NBGI increases size of debut French fund to €100m

The private equity group of the National Bank of Greece sees opportunity in France, which was less affected by the financial downturn, according to Laurent Allegot, a member of the French team.

NBGI Private Equity, a London-headquartered firm, has increased the size of its first France-focused fund to €100 million.

The firm held a first close on the fund on €50 million in 2008, according to Laurent Allegot, a member of the firm’s French team. NBGI was able to go back to its parent, the National Bank of Greece, for additional capital, Allegot said.

“The size of our French fund now fits perfectly with our chosen segment of lower mid-market, which has remained very active in the midst of a general financial crisis,” Allegot said.

France presents an attractive opportunity for private equity as it was less affected by the economic downturn than other developed countries like the UK, Allegot said.

The French team made its first investment last year, investing an undisclosed amount in SPM-Boulangerie Thierry, a company that delivers fresh bakery products to hotels and restaurants in Paris.

NBGI Private Equity Group also has two UK-dedicated funds, both capped at £100 million (€112 million; $163 million). The entire group manages about €900 million.