Marfin brings forward launch date after record fundraising

Marfin, a private equity vehicle targeting south-eastern Europe, has defied expectations by raising €4 billion for its listed fund in just one week. The Greek firm, which has already raised more money than any other listed vehicle, could now hit its €5.2 billion target earlier than expected.

Marfin Investment Group, a debut Greek vehicle targeting south-eastern Europe, is set to bring forward the date of its admission to trading after raising over €4 billion of its €5.2 billion target in just one week.

Marfin only began its fundraising roadshow on 18 June, but has already raised more than €4 billion from a range of institutional investors, according to a source. It expected to be admitted to trading on the Greek stock exchange on 19 July, but this date may now be brought forward following the success of the fundraising.

By passing the €4 billion milestone, Marfin is set to become the world’s biggest listed investment fund, beating the record previously held by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ Amsterdam-listed vehicle, which raised $5 billion last year.

The total includes a cornerstone investment from Dubai Financial, estimated to be somewhere between €500 million and €1 billion. The source said wealthy Greek investors and “some of the world’s largest financial institutions” – including top-tier banks, insurance companies and hedge funds – have contributed the balance.

The fundraising success is remarkable given that this is the first ever private equity fund from a group that was almost unknown before it launched its fundraising in May. Indeed, many of the firms it cited as competitors had never even heard of it. It is also targeting a region where the sum total of all funds raised in 2006 amounted to about €2.3 billion, according to Private Equity Intelligence.

However, a source close to the firm said its management team had proved attractive to investors. Marfin is chaired by Andreas Vgenopoulos, who “made an awful lot of money for investors” from the creation of Marfin Popular Bank, of which MIG is the former investment arm. Chief executive Dennis Malamatinas, a former head of Burger King, used to be with MidOcean Partners – although he has freely conceded that he has no experience as a deal-maker.

Competitors continue to doubt whether the firm can put such a huge sum to work in the region, even if it does hit its target. “I can’t imagine where they would put the money,” said one.

However, the source claimed that the firm was confident it could deploy the capital. “South-east Europe is relatively under-penetrated by private equity,” said the investor. “And these guys have the best contacts in the area.”