Siparex Group has announced the liquidation of the Priam fund which it acquired in 1998 as part of its acquisition of VC firm Epicea. The E11.3m fund was originally set up in 1989 with a group of corporate investors consisting of France's leading defence contractors, including Dassault, Matra and Aerospatiale.
Priam was focused on investing in firms developing new technologies for the defence sector and it invested in 70 companies over its 13 year life. Siparex reports that a number of portfolio companies were able to list – such as Egide – and others were sold in trade sales [often to the fund's corporate investors].
It was also reported that the fund delivered a 160 per cent return on committed capital and a net IRR since acquisition by Siparex of 17.8 per cent. The residual assets owned by the fund are going to be managed by Fondinvest Capital, which is part of the Caisse des Dépôts group.
The performance of the fund was severely affected by the major cuts in defence spending that took place during its term. Pascal Demichel, an investment manager at Siparex and Chair of Priam's management company from 1998 commented, 'the Priam fund has taught us a lot, and it has completed its assignments.'
Sigefi, the management company of the Siparex Group, manages a total of E638m in capital, with 50 per cent dedicated to later stage and LBO financing and 31 per cent to venture capital.