Private equity firm Bridgepoint’s assets under management swelled by 54 per cent year-on-year to €29bn in the first half of 2021, as the economy recovered from its pandemic lows and investor interest in its alternative asset classes surged.
Upon listing in July, the buyout group’s shares soared by up to 30 per cent, and have since consistently remained up by around a fifth from its initial IPO 350 pence per share price.
Bridgepoint’s shares were up 0.8 per cent on the news of its results on Wednesday morning, at 518 pence per share.
Assets under management jumped from €18.5bn in the first half of 2020 to €28.5bn in the period this year and fee-paying assets swelled by 41 per cent to €17.7bn.
Revenues surged by 55 per cent year-on-year to £122.2m, up from £78.7m a year earlier, fuelled by the group’s acquisition of EQT Credit Business and the launch of its fourth fund, the £1.56bn lower middle market BDC IV, which started earning fees in January.
In a separate announcement on Wednesday, Bridgepoint announced it has acquired supply chain risk and performance management company Achilles for an undisclosed sum, subject to closing conditions. It represents the firm’s third investment through its £1.5bn BDC IV fund.
In line with expectations, Bridgepoint said it had deployed €2.7bn in the first half of 2021, investing into six companies in the UK, US, Ireland and Switzerland. This was a marked recovery on the €600m deployed during the first half of 2020, during peak Covid disruption to the economy.
As European economies gradually recovered from their pandemic lows, the buyout group raised €2.1bn in the first half from “strong realisations” on its various exits during the period.
Bridgepoint made a confident forecast for a continued strong demand to invest in its funds looking ahead, and said its Bridgepoint Europe VII fund was now in the market with a target fund size of €7bn.
“In line with expectations, we delivered strong growth in revenues and profits in the first half of the year,” said Executive Chairman William Jackson.
“Looking forward, whilst we continue to expect market volatility as economic conditions recover from the initial shocks of the pandemic, we are confident in the growth prospects for our business and our ability to continue to source attractive opportunities for our Funds.”
Bridgepoint’s IPO marked a rare entrance to public markets for a private equity firm and placed it among the biggest listed on the London Stock exchange.
It now sits alongside London-listed 3i Group and Intermediate Capital Group, who both listed in London in 1994 – before Bridgepoint was formed in 2000 following a management buyout from Natwest Equity Partners.
Since 1994, the largest private equity firms have stayed privately owned.
It came amid a flurry of private equity dealmaking as buyout groups, flush with cash, move in on companies that have been left reeling from the pandemic.
Looking at the wider multibillion pound trend emerging from the pandemic for private equity, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday said that foreign investment firms’ recent surge of interest in British listed companies is a “sign of confidence” in the UK economy.
“If international investors, whoever they are, are keen to invest their capital in the UK, that is something that is good news for our economy,” he said.