Snapshot: Altamir’s Maurice Tchenio talks exits and more

Altamir’s CEO tells PEI about listing, investors and dividends.

On the heels of Altamir’s partial exits of Nasdaq Stockholm-listed healthcare company Capio and Euronext Paris-listed prosthetics maker Amplitude Surgical, Altamir chairman and CEO Maurice Tchenio told Private Equity International that he expects to see more “significant liquidity events” in the company’s portfolio in the coming months and years.

“It is a sellers’ market and we have a maturing portfolio,” Tchenio said, noting half of its assets were more than five years old.

The combination of the availability of debt, funds’ eagerness to buy and an open IPO market is driving momentum, he said.

Altamir, which is listed on Euronext Paris, has more than €550 million of assets under management, including investments in Apax France and Apax Partners funds and direct investments alongside. It backs growth and buyout opportunities where Apax takes majority control.

The sale announced on 30 June of part of Altamir’s stake in Amplitude held through its investment in Apax France VIII netted €14.1m for the firm. Almamir retains a 14.2 percent indirect share in the company following the initial public offering.

A week later, Altamir realised about €9 million through the partial exit of its 5.5 percent direct stake in Capio. It now holds 3.5 percent post-IPO.

Listed private equity is not a well-understood asset class and as a consequence, shares in listed vehicles trade at a discount to the net asset value, Tchenio said.

Altamir’s shares were trading at €10.79 at lunchtime on 13 July with a NAV of €16.04 a share at the end of December 2014.

“Altamir is trading at a discount greater than our UK peers. We are not listed in London or in sterling and most of the investors in this asset class are Anglo-Saxons. I still hope to convince them that there is life over this side of the Channel,” Tchenio said, noting the firm was working hard to internationalise its investor base.

It is costly and difficult to switch exchanges, he said when asked if Altamir would move to the London Stock Exchange. But at some point, if it seemed as if things were not going to change, then “if you can’t beat them, you join them”, he commented.

The fund has no plans for a capital increase, but if there was a major investment opportunity, “we wouldn’t hesitate”, he said.

Tchenio said he believed the arrival of defined contribution pension plan investors would have an impact on listed vehicle share prices and also result in an increase in the number and size of listed PE funds over the next five to 10 years.

“We are watching that very carefully. When they enter, they will start first with funds of funds, with the safest, and when they get confident with the asset class, they will move [on],” he said, adding that increasing numbers of high net worth individuals were investing in listed PE.

Another significant trend he identified in the asset class was that funds were paying bigger dividends, “We will see more and more in the next three years. Funds are moving to being more generous with their dividend distributions,” he said, noting that the law had been changed in the UK to permit capital gains to be distributed as dividends.