Over the past decade, the assets under management (AUM, defined as available capital and unrealized value) of the French private equity industry have doubled, increasing from $28.6bn as at the end of 2006 to $60.5bn as at 30 June 2016. As reported in Preqin’s recent report on Private Equity in France, managers based in the country have enjoyed a successful fundraising environment in recent years: France-based vehicles closed in 2016 secured $24bn (€22bn) in aggregate capital, a sizeable $14bn (€13bn) increase from the previous year. This increase was largely driven by Ardian Secondary Fund VII which closed in April 2016 securing $10.8bn, making it the largest ever France-based private equity vehicle. Considering the growth in the French private equity industry, being able to spot funds which have the potential to generate high returns has become of increasing significance. Using performance data from Preqin’s Private Equity Online, we highlight certain funds to watch in France in the year ahead.
To generate this league table, data for 181 France-based private equity funds of vintage 2014-2016 has been used. As these funds are in the early part of their investment cycles, the IRR metric becomes less relevant; therefore, the net multiple is used as the key measure of performance, providing a good indication of the value added to the unrealized investments within the fund portfolio, as well as considering any early distributions.
Unsurprisingly, all the funds in the above league table primarily target investment in Europe. Mantra Secondary Opportunities has generated the highest net multiple of 1.72x, indicative of the high value added to the unrealized investments within the fund portfolio. Interestingly, three of the top five funds in this league table have been raised by Paris-based Ardian, with Ardian Secondary Fund VI the largest fund in the table, closing on $9bn. However, White Knight IX is the only fund in the table above with its first capital called in 2016, making it the ‘youngest’ of all funds fulfilling the selection criteria.