Unigestion closes first direct PE fund on €255m – exclusive

Up to now the Swiss manager has focused on fund of funds, secondaries, co-investments and separately managed accounts.

Unigestion's Direct Opportunities 2015 Fund has closed on €255 million, Private Equity International has learned, exceeding its target of €200 million.

Launched in 2016, this is Unigestion’s first direct pooled private equity fund, the firm up to now having focused on fund of funds, secondaries, co-investments and separately managed accounts.

The investor base is characterised by strong interest from UK councils, smaller German banks, as well as significant representation from the Nordics and Asia. Around 70 percent of the investment base is new, PEI understands.

North East Scotland Pension Fund has committed £35 million ($45.4 million; €39.9 million), Clwyd Pension Fund £5.50 million, according to PEI data.

Direct Opportunities 2015 has already made four investments, the first of which was in Zennor Petroleum, a UK oil and gas company which focuses on the appraisal and development of hydrocarbons in the North Sea.

Direct Opportunities 2015 is particularly focused on fragmented markets and low-correlation industries, those which don't move in line with the direction of the broader economy, such as education and healthcare, PEI understands.

Unigestion expects to make between 12 and 15 investments from the fund.

In February, the firm acquired Swiss counterpart Akina Partners, which had €2.3 billion under management, following an almost year-long takeover process. At the time of completion, the new entity had total assets under management of $23 billion, 25 percent of which is dedicated to private equity. The two teams are working on their own funds with their existing client bases, PEI has heard.

Bernard Sabrier, chairman of Unigestion, said at the time of the acquisition: “We saw that acquiring Akina made huge strategic sense – we would increase Unigestion’s total portfolio and together we would become the market leader in European small- and mid-cap private equity.”