Kelso Place hires former Sun Europe CEO

Turnaround-focused Kelso Place has hired Philip Dougall as the ninth member of its investment team as it gears up for eurozone crisis fallout.

Philip Dougall has joined as a partner on the investment team at London-based turnaround investor Kelso Place. 

Dougall was chief executive and managing director of turnaround specialist Sun European Partners from 2003 to 2009, where he helped set up Sun’s European office. He then worked for consulting firm Hudson Capital Partners, which concentrates on mid-market businesses and SMEs.

Kelso is ramping up its investment team in an environment of increasing distress in the eurozone, where sovereign debt crises have roiled through various countries. The firm expects to see an acceleration of deals and is much busier than nine to 12 months ago, according to Sion Kearsey, managing partner at Kelso Place. 

Private equity firms that focus on distressed investments have been raising money to take advantage of the opportunities. Oaktree Capital Management has been raising a European distressed debt fund, as well as Avenue Capital Group and The Carlyle Group. Oaktree began marketing its European Principal Fund III in 2010, which has been targeting struggling European mid-market companies. Avenue closed its distressed fund at $753 million, and Carlyle has a $1.5 billion target for its fund that will buy companies’ debts and steer financial restructurings. 

Kelso Place is currently investing from its £100 million (€114 million; $158 million) Fund IV. It has made investments in a wide range of sectors, a source close to the firm has said. In February 2010 it purchased UK driving school RED, which has grown from 950 to 1700 franchises since the acquisition.