Unigestion launches two private equity funds

The Geneva-based hedge fund and private equity fund manager hopes to take advantage of bargains in the secondary and sustainable energy spheres with two new vehicles.

European hedge fund and private equity fund of funds manager Unigestion has committed to raising two new private equity funds in the first half of 2009, hoping to capitalise on bargains in the secondary and global sustainability sectors.

The first fund, the Unigestion Secondary Opportunity Fund II, will launch in the first quarter of this year, targeting assets from distressed and over exposed private equity sellers in the small to mid-market sphere, hoping to exploit recent discounts of 50 percent or more on portfolio valuations.

“As we approach the “sweet spot” of a highly cyclical market, the Secondary Opportunity Fund II will be an opportunistic buyer of good assets from distressed sellers,” Hanspeter Bader, a managing director of Unigestion’s private equity department, said in a statement.

The second fund, the Unigestion Environmental Sustainability Fund of Funds, will launch in the second quarter of this year, targeting growth capital, infrastructure and venture capital investment in alternative energies, efficient use of resources, and pollution control. It is seeking to profit from the “significant” drop in the price of sustainable assets, the levels of which have not been seen since 2004.

Both funds have a commitment period of 3 years and are following the traditional limited partnership structure. The Secondary Opportunity Fund II requires minimum commitment of €5 million and is targeting €150 million, while the Environmental Sustainability Fund of Funds requires at least $7.5 million from its investors and has an overall target of €250 million.

The move comes a month after Unigestion was hailed in the UK media as “a survivor in the dwindling hedge fund universe”, and Bernard Sabrier, chairman of Unigestion told The Financial Times that “the frontier between private equity and hedge funds is becoming more blurry and there will a lot of hybrid products”.

Geneva-based Ungestion was founded in 1971 and has $9 billion of assets under management, of which nearly $2 billion is invested in private equity funds of funds.