Pangea Investors hires Morgan Stanley executive

The London-headquartered firm has appointed Paul Bijleveld as an affiliate partner as it aims to break into the Benelux market.

Paul Bijleveld
has joined

Pangea Investors has hired Paul Bijleveld, a former head of investment banking in the Netherlands for both Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital, as it seeks to do its first investment in the Benelux.

Bijleveld, 50, has been working in the financial services industry for 25 years, according to a statement. “For a young firm it is a pretty big milestone to get someone like him to be part of our team,” Johan Hueffer, one of Pangea’s managing partners told Private Equity International. “I think with Paul [Bijleveld] on board, we hopefully will be doing much more in Holland.”

Pangea Investors operates in the smaller market segment in the Benelux, Germany, Austria and the UK. It buys companies up to €50 million in the consumer and retail, business services and healthcare services and equipment sector. The firm has no fund structure, but invests on a deal by deal basis and also co-invest alongside its investors, typically high net worth families.

The firm was established in 2010 when Michael Hehn and Hueffer left Morgan Stanley to set up their own venture. Its investor base is in Europe, but Pangea hopes to attract overseas investors, Hueffer said. “We do have good contacts in the US, but the US perceives Europe as being hopeless at the moment. Also with the distance those investment processes are a little more difficult to manage. As we get larger we’ll make more of an effort to attract both Asian and American investors as well,” he said. 

It's not an easy time, but we think if we can make it in this environment, then we should do very well in a better environment

Johan Hueffer 

Hueffer acknowledged Pangea was established in a challenging economic climate. “Clearly trying to convince a seller to sell his company at a price which is in many cases much lower than what he might have thought it was worth a few years ago, is a difficult conversation and it does not always succeed. It’s not an easy time, but we think if we can make it in this environment, then we should do very well in a better environment,” he added. 

Since 2010, the firm has done several minority investments. In April it bought a majority stake in Austria Pet Food. In addition, Pangea is exploring targets in the consumer and business services sectors in the Benelux and hopes to do its first investment in the first quarter of 2013.

Despite a recent value added tax rise in the Netherlands and an overall subdued European consumer spending climate, the consumer sector can be attractive, according to Hueffer.

“Austria Pet Food is in a very good spot because it benefits from supermarket growth in a lot of the Eastern European countries. In Holland there are a lot of very good consumer products businesses, which export their products across Europe and across the world. We haven’t been looking at retail per se in Holland, but I think there are a lot of consumers businesses in Holland which are doing very well,” he said.