ONE DOWN, THREE TO GO

Just three months after its latest fundraising was launched, Investindustrial was able to announce a new €1 billion ($1.5 billion) war chest – making it the largest private equity fund raised in Southern Europe to date. The fund beat its target of €888 million and managing partner Andrea Bonomi claimed that more than the final figure could have been collected.

Bonomi suggested that current market conditions played into his firm's hands given its mid-market, operational focus. “We have not changed our strategy, but the market has changed,” he said. “Investors are less interested in leverage for leverage's sake. They do not want generic private equity firms. People want help not just money.”

While also having a strong Spanish operation, Investindustrial is widely recognised as one of the leading GPs in an Italian private equity market where fundraising will be a major theme this year. As Investindustrial crossed the finishing line, both longstanding GP Investitori Associati and Clessidra, the Claudio Sposito-run firm, were in talks with investors. A source at BS Private Equity, another mainstay of the Italian scene, told PEI the firm was expecting to begin gauging its fundraising prospects in the second half of the year.

Investitori Associati's fundraising is its first since linking up with publisher De Agostini to form alternative asset group IDeA Alternative Investments last year. According to sources canvassed by PEI, appetite for its fund – and that being raised by Clessidra – is likely to be strong.

The same sources indicate that BS Private Equity will have to overcome concerns about a lack of exits from its last fund, raised in 2003. The team may also have to overcome lingering unease about the departure of co-founder Luigi Sala shortly after the previous fund was raised. A source at BS told PEI: “It was an abrupt departure and some investors were shocked. It's a difficult story to explain, but we've been through it and a long time has passed since.”

Luciano Balbo, BS' other co-founder, departed the firm in 2001. He teamed up again with Sala at Magenta Investimenti, a start-up private equity firm that raised E500 million last year and was then swiftly disbanded by investors when the imminent departure of former Carlyle Group executive Edoardo Lanzavecchia triggered a key-man clause.

LYCEUM RAISES E255M FUND
UK mid-market buyout firm Lyceum Capital has closed its second fund on £255 million ($496.7 million; €341.6 million), 25 percent above its £200 million target, according to chief executive Philip Buscombe. The fundraising had been delayed by the firm's efforts to extricate itself fully from its German parent bank, WestLB, a process it finally completed two years ago when AlpInvest Partners and Axa Private Equity bought the bank out and Lyceum re-branded. Buscombe said: “We have re-established the firm with a lot of investors, the kind we can do a lot with, who have money to invest if we want to develop a portfolio company.” Lyceum's investment model focusses on acquiring platforms for buy and build strategies. The latest fund's 22 investors, including 16 first-time backers of Lyceum, have the facility to co-invest. They include AXA, AlpInvest and UK asset manager F&C Investments in a mix of US and European investors. Lyceum raised its first fund in 2000 when it was called West Private Equity.

ACCESSTURKEY RAISED E250M FUND
AccessTurkey Capital Group has become the latest firm to launch a large fundraising in Turkey. It is planning a first close on a Turkey private equity fund in the third quarter of this year on €100 million ($145 million) to €120 million. It is aiming to raise a €250 million fund and is targeting businesses of between €30 million and €120 million, although it will invest in businesses of up to €250 million. Frank RoccoGrande of AccessTurkey said: “We've had a pretty good reception from limited partners with a growing interest in Turkey.”There were two significant closes by Turkish domestic firms last year with Turkven and Actera both closing funds greater than $400 million. The country has also attracted occasional larger buyouts, most notably the recent $3.25 billion Migros deal led by BC Partners.

EURAZEO REVENUES UP 59%
Listed French investment firm Eurazeo's reported revenues in 2007 were up by 58.5 percent on the previous year to €2.99 billion ($4.43 billion), according to its annual results. Pro forma revenues were €2.34 billion. Reported revenues in the fourth quarter increased to €944.5 million from €831.5 million in the previous quarter while pro forma revenues rose from €608.4 million to €758.6 million. The group's net income is estimated at between €860 million to €890 million. The group's chief executive Patrick Sayer has said he will look to raise an unlisted fund, and to grow its €500 million fund which closed in April last year to between €2 billion and €3 billion. The fundraising drive would emulate listed rival 3i and help reduce the group's discount to net asset value, he said. The group valued its portfolio of private equity companies at €1.94 billion. Its listed private equity arm also owns €734 million worth of assets.

PECHEL HOLDS SECOND CLOSE ON E101M
Mid-market French private equity firm Pechel Industries Partenaires announced the second close of its new fund, Pechel Industries III, with commitments of €101 million. Pechel said it would “continue the successful strategy of the previous two funds, investing in development capital and LBO transactions in French SMEs and the fund will target equity commitments of €7-20 million. Jean Gore, managing director said: “We typically look for investment opportunities as part of a growth story alongside owners or as part of a succession or liquidity solution; we have been doing this for over ten years and have developed an expertise in this area.” Investments made by Pechel Industries II included Devianne, a chain of retail outlets of ready-to-wear clothing, and Sateco, a leading manufacturer of moulding equipment and safety platforms to the construction industry. Pechel was advised by Matrix Private Funds Group.