Palamon goes back to the future after fund close

The re-appointment of Anthony Barker as IR director comes after the recent departure of Annette Wilson.

Palamon Capital Partners has bolstered its team by appointing Philippe Arbour as a managing director of structured finance, and re-hiring Antony Barker as its new director of investor relations and marketing.

Barker previously spent five years at Palamon, working across their investor relations and marketing activities, before leaving in December last year to join start-up fund DMC Partners. He spent eight months there, and then three months as an investor relations associate at Campbell Lutyens, according to his LinkedIn profile. His re-hiring by Palamon follows the recent departure of former investor relations managing director Annette Wilson, who had been with the firm since 1999, according to her LinkedIn page.

Arbour also joined Palamon last week as a managing director of structured finance. He had previously spent ten years with Lloyds Banking Group, where he held various positions across trade finance, specialist credit and leveraged finance. In 2006, he was a founding member of the large-cap sponsor coverage and LBO execution team. Between 2010 and 2011 he was seconded to 3i Group, where he worked as a director in its banking team. Most recently, he was a director in the bank’s leveraged finance and high yield team.

“Philippe has worked with a wide range of private equity deal sizes and structures during his career at Lloyds as well as inside 3i, which makes him perfectly suited to Palamon’s signature range of mid-market transactions. Antony returns to us having gained invaluable experience which will widen our perspective and enhance our ability to support our investors,” Louis Elson, Palamon’s managing partner said in a statement.

Arbour is replacing Anthony Luzzato Gardner, Palamon’s former managing director of structured finance, who is reportedly awaiting confirmation to become the US ambassador to the European Union. Palamon declined to comment.

The team changes come after Palamon recently closed an unusually-structured €210 million Auxiliary Fund, after it struggled to raise money for a standard fund. “When we say we’re investing in growth companies in Europe, [investors] laugh and say it’s an oxymoron,” Elson told Private Equity International recently. “But Europe is enormous, and pockets of growth are springing up.”

The new vehicle has an investment period of just two years, rather than the standard five to seven. This additional breathing space would not only give the market time to recover, but also allow Palamon to deliver more exits from its previous fund, fundraising sources suggested at the time.

Last week, Palamon sealed its sixth exit from its €670 million 2006-vintage fund, Palamon European Equity II, when it sold Cambridge Education Group to Bridgepoint. This divestment generated a 14.6x return on invested capital, with a £141 million capital gain and a 58 percent IRR, according to the statement.

So far, Palamon II has generated cash proceeds of €660 million, with a 3.6x return and 28 percent IRR on fully realised investments, the firm said, and still has €60 million of capital available for investments. There are 11 companies remaining in its portfolio including Retail Decisions, a global fraud prevention provider for credit card transactions; IDH, an NHS dental practice group and OberScharrer Group, an ophthalmic healthcare business in Germany.