Qualium nears €500m target

French private equity firm Qualium, led by Jean Eichenlaub (pictured), is nearing its target for its sixth fund after a move to diversify its investor base.

Qualium Investissement, a Paris-headquartered buyout firm whose president is former European Capital executive Jean Eichenlaub, is set to pass the €500 million target for its latest fund, according to a source close to the firm. 

Qualium held an interim close on €450 million last month, and is expected to conclude fundraising in the fourth quarter. The fund has a hard cap of €600 million. Placement agent Triago is understood to be working on the fundraising. Triago declined to comment, while Qualium could not be reached for comment. 

The firm, which operates as a semi-captive arm of French state-backed institutional investor Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC), began fundraising for its sixth fund in January.

CDC has made a cornerstone investment of €250 million. With previous funds, Qualium’s LP base was comprised of investors described as “friends and family” of CDC by one source familiar with the firm. But for its latest vehicle, the Qualium team has sought to diversify the investor base to include a broader range of LPs, including pension funds, high net worth individuals, family offices, banks and insurers.

Qualium has delivered an average return of 2.9x since 1998, with an annual internal rate of return of 35 percent, according to a source with knowledge of the firm’s funds.

The firm’s recent deals include the acquisitions of La Foir’Fouille, a discount household goods retailer, and Établissements Sogal, which makes customised walk-in cupboards. Recent exits include the sale of housebuilder Les Maisons Pierre and logistics company Artesys.