Pera Capital targets €120m for debut Turkey fund

Pera Capital, co-launched by Ashmore Private Equity Turkey co-founder Robert Romain, may get a €15m commitment from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Pera Capital Partners, launched earlier this year by a co-founder of Ashmore Private Equity Turkey, is targeting €120 million for its debut fund, and may get a €15 million investment from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Pera has been targeting development finance institutions, as well as institutional investors, for commitments to the fund. The firm was founded earlier this year by Ashmore Private Equity Turkey co-founder Robert Romain and former JPMorgan executive Kerim Talman.

Pera wants to hold a first close on the fund in early 2011, Romain told PEO in a recent interview. Pera’s debut fund will be open for one year after the first closing, Romain said, adding the fund is working to appoint a placement agent for the fundraising.

EBRD has not given final approval to the €15 million commitment, but has moved it through at least one review phase, according to its procurement website. Pera is in talks with other DFIs and institutional investors, mostly from Europe and the UK, but also in the Americas and Asia, Romain said.

Pera’s focus will be on small to mid-market companies that can’t get debt financing and need to use equity to grow. As a result, DFI’s, which provide financing to small and medium enterprises in Turkey, are a good partner for the fund, Romain said.

Pera Capital will make growth capital and selective buyout investments in the lower mid-market in Turkey. Being a country-focused investor, the fund will have a broad sector mandate, Romain said, but will target “services, branded consumer goods and light manufacturing”.

Turkey’s lower to mid-market is rife with opportunities with so-called small-to-medium enterprises, or SMEs, according to Romain. 

“It’s a huge opportunity; there’s an enormous amount of SME companies,” he said. “Banks are unwilling to lend, so that opens the door for people like us. There’s relatively limited competition at this time. Most funds active in Turkey are at the larger end” of the market.

Romain is no longer affiliated with Ashmore, which raised its debut Turkish private equity fund on $100 million fund in 2007.