Standard Life launches E1bn PE fund

The Scottish insurance group has announced the launch of its second European Strategic Partners fund of funds.

Standard Life has published details of its new fund, the European Strategic Partners II fund (ESP II), a private equity fund of funds vehicle which will invest in a combination of European private equity funds and direct investments.

The fund, which will be managed by Standard Life Investments (Private Equity) (SLIPE), is the successor fund to European Strategic Partners (ESP), a private equity fund of funds which raised E868m and had its final close in October 2000.

Investors in ESP II will have the choice of participating in either a partnership exclusively made up of private equity funds and/or one consisting of at least 70 per cent in private equity funds and 30 per cent in direct co-investment opportunities.

ESP II will generally invest in private equity funds which target buyouts and development and expansion capital for transactions valued in the region of E50-400m, with investments focussed on Western Europe. ESP II will generally aim to make investments of more than E10m in minority interests in the investee business.

Jonny Maxwell, chief executive of Standard Life Investments (Private Equity), said: “In the past year, we have seen a correction in prices which creates compelling long-term investment opportunities for our clients. In keeping with ESP I, we continue to believe that the European corporate buyout market in the E50-400m transaction size offers the greatest potential for capital appreciation in the years ahead.”

Standard Life Investment’s parent company, Standard Life Assurance Company, will commit E500m to ESP II.

Standard Life Investments has assets under management of £75bn making it one of the UK’s major investment houses, owning around 2 per cent of the UK stock market. Standard Life Investments operate in UK, Canada, Ireland and Hong Kong and plans to open an office in Boston, USA.