Italian GP hires Doughty trio to launch London office

Charme Capital Partners is partnering with three former Doughty Hanson execs to open the London office and work alongside the Milan team to invest Charme III, which is currently in market targeting €500 million.

Milan-based Charme Capital Partners has launched in London, hiring three former Doughty Hanson partners to run its new office, according to a statement from the firm.

Julian Huxtable, Christopher Fielding and Francisco Churtichaga will join Charme founder and managing partner Matteo di Montezemolo and his colleagues, Luigi Sala, Tommaso Beolchini and Simone Cavalieri on the investment committee for Charme III.

Huxtable, who was head of UK at Doughty Hanson, left the firm in July according to his LinkedIn profile.

Charme III is currently in market targeting €500 million and has so far raised €450 million, according to a source familiar with the fundraising. It is understood that the vehicle does not have a hard cap.

Charme III’s LPs include international institutional investors, family offices and industrialists. It is understood that these industrialists will assist with Charme’s deal flow.

The combined team will target mid-market companies with enterprise values between €100 million and €500 million, seeking to partner with shareholders and management teams across a range of business sectors in growth and internationalisation opportunities, both through acquisitions and organically.

The team will invest across Europe, with Huxtable and Fielding focusing on the UK market, Churtichaga focusing on Spain, and the Milan team focusing on opportunities in Italy. The fund has a broad scope, but the Charme team has a depth of experience in the consumer, healthcare, industrials and business services sectors.

Charme III has yet to make an investment, but it is understood that the deal team has been assessing a number of opportunities.

In April Doughty Hanson halted fundraising for its sixth fund, for which it had been attempting to collect €2 billion, and is instead focusing on maximising the value of its remaining portfolio companies in Funds IV and V. Fund VI had been in market since October 2013 and had been unable to get to a first close, as reported by Private Equity International.

Charme’s first fund, a 2003-vintage €186 million vehicle focused on investments in the consumer and luxury sector in Italy, generated returns of 2.1x, according to the firm. Charme II, raised in 2009 with total commitments of €340 million, has thus far generated returns of 2.4x.