PAI’s Europe III buyout fund closes

France’s largest private equity firm PAI Management has closed its third European buyout fund ahead of target at E1.8bn.

PAI Management, the French private equity investor which recently spun itself out of French bank BNP Paribas, is reported to have closed its third buyout fund 50 per cent higher than the original target at E1.8bn.

Speaking to the Daily Deal, PAI chairman and CEO Amaury-Daniel de Seze said the fund would look to make ten to 15 investments in companies valued in the E500m-1.5bn bracket over the next three years.

BNP Paribas acted as the cornerstone investor and contributed E250m to the fund, which has attracted almost half of its E1.8bn total from US investors. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has also committed E100m to the fund as it looks to increase its exposure to European buyout.

De Seze believes that the fund’s key target markets will be Spain and Italy, countries which are expected to undergo a transitional period as companies look to grow across Europe and in doing so will require capital to fund their expansion.

PAI's most recent transaction, the first to come from this fund, was the E1.5bn LBO of textile rental company Elis, for which PAI teamed up with CIBC World Markets and Credit Agricole.

PAI Management has so far been unavailable for comment regarding the fund's close.