Standard Life passes E600m for new FoF

The private equity arm of the UK insurer has attracted E140m from third-party investors in addition to E500m provided by the firm’s parent company.

Standard Life Investments, the private equity fund unit of the UK-based mutual insurer, has held a first-closing of its latest fund targeting European buyout funds as well as direct investments.

The firm has secured commitments worth E639m, including E139m from third-party investors. Parent company Standard Life Assurance provided a cornerstone E500m investment.

News of the first close coincided with the announcement of three appointments. The firm has hired Craig Williamson, Roland Brinkman and Roger Pim to help invest the latest fund. Williamson was formerly finance director at Landal GreenParks in the Netherlands while Brinkman was a manager at Bain & Co. Pim was formerly an analyst at Goldman Sachs in London.

Standard Life Investments (Private Equity) is targeting a E1bn final close for the fund, surpassing the E868m raised for the fund’s predecessor, European Strategic Partners I. Final close is scheduled for mid-to-late 2003.

Investors in ESP II can choose to participate 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, head of private equity at Standard Life, reaffirmed the fund’s commitment to the European buyout market, a sector which has undergone a pricing correction in the last 18 months. “We firmly believe that the Western European buyout market in the E50m to E500m transaction size offers the greatest potential for capital appreciation.''