Investment firm LetterOne headed up by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman launches health business in US

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The Russian tycoon's new venture will make investments in the healthcare sector (Source: Getty)

LetterOne, the investment vehicle owned by Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman, has launched L1 Health in the US and appointed Diageo chairman Dr Franz Humer to the firm's advisory board.

L1 Health will target up to $3bn (£2.1bn) of investments in the global healthcare sector over the next three years "with the goal of making sizeable equity investments in businesses that it can support and help grow for significant periods of time", the group said.

LetterOne said it chose to base the new venture in the US so as to be closer to the markets it wishes to enter, and it plans to focus on "areas where scale, market consolidation and efficiency improvements can drive value". LetterOne added that L1 Health is already looking at a variety of investment opportunities.

“The health sector is rapidly evolving, which creates unique investment opportunities for L1 Health,” said Fridman.

“Our strategy is to leverage insights we have gained from our healthcare investments in private equity to build expertise and then invest in scale. Our aim at L1 is to build a world class diversified global investment business.”

The company also said it was excited about the appointment of Humer to the L1 Health investment advisory board: "Franz has spent 40 years of his executive career in the pharmaceutical industry. He has a unique blend of skills and experiences in the healthcare sector."

Humer joined Schering-Plough (now Merck & Co) in 1973 and then worked for Glaxo for many years, becoming chief operating officer in 1992.

LetterOne, which was established in 2013, has two other main business units - L1 Energy and L1 Technology.

L1 Energy was previously forced by the UK government to sell its North Sea oil and gas assets, which it acquired from Germany's RWE Dea, over concerns around western sanctions on Russia relating to the crisis in Ukraine. At one point LetterOne had threatened to take legal action against the government over the matter.

L1 Technology was set up last year with the aim of investing in telecoms assets across Europe.

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