Martin Currie, the Edinburgh-based fund manager, has launched two initiatives as part of plans to ramp up its activity in private equity.
The firm has announced it is organising a new private equity fund of funds. In a statement, the firm said that investors had indicated that they believed the timing was right to launch a new fund. The listed fund, which will be sponsored by Cazenove, is a ‘mid market fund of funds’ which will also have direct co-investment capacity. Fundraising is going well, and dealing in the fund is expected to begin on 19 December, the statement said.
Simultaneously, Martin Currie has formed an advisory panel, which it says will give strategic guidance to Martin Currie as it builds its private equity business.
The panel includes: David Shaw, chairman of Bridgepoint Capital; Neil Hood, a Scottish businessman and academic who sits on the board of a number of public companies; David Shearer, a former senior partner of Deloitte & Touche in Scotland and Northern Ireland, specialising in corporate finance and private equity; Patrick Wilmerding, a US citizen, a banker and private equity investor; and John Gooch, who recently retired from a senior role with Wellington Management, a US fund manager.
The new fund will complement Martin Currie's existing listed vehicle, the £100m Martin Currie Capital Return Trust plc, which also has an active co-investment programme. In July 2003 the fund invested £3m in Pizza Express as part of the public to private acquisition of the company by TDR Capital and Capricorn in May.
“I believe that we can build a private equity business of real scale within Martin Currie,” said Paul Murray, Martin Currie's managing director in charge of private equity. “Our advisory panel and the new fund will help us do just that.”