L&GV gears up for Germany

Legal & General Ventures, eager to grow its franchise in Germany, has promoted Alex Insam to head up the recently appointed investment team in Frankfurt.

Legal & General Ventures (L&GV), the private equity unit of Legal & General, the insurer, has moved Alex Insam from London to Frankfurt, to head up the firm’s Gerrman investment team.

He will manage a small team of investors comprising Hagen Schulte, Hans-Jörg Schnabel and Michael Maxeiner, who were all hired last year to increase the firm’s presence in the German market, said Adrian Johnson, CEO of L&GV.

“The German market on the face of it is an area with many opportunities, but it is also a market that needs a cautious approach because the culture for buyouts is not as developed as it is in the UK and the economic climate is not ideal.”

Insam has been with L&GV for almost five years and was made a director in 2000. He has participated in a number of deals such as the E140m management buyin of tyre retailer Viborg Gruppen, formerly Stinnes Reifendienst, and the E1.8bn purchase of Rank's holiday division.

Before joining L&GV, Insam was at IKB Deutsche Industriebank, where he developed the firm’s leveraged finance unit. He oversaw the provision of senior debt for German MBOs and several property-related finance transactions.

L&GV’s Frankfurt office was depleted in 2000 when Brian Veitch left to join Electra Partners. The company had a small presence in Germany but had not made any investments. Today the firm has five German portfolio companies, said Johnson.

“We take a long-term view when entering a new market and this new team won’t be rushing in doing loads of deals in the next 12 months. They will look to become established and we may have a deal by the end of the year, but it’s still too early to say for definite.”

L&GV taps three sources of capital, which are available to all of the investment teams across Europe. The main source is a fund raised annually, and the fund for 2002 is expected to close soon on £150m, said Johnson.  The firm’s previous fund closed at £140m and is now fully invested in four companies – three in the UK and one in France.

The firm also operates Mitras, an investment trust the firm operates. Finally the firm manages on behalf of parent Legal & General. In total L&GV looks to invest between £150m and £200m a year across the consumer, consumer business, leisure, support services and industrial sectors.