KKR pays out $9bn to LPs

The global buyout house has returned $9bn to investors in the last 18 months, ahead of its second European fundraising campaign.

Global buyout behemoth Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has returned $9 billion (€7.2 billion) in cash to investors in the last 18 months. The figure includes capital drawn from investors as well as profits made from investments.

The distributions were first reported in today's edition of the Financial Times. The newspaper also said that another US private equity giant, the Carlyle Group, has returned $6.6 billion (€5.3 billion) of cash to investors over the same period. A spokesperson for Carlyle has confirmed the number. 

Carlyle’s return to investors is the best that it has ever achieved, according to Carlyle co-founder and chief investment officer Bill Conway, who told the Financial Times: “We made money and we made it fast.”

Carlyle this week disposed of a 50 percent equity interest in Sigla Engineering, the holding company of Riello, a Legnago, Italy-based maker of domestic burners and boilers. The transaction valued the business at approximately €600 million and Carlyle doubled its equity investment from the realisation according to a source close to the deal.

The payouts are likely to boost both houses' appeal to investors in their efforts to raise capital for new investments. 

Carlyle is currently raising a second buyout fund dedicated to the European market. Meanwhile KKR is about to go back into the fundraising market to launch a new second European buyout fund. Recent reports suggest that the firm will be seeking to raise a total between €3 billion and €3.5 billion, starting next month.

KKR’s debut European fund was raised in 1999 and closed on $3 billion, which the firm has used to fund ten European investments to date. The fund's most recent realisation came two weeks ago when KKR agreed to sell German telecommunications equipment maker Tenovis to Internet phone parts company Avaya for a reported $800 million (€650 million). KKR first acquired Tenovis in 2000 for $530 million.

The firm's European operations have to date been overseen by Ned Gilhuly, who is returning to KKR’s Menlo Park, California office. Gilhuly, mooted to be a potential future head of the overall firm, has headed up the European team for the last six years and is returning to California for family reasons.

No announcement has been made regarding who will replace Gilhuly, who was originally slated to stay in Europe for five years. Contenders include London-based partners Johannes Huth and Todd Fisher.