Netherlands-rooted Waterland Private Equity Investments has established its first UK office and dedicated team, based in Wilmslow.
The new office will give lower mid-market businesses, which generate earnings of £3m to £10m, access to Waterland's €2bn seventh fund which was raised last month.
Headed by Andy Scaife, who was Quantum Pharma's chief executive throughout the company's period of private equity ownership, the Waterland UK team will focus on giving hands-on advice to its portfolio companies and helping them grow internationally.
“It's an interesting time to come into the UK. We see Brexit as an opportunity,” said Scaife. “What we can really offer is internationalisation of businesses – especially into Europe. We have a network of professionals across Europe, so it will be easy for us to identify targets for UK companies to buy, and that can also give a natural currency hedge so they'll start getting some income in euros.
Waterland has offices in Bussum, Antwerp, Warsaw, Copenhagen and Munich. It tends to choose bases outside of capital cities, so it can sit among the companies it invests in.
When raising its current fund, Waterland found the proposition of investing in the UK went down well with investors. Although the UK market is the most crowded in Europe, investors felt that Waterland's operational expertise could still help it win the favour of many business owners and leaders.
“We're business people doing private equity, and we're finding that that really resonates with chief executives,” said Scaife.
The fund has already made one UK investment, in textiles recycler Wilcox, is close to completing another, and has a “strong pipeline” according to Scaife.
Waterland's fifth fund recently ranked as one of the most attractive funds to be invested in, according to research from private equity marketplace Palico.