Sweden continues to be at the forefront of private equity in the Nordic region, accounting for 38% of the 272 active Nordic-based private equity firms. Finland ranks second with 22%, closely followed by Denmark (18%) and Norway (18%). Likewise, Stockholm (28%) and Helsinki (16%) lead the way when the region’s private equity firms are broken down by city location. Collectively, Nordic-based fund managers have raised over €75bn in capital commitments in the last 10 years, with an estimated €28bn available in dry powder.
EQT is the region’s largest private equity firm based on funds raised in the last 10 years, having collected €19.6bn. Founded in 1994, EQT invests across the private equity spectrum and in July 2015 closed its seventh flagship vehicle, EQT VII, on €6.75bn. Along with EQT, Nordic Capital and Altor rank as the largest private equity firms in the Nordic region.
HitecVision is one of four Norwegian firms to feature in the top 10 largest fund managers in the region by funds raised. The firm predominantly invests in the oil & gas sector in Northern Europe and North America, with a particular focus on the US, UK and Norway. In April 2014, the firm closed its second successive billion-dollar fund, HitecVision Private Equity VII, on $1.9bn.
Venture capital remains the most prevalent strategy among private equity firms based in the region, with 53% of active fund managers employing it as their main strategy, compared with 24% of firms that favour buyout. The region’s largest venture capital firm according to aggregate capital raised in the last 10 years is Sunstone Capital, which has raised a total of €611mn in the last decade. The Copenhagen-based fund manager focuses on developing and expanding life sciences and technology start-ups.
According to Preqin’s Fund Manager Profiles database on Private Equity Online, 129 of the 272 Nordic-based private equity firms have a diversified industry focus. IT (133) and healthcare (86) are the most numerous sectors present in fund managers’ preferences, which is unsurprising given venture capital’s prominence in the region. The energy & utilities sector is targeted by 61 firms based in the Nordic region, over half of which are based in Norway – the world’s second largest exporter of natural gas.