Cinven eyes European deals as it raises €5bn

PRIVATE equity firm Cinven said it would make three to four acquisitions in Europe this year after raising €5bn for a buyout fund, reaching its target in a tough market for fundraising.

Cinven is likely to invest €800m to €1bn in equity in 2013, in line with normal annual investment plans, partner Bruno Schick said in an interview.

The largest private equity firm with a purely European focus, Cinven buys into sectors including healthcare; business, consumer and financial services; industrials and technology; media and telecoms.

Its announcement confirmed a report on Wednesday that it had reached €5bn (£4.3bn) for its fifth fund, although that is less than the €6.5bn it pulled in for its fourth fund in 2006.

“We are very happy to have reached the target,” Cinven managing partner Hugh Langmuir, who has been with the firm since 1991, said. “The fundraising market has been the most challenging I can remember.”

Cinven’s London-based rivals Apax and Permira are struggling to reach their fundraising goals, for example, while Nordic Capital cut its target to €3bn from an initial €4bn late last year.

Private equity funds in Europe raised nearly $52bn in 2012 compared with an annual average of more than $100bn during the 2006-2008 boom, according to Thomson Reuters data, as the Eurozone debt crisis put the brakes on fundraising.

Cinven said 14 per cent of its Fifth European Buyout Fund has already been spent, following investments last year including in healthcare firms Mercury Pharma and Amdipharm.

Since the start of 2011, the company has returned €5bn to investors, including proceeds from the sale of the aviation business of Italy’s Avio to General Electric and the listing of Dutch cable operator Ziggo.