Metro are the first investors to express an interest in the programme, and Idinvest is in talks with other Chinese banks, insurers and investment funds, according to a statement.

Other investors are expected to come on board following a signing ceremony attended by the Chinese and French prime ministers on 2 July to mark the operational launch of Chance, which signalled Chinese official support for the programme, Bavière said.

“This was the first step,” he said, noting that the partners were now negotiating terms and conditions, fund raising and talking to investors and key opinion leaders.