UK firms dominate European fundraising

UK firms accounted for 77 per cent of capital raised by European private equity firms in 2002, at E27bn down 30 per cent on 2002, according to new data.

A total of 57 European private equity funds held a final close in 2002 raising just over E27bn, according to new data published by research firm AltAssets.


The value of funds raised by European private equity firms in 2002 fell almost thirty per cent compared to 2001 levels. The E27.8bn total represents a fall of 28 per cent on 2001 and just over half the amount raised in 2000.


UK funds continued to lead the way, accounting for 77 per cent of total funds raised in 2002 with E21.1bn. In a year dominated by multi-billion euro funds, eight of the nine mega-funds raised were of UK origin. Firms such as Cinven, Bridgepoint, Candover, and Barclays all exceeded their initial target sizes to raise mega-funds. 


In addition to the dominance of the mega-fund, the year was also typified by the inability of firms, particularly those with VC and fund of funds offerings, to match their original targets. Some 56 per cent of venture funds closed below target, while 80 per cent of fund of funds firms failed to achieve their desired fundraising levels. The difficult fundraising environment was also borne out in the amount of time taken to raise funds, which averaged out at 15 months from launch to closure.


France-based funds, led by the E1.8bn fund raised by PAI Management, comprised twelve per cent of European funds with E3.3bn. Scandinavian funds accounted for four per cent with E1.1bn, 47 per cent of which was dedicated to venture. Three Swiss funds, each fund of funds, were able to attract E670m, just over two per cent of the total value.


The greatest slump in fundraising took place in Germany, which accounted for less than two per cent of the total, down from ten per cent last year. This reflected both the difficult fundraising conditions in the local market and the fact that many of the large institutions investing in German private equity are based elsewhere on the continent.