Two appointments at LBO France

The French buyout firm has appointed an investment manager for its small cap buyout fund and a new head of investor relations.

LBO France, the French private equity firm headed by Gilles Cahen-Salvador, has made two appointments in its small cap fund and fundraising team.

Pierre Gallix joins Hexagone, the small caps fund of LBO France as investment manager. Previously, he was a strategy consultant with LEK (Paris) and worked on strategic and commercial audits of LBO and M&A deals. Hexagone is the firm’s small-cap buyout fund, launched last year and currently in the market to raise €50 million ($62 million). Hexagone will invest across all sectors, targeting investment in businesses with enterprise values ranging from €10 million to €50 million.

The fund made its first investment two weeks ago, taking a 55 per cent stake in Valorex, the French animal feed technology business. The size of the investment in the business, which reported sales last year of €30 million and employs 40 people, was not disclosed. According to a company spokesperson, the fund, which is expected to hold a final close in mid-2004, is exclusive on a further two transactions.

LBO France has also hired Elizabeth O’Reilly, who becomes head of investor relations and fund raising. O’Reilly has responsibility over marketing and investor liaison for LBO France’s funds. Previously she worked as investment manager at the family holding of Bernard Arnault in Paris. She also worked as a senior equities analyst on the European food retail sector at BNP Paribas and was a member of the European retail team at CSFB.

Since its creation in 1985, LBO France has raised six funds and completed 48 acquisitions representing a total enterprise value of €6.2 billion. Last year, the firm led the acquisition of specialty materials manufacturer Materis, marking one of France’s largest LBO transactions.

LBO France operates three private equity funds with a focus on the French market: in addition to Hexagone, the firm manages White Knight, which targets mid-market LBOs with enterprise values ranging from €50 million to €500 million; and Nexstar, a fund focused on French real estate.