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Norway’s Ferd caps debut fund on €242m

Ferd Private Equity has announced the final closing of its debut fund on NOK2bn (€242m), in the largest-ever fundraising by a Norwegian private equity firm.

Ferd Private Equity, the private equity firm 40 percent-owned by private Norwegian industrial group Ferd AS, has closed its debut private equity fund on NOK2 billion (€242 million; $324 million). The fund was capped at that level, with a source at the firm saying the level of demand was “significantly higher” than the cap would allow.

Established in 2003, Ferd announced a first closing of the fund in August 2004 on NOK1.25 billion. At that stage the fund had attracted 16 Norwegian institutional investors, including parent company Ferd AS, as well as Orkla, the industrial conglomerate, and Storebrand Livsforsikring, the life insurance arm of financial services group Storebrand.

The fund was then opened up to international investors, and it is understood that nine further organisations have signed up to the fund. Among them is the Third Swedish National Pension Fund. As well as institutions, LPs in the fund include family companies and funds of funds.

Stockholm-based corporate finance house Enskilda Securities acted as placement agent to the fundraising. London partner Jeff Hurlburt of international law firm Hogan & Hartson advised on completion of the fundraising.

Ferd Private Equity says it will use the capital to acquire established Norwegian and Nordic companies, in deals where the equity commitment is between NOK100 million and NOK400 million. It says it will focus on “active ownership” of portfolio companies.

The fund has already completed two transactions: the acquisition of Collett Pharma from Nycomed Pharma for an undisclosed sum and Pronova Biocare from Norsk Hydro for NOK165 million. Ferd CFO Adele Norman Pran told PrivateEquityOnline the firm has two other deals in the pipeline, one of which is expected to complete before the end of the year.

Ferd Equity Partners, the exclusive adviser to Ferd Private Equity, is headed by managing partner Gert Munthe and fellow partners Tore-Rynning-Nielsen and Morten Blix. Ferd Equity Partners is 60 percent owned by its six employees and 40 percent by Ferd AS.

Founded in the late 1700s as a tobacco producer and seller, Ferd AS is now an investor in industrial companies and alternative assets. As well as private equity, the firm also has venture capital and real estate investment vehicles.