PAI III ahead of target

With two months remaining until final closing, PAI Europe III is already the biggest LBO fund raised by a French private equity house.

Paribas Affaires Industrielles (PAI), the French private equity affiliate of BNP Paribas has to date raised E1.6bn for its PAI Europe III fund that was originally due to be capped at E1.25bn.

Parent-company BNP Paribas has made a E250m commitment to the fund although this is not expected to be the largest contribution to the fund, according to a report in Financial News. The fund, which is now looking to raise in the region of E1.8bn, is expected to close in late June.

Reports in April suggested that PAI is likely to be bought by its management as part of a strategic review undertaken by BNP Paribas chairman Michel Pébereau. BNP Paribas has reduced its commitment to private equity in the past four years and PAI now seeks the large majority of its investments from external sourses.

The firm has joined forces with CVC Capital Partners to bid for French electronic parts supplier Legrand, with bidding expected to be in the region of E4.5bn. The Legrand deal is expected to close at the end of May.

PAI is France’s largest LBO fund with over E7bn under management. In January the firm acquired 50 per cent of Yoplait, the international yoghurt brand, from Sodiaal, a consortium of 13,500 French diary farmers for an undisclosed sum.